Friday, January 25, 2008

Website Advertising in Print

Many people market their websites almost exclusively on the web. This makes about as much sense as advertising your phone number only in the phone book. A website can be your most cost effective promotional tool, if it's promoted properly. If you're relying on people just stumbling across it or getting there from another website, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.

Make your website prominent on your print advertising. It should be at least as prominent as your phone number if not more so. Invite people to visit. When I want to buy lampshades you don't want me to do a Google search for lampshades and maybe come across your site. You want me to go directly to I'm much more likely to do so if I have a magnet or a postcard laying around with your web address on it.

Your web address should be on your letterhead, your envelopes, your packaging labels, flyers, newspaper ads, door hangers, anything that has your name and/or logo attached to it. Make sure your web address is also included in your email signature as well as your signature block for any forums you may belong to.

If you want to get the most out or your website, don't make me work to find you. Make It Easy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Marketing Alert - PostCard Special

Easy Street Designs is having a 3 week sale on 4.25 x 5.5 post cards. Full color one side or both, any quantity 10 Cents Each from now until February 15, 2008. Get 'em while they're hot! Easy Street Designs postcard special

Need Customers? Go Get 'Em!

By Timothy Wenk

In our society there are two kinds of people. MarketERs, and marketEEs. The people who create and disseminate marketing messages, and the people who receive (we hope) and react to those messages.

In marketing, there's a fundamental truth that is counterintuitive: "The initial spark that leads to the vast majority of transactions, emanates from the marketER."

When I say that truth is counterintuitive, I mean the typical consumers or potential customers believe the 'opposite.' What they believe would appear to be perfectly reasonable. Something like, "Back off marketers! If I want to find something, I'LL go out and I'LL find it for myself. Your ads and other marketing efforts have no effect on me. I will behave in exactly the same way (buy or not buy the exact same things), with or without your marketing efforts." Again, that seems to make perfect sense.

The average marketEE believes this: "The initial spark that leads to the vast majority of transactions, emanates from the marketEE."

Problem is, this is incorrect.

And if you market your small business as if it IS correct, you are making a fundamental mistake. Possibly a fatal mistake.

The truth is, the most effective marketing happens when the marketER reaches the marketEE, not the reverse. Further, the marketER must reach the marketEE, whether the marketEE wants to be reached or not! I know that's a bold statement, and it flies in the face of 'modern,' so-called 'permission marketing.'

But let me build my case...

Here are two words which, if you take heed to the lessons they can teach you, could change your business for the better: END CAPS. End caps, as you may know, are the ends of the aisles in stores. Let's take supermarkets, for example. Ask any supermarket manager why the end cap 'real estate' is so valuable. He or she will tell you, whatever item is placed there 'automatically' sells much better than otherwise. How much better? Well, one manager I spoke to said it's a boost of about 60%. Same item at the same price as the one sitting on the shelf where it usually is. He said, if the item's on sale, it's an increase of 100%, compared to the same item, at the same lowered price, on the 'regular' shelf!

Think about that. Buy merely putting a product in front of the consumer's face -- whether he asked for it or not -- produces an increase in sales of 60-100%. The ONLY difference is creating that 'initial spark.'

Here's another example: Your local newspaper. Let's agree that the ads therein are effective to a certain degree. Keeping that degree of effectiveness in mind, let's try an experiment. Let's rearrange the paper's format. Let's put all the ads in one section, and all the news in another section -- and let's try that for several months. What would be the result? Answer: The paper would go out of business. But why? Of course, because everyone would read the news section, and ignore the ad section, which would cause the ads to LOSE whatever effectiveness they had before the change in format. To the consumer, the ads are an unnecessary annoyance. If the audience is given a choice about viewing the ads, they will choose NOT to view the ads, in general. In other words, the effectiveness of the ads is dependent on their intrusiveness. Now I KNOW no one wants to hear that, but it's true.

Here's another example: McDonald's. You already know everything there is to know about McDonald's. You know (pretty much) where they are, how to find one, what their menu is, what the food tastes like, how much it costs, what you 'experience' will be like when you go there, etc. If you wanted to eat at McDonald's, you certainly would have no problem doing so. So, why do they advertise? What in the world could they POSSIBLY tell you in an ad, that you don't already know? The answer is, telling you something you don't already know is not the PURPOSE of the ads. Bugging you is. Bugging you repeatedly.

Because McDonald's knows (and so should you), "The initial spark that leads to the vast majority of transactions, emanates from the marketER, not the marketEE."

If that's NOT true, then McDonald's is wasting millions on ads every year! But it is true.

Let's put it this way: What would happen to McDonald's if they were to STOP bugging you repeatedly? They would go out of business, because ALL 'sparks' (bugging) would then emanate from the competition -- and the vast majority of the transactions would go to them.

It's a shame, but so-called internet marketing has made this consumer's myth even stronger. The temptation to rely on search engine and pay per click marketing comes from believing (incorrectly) that the group called, "my potential customers" is exactly the same group as the one called, "people already searching for what I offer." That's not so. That's thinking like a consumer.

Let me ask you this: Have you ever been to McDonald's? Have you ever been to

The lesson here is, don't market your small business using a "consumer's mindset." Realize it is YOUR responsibility to send out as many 'initial sparks' as you can. Don't wait for your potential customers to come looking for you, believing they will behave in the same way (buy the same things), with or without your ads. Look for ways to DELIVER your marketing message -- yes, even without your potential customers' "permission." And, most of those ways can be found OFFline.


Timothy Wenk, marketing consultant, can be reached at 518-448-6642 and .

Saturday, January 12, 2008

You down with "OPP"? Other Peoples Products

Everyone likes to get free stuff. This is why it's such a great promotional tool. But most businesses give away their own products or some little trinket with their logo on it. That's fine, but consider another alternative: OPP, Other People's Products.

Free stuff can generate traffic, good will and awareness. It doesn't have to be your stuff though. Give away a free coffee from a nearby shop, an order of chicken wings from a local restaraunt or wing joint, a free oil change. The possibilities are endless and it can be just as inexpensive as giving away your own stuff.

Talk to your network partners or neighboring merchants. Many of them will agree to give you the items free if you pay for the printing of the coupon and limit the amount you're going to give out. For example, a free coffee with a purchase of $x or more, or a free apple pie certificate included with an invoice.

Promotions like these can generate value for both the business giving out the free goodies and the business providing them. Your customers will love it and they'll remember you, even if you are a hardware store giving away hamburgers. The idea is to make their visit to your establishment pleasant, enjoyable, fun, something they want to do again.

Free stuff is a great promotional vehicle, especially when the economy is slowing down and consumers are feeling tight on cash. Be a hero, get down with OPP.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Marketing and Politics

Maybe you're a political junkie, maybe you find politics boring or distasteful. If you have any interest in effective marketing, politics is something you need to pay attention to. Why? It's the ultimate marketing competition. You not only have to influence people to choose your product over several others, you have to influence them to make that choice on a specific date, and you only get one shot at it.

Presidential politics is the Olympics of marketing. Imagine if you had only one day to sell your product and it only came around once every four years. Not only that, but you're facing competition and only one of you can secure the sale. The rest wait another four years or leave the competition.

From a marketing perspective, you'll gain more valuable insights by watching each candidate and looking for what they're doing right, regardless of your political leanings. Are they connecting with their target audience? Why? How? What venues are they having success with? How are they using the news media to advance their campaign?

Barak Obama is having great success recently. Part of that may stem from his constant use of the word "we" rather than "I" or "me". His supporters are made to feel like they are a part of the movement. It remains to be seen how this will play with independents, libertarians and Republicans. But for the audience he's addressing right now, it's a winner.

This is one example of how it pays to know your audience. Of course you don't want to go too far in specifically appealing to a portion of the market, if it's going to turn off the general audience. If you were marketing a niche product, it would be a different story, but the President has to appeal to general audiences.

There is no "shoe-in" this time around. Campaigns and candidates will have to develop and execute excellent marketing strategies to succeed. Watch and learn.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why it pays to Blogvertise, Blog Marketing

Blogvertising is a venue, still in its infancy, but it's going to be huge. Internet blogs offer insights, opinions, information and entertainment of a variety, accessibility and quantity unparalleled by any other medium. To understand it's potential value to an advertiser, you should know a few things about the dynamics of blogging.

Many people post blogs, just for fun or for their own benefit. Writing is a great way to organize your thoughts, even if only for yourself. In the process of doing so you also learn more about the topics your interested in as you research the topic of the day. Blogs are unique in that this post for example, will still be here tomorrow, next week, five years from now.

Many blogs develop big readership, either through promotion or word of mouth due to great content. But an advertiser can take advantage of the industry as a whole, even those that don't get frequent visits.

When you advertise on a blog, the most cost-effective way to go is through a mention and a link within the blog. Essentially you pay the blogger to write about you, your product and/or your company. This can be done through services like CrispAds or PayPerPost, often for as little as $5 per blogger. Of course you get to approve any post you're paying for. This accomplishes several things. First, there's the obvious. Readers of that particular blog are informed of your product and provided a link. That link, remember is there for as long as the blog exists. It may be there for years, or even decades. An added benefit is that the more links you have to your site across the web, the higher you rank on search engines, regardless of the readership of the particular page its on.

Here's where it gets really interesting. Many bloggers will attempt to maximize traffic by selecting topics based on currently popular search terms. These term rankings are updated every hour or so. Suppose you put out an offer to pay $25 per post for bloggers to discuss your company: Easy Street Designs. $25 is not huge, but it's enough to get the attention of a lot of bloggers. Most of the interested parties are going to do a search for your company to get more information for their post. If enough of them do so around the same time (shortly after you post your offer, say Monday morning), your company is going to show up in the top 100 search terms for that hour. This can result in a whole slew of unsolicited blog posts about your company by other bloggers chasing trends. In the end you may pay for a dozen posts and actually get several hundred. The downside is that you have no editorial control over the unsolicited posts. Oh well. What do want for nothing?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Future of Marketing and Advertising

I gazed into my crystal ball and saw a vision of the future of marketing and advertising. OK, it was the bottom of a beer glass and an active imagination, but it was a cool vision nonetheless.

Advertising has always been tied to art, entertainment, information. It's a means of associating a product or a company with a feeling or image. Most often, these are good feelings and positive images, from the point of view of your target audience. Naturally you want to cause your target demographic to experience good feelings in association with your company, product or service.

At present there are usually a series of middlemen between the advertiser and the creative content he or she wants to be associated with. Offerings are limited, as are opportunities for the producers, by the capacity and capability of the middlemen.

While I don't expect the middlemen to disappear, I do expect their relevance to shrink dramatically as advertisers and content creators work more directly together. First the larger companies, directly producing shows rather than buying advertising space during airtime. The advertiser becomes the producer and can even become the broadcaster as both production and transmission become easier and less expensive.

The only indispensable elements in the system are the advertiser (producers of goods and services) and the creatives. While the rest may hang around, their influence will be severely diminished. It may not be the death of the salesman, but he wont be what he used to be.

Expose Yourself - So you want to be a writer

For some writing is work, for others, it's just something they like to do. For all writers, knowing that others are reading your work is a form of compensation in and of itself. How do you get your work in front of new readers when you're just starting out?

There are several opportunities available now on the web, if you're willing to provide at least some content for free. Sites like, and provide a place where writers can post their work for reprint. Publishers of Blogs, ezines, websites and print material can access and use these works under certain parameters (full credit given, no changing the article, publish work in its entirety, etc) The conditions may vary from site to site and from article to article. It's important to read the fine print before submitting or using the work.

Whether your an aspiring writer, a part time blogger, a website owner or a publisher, the new marketplace provides an unprecedented volume of content as well as distribution possibilities.