How many logos, ads and marketing messages do you see each day? According to the American Marketing Association and the IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, it’s 10,000 brand messages day. That seems impossible. However, next time you step foot in a convenience store or grocery store, think about how many logos and package designs you see luring you to buy. With multi-tasking on multiple screens the number is growing every year. Creative advertising that compels your audience isn’t an option if you want to rise above the noise.
Who Has Your Attention?
Let’s make it personal: When was the last time an advertisement motivated you to click, call, shop or stop what you are doing and act on what the advertisement or advertiser asked you to do? If you think about it, you may say “not that often” or “never.” Yet according to Statista, the US will spend an estimated 218 billion dollars spent in media this year.
Why does it matter? Because no matter who you are, you have competition vying for your customer’s time, attention and dollars. You have to break through the clutter and penetrate the mind and heart of your customer to get them to do something. You may want them to click on your site, visit your store, call your office, make an appointment for an estimate or just like your Facebook page. But here’s the bottom line: if your audience doesn’t do something—even if it’s just remembering your brand over another when they decide to purchase—then your advertising and media dollars are wasted.
Level Up: Making a Difference in the Bottom Line
Businesses close every day because they lost touch with their customers and were not able to communicate their brand’s value clearly enough to get and maintain consistent customers. Brands like Payless, Radio Shack, The Limited, Nokia, Borders, Compaq, EF Hutton and more have filed for Chapter 11, closed locations or vanished. Even Wheaties is reported to be dying a slow death and may not be on cereal shelves much longer. How can we “Eat Our Wheaties” when there are no Wheaties to eat?
When awareness meets motivation you usually get movement. So, let’s look at what you CAN DO to get your customers’ attention, create desire and keep the sales cycle in motion.
Before we start, one needs to know that your product or service can deliver on what you promote. You can count on the fact that people who call Geico will get a FREE quote in 15 minutes or less to see if they can save 15% or more on car insurance. If they regularly took 30 minutes, you would be seeing memes on Facebook every other day. Your creative can get new customers to purchase and re-ignite existing satisfied customers to come back, but one bad experience can send a shockwave of bad reviews and hurt response overall. In fact, Google research reports that “46% of people say THEY WOULD NOT PURCHASE again from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience.” So once your creative does its job, then your product or service and customer experience needs to pull the load.
In advertising and marketing, your creative is a starting point to all this. You have to get potential customers to your site, or to call or to visit your store. So, the message you give your customers about your brand that connects you to them is critical. You can have a good mix of media, but if your message falls flat it can hurt you quickly. It is why Pepsi pulled the Kendall Jenner campaign. The response was so negative that Esquire Magazine reported it as “almost surreal in its thoughtlessness.” You don’t want that to happen to you. So here are some ways to develop creative that moves the needle and motivates people to try and buy from you.
Step 1: Think of your target customer and what is important to them.
“Sell the problem you solve. Not the product you sell.”
Many times, companies are so focused internally with sales volume, awards and industry jargon that it’s easy to forget what’s in it for their customer. Leo Burnett said, “Don’t tell me how good you make, tell me how good it makes me when I use it.”
Bad creative is filled with words, visuals and terms that leave customers confused, in the dark and disconnected. Mary Beech, the Chief Marketing Officer of a famous fashion designer in New York, says it best, “All too often, we get so wrapped up in the message we’re trying to send that we end up with tunnel vision and forget that the best marketing isn’t about the brand; it’s about the customer.”
Great marketing is becoming customer centric in thinking, communicating and calls to action. In the past two years Google reports that “Mobile searches for “do I need”—like “how much do I need to retire?”—have grown 65%. Mobile searches for “should I”—like “what laptop should I buy?”—have grown over 65%. And searches for “can I”—like “Can I buy a seat for my dog on an airplane”—have grown over 85%!
To develop customer-centric creative and language, start with thinking and writing down the things that are most important to your customer when they buy your product or service. It may be that you save them time, save them money or make them look or feel a certain way. Or “what problem are you solving for them”? Are you helping them have more free time, looking or feeling better about themselves, their lifestyle or their future. Are you helping them potentially avoid loss or pain? When you pinpoint the problems, you solve then you can begin to craft a message that gives them the solution you provide. You may also consider the emotions they are feeling when they are in the decision-making process for purchasing. If it’s a large purchase, then you will need to build case for them being able to trust you more than your competitors. This is where reviews and testimonials become very helpful in building trust and creating comfort.
Step 2: Create a sense of urgency strategy.
People tend to procrastinate, get distracted and fail to act. Jim Rohn said it well: “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” If you want to develop creative advertising that actually gets people to respond, you need to think of ways to get your audience to respond now while you have their attention. David Ogilvy said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” So, you want to make sure that your offer is a genuine offer and makes your customer feel like they will really be missing out if they don’t take advantage of your offer now! Furniture stores take advantage of extra time off to shop by creating holiday sales that feature buy one get one free offers, percent off and free delivery during certain sale times. Limited time offers, risk-free trials or limited supply deals (“while supplies last”) are good reasons for consumers to act. Make your offers specific and don’t be afraid to define your offer dates. Terms like these can help when you want to see response that you can measure:
- This weekend only
- Three days 30% off sale
- There are not many left—only 8 at this special price
- Free shipping for today only
- Our best offer yet
- Act now and save 50%
- Don’t miss out
Step 3: Tell your customers exactly what you want them to do.
Many ads are entertaining and have beautiful visual content. Ads can be funny, unique and overall aesthetically pleasing. But you see these ads and either don’t know what you are supposed to do, why you are supposed do it, or how you need to respond.
So, give your consumer direct instructions on how you would like them to respond. You may tell them to visit your website, come to your location, call for a free estimate or sign up for a newsletter. Make it clear, make it specific and make it a response you can measure.
Step 4: Give prospective customers specific ways to connect with you where they will get the most positive experience.
We ran a radio campaign for an auto leasing company. They requested that the ads run Monday through Saturday. The only problem was that the radio spots asked people to call in and get a free quote on the type of car they wanted to lease. On Saturdays, the sales people were usually busy handling other customers and treated the radio callers fairly rudely or were short with them. First time prospective customers got a really bad experience when they responded.
We have had campaigns send customers to a website where the lead forms were never followed up on and worked with companies that let their entire sales staff off at lunch. Guess what happened to leads that called in from national ads during lunch? They got a voicemail or phones just rang.
When you are crafting your message, answer this question for yourself, “What is going to happen when someone responds? Will their experience be positive and make them want to continue a relationship with you that leads them toward a sale or conversion?” If you can answer “yes, absolutely” then that’s exactly what you want to promote.
The best example of this is how Amazon “limits friction,” making it easy for customers to buy. “Amazon maintains an obsessive focus on removing every pain point from the buying process.” They have patented one-click ordering. That’s the world your customers now live in. Convenient, fast, friendly and almost limitless options. Work your creative to deliver on the most positive experience your customer can have. Prove to them it’s worth the time they invested to respond to your advertising. Only then will your advertising build a solid foundation for your success—both now and in the future.
Three Steps to Measuring, Managing and Maximizing Your Advertising Performance
There is a saying in advertising that “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”
Which is absolutely true. The power of refining your advertising campaign’s performance relies on your ability to find underperforming media outlets and renegotiate, refine or remove them. They key is making sure that you are measuring what matters, managing what you can change and maximizing the performance of each campaign, so you can fix broken elements sooner than later.
Step 1: Measure What’s Important to Your Sales Cycle
The first step to maximizing campaign performance is to decide what you will be measuring, how you will measure it and what data you need to make change. There are several key items to consider. If you start with what you know then you can build a baseline for a solid measurement strategy.
“Where do I start?” In today’s digital world it’s easy to get so granular in your data that you end up being impressed with the wrong data or giving parts of your information more weight than you should. So, start with the end in mind. Start with what makes the cash register ring.
It’s also known as your conversion ratio. Begin by answering these key questions:
- How many opportunities do you need to create a sale? This can look different depending on how your business operates.
- If you sell your products or service online, then install Google Analytics and look at how many unique visitors per day, week or month it takes to generate a sale.
- If you are in retail, how many customers must visit your location for you to create a sale?
- If you sell direct, then how many prospects must you talk to on average to create a sale?
This number is your current conversion ratio. Finding your conversion ratio is the first building block to understanding what it takes for your campaign to be successful. Once you have your conversion ratio, then you can place benchmarks on the cost or investment you can afford to make in your marketing to create opportunities.
Now that you have your conversion ratio in place, ask yourself this question: “Is there any way to improve conversions or conversion ratio before I invest more money in advertising or marketing?”
If you need some resources to look at industry standards or competitor information, you can easily find benchmark information online. For Facebook statistics, for example, check out these benchmarks. Online advertising pro Larry Kim wrote in his eye-opening article “Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization is Wrong” that you may be surprised at how low your conversion ratio is compared to the top performers in your industry.
Larry Kim writes:
“If you’re already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you’re going to go? But what is a good conversion rate? Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher.
We recently analyzed thousands of AdWords accounts with a combined $3 billion in annual spend and discovered that some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry? So what is a good conversion rate? About 1/4 of all accounts have less than 1% conversion rates. The median was 2.35%, but the top 25% of accounts have twice that – 5.31% – or greater. Remember, this isn’t for individual landing pages – these advertisers are accomplishing 11.45% conversion and higher across their entire account.
Clearly, this isn’t some anomaly; this is perfectly attainable. If you’re currently getting 5% conversion rates, you’re outperforming 75% of advertisers … but you still have a ton of room to grow!”
This gives you some insight into online conversion ratios.
What about offline? If you have a retail location, keep track of weekday foot traffic and weekend foot traffic. Measure the number of sales by location by day, accounting for seasonality, bad weather days or any redirection of traffic. For direct sales or if you have an in-house sales team, you can track the number of inquiries each salesperson receives and how many they convert on average into a sale.
Campaigns that we have seen achieve the most success over the years have maintained anywhere between a 6% and 16% conversion ratio. It is rare for an offline campaign to succeed long term if you are able to speak to prospective customers (either face to face or by phone) but experience a 3% or less conversion ratio. The cost per response is simply too high. If your current team can convert at 6% to 20% you have a solid foundation for moving forward with your campaign.
Ok. You’ve established your conversion ratio. You have measurement in place to know daily or weekly how many responses or opportunities it takes to create a sale. You feel good about where you are in your current sale system to maximize every opportunity.
Step 2: Refine What You Can Control
Your second step is to refine the elements of your campaign that you can control. Here is what you can control in your campaign:
- The media mix
- The creative
- The frequency
- The audience you need to reach
- The rate you pay to reach that audience
In regard to the media mix, determine whether the media mix you are using fits the way your company sells. Your company is unique. You have a culture, a system and process for how you sell best. You want to make sure the media you use plays to these strengths. For example:
- If you have a great system for selling online, following your customer from interest to search to checkout but don’t do a great job with inbound calls, then make sure your media mix directs your customers to your online experience. (It’s been said “People want to buy–they just don’t want to be sold.”) If you are strong online, then make sure your site is fast, easy to use, mobile friendly and your advertising cost effectively drives them to that online experience. Your media mix can support your ability to sell and improve your cost per sale. Look at the time of day and days of week you generate the most sales. Advertise then. If you are a digital powerhouse, then of course digital is going to be a great vehicle. However, you may also find that offline media like radio, TV, or outdoor also does a good job for creating that interest to interact with you online.
- Traditional sales processes: Drive interested prospects to your best sales people. Use the power of the media to create inbound leads so your seasoned professionals can spend time doing what they do best. Are you open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm? Then consider radio as an option if your product or service does not require a visual demonstration. Radio is effective for reaching prospects close to the time of purchase. If your product is visual, then use video or television to show how effective it is.
- Creating quality creative: In regard to your creative, make sure you are visually and audibly speaking in terms your customer understands and in simple ways the customer can easily see what’s in it for them. Have you ever watched a television spot and asked yourself “what that was about?” or seen the ad and questioned “who is this for?” Or worse, have you ever just tuned it out, clicked away or turned it off because you were immediately NOT INTERESTED. These are all signs of bad creative. Don’t fall prey to lazy writing, poor design and feature-focused ads. If you want to see how other companies execute creative, go to www.moat.com for web advertising ideas or www.ispot.tv Make note of ads that motivate you, interest you or capture your attention. Ask yourself why. What about this ad made you want to act or do what the ad was instructing you? What enticed you?
Step 3: Maximizing Campaign Performance
The third step is to make sure you are getting a good value for your advertising. This relates to how much you are paying to reach your target audience with enough frequency to take your prospect from interest to awareness to action. If the advertising campaign you are running is not producing a measurable ROI, then look hard at letting a professional media buyer help you navigate the options you have to make it more effective. There may be several other media options you have simply not discovered yet that could take a losing campaign and turn it into a winner.
Reach out to DX Media Direct if you’d like to learn more about creating more effective advertising campaigns.
One of the most important elements of marketing and advertising is understanding your audience. For millennials, there are three key factors to consider when marketing a product or writing creative.
1. Millennials have short attention spans.
Microsoft conducted a study in 2015 that revealed millennials have an attention span of 8 seconds. That falls short of 2000’s results of 12 seconds and 1 second shorter than a goldfish. This means your window is very small. But if you can manage to hook their attention, you’re halfway there.
2. Younger audiences don’t like to be interrupted.
Who does? This goes for most anyone, but Business Insider reported in a survey that 51 percent of millennials found YouTube advertisements to be the more annoying out of other groups such as Facebook (37%). The last thing people want to see when they expect entertainment is an interruption. Be sure your attempt to catch someone with your advertisement is not going to obstruct and turn them off to the idea of your product.
3. Impulsive spending is extremely common.
There is a consistent pattern with the spending habits of millennials that is vastly different from Baby Boomers. Owning and saving are out, millennials like to rent and spend. If you can advertise something that is low cost and interesting to spike an impulsive purchase you may have a higher chance for a response from the younger audience.
Millennials are the future. Learning these things and more about Millennials will be extremely beneficial to your overall marketing plan when you have a product or service that targets this growing population.