Monthly Archives: January 2015

Online Advertising Pros and Cons

According to recent reports by Chartbeat and Google, only 0.1% or less of banner ads are actually clicked on.  One-tenth of one percent or less!  Couple that with statistics showing that 56.1% of all, repeat all, website ads are not seen and you come to the realization that business owners need to rethink their online marketing strategies.

Roger Yu of USA Today wrote an article recently about how “some notable names in the online publishing business (are) starting to rethink the way they present their content and sell their ads, focusing on the amount of time spent on their content by readers.”  The gist of Yu’s article is that online users want relevant and/or compelling content.

Let’s look at the cons of online advertising first.

Banner, pay-per-click, and similar ads are not likely to produce new clients for your business, despite the number of people viewing the sites where you may advertise.  When you think about it, which is something we encourage people to do, users don’t want to be sold, so the only way someone is going to click on an ad is if they’re tricked into doing so or are supremely interested in what the potential offer is all about.

The site owner will tout viewers and length of stay on the sites you may advertise on, but when you measure the return on your investment, you are likely to find it’s a waste of money.

What you have to do is weigh the new clients you gain against the cost to acquire them.  For example, if you’re spending $600 a month in online advertising and only acquire one new client, the cost of that acquisition is $600.  Is a client worth that to your business?

Technology is changing rapidly.  What that means is consumer buying habits are also changing rapidly.  What you need to increase the likelihood of a sale is the reader’s time and attention.  That’s where the value lies for both the consumer and your brand.

Yu’s article reported that in December 2014, “…Google issued a report that said 56% of ads it serves aren’t ‘viewable,’ a term that suggests ads are too far down on the site or that readers aren’t scrolling down far enough.”

On the plus side, having a web presence for your business that is mobile-enabled is essential in this era of smart phones.  If a consumer can view your website on their phone, touch and call your business with a couple of thumb or finger moves, you have developed an effective online approach to advertising your business.

If you know where your potential customers are likely to be, such as shopping on or searching with Google, and you can afford to advertise your products there, it may be worth the investment.  Try it short-term to see if it generates results.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand



Business Card Etiquette

Your business card is a major component of your corporate marketing strategy.  It is a mini-billboard for your business and tells prospective customers how they can reach you.

How your card looks is critical.  How you present it to people is pivotal.  The information it contains enables people to contact you.  Let’s dig into the details.

Business card presentation

1)  The look of your card.  Your corporate logo should be prominent on your business card.  Call it brand recognition.  Your name is also critical, so make sure it’s spelled correctly when you proof the card (Yes, ask for a proof and proofread your card before authorizing printing).  Your title is less important than the information on how to reach you.  If you want people to call, make sure your phone number is there.  Your address is vital if you operate a retail store.  Your website and E-mail are important if you want people to contact you through those electronic channels.

On a side note, make sure your website reflects the image you convey on your business card to reinforce your brand identity.

2)  Presenting your card.  How you hand out your card is a key presentation element.  If you attend a networking event, having a good supply of business cards readily accessible is a key to success in discovering potential clients or referral sources.  Practice pulling out your card from your purse, pocket, or other storage place so you can grab the card without looking at it and present it properly.  Hand the card to the other person so the information is easily seen and creates a positive brand impression right away.  If they are good at networking, they will accept your card and look more closely at it to digest your information and ask questions to stimulate the conversation.  Be polite and ask for their card, too, and if you want to make a note about them afterwards, proper etiquette is to ask their permission to write on their card.  Note:  It’s not a good idea to start writing on their card without asking first.

3.  It’s about information.  Your card should contain essential information and not leave the recipient guessing how they can follow-up with you.  Even though your company may have a myriad of phone lines coming in, highlight the dominant number that you accept calls on.  The impression people get when they call the corporate number and have to wade through a robo-operator to get your extension and voice mail message is that you don’t want their business.  Callers like to talk to a real person right away.  The same holds true for an E-mail address.  Make sure the one you give people on your card is one you check regularly, and when you get an E-mail from someone you’ve met, at least acknowledge that you received it.  As much as we rely on electronic communication techniques in today’s business environment, people still like to interact with people.

Your business card is the leave behind you have to create an impression with someone you’ve met face-to-face.  It’s also a symbol of your brand identity, so present it properly.  Keep in mind it can also be used as a reminder when you mail a letter to someone.  It’s considerate to include two cards in a letter, one for the recipient and one for them to give to a potential referral.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand

How to Build Brand Loyalty – 5 Basic Steps

Building brand loyalty involves being able to attract customers, keep them coming back, and have them sing your praises to other consumers.  Their loyalty depends on how well you take care of them and lasts through the reputation you build for your brand.

Step One:  Produce and provide a quality product or exceptional service.  Quality is a major determining factor when it comes to the price equation.  Consumers will purchase an inexpensive product and remain loyal if it’s useful and offered in a consistent fashion.  French fries come to mind as an example.  Fries are relatively cheap to produce, yet customers develop a fondness for how and where they get their favorite fries.

Step Two:  Meet or exceed the customer’s needs.  Beyond food, shelter, and clothing, you should know what your customers need.  Do they want the prestige of owning your product or using your service?  Do they seek certain performance standards?  Do they need to fill a basic need or pick up a bit of luxury?  The deeper knowledge you have of your client’s needs, the easier it becomes to meet and satisfy those demands.

Step Three:  Deliver what you promise.  Failure to deliver what’s promised opens the door to lots of business headaches.  How does your delivery person deal with an irate customer when your order taker says the pizza will be there in 30 minutes and it takes longer than 90 minutes to get it there?  Does “Oops, I’m sorry!” help build brand loyalty?  The other side of this brand building step is to avoid promising what you can’t deliver.

Step Four:  Take care of your customers.  Customers will remain loyal to your company and its brands if everything about it provides them with more pleasure than pain.  If a customer likes how well your vehicle handles, how easy it is to get in and out of, how much storage space it provides, and how good it looks sitting in their driveway, the odds are fairly good you will cultivate a loyal customer who brags to others about your vehicle.

Step Five:  Ride for the brand.  Once you’ve settled on a brand identity and begun to implement the strategy that goes with it, stick to it!  Understand that it make take time to become ingrained in the consumer’s mind, so allow your advertising and other marketing efforts to work before pulling the plug and shifting gear.  When customers know you make the difference they’re looking for and remain consistent, their loyalty is easier to maintain.

These are five basic steps on the path to building brand loyalty.  There are others, of course, and we’ll share more in coming posts.  Keep in mind that what may seem simple can be rather complicated.  Your task, as a business owner, is to remain focused on doing what you’re good at.  Engaging a business and/or marketing consultant can be an effective way of growing your business and achieving your dreams.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand