John Wannamaker may not be a household name but he opened the first department store in Philadelphia in the late 1800’s and is believed to be the inventor of the price tag and the seasonal sale. He was the first retailer to place a half-page newspaper ad, and also the first full-page ad five years later. He is widely considered to be one of the fore-fathers of advertising and credited with the famous phrase: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
His words survive as one of the most frequently quoted clichés in marketing and advertising, even after radio, TV and now the internet, have replaced the dominance of print advertising.
Why with all we’ve accomplished in the last one hundred and twenty years, is this quote still relevant and significant to you (and to all marketers) today?
In fact how do you know you’re not throwing away 2/3 of your advertising budget? Or perhaps even as much as 3/4?
How can you be sure that your next campaign, sitting on your desk waiting for your approval, won’t be an abysmal failure – sucking your bank account dry and producing no measurable influx of qualified leads and sales?
Do you know with certainty which half of your advertising budget is wasted? Want if you needed to find out?
Right now, your audience is getting harder to reach in all the traditional media channels, and the rules of marketing have changed. Print newspaper readership, radio listeners and even TV viewers are down. Consumers have adapted to new technologies – the internet, iTunes, podcasts, downloads – and can now comfortably avoid unwanted advertising in many of these old channels.
Many of the old ways are being replaced by new ones. The internet, content marketing, video and social media have emerged as the new, dominant players. To succeed in this new realm of advertising, requires a shift in both mindset and strategy.
You used to be able to get away with talking at your prospects (or having one-way conversations), now you must respond to their comments (positive and negative) in real time.
Where five years ago you could simply focus on spending less to find more local prospects, now you must excel at “being found” in a sea of global competitors.
Thankfully, these new mediums bring with them two significant benefits – targeting and measurability. Finally, improving your odds of determining which half of your advertising budget is wasted, is not only possible, but refreshingly do-able. You simply have to know which tips and tools to use to maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Here are five practical tips for developing an effective measurement strategy for your online and offline marketing communications – (and for determining which half of your advertising budget is wasted):
1) Monitor all incoming leads
Where possible, place a unique phone number (or email address) in different media placements to gauge which ad creative, copy, design elements or physical placement garners the most qualified traffic and sales. Each unique number or email address can easily be re-routed to your primary incoming line or email, so you can streamline the process of receiving and replying to these valuable enquiries. To minimize confusion with your target audience, try to refrain from using too many different numbers at once.
For some brands, that are highly identifiable and use a memorable phone number, tracking may not be viable. As an alternative, try recording the inbound calls and use the insights to train your sales team. While it may cost more, the recorded conversations will provide significant insight into the interest level, FAQ’s, objections and pain/issues of your prospects.
2) Use Split Testing
When you see a banner, video, text or display ad online, it has been sent to your computer or mobile device from an ad server. In most cases, what this means is that the advertiser will have been given the opportunity to split test their ads – to change their online creative in real time to monitor impressions, clicks, engagement and conversions. Essentially some of the audience will see one version of the ad, while others may see different versions.
But split testing doesn’t just apply to online ads and websites. In fact it can be used effectively with any online or offline marketing piece to test different creative, copy, or calls to action. It allows your audience to tell you in tangible terms which messages they prefer and are inclined to respond to favourably.
3) Set Up Specific Landing Pages
Most small business owners will make the mistake of wasting a lot of money on ads to send traffic direct to their homepage. More often than not, 90% of this traffic will bounce off your website within seconds because the content they are interested in is either not featured prominently on the homepage or is just too hard to find. In order to maximize the engagement of your traffic and your ROI, you need to ensure that you are taking your leads to pages where the specific content and offer you are advertising is the ONLY information presented.
The easiest way to do this is to set up landing (or private) pages on your site with unique URLs for each offer. The landing page will give each user a more customized experience and it will allow you to set the stage for an inquiry, call to action or sale.
These landing pages are also extremely effective for allowing you to track and measure ROI from both online and offline ads – when a prospect converts, you can directly attribute that conversion to a specific marketing piece because the landing page URL is unique for each one. Where possible, remember to use a user-friendly URL (one that is short, relevant and easy to remember) to drive traffic from offline media – it will boost retention, recall and action by up to ten times.
4) Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool that can help you measure what is working and what isn’t on your website. However, just like the human brain, most site owners haven’t fully tapped into the full potential and power of it. In addition to telling you where your traffic is coming from and which search terms or links were used to find you, Google Analytics also measures where users click most on a given page, how long they spent on your site and where they go when they navigate away from your page. Google analytics can provide you with enough data to isolate and eliminate marketing that’s not generating profitable growth.
Research indicates that the average conversion rate for a website is between 2.2 – 4%. What this means is that 96-97.8% of the visitors that came to your site today, left without taking any action. They key to minimizing the leakage and maximizing the percentage that remember your message and take action lies in analysing the data that Google can provide on your website traffic and trends. It doesn’t make sense to spend more money on marketing if a large percentage of your audience is choosing not to take action.
5) Stop Chasing Clicks and Eyeballs
A click (or eyeball viewing your offline ad) means nothing to your business. It earns no revenue and creates no brand equity. Your advertising has to have a tangible end goal – and it shouldn’t be to reach the most eyeballs or generate lots of clicks. To have a successful business, you need people to discover how you can cure their pain, seek more information, join your list, or purchase your product/service. Success lies not in how many people know what you do but rather in how many you are able to connect with and inspire to say “yes” to your product/service.
Click on video to learn what the golden rule is and avoid falling into the fatal trap of breaking it!
Each and every one of you made 1 fatal error today in your marketing message. Now that 1 thing might have slipped through or gone unnoticed because it wasn’t an obvious thing – like a spelling error, using a word incorrectly or not having a compelling call to action. In fact that 1 thing – the fatal error that you made today – wasn’t anything you said at all.
That’s why no one brought it to your attention… until now.
But you know deep down (or at least you probably suspect) that something happened because a large percentage of your audience, who saw your message today, didn’t get it and they didn’t purchase your product or service.
Let’s take a look at the science of neuromarketing to find out why – so that you can take action now and turn your message into one that your leads and customers are dying to say “Yes” to.
You may not know this but your brain sees and interprets images first and makes decisions quickly based on what it sees. And after all of this activity has occurred, much later it pays attention to and tries to process what it hears and the words and numbers you have read.
Somewhere between 80-90% of your brain activity (and what is going on in the minds of your prospects) is a result of trying to make sense of visual stimuli. The optic nerve is physically connected to your old brain (which you already know is the decision making part of your brain) and it processes visual cues 40 times faster than auditory ones.
What happens is your retina captures images and sends that data on 2 distinct paths – one goes up to neo cortex (the thinking part of your brain) and the other goes straight to the reptilian brain. Here’s the interesting part – this second pathway, to the decision making part of your brain is much faster. In fact, it is about 500 times faster. If it takes 1-2 milliseconds for the old brain to process a visual cue, it could take your neo cortex at least 500 milliseconds. This makes that part of your brain that decides dangerously fast and hasty.
Since you and I cannot rely for our survival on the speed at which the new brain processes information, we are hard wired to make decisions at the old brain level – and as you can SEE, those decisions are primarily based on visual input. And your new brain will only kick in much later to help you find data to support your gut reaction (the decision your old brain already made). Your eyes control your brain – and this is also true for your customers. That’s how important visual cues are to your survival and to your sales and marketing messages.
Let’s take a look at a very good example of what not to do. I saw this sign of the front window of a veterinary clinic in my neighbourhood this week. In big orange letters, it took up almost 70% of the front window.
“Pet Laser Treatment.”
Now, if you were a potential customer driving by, would that sign mean anything to the part of your brain that decides? No, of course not.
The average person driving by would have no idea what pet laser means or WHY it would be a good reason to choose that clinic over the next one down the street. To your reptilian brain, that sign means nothing.
If you are a pet owner – what do you care about? What’s important to you in the context of finding a good vet? If you are like most pet owners, you want to know that when you take your animal in for surgery the pain is minimized, the surgery is safe and the healing happens quickly. If you owned a pet those things would be important to you, wouldn’t they?
Yes, now surprisingly pet laser does achieve all of those outcomes – less pain, less risk and quicker recovery – but that sign didn’t help you to know and decide, did it? As you are driving by, that vet has 2-3 seconds to grab your attention and convey his message…and you now know that the best way to do that would be a picture, not a bunch of words, right? What he needed to do was show you a photo of a dog or cat, fit and healthy – with a message like, “we guarantee less risk and a faster recovery for your pet, ask us how?” Or “want Fido’s next surgery to be virtually pain-free, ask us how?”
Now you may not be a veterinarian yourself but I am sure you can see exactly how this applies to your business. How visual are your sales and marketing assets? Take a look at the very last email, brochure or presentation that you made. Was it loaded up with words and stuff that only means something to you? Did you even have any pictures and did they serve a purpose or were they just there to fill space?
Each and every day I see business owners just like you making this fatal mistake. The part of your prospect’s brain that decides is a visual beast. It’s relying on pictures to make a decision and you are trying to convey everything with words and numbers, aren’t you? Your audience can’t tell you exactly why your message is not appealing to them…but I just did.
Your customer’s brain sees images first and words second. In order to get your audience to pay attention and remember your message, you need to quickly deliver a clear picture to the old brain. This is the golden rule of marketing and Sales Seduction – a picture is worth a thousand words. And if you continue to break this golden rule, you will fail to close sales and help customers who really need your product or service.
Today, I’ve got a major challenge for you. I want you to take a look at what you are currently spending on marketing – whether it’s on brochures, your website, pay per clicks, PR, newspaper, direct mail, social media etc. – and I want you to slash the total budget by 20%. No matter what you are selling and where you are selling it, I guarantee that you won’t miss that 20%. And there is a very good reason for that. 96% of the people who see your message right now, don’t get it anyway. You are spending thousands of dollars each year on sales and marketing materials to increase your sales and the vast majority of your prospects don’t understand your message – so they can’t possibly recall it and buy from you.
So with the money you just saved in your pocket, we are going to take a few minutes right now to re-engineer your message and give you a much better chance of getting through and being understood. The good news is this – it is not going to cost you much to take the time right now to create a message that helps more of your prospects to say “yes”. And if more leads say “yes”, the money you do spend on sales and marketing is going to increase your sales.
To prove my point, I’d like to make you an interesting offer – I can either give you $50 cash right now or a piece of paper where I will write the net present value of a five year annuity at a compound annual interest rate of 10%, adjusted for CPI. Which of these sounds more appealing to you? Which would you rather take right now? Which of these can you take now, put in your wallet or spend it at the shopping centre?
Unless you are one of those very rare individuals who can calculate in your head the value of my second offer, I’m willing to bet you’d rather just take the $50. And that makes a whole lot of sense, because everyone knows what $50 is and what it is worth. There’s nothing confusing about it, is there?
The part of your brain that makes decisions is not interested in working hard to figure out what my message means and what it’s worth. That part of your brain is looking for something that is tangible. And if you’re unsure about whether a message is tangible or not – ask yourself “would a 6 year old understand it?”
Think about it – if I offer you a $50 note or an orange, you don’t have to think very hard about it to figure out what I am offering you, do you? Both of them are equally easy to understand. As soon as you see it, you know what it is and you know exactly what you can do with it. $50 will buy you enough food to cook a meal and the orange is good for you – it’s tasty and you can eat it. There are no directions and no heavy thinking required to make sense of what I am offering you. Your new brain doesn’t have to do any thinking (and wasting time) to get my message.
So what does this mean for you, your message and your customers? If you are making it hard for your customers to understand what you do and whether they are getting a good deal, you need to spend some time right now making your offer more tangible. Ask yourself “does my message include a bunch of big words, fluff and jargon?” Could it be boiled down to something that a 6 year old could understand? What do you need to do to communicate it more clearly to increase your sales – t0 help your prospects to be able to say “yes”? Can you simplify the words that you use or introduce photos or props to get your message across faster?
Now, I think you can guess that coming up with a simple, succinct message is a lot harder than being lazy and throwing together an ad full of useless, complicated information. A good rule of thumb here is to remember that you should be working harder to craft and simplify your message than your prospect has to in order to decipher it. Someone has to do the hard work – either you are committed to doing it before hand or your customer will need to think about it.
Now if you are serious about saving money and you want to increase your sales, you won’t spend another cent until you stop, take a good hard look at your materials and do whatever it takes to make your message tangible. You don’t have to spend more money to chase find customers. What you really need to do is take the complication and confusion out of your message so that more of your prospects can say “yes” now.
I recently purchased a pair of authentic Vintage Versace sunglasses online and was amazed at the number of fake designer sunglasses and handbags advertised on the internet. In fact, there are more videos and websites dedicated to promoting and avoiding counterfeit products than there are sites selling genuine designer items.
What does this tell you?
The market for rip offs and counterfeit items is huge. According to fashionistas, editors and bloggers in the industry, the total spending on fake or “knock-off” designer goods eclipses the amount actually spent on the real thing. In fact, if you see someone on the street with a Versace, Hermes or Fendi bag, there’s only a 1 in 100 chance that it’s authentic. Customers prefer replicas.
So how does this impact you and your business?
Unfortunately, many consumers would rather invest a little to give the appearance that they appreciate quality. The fakes are inferior, but many customers choose them anyway because they want to maintain a facade. They want the quick fix – the easy path to looking successful but few want to make the necessary investment of time and money, required to BE successful.
In order to stand out in a marketplace where imitations and charlatans are plentiful, you need to do the opposite of what your competition is doing.
Where their message is confusing, yours must be simple.
When they are selling features and benefits, you must present the solution.
Where they are focused on their brand, you must identify your customer’s pain and cure it.
Where their claims are unsubstantiated, yours must be tangible.
There will always be a long list of vendors and products to satisfy the insatiable appetite for “almost authentic”. And in the end, the purchaser will always get exactly what they paid for. If you continue to compete based on price alone (or intangible claims), 99% of your customers will continue to assume that you are not the real deal either.
Rest assured, your potential customer will continue to be in pain no matter which replicas and quick fixes she purchases in the meantime. Eventually, the pain will become so acute that she will seek out your genuine solution. Make it easier for her to find you by having a clear message that helps her to decide and say “Yes.” Help her to know that you are authentic – put a fair price on what you do, provide tangible proof your solution works and then deliver on your promise.
Solutions are like diamonds, precious and rare. Fakes are like dry leaves in the fall, found everywhere.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6586136
08 Jun 2011
Did Walmart Get it Wrong?
For those of you who are in the retail industry, you may have noticed a recent trend to clean up in-store environments – reduce shelf heights, remove dense ends and dump bins, widen aisles etc. – in order to increase comfort and make the shopping experience less stressful for customers.
The big question then becomes “does clean make customers keen? According to Walmart, arguably the largest and most successful retailer in the world, clean stores mean fewer beans (on the bottom line).
As reported in the New York Times, Walmart conducted a massive in-store experiment to improve sight-lines, rationalize the overall number of items offered, remove warehouse-like merchandising in centre aisles, and increase the width of core aisles. According to Walmart’s CEO William S. Simon, “(Customers) loved the experience. They just bought less.”
As a result, Walmart reverted back to its original strategy of offering more products, with tighter aisles, more clutter and lots of bargain bins in the hopes that customers would spend more because of a perception “there were bargains to be had”.
If you do a quick search on the internet, there are dozens of experts who subscribe to the view that a larger selection, more bargain bins, and sales signage equates to “better value”. In essence, the more you look like a market stall, the better it is to generate buzz and sales. They argue that if your merchandise is neatly presented on the walls and in well organized aisles, with no point of sale impulse offers and dense ends full of 2-for-1 specials, customers will tend to think your store is expensive (i.e. overpriced) and they will not buy from you.
And if you think about it, you can probably name a whole list of retailers who subscribe to this “clutter is good for business” philosophy and they seem to be successful. But how can we be sure that clutter makes customers keen? Have we been too quick and prematurely jumped to a conclusion that clean is a traffic and transaction turn-off?
Recent empirical evidence from the science of neurology sheds new light on how we think, and more importantly, how we make decisions. In fact, the decision making part of your brain responds strongly to certain stimuli only.
Did you know that your brain consumes 25% of your body’s energy? As a result, you brain wants to conserve energy so you tend to pay attention and be attracted to things that have sharp contrast, high visual appeal, strong emotional cues and a clear beginning vs. end message.
Now what does this mean for you in the context of your shopping environment?
A chaotic, cluttered store is cumbersome for your brain to navigate – you have to work hard mentally to hunt down and search for bargains. It may create some emotional appeal but it is likely perceived as having low contrast, low visual appeal and no clear beginning vs. end. Shopping in this environment takes time and energy and it also forces your brain to go into “thinking” mode. This is a critical point because thinking is counter-productive to deciding. Thinking takes place in one part of your brain (the neo-cortex), while deciding happens much more quickly (and automatically) in your old or “reptilian” brain.
So what does this research mean for the strategy and conclusions reached by Walmart?
Based on science, the strongest buying cue that you can give your customers is this – if your store (or business) has incredible bargains, people will buy (and even sift through a maze of clutter) because something is in it for them. The “what’s in it for me” (WIFM) principle is one of the strongest influences on the part of your brain that decides.
There is no hard evidence to suggest that clutter makes your customers keen.
Walmart and many others have come to a conclusion based on what they THINK people are doing to reach a buying decision in-store. However, neuroscience has empirical evidence to support the opposite conclusion is more probable. Clutter and chaos create an environment where your customers have to think too hard, which is exhausting for the brain. They will do it if they have to, as long as the perceived bargains and value are very high.
Doesn’t it make more sense to find another way to communicate good value and service without exhausting your customers and causing them to waste their time? Wouldn’t you be more likely to get more sales and word of mouth referrals from your delighted customers?
In the end, Walmart may be correct about the fact people buy more in a certain circumstances but they are wrong about WHY that is. The best way to create more excitement and sales is to make it easier for your customers to decide. You need to show them what’s in it for them, increase the contrast between your solution and your competitors and communicate a strong, clean visual message that compels them to say “YES”.