Emails, 6 points for writing to be read.

These 6 point will help your emails.

1. Use shorter sentences with simpler words. A 3rd grade reading level works best.

2. Include 1-3 questions in your email.

3. Make sure you include a subject line! Aim for 3-4 words.

4. Use a slightly positive or slightly negative tone. Both outperform a completely neutral tone.

5. Take a stand! Opinionated messages see higher response rates than objective ones.

6. Write enough, but not too much. Try to keep messages between 50-125 words.

Why have a website?

With online sales increasing rapidly it is imperative for your business to have a website.

When customers gather information to make a buying decision, a website must be.

  • User friendly on all devices,
  • Content manageable by you,
  • Aware and natural to what the customer is experiencing,

Websites are an important tool to accelerate your business profile, profit and availability. Websites are changing how we conduct business, make sales and communicate with the customer. The future for websites is infinite. So use them as a tool to your sales process which is why it is important to have a content manageable website in your own business control.

You need to allow for growth and change as the web changes. Don’t get caught with proprietary website code unable to quickly change. Realize the website layout will change as your business needs dictate but the content will always be focused on your business. Some of the key focuses for the year ahead include wearable technology, responsive web design, natural user interfaces and a hot topic going forward, mobile security and protecting consumer data.

Around 90 per cent of New Zealanders are expected to own a smartphone by 2018 and over half are already currently using mobile internet from their devices.

Build your networks – And Grow!

Networks – ‘networking’ is a great way to help your business grow.

And talking to others is stimulating and fun and can lead to new customers, successful business
partnerships as well as life-long friendships.

Turn up

You don’t need to go to everything, but do try to go to events that you think will interest you, help your business, or provide you with opportunities to meet like-minded business owners or potential customers.

Have a goal

When you attend an event, aim to make two to three new, but good, connections. Swap business cards and follow up for a one-to-one meeting later. Remember, you don’t have to meet the entire room and the number of cards you give out is not a sign of a successful evening. It’s quality not quantity that counts.

Be prepared

Think about what you want, and don’t want, to say about your business and make sure you have plenty of business cards with you.

Relax and be confident

Don’t be shy about talking about yourself or your business, it’s likely everyone there will be in the same situation and people with be genuinely interested in what you do.

Listen to others

Ask questions and get to know the person you are talking to, they may have some good connections or be able to offer you help and advice but you won’t know until you delve a bit.

Stay in touch

Keep a file of the contacts you meet, with details of where and when you met. If you meet lots of new people, this may help you remember who is who. Make sure you contact them regularly to ‘touch base’, tell them about your business and hear what they have to say about theirs.

Here are some websites that run networking sessions and days, they all help and are here for your business:

Customer connections, a direct mail overview.

Use Direct Mail to drive customer communication.

Direct Mail is personal. lt’s targeted.

People like it as long as it is relevant to them. It’s cost effective. It works. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Plus, it puts you in control of driving your customer relationships forward – steering them in the direction you want them to go.

USE DIRECT MAIL TO:

  • Build relationships – regular newsletters are a great way of doing this.
  • Maintain relationships – with bounce-back offers and discount vouchers.
  • Send seasonal and special occasion messages.
  • Check customer satisfaction and gain feed back with questionnaires.
  • Update your address files – make it easy for customers to do this for their convenience.
  • Send information about your new products.
  • Say ‘thank you’.

STEP 1 – Getting started

Simple and easy, when considering how to tell customers about a – new store (for example), direct maiI presents itself as an obvious communication channel. You already have existing knowledge of customers from your successful current outlet – an advantage is you understand those customers who visit your store. The quest for you is how to communicate effectively to this group. Maybe your a premium brand with distinctive types of customers and prefer to ‘talk’ to them directly, one-on-one. Direct mail allows us to do this.

STEP 2 – Targeting the right customers

Having chosen direct mail as a preferred communication channel, then analyzed the data you already held about existing clients. Say it showed that key markets are the international visitor market and the corporate and local markets – predominantly made up of affluent females, aged 35+. This would be the initial focus marketing on the local market – women aged over 35, living in the mid to high socioeconomic areas of your new store. You just need to find out who they are and where they live various database exist that will allow you to send or make contact to your audience.

STEP 3 – Creating the right message

This one is nice and simple. As you now know who the customer is and where they are tailor a message to suit, maybe an offer to bring them to your new store.

STEP 4 – Keeping the communication cycle going

Once you have sent out the direct mail piece, telling targeted, potential customers about your new store, then plan to follow up with regular communications. Targeting customers with direct mail will help you get to know them, build relationships with them and anticipate their needs and wants. Similarity, use direct mail to tell customers about new products, particularly if your customer, has other possible customers who is looking for something ‘extra’ special you know certain customers will like. See keeping in touch with your customers as part of giving great customer service.

  • The New Zealand Lifestyle Survey – updated annuity, this provides detailed nationwide insights on lifestyle and purchasing behavior from over 200,000 households over 400,000 individuals, to help you effectively target potential customers.
  • Mailchimp is a great online tool for talking with online customers, it’s free and very easy to use.
  • Mailbase from NZ post – an easy-to-use, online tool that lets you create and send your own direct mail campaign, all from your desktop. Or DM One – one-place, one-price direct mail package gives you data, stock, print, mailhouse, postage and lodgement costs up front so you can easily work out your campaign budget.

Call for Direct Mail products Flying Lizard can help with. Ask for Dayne Smith 0064 21 323 244.

Marketing tools for any business

A standard marketing strategy you can begin with.

It’s time to convince your customers that your products are necessities. Keep it very simple, don’t make it hard for yourself. But what ever you do, make sure your customers understand what you have to offer.

Use a common theme and base your words and images at your target customer, make sure there is consistency, for example in all printed material connected to your business should be clear and readable, the main bits of communication are right there ready for the customer. This way your customers will not be confused when they receive something from your company.

The simple collateral for a business needs are suggested as:

  • Website  – for business promotion and online product or service offering;
  • Office stationery – letterheads, compliments slips, follow-on sheets;
  • Email and inhouse software templates   – to identify you when digital communication tools are used;
  • Address labels – to be put on envelopes and files in the office;
  • Presentation folders – with general information and contact details about your company;
  • Business cards – to hand out to potential and current customers;
  • Business and or vehicle signage/graphics – brand your self anywhere.

Create an awareness to your customers in different ways, all of us are customers to someone, and we need to know what we are after well before purchasing happens – this could be done in several different ways.

Direct mail/Newsletters as web and print

It is a simple tool, dont make it to big, who wants to read a novel when a simple one page can give your customer all they need. Make sure you tell them where to get further information ie. direct them to your website. Inform your customer of potential updates. Some articles for the newsletter would be updates about your company, resources and information on what you are offering today.

Have information and updates about the application of skills and services of team members e.g. about developments and links to websites containing information about current events and information about these skills services to back up your information.

Emailed or snail mailed to your customer database, the newsletter is a very good way of updating people connected to your company one way or the other.

Information packages

To get in touch with people who have had no prior contact to your business it is very important that a promotional package is put together to create – among many things, the future direction of your company.

These packages should contain information about the following:

  • Company Fact Sheet;
  • Product or Service Fact Sheet/s;
  • Team brief with a picture of each team member;
  • Previous work/projects;
  • A copy of the latest newsletter;
  • Feasibilities;
  • Strategic planning.

This package should be available as print and on your business website. Just make sure it is searchable copy. So words on a web page not graphic images of words for the search engine bots (ranking bots) ie google. This allows maximum exposure to new, potential clients and gives them complete information about your business, who you are and what you do.

Articles

In addition to the above it would be recommended that articles about your business be placed in different relevant magazines that your clients are reading.
This could be national newspapers, magazines or blogs. Besides this, advertisements could also be placed in the same magazines and newspapers in order to create attention towards your business.

Articles and advertisements should be placed three to four times a year.

Social Networking and Promotional activities

As part of your business marketing, a social networking strategy should be used. Even a simple process of monthly information to customers can be social, it will keep you in front of customers and will help create that important word of mouth marketing need. Also, printed material is still very important. Your business should do some promotional activities and use all communications available to inform your customers.

This could for example be:

  • A seminar targeting a key point of your industry.
  • A function could be done in connection to one specific project, and could also be put together with other companies relevant to this job.
  • Sponsorship of key events that would develop brand recognition.

We recommend they are done at least once a quarter.

Often we are asked – What is above or below the line advertising?

Above the line (ATL), Below the line (BTL), and Through the Line (TTL), in organizational business and marketing communications, are advertising techniques.
In a nutshell, while ATL promotions are tailored for a mass audience, BTL promotions are targeted at individuals according to their needs or preferences. While ATL promotions can establish brand identity, BTL can actually lead to a sale. ATL promotions are also difficult to measure well, while BTL promotions are highly measurable, giving marketers valuable insights into their return-on-investment. This link to Wiki further expands on this topic – CLICK HERE TO REVIEW

What next?

We have created an outline document of this information to better give you reference of these key points to think about and a checklist for you to compile required branded marketing tools – download

Marketing Communications Planner

 

Website costs – How much will it cost in real money terms.

The following is a guide for the cost of a website in New Zealand.

These figures do not cover monthly hosted solutions where there is no or little set-up, but you pay-as-you-go.

Zero

You’ll get nothing except the tools to build it yourself. You could use something like WordPress or Google Sites. And you have to think your own time has no value.

In New Zealand, MYOB and Westpac offer businesses a website free for a year. This review of those sites pretty much sums up most similar free offers. You won’t get on the front page of Google with a free website. Chances are it won’t generate leads either.

$0-500

You’ll get a limited number of pages (less than 5 and often only 1). You’ll pick from a selection of very basic templates and there will be no customisation. You’ll have to upload the content yourself.

Unlikely to be any add-ons and reporting will be basic or non existent. You can setup a WordPress site with quite a good (purchased) professional template, and spend a couple of hours doing it yourself for a reasonable cost in this range.

Watch for ‘includes’ that actually have no real value such Search Engine submissions.

$500-1000

These will still be template sites but may be more choice, with slightly nicer designs and/or include extras such as an image gallery, contact form. The designs however may be simple and/or ones that are outdated in terms of styles, fonts used etc.

Still will be a limit to number of pages ie around 5. You might be a bit of tweaking of the template colours to match your logo but that will be about it

$1000-1500

Still likely to be template design but may get some degree of customisation or the content may be uploaded for you. It could include an image slideshow, image gallery etc. You may get some basic responsive features, like the main menu collapsing and images resizing.

What you won’t get for the above:

Search Optimisation of any real value.  Often people working at this level don’t really know how to get a site ranking well for any competitive keywords.
User optimisation – to make the site work for it’s money. A template does not buy you a site that is easy for your audience. It is still plug-and-play.

By now you should be getting a site built with a content management system that you can (if you want to) use to update the site content yourself.

A note on content management systems – for cheaper installations it will generally mean you can change the existing content or add new content within the existing site architecture and often nothing else.  Adding new sections or changing the layout won’t be possible.

$1500-2000

May be custom designed if small and/or a simple design is required.

More likely it will be a pre-built template but with options of where the menus are, colour scheme is matched to your brand colours, possibly additional modules, extra menus etc. The quality of the templates should be better than for cheaper options.

Should have a decent Content Management System powering it.

You still won’t get user optimisation or SEO (search engine optimisation) beyond the basics such as search friendly urls and title tags – and you may have to specify these to get them included. You may also have to specify a decent analytic’s package like Google Analytics (although we include them in every site, this is often something skipped over if people can get away with it).

Links to your social sites like Facebook, Twitter etc often come as part of the package, but make sure you can remove them if you aren’t active on these.

You should get some basic responsive features, like the main menu collapsing and images resizing.

This should really be the entry point for a small business or sole trader if you want a half decent site. However, even if the site looks nice enough it is unlikely to make you stand out from the crowd.

$2000-5000

Now you start getting into designs that have more customisation or are based on a template that has optional design features.

You could get extra functionality such as payment capability, blogs with commenting, image galleries, contact forms, email marketing modules, social feeds etc.

But you won’t get all of these within this price range, or if you do you may well have to do some of the configuration and setup yourself.

Custom functionality like integration into third party systems and creation of visual assets will still be extra. Content creation (ie writing) will also be an additional cost.

These site’s should be search engine friendly, although we’ve seen some in this price range that are not because the business didn’t specify that as a requirement. You should get some element of technical SEO but may also get some strategy applied ie structuring the site architecture around your keyword phrases.

You should get some responsive features, like the main menu collapsing and images resizing, and some device specific content or elements.

It isn’t until you get to this level that you start getting even half way ‘serious’, with something that has more thought applied in terms of how it will generate leads, and how it presents your business. However, you are still unlikely to get a site that stands out above the rest of your industry in some way.

$5000-10000

Start to expect something extra – this may be in the form of copy-writing your content, SEO research and integration into the structure of the site, custom graphics, photography or e-commerce functionality (ie shopping cars and payment processing). May even include set up of social media accounts for Twitter, Facebook etc.

But even a ‘simple’ site can easily cost this much if you insist on multiple reviews and tweaking of the design. If each page has a separate layout this will also extend the time taken. If the site is large (say over 50 pages) the time to upload the content will start to add to the cost.

Search friendliness, good reporting, a blog, the ability to add unlimited pages (within hosting storage limits), email marketing elements, additional menu items, calls to action etc should come as part of the package. You should get transition from an old site to the new in the form of 301 redirects (so you don’t loose search ranking position), but there may be a limit if there are a lot of pages.

If you require member-only access to your site it can sit in this price range, but again it depends on what else you require and how sophisticated your needs are.

You may still have to do the actual uploading of content yourself or it may be included depending on mix of requirements.

If no additional functionality required, expect a custom visual and layout designed by a graphic designer (preferably with some user experience expertise) for this price range.

You STILL won’t get:

Ongoing marketing that will generate consistent leads and sales, such as Adwords, social campaigns.
Management of the site – reporting, optimisation, care and love.
Technical upgrades, security monitoring etc unless agreed for a period of time.
Custom imagery (ie photo’s taken professionally).

$20,000 – 50,000

Should be a fully customised design – which means a designer will start with wireframes, and design the visuals from scratch.  There could be variations of the design across the site (eg different colour or different layout for different sections). Probably a larger site that requires sizeable project management and collation of content from multiple stakeholders.

Would expect the input of a user experience professional to fine tune the layout and support of the buying process.

The extra cost may be for custom functionality, application development or integration with back-end or third party systems, software licensing costs etc.

Company wide training on CMS with customisation of content management work flows may also be included.

Would have to be a responsive design, with consideration taken of the different audience needs and experience on mobile devices.

$50,000 plus

As above but bigger (hundreds/thousands of pages) or more complex in some shape or form.

For corporate entities this kind of budget is not unusual.

And then you will also have to pay…

Additional $$$

Standard ongoing costs you should allow for:

  • Hosting – for a few dollars a month if you want to manage it yourself (only for web developers and IT enthusiasts!) How much you pay should reflect the level of support you get. $30 is average but won’t include much active support.  If you are paying more than $50 expect at least a monthly backup, extra space or some other feature.
  • Domain names $20-$40 a year depending on name.
  • Secure certificates (depending on level of security required).
  • Transaction fees to process payments – a few percent per transaction.

The kind of thing that increase costs (sometimes significantly) are:

  • Any kind of custom functionality (ie code) or integration with other systems that doesn’t come ‘out of the box’.
  • Changing your mind about design elements after the build has begun.
  • Creative eg brand development, custom flash animations and graphics, photography etc.
  • Content creation – writing it from scratch or editing existing material.
  • Migrating content from an old site to a new one.
  • Development by the hour. Usually required for custom or complex projects.
  • Any kind of strategic planning and implementation including market research, social media plan, promotion (offline and online), ongoing brand management, SEO etc.
  • Software licenses for multiple users may apply.
  • If you want the site to work for people who use TV to browse the web or still use Internet Explorer 6..
  • Ongoing marketing of some kind

Don’t pay extra for…

Reporting. Google Analytics only takes a little bit of time to be set up, but should be included or only a minimal cost.  Unless you want campaign or event tracking and goals setup for you this will be extra
A Content Management System (CMS) – most sites are supported by a content management system unless it is a one page campaign micro-site, so having one is ‘standard’ not ‘special’. The cheaper sites however may only have very basic update capability. Some designers still insist on hand coding sites so you need to ask about updating the site up front.

Search Engine submissions are rubbish, but set up Google Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap to give it an initial kick. If not, as long as there is a link somewhere to your site, the search engines will find it.

Be Careful of Promises:

  • To get you on the front page of Google
  • To create a sales powerhouse
  • To include setup of Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Google + pages – this will not automatically make you social
  • Directory listings
  • Mobile versions of your site ‘automatically’ or at no extra cost. True mobile oriented user experience design takes thought. Read Responsive or dedicated mobile site – which one is best? that will explain what more is at stake.

All this only gets the foundation – ongoing marketing campaigns, content creation, technical management, security, measurement, care and attention are required.  Either you employ someone to do it or outsource it but budget for it either way.  A small-medium business’s budget should start anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000 per annum for this ongoing work.

Flying Lizard have the skills and knowledge to implement websites that sit in a number of these price ranges, it depends on what you need!

Call Dayne Smith and ask questions, get answers that you need to make informed decisions. Phone 0064 21 323 244. Or, go to the contact page to submit our simple contact form which has basic questions for you to answer.

Marketing Ideas.

Some marketing ideas you could try.

Regular advertising.

  • Metro newspapers,
  • Business and Finance Sector – weekly newspapers,
  • Investment magazines,
  • Third party real estate magazines (glossy long shelf life mags),
  • High quality lifestyle magazines e.g. Cuisine,
  • Off shore advertising to overseas investors e.g. USA/Australia/UK,
  • Sponsorship as a marketing method.

Public Relations.

  • Regular media releases to build wine story and personalities,
  • Communicate achievements/key highlights,
  • Update on sales/planning issues,
  • Counteract any perceived negative impact from Project Aqua,
  • To include media releases to newspaper/radio,
  • Local radio interviews to keep local community informed.

Website.

  • Regular updates on sales,
  • Repeat paid advertising information and PR material to reinforce,
  • Include video footage on website.

Sales Material.

  • Upgrade brochure content, look and feel to a more high quality product to accurately reflect the prestige associated with investment, tell ‘the wine story’.

Billboards.

  • Emotive Billboards.

Direct Mail.

  • Direct mail previous enquiries with updated information packs.

Promotional Video for overseas investors.

Get some answers – call Dayne to ask further questions. Phone 021 323 244.
Or, email Dayne from our contact page using our simple contact form.

Search Engines – how do they work?

How do search engines work?

Search Engines for the general web (like all those listed above) do not really search the World Wide Web directly. Each one searches a database of the full text of web pages automatically havested from the billions of web pages out there residing on servers. When you search the web using a search engine, you are always searching a somewhat stale copy of the real web page. When you click on links provided in a search engine’s search results, you retrieve from the server the current version of the page.

Search engine databases are selected and built by computer robot programs called spiders. These “crawl” the web, finding pages for potential inclusion by following the links in the pages they already have in their database (i.e., already “know about”). They cannot think or type a URL or use judgment to “decide” to go look something up and see what’s on the web about it. (Computers are getting more sophisticated all the time, but they are still brainless.)

If a web page is never linked to in any other page, search engine spiders cannot find it. The only way a brand new page – one that no other page has ever linked to – can get into a search engine is for its URL to be sent by some human to the search engine companies as a request that the new page be included. All search engine companies offer ways to do this.

After spiders find pages, they pass them on to another computer program for “indexing.” This program identifies the text, links, and other content in the page and stores it in the search engine database’s files so that the database can be searched by keyword and whatever more advanced approaches are offered, and the page will be found if your search matches its content.

Many web pages are excluded from most search engines by policy. The contents of most of the searchable databases mounted on the web, such as library catalogs and article databases, are excluded because search engine spiders cannot access them. All this material is referred to as the “Invisible Web” — what you don’t see in search engine results.

UC Berkeley – Teaching Library Internet Workshops

What document features make a good match to a query?

We have discussed how search engines work, but what features of a query make for good matches? Let’s look at the key features and consider some pros and cons of their utility in helping to retrieve a good representation of documents/pages.

Term frequency : How frequently a query term appears in a document is one of the most obvious ways of determining a document’s relevance to a query. While most often true, several situations can undermine this premise. First, many words have multiple meanings — they are polysemous. Think of words like “pool” or “fire.” Many of the non-relevant documents presented to users result from matching the right word, but with the wrong meaning. Also, in a collection of documents in a particular domain, such as education, common query terms such as “education” or “teaching” are so common and occur so frequently that an engine’s ability to distinguish the relevant from the nonrelevant in a collection declines sharply. Search engines that don’t use a tf/idf weighting algorithm do not appropriately down-weight the overly frequent terms, nor are higher weights assigned to appropriate distinguishing (and less frequently-occurring) terms, e.g., “early-childhood.”

Location of terms : Many search engines give preference to words found in the title or lead paragraph or in the metadata of a document. Some studies show that the location — in which a term occurs in a document or on a page — indicates its significance to the document. Terms occurring in the title of a document or page that match a query term are therefore frequently weighted more heavily than terms occurring in the body of the document. Similarly, query terms occurring in section headings or the first paragraph of a document may be more likely to be relevant.

Link analysis : Web-based search engines have introduced one dramatically different feature for weighting and ranking pages. Link analysis works somewhat like bibliographic citation practices, such as those used by Science Citation Index. Link analysis is based on how well-connected each page is, as defined by Hubs and Authorities, where Hub documents link to large numbers of other pages (outlinks), and Authority documents are those referred to by many other pages, or have a high number of “in-links”

Popularity : Google and several other search engines add popularity to link analysis to help determine the relevance or value of pages. Popularity utilizes data on the frequency with which a page is chosen by all users as a means of predicting relevance. While popularity is a good indicator at times, it assumes that the underlying information need remains the same.

Date of Publication: Some search engines assume that the more recent the information is, the more likely that it will be useful or relevant to the user. The engines therefore present results beginning with the most recent to the less current.

Length : While length per se does not necessarily predict relevance, it is a factor when used to compute the relative merit of similar pages. So, in a choice between two documents both containing the same query terms, the document that contains a proportionately higher occurrence of the term relative to the length of the document is assumed more likely to be relevant.

Proximity of query terms : When the terms in a query occur near to each other within a document, it is more likely that the document is relevant to the query than if the terms occur at greater distance. While some search engines do not recognize phrases per se in queries, some search engines clearly rank documents in results higher if the query terms occur adjacent to one another or in closer proximity, as compared to documents in which the terms occur at a distance.

Proper nouns sometimes have higher weights : since so many searches are performed on people, places, or things. While this may be useful, if the search engine assumes that you are searching for a name instead of the same word as a normal everyday term, then the search results may be peculiarly skewed. Imagine getting information on “Madonna,” the rock star, when you were looking for pictures of madonnas for an art history class.

J. Kleinberg, “Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment,” Proceedings of the 9th ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms. 1998,pp. 668-77.

Summary

The above explanation lays out the range of processing that might occur in a search engine, along with the many options that a search engine provider decides on.

The range of options may help clarify users’ frequent surprise at the results their queries return. Up till now, search engine providers have mainly opted for less, versus more, complex processing of documents and queries. The typical search results therefore leave a lot of work to be done by the searcher, who must wend their way through the results, clicking on and exploring a number of documents before finding exactly what they seek. The typical evolution of products and services suggests that this status-quo will not continue. Search engines that go further in the complexity and quality of the processing performed will be rewarded with greater allegiance by searchers, as well as financially rewarding opportunities to serve as the search engine on more organizations’ intranets.

“What Document Features Make a Good Match to a Query” by Elizabeth Liddy, Director of the Center for Natural Language Processing Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University

Bad brand, good brand?

What, Exactly, Is a Brand?

Lets cut to the chase definition of the word brand. Rather than the often bewildering and verbose definitions offered by trendy ad agencies and PR firms, the answer is much simpler, and essential to grasp.

The following is an article I keep referring back to at every stage of my profession – it means everything when trying to work out how to make a business ‘aware to the customer’. Apologies to the original writer for no acknowledgement, I literally found a page on the road one day at have kept it ever since. Regards Dayne Smith.

Your brand is your promise. How you keep it means everything.

Too often people get snookered into buying a “branding” service that is nothing more than advertising. And, the two things aren’t the same. Advertising can reinforce your brand, but it can’t create it and it most definitely isn’t the brand itself. Examples of hugely successful companies that established a brand without any advertising – Starbucks, Google, Amazon.

Brand strategy is the intelligence of being effective in the crafting of a compelling, engaging, and unforgettable brand promise.

Effective branding measures up to each of the following:

  • Achieve separation from competitors
  • Demonstrate to the world you are different
  • Reinforce your uniqueness
  • Create positive and lasting engagement with your audience
  • Be unforgettable
  • Propel itself through the world on its own, becoming a no-cost, self-sustaining public relations vehicle
  • Provide a deep well of associated imagery, and
  • Rise above the goods and services you provide.

When a brand achieves each of these measures, an organization demonstrates their understanding of the power of branding.

The more a brand relies upon an adulatory message – We Are Better, We Offer More, We Cost Less, We Make A Difference – the higher the advertising expense.

Adulatory claims are an advertising strategy.

Anyone can make an adulatory claim. And, anyone can top the last one.

Adulatory claims require a constant and expensive media presence. Which may be okay if an organization has the annual advertising budget of a Fortune 500.

Adulatory claims, and cousin the cheerleader message, gain credibility among those on the inside responsible for the brand – executives, members of the Board, administration, brand managers, other organizational leaders. They feel great about cheerleader messaging in their advertising because the message is so darn POSITIVE. But each of these insiders is already convinced – they are paid to pay attention – while the consumer they wish to influence is not. Instead, the consumer has to pay, literally, when they pay attention – they pay with their time and mental effort, neither of which consumers are likely to invest when a brand shouts in self flattery.

Cheerleader advertising claims have equal application to ANY brand – Get More from T-Mobile, the Leap Ahead campaign of Intel, or any late night TV advertising for a car dealership – which is why they are so numbingly unmemorable, and irrelevant.

Branding is demonstrating, advertising is explaining. What you fail to demonstrate, you are left to explain.

The most effective brands demonstrate their value, knowledge and understanding of consumer wants and needs rather than explaining themselves.

Brand strategy demonstrates consumer relevancy in contrast to, for example, adulatory advertising explanations.

Branding engages your customer to lean forward and pursue you. Advertising pleads with and chases after customers.

Branding is a seduction. Advertising is a television spot bleating Get More.

Creation of a brand to which your audience is drawn rather than chased is of material dollar impact to any organization.

Brand strategy decreases and eliminates advertising expense. Advertising strategy institutionalizes long-term advertising spends into the P&L.

Brand strategy works even when the brand is not advertising.

Branding. Smarter than Advertising.

Database tidy up tips – to help sales.

Here are 5 tips to help clean up and manage your customer database.

1. Put one person in charge

One – and only one person should be in charge of your database. They should have ultimate accountability and be responsible for new data gathering and entry, data cleansing and adhering to a regular maintenance schedule.

It’s also important that they wear a Marketing hat as opposed to an IT hat when considering the database. Instead of seeing your database only in terms of its columns and rows, they should see it is a powerful business information goldmine and constantly consider new data fields to add, new segmentation tiers and new customer acquisition opportunities.

While one person is responsible for your database, everyone in your company should contribute to it. Ensure all sales people know your database building objectives – let them know what information to gather from all prospective customers. If you’re trying to learn customer trends or enhance the information your database holds, have your administration staff help by asking questions each time a customer calls.

2. Spring cleaning makes sense throughout the year

It’s always a good time to look at your data fields so you’re gathering information that will make your next marketing campaign more effective than your last. Here’s a list of the basic fields you’ll want to include or add to your database:

  • Title (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms) – Adding a title to a name lets you create professional communications and ensures you know the gender of each customer.
  • First Name – Separate this field from Last Name for ease of data cleansing and so you can write personal salutations in your email or direct mail campaigns.
  • Last Name
  • Business Name – include this field if you’re in a business-to-business industry.
  • Position – By knowing who you’re talking to within each company, you can tailor your communications accordingly.
  • Mailing Address and/or Postal Address – Depending on what’s relevant to your business and your communication plans.
  • Daytime Phone Number, Evening Phone Number – Again, you’ll want to include these fields if they’re relevant.
  • Mobile Phone Number – If you include a Daytime Phone Number field, there’s a good chance customers will give you their cell phone number. If you want to be more specific, you can ask for Work Number, Home Number and Mobile Phone Number.
  • Email Address – It’s important to collect email addresses if you want to send quick messages or send email newsletters.
  • Social network address – If you want to send communications out quickly and your business is centered on this medium, social networks can be a useful tool to consider.

You should also create a unique identifier for every person on your database by giving them a unique code or number. When you include this code on your outgoing emails, direct mail or social communications, you can easily track responses and guarantee you don’t run into trouble with people who have the same name.

If you have fields in your database that you never use, get rid of them! And set a definite schedule for cleaning out duplicate records. If you find that you have different addresses for the same name, give the customer a quick call to confirm their details – they’ll appreciate your effort.

3. Getting more value from your database and your customers

In addition to the required data fields above, you can ask for extra information that will help you segment customers into high/medium/low value tiers, provide you with free research and let you better personalize marketing campaigns.

  • Birthday – If you obtain customer birth dates, you can send birthday cards or special offers – especially effective if your customers are parents and their children.
  • Where Did You Hear About Us? – Ask this question and you’ll find out which of your advertising channels is working best for you.

Keep an eye on your customers’ addresses to see where they live or work – you might be able to tailor your advertising with more personal messages and offers.

If you obtain customer titles you can create campaigns skewed toward each gender. And if you track purchase or visit history (either in-store or online), you can send anniversary notes or reminders to encourage customers to visit or purchase again.

You’ll want to record the date you entered each customer in your database for longevity and loyalty purposes. You’ll also want to keep track of the dates you communicate with each customer so you don’t overdo it.

Please see point 5 below for a reminder about collecting customer information and privacy issues.

4. Go directly to the source once a year

The best way to confirm or establish customer information is obviously to get it from the customers themselves. Once a year, send out a mass email or direct mail piece asking customers to correct their details and/or provide you with more information. It’s a good opportunity to remind them about your services. You can offer an incentive for their time or use the communication as a tell-a-friend tool to build your database further.

5. Always get permission

It is suggested – you need to obtain customers’ permission to communicate with them – whether it’s by email, direct mail, phone or social networks. New Zealand privacy laws require you to advise customers of how you’re going to use their information and you need to provide a mechanism for them to easily access and correct those details. If it’s been a long time since you’ve been in touch, it’s a good idea to include a reminder stating that they have indeed given you permission to talk with them. You have a duty to protect your database with your customers’ private information from any unauthorized access of disclosure.

If a customer doesn’t want you to communicate with them any longer, flag your database immediately – you don’t want irate emails or phone calls from disgruntled customers who think you don’t listen to them.

For a refresher on the Privacy Act, see http://privacy.org.nz/the-privacy-act-and-codes/ web site.

You can essentially look at your marketing database as part of your marketing team. It contains a wealth of intelligence. Listen to it, examine it and you could very well find that it reveals contact strategies you hadn’t thought of or recommends changes to your marketing plan that you hadn’t considered. By keeping your database tidy and up to-date, you could be pleasantly surprised by what it offers in return.

So, you want to build your database. Flying Lizard can answer any questions you may have which will help with your business sales would you be interested in learning more about the various services Flying Lizard can work on?

If you wish, you can email us design.solutions@flyinglizard.co.nz or call +64 21 323 244 to ask a question, there is no obligation and Flying Lizard would like to think we could then help with other practical business communication needs your business has so it can sell to your customers. See our services for.

This information is good practice, other sources explain the same principals – we hope you can develop your business methods with our help.