Make Your Product an Advertisement for Your Business

When a product you ordered from Amazon is mailed to you, it’s mailed in an Amazon box. To anyone who has ever seen an Amazon box before, you know right away that it’s an Amazon box.

When Zipcar members check out a Zipcar for the day, the car is branded. It has the Zipcar logo plastered right on the side of it.

Fashion brands from Old Navy to Michael Kors prominently display their logo on nearly everything they design.

All of these are examples of a company using its products to market themselves.

Someone in my office gets the Amazon box delivered, and I see it. Someone drives past me on the street in a Zipcar, and I see it. Someone sitting across from me on the train has a Michael Kors bag, and I see it.

It may not feel like marketing or advertising, but I am being exposed to the brand. It’s just another reason why product design is so important, and why marketers should absolutely involve themselves in product development.

How can you turn your company’s products into ads for your business?

How to Ruin an Ad – Part 1

Welcome to the first edition of our latest weekly blog series, How to Ruin an Ad. As is most obvious from the title of this series, each week we’ll be identifying a key element of an ad that, when missing, is sure to reduce its effectiveness.

Today’s ad is ruined by: A Missing Phone Number

I will come right out and say that not every ad needs a phone number. But, the ads that should have a phone number in them far outnumber those that should not.

All different types of ads should have a phone number. That includes web ads, search ads, print ads, outdoor ads, television commercials, radio spots, etc. Essentially, any piece of marketing should have a phone number, if your goal is for people who see or hear that ad to respond to it.

A phone call is still the easiest and most common way for people to take action when they encounter an advertisement. It’s direct and immediate. And often, it makes selling someone a lot easier than it would be if they were instead directed to a website.

Today, many companies opt to include a web address instead of a phone number. I say, provide both. That way you give people the option to respond in the way they feel most comfortable. And you will likely get a higher response rate because of it.

When is it okay to forgo the phone number?

  • If you don’t have the ability to answer incoming phone calls (if that’s the case, you may need to rethink your sales model)
  • If you don’t care about people taking action when they see the ad because it’s just a branding exercise

Did you enjoy this post? Do you have a surefire way to ruin an ad you think we should cover in an upcoming post? Share it with us in the comments or by email.

Prioritization Tips for Marketers

Whether you’re in marketing or a countless number of other professions, managing your time can be one of the most difficult skills to learn.

Learning how to manage your time and prioritize tasks is crucial for succeeding.

For marketers, there will be a never-ending stream of ideas. How do we get more people to click on our ads? How do we reach people on Facebook? How can we improve our website?

For every question, there will be a million answers. And the questions don’t stop.

So how do you determine what projects are most important and what to spend your time and energy on, knowing you can’t do it all?

  1. Prioritize by impact – usually, the most important tasks or projects are the ones that will have the biggest impact. Your goal is to think through the many ideas you and your team have and estimate the results. If you expect one project to increase sales by 10% and another to increase sales by 5%, you go with the 10% project every time.
  2. Prioritize by timing – sometimes you will find yourself looking at a couple of projects, one with big impact that will take a long time, and one with smaller impact that you can get done much quicker. If there are things you can do relatively quickly that will improve your results, it might make sense to knock those out before moving on to the larger projects.
  3. Prioritize by skill – there will be some projects you or your team can do on your own, and others that will require outside help or the learning of new skills. Most people prioritize those projects that they already have experience with or expertise in. That will help you save time and money and get things done faster.

The most important tip I can offer when it comes to time management and prioritization is to figure out what you should not do. Most times, identifying those tasks or projects that you should not do is more important than figuring out which ones you should.

Once you get started on a task, push other things to the side. Free up your time and force yourself to focus on the task at hand. Too many people try to work on multiple projects at once, and they end up taking longer and turning out worse than they should have.

Quick Tips Roundup

Over the course of the last few weeks, our readers picked up on the fact that we ran several posts with similar titles. They all started like this, “3 Tips for…”

We often get asked for “quick tips”. People want us to get straight to the point. How can we improve our results? So, in response we ran these posts on topics that people were most interested in.

Today, let’s recap for those of you that had not been following along. While these topics may not seem related, they are all things that you can do today to improve your business. They’re simple and straightforward, and have proven impact.

3 Tips for Better Meetings

Improving the quality of meetings at your office will have a big impact on the effectiveness of your team.

3 Tips for Quicker Conversions

Get people through the funnel and to the checkout screen faster than ever before.

3 Tips for Higher Value Conversions

Just because you are making sales, doesn’t mean you’re doing your job. Use these tips to increase the value of each sale.

3 Tips for Better Search Ads

Most businesses today drive a lot of new business through paid search marketing, and these tips can help increase the amount of people who find you through search engines.

3 Tips for Better Readability

If you want people to read your web pages, ad copy, emails, etc. you have to make it more readable.

3 Tips for Better Meetings

Meetings suck. Not just because they’re long and boring and wastes of everyone’s time. Though they are that. But also because they all too often get nothing accomplished, result in more confusion, and lead to even more meetings.

It’s time for a meeting revolution. Meetings done well certainly still have a place in today’s office culture. But they have to be done right. And that means rethinking meetings in their entirety.

Here are three tips for better meetings:

  1. Clear agendas. A good meeting is one where the agenda was prepared well in advance of the meeting. There was a clear reason why a meeting was necessary. The meeting has a goal. An agenda was created and shared with everyone for feedback ahead of time via email. Everyone knows who is leading the discussion and what role they’re expected to play during the meeting. Nothing ever comes up for the first time in a meeting. If it’s not on the agenda, it is not discussed.
  2. Clear outcomes. The conclusion of any meeting should be a clear set of next steps. Decisions should be made, and work should be assigned. Someone should be assigned to take notes, create a task list, and distribute a copy of those tasks to all meeting participants directly after the meeting is over. Those people that have work assigned to them should know when it’s due, and a follow up should be set to see that it’s done on time and to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
  3. Strict time and attendance limits. The biggest problem with meetings today is that they are overcrowded and never-ending. No meeting should last a second longer than it absolutely needs to. Along with the agenda, there should be clear start and end times, for each topic if necessary. If a discussion requires more time than the meeting allows, reconvene at a later time. Commit to ending the meeting on time, every time. And only those people directly involved in the decision making process should be involved. If a team member is not deemed critical to the topic being discussed, don’t drag them in.

Keep them lean and short. Prepare ahead of time. And get things accomplished. That’s how you do meetings right.