Advertising University: Newspaper 101

September 7, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

Advertising University: Newspaper 101

I hear horror stories all the time from business owners who say, “I’ve spent thousands of dollars on XX (type of advertising) and I’ve never had a single call from it!” I think the key is in learning how to make the most of that advertising, so you can reap the benefits.
Today, I’ll give you a few tips that I’ve learned about Newspaper Advertising – and how to make it more effective.

1. People read News, Not Ads.
Before you think about taking out an ad – thinking about writing a press release. That means you have to have something newsworthy – but it’s possible. Also – especially with small town newspapers – your news story is most likely to get a little extra space and coverage if you also fork over a little cash for advertising. News coverage is tainted if you pay for it- but I’ve occassionally seen editors give preference to paying customers.

2. Consider an Advertorial.
This is a newspaper ad that LOOKS like a news article. Most of the time it has some kind of marker that says “Paid Advertisement” on it  – but if it’s placed above the fold – it often gets read.

3. Go big or go home.
Let me remind you – people don’t read ads. Especially not those dinky business card sized ads. You are better off saving up and buying a full page, half page, or quarter page ad – especially above the fold, then you are running multiple smaller ads.

4. Consider an insert.
A nice, glossy, full color insert falls into their lap when you open the paper. This gets noticed more than an ad inside the paper.

5. Most important things!
I can’t tell you how many ads that I have seen that do not include the most important things: Your Call To Action and your Contact info. Don’t forget them!

Tune in next week. We’ll be discussing Advertising University: Broadcasting 101
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Marketing on Autopilot: Planning Ahead So You Can Vacation

June 1, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

I’ve noticed that sometimes, I get behind on my own marketing. Blogging, Social Media, Email Newsletters, etc. can just get tossed by the wayside when I get busy, or when I want to enjoy some time with my family while they are on summer vacation.

What if you could put it on autopilot?

You can – and it starts simply. Make a plan, and work ahead.
If you aren’t working ahead with your blogging and your social media, then you need to carve out a time to write some content, and make your plan for how you are going to distribute that content.

I like to start making my plan by using Google Sheets or an Excel Spreadsheet.
I lay out my first column with dates, like a calendar, and then each column will be fo my various social media and marketing outlets. Short posts, or blog titles and topic will go in each cell – so that I can lay out what will post when and where.

If you work ahead enough on your plan – you do what you need to execute that plan – you can put that marketing on autopilot and let it do the work!

Tune in next week for “Marketing on Autopilot: What to Write About”
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Why Design Matters: Design gives you credibility

February 9, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

If your logo or your flyer is created with Comic sans and Microsoft Clipart – then you will look like a fly by night operation.

Good design gives you credibility. It makes people take you seriously.

I drove around town today, and as I looked at storefronts – I saw two independent office supply places. The first had their logo prominently displayed, and the logos of the brands they carried prominently displayed. Their logo matched in quality – it was attractive, catchy, and clean. The other – used some kind of stock lettering on their sign – and then had printed off pages on their door – and those pages were using a standard overused font, and couldn’t be read from the street. (Looking through their windows – the inside of their shop was a WRECK by the way.)

Then I drove by Staples…. and if I think about the outside of Staples, and the inside of Staples – the truth is that it’s no WONDER that people drive further down the street to buy office supplies! It’s gorgeous! I would rather support small town privately owned businesses – but most people don’t care about that. The average consumer is not conscious…. they go with the name they know – the are like moths to the flame of good design.

You can’t spend millions, like Staples has done – but you CAN learn from what Staples has done – and try to recreate it in a way that works for YOUR business!

Stay tuned next week for Why Design Matters: The Medium is the Message
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Why Design Matters: Ugly people don’t sell cigarettes.

February 2, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

WhyDesignMattersIf you have ever thought that your design doesn’t matter – or more likely, if you’ve never really thought about the design you use for marketing – then you should ask yourself a few questions.
Why do successful companies pay millions of dollars to advertising firms – hire attractive models – spend countless hours getting their marketing right?

The truth is – companies who are making money are making it because they KNOW it matters.

Have you seen this commercial to get people to stop smoking?

Now – obviously they are not trying to sell cigarettes. But have you ever seen an advertisement for cigarettes? Since the beginning of time – tobacco companies have been using gorgeous women (often in objectifying ways) and rugged men (funny how we wouldn’t classify this as objectification) to peddle tobacco.

Why? Because the truth is – attractive design, attractive models, and gorgeous scenery works.

Billions are spent every year to fine tune this marketing process.
You don’t need to spend that money yourself to determine what works! You can look at how major global brands are spending their cash – and you can imitate that for your small business! Obviously, you can’t plagiarize their idea – but you can certainly look to it for inspiration.

Stay tuned next week for  Why Design Matters: Design gives you credibility
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Be a good Facebook Friend #marketingmonday

July 7, 2014 in Blog, Marketing Monday

As Facebook has changed it’s algorithms drastically, Facebook pages are getting less traction, and personal accounts are getting even more notice than before.
So, depending on your business, you could leverage your personal network to promote or market… but you want to be careful!

Facebook is a little like church. If you stand up in the middle of the service and invite everyone to stop by your grocery store, you’ll get some dirty looks… because it feels a little, well… dirty.

I know my business survives on personal connections. Most of my business comes from a friend of a friend who saw my blog posts or facebook posts, and they referred people to me because of that. You CAN turn your friends into a referral marketing machine… but you want to do it carefully, or else you will turn them off.

So let me give you some simple advice for using your PERSONAL facebook to promote your business….

1. Don’t be a idiot.
Remember that everything you post matters. I shouldn’t HAVE to say that Saturday Night Drunken Selfies, and personal and family drama will hurt your public reputation, but it’s true. It can hurt your chances at landing jobs, getting into schools, and in promoting your business.  Potential clients and customers WILL remember the things you posted on facebook.

2. Politics and Religion.
I won’t say that you CAN’T discuss these things publicly, but understand, that these discussions DO influence your friends opinions about you. If you are going to discuss them, do it with reason and compassion. Don’t bash or hate. And don’t post things that could be misconstrued as bashing or hating.  Check your sources, and make sure you back up your claims with reasonable arguments… and that leads us to our next point…

3. Be NICE.
Take the time to say THANK YOU on facebook when someone does or says something nice. Send thank you notes, either privately or publicly(where appropriate) for things that happen OFFLINE as well.

Be sure to offer complements, encouragement, and hope.

4. Be authentic.
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to express your feelings. It’s okay to BE who you are… but you want to make sure that your expressions are NOT overwhelming.
If you make a mistake, own up to it.
Be sure to demonstrate that you ARE a good person without tooting your own horn. And if you have to toot your own horn… you might want to spend some time working on the person that you are… so that you ARE a nice person… and not just pretending….

5. Josh’s Rule of Thumb.
You have five fingers, and one of them is a thumb. If you are going to use your personal account to promote your business… imagine your thumb is your business post (a “thumbtack” if you will) and your other fingers are real life stuff.

You should post a minimum of four or five real life posts (pics of your cat, inspirational quotes, and interesting discussions) for every one business promotion.

Some say this number should be closer to 1:7… and that might be more accurate… just make sure you don’t go past 1:4. If you do… your personal page starts to feel “spammy” and uncomfortable.

6. Be a good friend.
This should go along with being nice… but there’s a great blog post here that describes proper facebook friend ettiquete. It’s a great read.

7. Don’t overdo event and group invitations.
You can invite people to events… but you’ll want to be sure NOT to be too annoying with it.

As far as inviting people to groups… especially a group where you are going to market products to them… do it sparingly. It’s best to ask them first.

8. Be careful with tags.
NO ONE likes to get tagged in a photo they are not in. Unless it’s a photo of their grandkids….

but I don’t want to get a notification and then have a picture on my profile of your discount sneakers flyer. No one does. So tag people in photos they are in… don’t tag them just to make sure they see it.

9. Wall Posts – use sparingly.
You can share your blog posts directly on the walls of friends that you KNOW want to read it. Your mutual friends will see it too…  but I would do it sparingly. Try to do it if they are already interested in what you are sharing…

10. Relationships are golden.
Remember the girl scout song? Make New friends, but keep the old… one is silver and the other gold.

If you have an existing relationship with someone… you want to do whatever you can to make that relationship stay. Tick them off with too much marketing, and you lose a friend.
You wouldn’t wear your sandwich board to their house for dinner… so make sure that your communication is NOT JUST about your business.

11. Don’t be afraid to invite your contacts.
When you meet someone in real life, get their business card, and look them up on facebook. Send them a friend request. Don’t be offended if they don’t accept… but adding them to your personal network can be a GOOD thing!

12. Don’t send game requests.
People hate them. ‘Nuff Said.
Besides… if you are working on your business, you shouldn’t have time for Farmville.

13. Do Post Often.
And do comment and engage on your friends pictures and posts.
A fresh post on your personal profile daily would be a minimum.

14. Klout
Facebook PAGES has insights to track and measure your engagement. But there isn’t an internal feature to track and measure how well you are using your personal page to connect.

I recommend signing up for, which gives you some good metrics. You can use Klout to track a Facebook Page or a Facebook Profile, but at this time… it can only do one or the other.

Don’t get too hung up on your klout score… but you CAN use it to see how people are engaging with your content.

July 7