Sign & Digital Graphics

January '20

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3 4 • J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S of the customer and the signs you did for them on the opposite page. The bottom line is that many entrepreneurs say that they depend on word-of-mouth advertis- ing, but most are giving it no more than lip service (pun intended), at best. Promotion with punch Unless your company has a truck- load of money to spend on an image or brand-name ad campaign—the likes of the Goodyear blimp or the Energizer bunny—you'll dedicate most of your advertising dollars to print ads, vehicle signage and direct response marketing. Whether it's direct mail, business directory ads, Val-Pak coupons, or a vehicle wrap, a simple principle rings true: All must communicate a clear call to action to the reader/recipient. Any visual advertisement should consist of the six components of successful marketing listed below and favorable responses to the questions your target audience will ponder: • Lead with a clear and eye-catching headline—At first glance, do I know what the company does and what it's best known for? Do I want to stay tuned, read on, learn more? Will I remember the company when I am ready to buy? • Describe a good value—Does the offer present benefits that outweigh the cost? How do you satisfy my strongest need in a way that is different from a competitor? Do I like and trust this company? • Have a logical reason for the offer—Do I know why the ad is being run at this time? Is now the season to consider such a purchase? • Create urgency for an immediate response—Will the offer expire? Will supplies last? Is there a rebate, discount or free premium if I buy sooner rather than later? • Give understandable directions to fol- low—Where do I go? Who should I call? Will the purchase be convenient to make? • Emphasize the unique value proposi- tion—Does this company do or make something that no other can? Do I see the exclusive benefit of throwing my business their way? The most important part of the mar- keting piece (the last bullet point) should be something that is unique to your com- pany—in other words, your "trademark", "flagship" offering or "claim to fame." I can't tell you what that thing should be, but your current satisfied customers can, if you ask them: "What is the pri- mary reason you chose to do business with us today?" After collecting the answers from a representative sample of your customer base, the overwhelming response to your question will tell you what your true com- petitive advantage is. Regardless, whether you choose to place a business directory or newspaper ad, or to offer a coupon, you must have a means to measure its effectiveness. Get into the habit of asking every new pro- spective customer: "How did you hear of us?" Record the responses to that ques- tion, in detail, and tabulate the results periodically. If they say, "I saw your ad," ask for the specifics as to where, when, and so on. If they say, "I heard about you from a friend," get that friend's name. You'll then have to add "write Karin a thank-you note" to your to-do list. Work your plan It doesn't take much to differenti- ate your company from your competi- tors. Remember that people buy from people they like, trust, and with whom it's convenient to do business. Create a plan that works and work that plan. You'd never think of filling an order without a detailed, written purchase order specify- ing quantity, quality of the media, spot- on PMS color match and the like. So, why expect your business to succeed and grow without a plan that you've taken the time to develop to make it happen, right? Good luck. SDG Six Cpen of cceful Marketg • Create urgency for an immediate response • Give understandable directions to follow • Emphasize the unique value proposition • Lead with a clear and eye-catching headline • Describe a good value • Have a logical reason for the offer

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