Basic Guide to Online Advertisers

Guest post by former dLooker, Mande Crnjak. Some thoughts from the grave to the brave

You want to advertise your business. So you’ve signed up with an online business directory or similar to help.

You give your basic info, and because you’re paying for it, you allow them to go off and do the work for you with the expectation of being on the first page of Google for every keyword you can imagine.

What now?

You then receive an email advising you that your page has been launched and to double check it. But of course you don’t actually check it.

You’re busy and haven’t got time and again, that’s what you’re paying the people to do! Thinking of it this way is WRONG!

It’s a two way street my friends!

This is your business we are advertising. Nobody knows your business like you do.

You should always, ALWAYS, double check anything that is being published about your business.

If there is false or misleading information, or you simply don’t like what is written, double checking the page once it goes live will assist in rectifying any of these issues.

Here’s how you can get what you want!

  • Give the sales agent as much information as possible about your business. If you already have a GOOD website, advise for the team to refer to the website. Ensuring you provide as much content as possible will allow copywriters to produce correct and quality content about your business. *** Note: If you’re not happy with what’s written about your business, notify your account manager to make the changes ASAP.***
  • Think about what your customers are typing into Google when searching for your business and then choose the keywords! If you’re not sure about this, ask the team to give you suggestions. ***Focusing on particular products and service areas e.g. “Office Party Catering Parramatta” is more effective than “Catering Sydney”.***
  • Use all the features of the page – send though images, video, logo, flyers, add a coupon, send through articles or anything else that you have that is relevant to your business.
  • If the page you are advertising with has a REVIEWS options, use this to the max! Reviews/testimonials feature allows you to post the feedback from your customers and if you use (or add in) your keywords and locations, this greatly assists in your pages performance. ***Try and add at least one review weekly or fortnightly for effective results. ***
  • Link your personal page to any other advertisements or even social media pages. E.g. your dLook page will have hyperlinks going to your website. You should also have a link on your website going back to your dLook page. ***This is called “back link strategy” which gives both websites more integrity or “juice” and enhances both the pages performance.***
  • Keep an eye on your page and make sure you are happy with it. We are not mind readers and we don’t know anything about your business. If there are ever any changes to be made or you want to re-fresh a page, let the team or account manager know.

Remember, we want your page to work, but it’s all the extra bits and pieces that build the path to success!

Market Research

Marketing has long been driven by historic data, with a lot of survey research and polling.

But the volume and kind of data that we are beginning to acquire is vastly increasing, producing information overload for business managers; already stretched by the pace of market change.

This requires more relevant and improved analysis of shared real time business processes, that stretch beyond the four walls of the enterprise.

Computer technology must be able to address business process dynamics, because that’s how work is done in the real world.

The kinds of questions we need to ask are much more sophisticated and require a shift in thinking “how will business manage organic business processes into the future”?

What are Organic Business Processes?

Organic business processes are business processes that begin, grow and contract dynamically and continuously to uncertain market demand.

Computer technology looks to apply certainty to what is an increasingly uncertain world.

This is because computer software applications are designed for predetermined outcomes that comprise of fixed roles, fixed rules, fixed relationships and fixed workflows.

But We Got It From A Poll

Sociologists and market research companies have been studying social networks for decades.

Providing they can cleanse the data and ensure its relevancy, they can tell you what happened, how it happened; but never why it happens in that particular way.

Why were the first motor cars six seaters?

Why do the British and Australians drive on the left side of the road?

No amount of mechanical analysis will give you answers to these questions; because the answers come from outside of the system, never from within it.

to conserve space, I’ll leave you to Google the above; you’ll probably be surprised by the answers.

The Internet Gospel

Sociologists and market research companies would have us believe that because we now (with the advent of Internet) have a lot more data than was previously available to us; we should be able to get better and more informed results.

Unless you can understand the dynamics of the system and its processes you will never get the results these researchers are now claiming.

To achieve the results they are describing you would have to know and understand the cascading dynamic interactions, cycles, feedbacks and behavior patterns within the system you are trying to analyze.

An example of this dynamic is word of network (Internet) influence.

Influence propagates through a network in same way an infectious disease does – going viral.

The viral phenomenon of Susan Boyle is an example of viral media: the YouTube videos were forwarded millions of times around the world, the web became the primary medium of information diffusion.

In hours, family and friends referred the videos to family and friends until the videos had crossed continents and culture barriers.

Mass media that pick up on this diffusion early then report on it, which aids in the dissemination, but is no longer solely responsible for it.

For A Bit of a Laugh

For those that haven’t seen it, here’s a video that went viral … worth a look, and why not practice the act of new world market research and pass it on … “Cheap flights

Let’s Get Creative – Part 2

Putting it into practice

Now that you have your idea pad you are able to capture your thoughts anytime, whenever they come to mind; you can leverage them when the time is right?

Fill your idea pad with the concepts that are important to your business or life. Whether its key points in your retail business, supply chain, new ideas for your manufacturing process, or key capabilities that separate you from the competition, each of these thoughts forms a foundation for a network of lateral connections that can lead to your next breakthrough.

These breakthrough ideas can often be catalytic in their concept and execution, in that they can fire multiple parts of your organization and your demand – supply chain partner organizations as well.

Remember there are no silly thoughts as you muse and associate the different concepts; and think about all of the possible scenarios, as you combine, branch and recombine them.

For example, if you are in the retail or trades business, being able to link different product or service development ideas to different customers and market segments; can trigger new benefits for your customers.

An architect might link building specifications to new materials to building partners and new locations; and come up with the better designs, more economical building construction and a better environmental fit to the buildings location.

What an idea pad provides is a structured new perspective beyond mundane scraps of paper that end up being disregarded. This gives you more possibilities to see connections in a new light and your evolving thought processes.

Inspirational Warehousing and Idea Incubation

When you’ve built a structure that encompasses your business goals or passions, you can capture and link up all the ideas you have, no matter how fanciful they may seem at first blush. Much our modern world is built on ideas that must have seemed crazy even to their creators.

A trio of young California women are making serious money designing large oversized custom earrings called, “Head banger Accessories”. Their chic ‘movement’ events bring devout followers together where they talk about, trade and buy earrings.

Ever Had A Stupid Idea

Dog GogglesDoggles (eyewear for dogs) is the dumbest idea that I wish I came up with. Growing up I was raised with many dogs and that vision never crossed my eyes.

A 21 year old college student in England set up a website where you could buy pixels on his homepage for $1 each. Within 4 months he had sold a million pixels! What I found interesting is that he took the first $1000 dollars he made from the site and bought a press release which he distributed to media sources. From that little bit of publicity he was able to make big money in a very short amount of time. Here’s the real kicker though, he sold the last 1,000 pixels on eBay for over $150,000!!! How’s that for an example of the relationship between supply and demand?

What about the guy who came up with the corn maze idea – labyrinths made or cut from corn fields – when he first got the idea, all his friends and family thought he had rocks in his head “If you cut into maze, tourists will come. Now what in the world would make somebody connect a field of maze to the tourist industry.

In the case of your brain, these ideas don’t need to get in the way and if they never lead anywhere, there’s nothing lost. Your mind can hold hundreds of thousands of “Thoughts”.

On the other hand, keeping them connected to creative topics, allowing them to incubate and keep them accessible for when a catalyst for making them into reality happens or something comes to mind later – well that’s getting creative.

So get started, your next AHA moment is just a few unrelated concepts away.

Let’s get Creative – Part 1

What Is Creativity?

Creativity is the ability to associate seemingly unrelated concepts in your mind; and then combine, branch and recombine them until you get an A-HA moment. This is the way new ideas, products, processes and business models are generated. Most of us use this method subconsciously, but there is a certain mystery and awe around our creative facilities. This intangible process makes our creative process and emergent outputs seem somewhat unpredictable and serendipitous.

How do you maximize such an ephemeral and yet essential process? I don’t claim to know all the answers, but there are some easy things you can do to help you with all of them.

Clearing the mind for New Ideas for Creative Connections

Regardless of your workload or season, if you’re pre-occupied with your daily business operational tasks and commitments (they are managing you – rather than you managing them), they will take up all of the precious space in your mind. Creative opportunities will be missed.

Step 1 “Clear some time and space in your mind and creativity will instantly fill the vacuum.”

This idea of clearing your head to think creatively can generate greater productivity in your business and personal life. An essential theme for this methodology is having a trusted place and space to store and build on your creative thoughts. This requires a system of organization like an idea pad (digital or physical) and prioritization so that ultimately you can focus on what really matters to you and your business. Not only can you capture your creative vision but you can use your idea pad to store information, tasks, allowing you to sift through the data clutter that might be holding your creativity back.

There’s really no better place to get your creative juices flowing on a business project, hobby or interest than recording them in your idea pad. Idea pads make linking concepts together fun. You can connect any idea to anything else, so your creative ideas are always linked. This lateral thinking enabled by non-linear connections is the hallmark of creativity and is easily achieved through practice

Lateral Connections

Once you have practiced the art of associating different concepts in your mind. Creativity in many cases is then simply a matter of trial and selection. As Albert Einstein put it, “The secret to creativity is to hide your sources.”

From Einstein to Edward de Bono, many creative insights emerge from making connections between two seemingly disparate concepts can be the key to that “Eureka” moment. Your mind and imagination are the ultimate source for these nuggets of gold.

Stay tuned for part 2 …

Has Facebook changed your business?

The majority of business initiatives in social media networks fail to reach their objectives.

We all know it’s important, but not too many of us understand how value is created, supplied, transformed and consumed within social networks. Because in the main, these networks comprise dynamic processes that cascade through social networks @ NetSpeed rates.

Social media is rapidly redefining the way consumers research and buy products and services online. It is vital that companies connect with consumers where they’re at; and that is social networks.

Of the billions of minutes consumers spend on the internet, it is estimated that 22% of their time is spent on social media sites. To effectively engage consumers, retailers need to reach beyond traditional marketing and communications methods.

Moving Beyond the Traditional Approach

To do that retailers are going to have to learn where the cultures of social media, technology, and retail products intersect.

This will involve uncovering opportunities, highlighting the pitfalls and making strategic initiatives on how stakeholders within the retail industry can collaborate, cooperate and compete in this new networked world.

The ticket to ride will be effectively engaging consumers with the retailer’s message. As well as the understanding that control of the retail experience has been wrested from the retailer by the consumer. The retailer can only hope to influence the path to self discovery for the consumer in this fast-paced, ever-evolving digital world.

The Three Streams

Areas of knowledge to be gained fall under three broad categories of social media and technology:

  • Rapidly learn, recommend, comment, decide, try – succeed / fail; select and execute
  • products, channels, brands, stores, outlets
  • multiple media platforms (online, mobile, social, video), devices, protocols

Retailers will need to study the distinctions between dynamic, in-the-moment behaviors and at-home leisure times, as well as at work social media and technology behaviors.

The questions for retailers now evolve around

  • Achieving Social network connectivity: engaging network participants vs. passive observers; product influencers, innovators vs followers
  • Attaining Brand loyalty: examine the “Facebook and Twitter” effect of social media on your distribution channels, brands and products (how likely consumers are to talk about your channel, brands and products and make recommendations, and so make purchases based on other consumers recommendations)

The velocity of information has surpassed any companies ability to control it. No longer can retailers or suppliers control their brand, the release of information – their only hope is to remain an influence!

Social Networks and Retailers

Are retailers being left behind? Can they embrace social networks? Will traditional bricks and mortar stores blend their rigid strategies to include the evolving online innovations?

Social Media

Some retailers are not sure if the consumers engaging with them via social media channels are good customers or not. Other retailers believe these consumers may be their best customers. But the lack of certainty (knowing whether cross-channel shoppers are more profitable than single-channel shoppers) inhibits retailers’ from being proactive in their social media activities.

Retailers are still waiting for “best in class” strategies to become “best practice” and “common practice”.

This is a dangerous strategy because if a retailer is still trying to figure out how consumers use the social media channels, they are likely to be left behind.

Remember the saying “there are those who make things happen, there are those who let things happen and there are those who wonder what happened”.

There are many reasons for those retailers who end up wondering what happened, if you don’t understand social media; then you won’t have a lot of faith in the return on investment (ROI) of social channel initiatives. So it’s a case of becoming an expert or seeking out an expert to help make your business a value add in the emerging market of social media.

What do retailers need to do?

Every retailer must innovate to remain relevant in the new networked economy.

All innovation is a mix of variability (trial and error) and selection (the things that work). The trick is to know what to trial, where and when to trial it.

So if you want to join the ranks of best in class social channel retailers, you should seek proof points for the efforts you take to gain greater understanding of social media networks.

Whether your business model touches directly on social media or indirectly impacts it, it’s important to document whatever examples you encounter – especially value measurements.

Right now, the retailers who can prove the most valuable examples of social media have a window of opportunity to create competitive advantages in their market place.

Setting expectations?

There are the three things that a majority of retailers believe they should be able to do through their social channels:

  • Have consumers experience their brands and recommend them to friends.
  • Educate and excite consumers about the experience their products and services create for them; by communicating in with them simple ways (using their language.
  • Help customers locate stores.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill “this strategy is not the end, not even the beginning of the end; but it is the end of the beginning” of your quest to master social media networks in the new networked economy.

Changing Medium Same Message

When it comes to retail advertising, do you get the message?

Marshall McLuhan, a media futurist was born 100 years ago (July 21, 1911), he authored “the medium is the message” in 1964. In it he explained that the type of media you read, listen to or watch influences the messages received without the audience even realizing it. For instance, video requires less interpretation by audiences than radio.
Medium is the message

Internet marketing validates the same point in a completely new way. The technologies spawned by the Internet allow messages to be fleeting (e.g. twitter), even expendable, as media platforms test and refine them.

The Good Ol’ Days

In the 1960s, the era of Mr. McLuhan’s writing, was a much more simplified age. Good copy could break through because media channels were not yet saturated with noise and consumers had not yet learned to tune out annoyances.

Traditional marketing anointed messages as king. Magazine ads are a perfect example. Text-rich pages catered for patient readers who would spend the time to read their message. Copy was storytelling, emotion won over promotion, and benefits won over features. Virginia Slims weren’t just thinner cigarettes; they liberated the women of the 60’s.

The age that began in the 90s and continues today has been called the “unbundled era,” the “cyber era” and the “consumer era.” The biggest change brought on by digital media has been time compression. Both the advertizing creative cycle and the consumer feedback loop can now be instant.

Advertizing product and services can now move from strategy to execution, not in months, but in a matter of seconds.”

Instant Gratification

Leading product advertisers are abandoning the concept of long campaigns in favor of the the free flowing internet channel (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter). Campaigns have points of no return on investment; then they either work or they don’t. Internet channels go on forever; they can be measured, evolved and improved in real time.

Access to individual customer profiles makes instant “markets of one” possible. Retailers can learn to identify customer needs and deliver relevant offers, both through digital channels and direct from bricks and mortar stores.

Digital marketing has anointed the internet medium as king. Marketers can diversify their investment in personalized messages rather than being forced to make big mass campaign bets. This has yielded a law-like pattern: consistent messaging channeled intelligently beats intelligent messages channeled through mass traditional mediums routinely.

When advertisers adopt “internet medium” thinking, digital shopper media generate higher returns for a fraction of the risk.

McLuhan’s Global Village

Mr. McLuhan coined the “global village” and envisioned the worldwide web almost 30 years before it existed. It’s doubtful he would recognize marketing today. But his predictions about the reign of medium over message have never been truer than today’s digital era.