Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

Have we less to say to our Customers?

February 15, 2010
Billboard Advertising

Billboard Advertising in Ireland

I am amazed by the amount of empty billboards that I am seeing around the country at the moment.

In what I consider to be quite a good location quite close to where we live there are three billboards and they have been empty pretty much since the start of the year – eventually this weekend two of them were filled.

There are clearly huge cutbacks going on by the big mainstream advertisers.

Why did we advertise last year? The year before?

Is now a time for advertising less?

Is now a time for not talking to your customers?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

How do I find New Customers Easily?

January 24, 2010

I deliberately changed the heading I originally had for this article as I felt many of you may just switch off and not bother reading any further!

While that may not be a fair thing to do it is actually not too bad as the title I have chosen for the article is actually very accurate. However the title I had originally chosen was “Social Media is a form of free advertising – Use it!”

Already as I had feared many of you could be saying – I can’t even use a computer so I’m not even going to read this!

Please bear with me and read on. It’s easier than you think and this is a unique opportunity for your business. Many people are already using the different forms of Social Media and are successfully spreading the word about their business and winning new customers in the process.

Consider the different Social Media tools as forms of free advertising, free publicity and a free way to spread the word about your store or your brand. How can you ignore it?

You owe it to yourself to at least understand how it all works, how it could work for you and your business and then decide whether it is something you need to learn or something you need someone to do for you. Most importantly understand how some of your competitors are using these tools and the advantages they are gaining in the process.

Facebook

Facebook for Business

A small piece of information that might help to hold your interest – There are over 1,110,000 registered users of Facebook in Ireland, all over 18. You might assume that most of these are quite young? Nearly 500,000 of these users are 30 and over. My guess is a lot of your customers are busy using Facebook!

Some of you will already have discovered the power of the different social media for your business but for most it is a fabulous awareness opportunity just waiting to be discovered.

Let’s start with the basics – What exactly is Social Media?

They are the tools available on the web for socialising with other people online. There are many such tools and all totally free you will be glad to hear. The most popular and most useful of these are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

You don’t need to have a website to use any of these tools, just an email address. If you have a website they can be used to bring more traffic to it.

I will try my best to explain each of these in the most simplest of terms:

Facebook (www.facebook.com) is a powerful free resource for communicating with individuals and groups. At the heart of it you sign yourself up as an individual, build up a network of friends sharing messages, pictures and even video. You can also become a fan of business pages, which could include your favourite shops, charities etc. You can also set up a business page for your own business and encourage your customers to sign up as fans – through this you can add news about new products, show visuals of new collections, announce sales and even invite your fans to an event such as a sale.

I strongly recommend Facebook for any business in the hospitality or retail sector. We encourage all of our clients in these sectors to set up their presence on Facebook and to use it proactively. For example Starbucks have over 5.5million fans worldwide on their Facebook page, that’s a lot of coffee drinkers!

Twitter Logo

Twitter for business

Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a totally different beast. Basically you can set up an account or identity for yourself or your business and you then choose to follow others or let them follow you. You can then publish short messages referred to as ‘tweets’, which can be seen by the people following you and vice versa. For me quite honestly I am not totally sold on Twitter but I do see the sense in deliberately following businesses or journalists that may be of relevance to you and learn what they are writing about.

LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is quite different to the others as it is a business to business form of online networking. On LinkedIn you set up your profile and from here you can invite others to connect with you. With LinkedIn you can normally see quite detailed information about where people are working and the position they hold. LinkedIn comes to life through the ‘Groups’ facility. You can join groups on LinkedIn such as your local Chamber, trade Groups or different interest groups. You can also set up a group yourself and invite others to join. For example I set up a group called Spend Ireland, which encourages people to spend their money in Ireland. These groups can be excellent for discussing topics and finding out information. Another feature of LinkedIn is the ability to register personal recommendations for your contacts and vice versa and you can also request introductions through your connections.

You can spend a lot of precious time on each of these so are they worth it?

Must – My own view is that you absolutely must be using Facebook proactively for your business as a store or as a brand. Make sure you complete your profile and regularly keep it fresh with news, updates, offers, visuals and comments. Let your customers know that you have a Facebook page and encourage them to sign up. A vital point to remember is that it is a form of ‘Social Media’ – try not to be too formal, you will only turn people off. Learn as much as you can by joining other peoples pages and watch how they are communicating news and offers. If you feel you do not have the time arrange for someone to do this for you.

LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn for business

Maybe – I would try LinkedIn and Twitter once I was up and running on Facebook.

One final tip for you – If you have a website make it easy for people to share it with their contacts on the different social media by adding an ‘Add This’ sharing button to your website. Check out www.addthis.com to learn how. If you have a website and are also using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn direct them to these pages by adding buttons to the site.

I know that all of this can seem complicated and can be a little daunting but I promise you will get there one step at a time at you will win new customers for you business. What are you waiting for?

Greg Canty is a partner in Fuzion Communications, providing Marketing Consultancy, PR and Graphic Design and Web Optimisation services.

Dare to be Different

July 3, 2009
Cystic Fibrosis - Irish War Crimes Campaign

Cystic Fibrosis – Irish War Crimes Campaign

Dare to Be Different?

I picked up on an expression lately that I found was really interesting: “Sheepwalking”, referring basically to our general tendency to follow the norm, doing what everyone else is doing and I guess basically conforming to a general expectation or code of practice or behaviour.

We apply this to everything we do in our lives from the anguish of “What will everyone else be wearing?” to “I really have an opinion but I dare not say anything”.

There is a risk of embarrassment and feeling a little self conscious when you go that little bit out of the way but the person that is generally remembered will probably be the one who dared to be different.

When it comes to your business the same logic applies and you could argue that in the present climate it would be very risky to do anything that it is a little different. “Keep the head down”; “do what we always do”; “play it safe”. Sounds familiar? We are conditioned to obey the rules, stay within the lines of the conventional way of doing things and stay within the normal boundaries and expectations.

Now let’s turn the argument on its head and explore the dark side!

In the current economic climate, or in fact anytime for that matter: ‘Is it a bigger risk not to be different’?

Unless your business is one of few exceptions, you are feeling the effects of the recession and every day you are constantly making tough decisions; cutting back on staff, reducing wages, cutting back on marketing activities, supplying customers whose payments have slowed up, dropping prices, selling or even liquidating the business. We are all caught in this storm and are boxing our way through it in ways that are probably new to most of us.

Is it a time for playing it safe or should you dare to be different?
• Cut back or proactively look for the unique opportunities?
• Pull back or start marketing creatively?
• Pay it safe or Dare to be Different?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions but if it is right for your business to be proactive, it is clear you need to get maximum return for your activities and your investment.

Daring to be Different will get you noticed and will bring you the greatest return for your investment and change how the marketplace views your business.

What do we mean exactly by ‘Daring to be Different’?

Tick the Box and the Wild Card?

“Ticking the Box” is doing the normal thing for every situation: the typical advertisement, the typical sale, the typical window display, the typical mail shot, the typical response to a query, the typical company policy, the typical special offer, the typical business card, the typical sales presentation, the typical advice, the typical packaging, the list goes on..

“The Wild Card” is pushing out the boundaries and exploring some ideas that were never tried before in all these situations and considering them. Some of these you will throw out as being too costly, impossible to execute and totally impractical, but some might actually stay in the mix and merit further consideration.

Eventually you will land on a wild card ‘type’ idea that is feasible but will make you feel uncomfortable because it is not the norm and after all what will people think? What will my boss think? What will my customers think? What will my potential customers think?

The idea will be debated in the business and some will totally disagree and feel it is the wrong thing to do. Democracy probably won’t help you here unfortunately – Daring to be Different will involve someone being forceful and putting their opinion and conviction on the line. When you are in this ‘uncomfortable’ territory you have entered the ‘Dare to be Different’ zone.

Go for it? – This is a really tough one and you have to have a good look in your business mirror and decide what type of organisation and culture do you have.

The answer depends on a few simple criteria:
1. Make sure everyone is on board with the objective – at least agree on this much!
2. Ensure the business is capable of executing the idea properly
3. Does the culture support those with the conviction of their beliefs? There is no place for ‘the sitting on the fence brigade’ rehearsing patiently for the moment that they can recite a chorus of ‘I told you so’.

What if it does not work? – The worst that will probably happen is that you will get noticed and you move on and try the next thing. At least you tried and were positive – This is a good thing.

Let’s try a little experiment to test the ‘Dare to be Different’ argument by answering a few questions?

• What adverts can you remember having read through the newspaper today?
• What adverts can you remember on the TV and Radio from this morning or last night?
• What special offer that came through your letter box did you actually read instead of filing in the waste paper bin?
• Which bank would you consider switching to because they are doing something or anything different to the others?
• Which window display made you stop and consider going into the shop?
• What rep made a presentation to you that really impressed you by the level of preparation?
• What customer rang you and was really honest about being in difficulty instead of ducking and diving your calls? (Might you go the extra mile to help him out or call in the 7 day letter crew?)
• Which business card did you actually notice?
• Which politician really stood out in the local elections?
• What brochure did you actually stop and read?
• What event did you attend and you still talk about it?
• What product feature made you consider a product above another one?
• What have you seen or heard lately that made you laugh, smile, angry or talk about after and debate?

Whichever way you decide to go ‘Daring to Be Different’ is something to really consider for your business.

Do you have a culture that will support it? If not forget about it. However if you do, then you should strongly consider going for it. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will get you and your business noticed, something we all need right now.

Do you Dare to be Different?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork