business

The Marketing Toolbox: Have You Heard About “BenchAds”?

Transition marketing ServicesAt Transition Marketing, our passion is small business. Any day that we get to assist a fellow small business in some small way, is a good day. It gets even better when we can provide a small business some exposure AND showcase some marketing tools in the process.

Creating Advertising Opportunities.

BenchAds.biz provided just that opportunity. They are a locally run company within the Okanagan / Shuswap area that provides exactly what the name indicates – advertising on benches. They provide a unique, budget friendly marketing and advertising opportunity to the local small business community. Needless to say when we heard about this business, we knew we had to investigate.

We had a chat with Carene Wooster the owner and operator of BenchAds.biz to see what marketing and advertising value they could add to local small business.

Based in Salmon Arm, BC, BenchAds is a family owned and operated company. The family has been connected with the business for as long as the benches have existed. Carene’s grandpa was in fact the one who originally fabricated the bus benches back when Salmon Arm’s Transit System first began.

Bus Bench AdvertisingTransition Marketing Services

The premise of the advertising is quite simple. Since the inception of the Salmon Arm transit system there has been a series of benches located through the city. Each of these benches provides a well situated, public advertising spot. BenchAds owns and controls these spots and for a small price you get to use them.

They are similar to the billboards you see along the highway, only slightly smaller and located in prime areas in the downtown core. They are priced at a fraction of what a highway billboard costs and provide a high level of exposure to both foot and vehicle traffic.

Outdoor advertising has undeniably always been effective. BenchAds provides this opportunity to the local business community at a highly competitive rate. If that is not enough to pique your interest then consider the following:

  • Unlike TV, radio or online advertising, viewers cannot change, mute or close the ad. If they are passing by the bench, then the ad is viewed – 24/7.
  • It creates brand exposure in new areas where none may have existed before.
  • Outdoor advertising is being seen by an increasing amount of traffic.
  • As mass transit increases in popularity BenchAds will increase in exposure.
  • According to the OAAA, outdoor advertising is one of the most cost effective advertising options in existence and provides a high ROI (return on investment).
  • Recent reports by Brandscience (via CBS here) found that for each dollar spent on out-of-home advertising, an average of $2.80 was received in sales.

Want more? Check out these case studies on outdoor advertising via the Pattison Group:

Let’s face it, small businesses need budget friendly marketing and advertising tools. BenchAds.biz offers just that; a unique alternative outdoor advertising option. One that places outdoor advertising within the reach of small businesses that could never afford that coveted highway billboard.

We’ll end with a note here from BenchAd.biz owner Carene Wooster:

We encourage our advertisers to advertise on more than one location. Personally I know that when I see a hamburger on a sign I honestly have a profound drawing to eat a hamburger!! Now, what happens if I’m driving around town and I see this big juicy hamburger 5 different times all from the same vendor? When I finally do decide to go get that tasty treat where’s the first place I’m going to think of? Advertising on multiple locations has a much greater branding effect.
One of advertising’s best kept secrets, bus benches can easily be overlooked when businesses are looking at their marketing strategies. People seem to get caught up in all the other forms of advertising and others naively think the viewing audience is limited to those who use the transit system! The fact is, everyone sees them! Next time you’re out and about, see for yourself! -Carene Wooster – owner & operator
For more info check out our website www.benchads.biz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BenchAds.biz

Building Consumer Trust Through Consistency

Transition Marketing Services

Which is it? Consumers need to be able to trust a brand and it’s products / services.

Trust in business is absolutely crucial, no more so than for small business, where losing just a handful of customers can put you into ruin. To build a reputation of trust, you must be consistent in all aspects.

Consumers need to know what to CONSISTENTLY expect from you and your brand. They need to know that they can trust you and your brand to deliver properly and EVERY TIME. It is almost always the seemingly small inconsistencies that plague the small business owner, ask yourself:

  • Are you faithful in the little things?
  • Do you have a reputation for treating all customers equally well, regardless of purchase?
  • Is your service always good or is it hit and miss?
  • Do they wait until a specific employee is there or does your entire team consistently service them?
  • Can they expect better prices consistently on specific items or is it a waste to even check your store?

The main question to ask yourself is can they trust their hard-earned dollars to your expertise?

Or are they simply wasting their time?

Build customer trust through consistency and you will build an effective brand. Be consistent. Be honest. Treat customers with respect and always do the right thing.

Five Social Media Misconceptions

Social-Media-Marketing

Social media policies can be crippling.

1) Social Media Requires Policing And A Policy.

Ok let’s cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy because Social media policies wind up wasting time and stalling out efforts. Attempting to police every single thing published within a single channel is nearly impossible and one stands to lose more trying to get approval to reply, then just replying promptly.

It’s impossible to prepare for every possible scenario on social media. What is more, with social media speed is of the essence. One must respond quickly at every opportunity. If one has to run every reply through a chain of command, or get approval via policy, then they risk losing out. Social media is lightening quick and dialogue on it must reflect that.

The best bet is to put simple guidelines for social media publication in place, rather than a full fledged policy. Make sure that those representing your brand on social media have good judgement and then entrust them to represent you properly.

A few examples of good guidelines are as follows:

  • Use your common sense.
  • Beware of privacy issues.
  • Play nice, and be honest.
  • Allow publications to fun, while still relevant & respectful.
  • Encourage conversation & discourse.
  • Consider asking your representatives to add their initials to posts.
  • Maintain a distinction between posts for your brand and personal posts by your reps.

 2) Social Media Is 100% Free.

Marketing-Content

Image Source: techpost.ug

This can be a common misconception. Yes there is almost never a cost to sign up to a social network however the natural evolution of your social media profiles will require time & resources, which as we know requires “moola moola”. True social media marketing success requires an investment of time. It requires consistent updates and posts, content creation, publication, searching and dialogue with other users.

Do not make the mistake of assuming social media is quick and easy. If you want any real success via these channels, then you need to maintain, update and use them properly. All of these things take time and time requires money.

It doesn’t end there either. Once you have a social media plan in place and the cogs are turning, the next step is marketing analytics. The only way to see if you are truly making any progress on social media is to measure the ROI. This as well, requires time, people and software.

There is no question that social media pays however it must be looked at as an investment and not simply a free ride.

Small-Business-Marketing

Social media is the fishing line and your website is the boat.

3) Social Media Alone Is Enough.

FALSE! False, false, false! Social media is a wonderful tool but it DOES NOT REPLACE other marketing strategies. Social media is simply an additional channel. It complements other parts of your strategy but it cannot stand alone.

If marketing is “fishing for leads”. Then consider social media to be the fishing line. It works great to hook potential customers, but you still need somewhere to reel them in to. A “boat” as it were. You must have a landing page, somewhere for those followers to go to find the information they need. You cannot convert social media followers to potential sales leads without a landing page(s).

Simply put you cannot attract followers in social media without good content. That content must come from somewhere, a blog, a website etc. You cannot convert followers into sales leads without landing pages (blog, website etc.) that provide necessary information and “can’t-refuse” offers.

Long story short: Get a website or other form of landing page (no Facebook does not count).

4. Social Media Cannot Be Measured.Marketing-Analytics

Everything can be measured. In fact one of the founding principles within every successful industry segment is “measurement”. Whether dealing with marketing, production, distribution or other, without measurement there is no way to determine the success of an endeavor and no way to determine whether to continue or not.

Social media is the same. As with every other marketing tool, social media can be measured.

So how do you measure? There are many ways, the first and primary step should be to set a goal and gauge your progress.  Here are a few examples:

  1. Seek to engage existing consumers and gauge the number of successful conversations.
  2. Create an offer only available on social media, then measure how many people attempt to cash it in within your business.
  3. Seek to gain new leads & set a quantity to reach by a specific date.
  4. Seek to increase the reach overall of your content. Measure using software and analytics tools built into that specific social media platform.
  5. Seek to support Customer Service by reducing the need for support calls. Measure how many calls are coming in and then compare as your social media profiles begin to take flight. Monitor to see if the average number of calls per month decrease over time.

Whatever you determine to be your goal, there is a way to measure it and that measurement is crucial.

social-media-followers

500 or 5000 followers. It doesn’t matter if none of them convert into leads.

5) Your Number of Followers Is The Most Important Metric.

A high number of followers can certainly be indication of doing something right. However followers don’t generate income. They are not sales, they do not pay your bills and they will not guarantee your business survival.

Also to be considered, is that every social media platform has a high number of “spam” profiles, essentially dummy profiles that follow you simply to be followed back. There is zero value in these profiles as they cannot be converted to leads.

Instead what you must consider, is what is most important to your business. Generating massive numbers of followers should not be a top priority. Rather you should focus on thoroughly engaging a smaller number of followers in order to transform them into leads and eventually into sales.

Okanagan-Marketing

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.

Avoid Sneaky Marketing Tactics

Bad-Marketing-Advertising

Always read the fine print. If an ad seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Does anyone else find it odd, that the fine print more or less contradicts the large print above it?

What is worse is that this ad targets consumers with eye sight issues.

That seems a little dirty Vision Express. If someone NEEDS an eye exam, are they even going to be able to read that fine print? We would love to presume that in the example above that this is part of the joke, but frankly it seems more like a bad ad execution.

“Always read the fine print. If an ad seems to good to be true, it probably is. This type of marketing is one to be avoided. It will tarnish your brand image.”

This is on par with the big box stores that proclaim an item to be just “$0.99” but then have a little font size 6 statement at the bottom that says “when purchasing six or more”.

It is legal and it is common for big businesses to use these type of tactics to sucker customers in. Legal it may be, however that doesn’t make it right,

We would mark this little piece of marketing as a fail. It comes off as underhanded and sneaky (and in fact the original poster of the image above, posted it to make this very point). It may sucker a few consumers, however it is morally questionable and savvy consumers will quickly learn not to trust you or your brand.

Those are our thoughts, what do you think?

What’s In A Name? Choosing Your Small Business Name

Hairdressers always seem to have the best business names!

When starting a new business, put care and effort into choosing a name. Changing it later can take time, effort and wind up confusing your existing customer base.

Choose a name that will be easy to market, that has meaning and that engages consumers.

Do some research and see if the name is already used elsewhere. Will you have I compete with them for use of the name? Will you have to work around them for registering for a website etc?

20130712-100725.jpg

A creative name can add impetus to your small business venture

Two Takeaways From JC Penney’s “Hitler” Kettle

Early last week this article appeared on several prominent websites.

20130605-075833.jpg

The “Hitler Kettle”. A rather unique kettle that through unusual circumstances shared a similar appearance to one of histories most loathsome individuals.

The rather unusual similarity was documents by The Telegraph, Mighty Optic Illusions and the New York Daily to name a few.

Just one glance at the image above is enough. The similarity between the infamous Austrian born dictator and this little kettle are indeed there.

Each of the articles we read on the matter indicated that JC Penney had indeed made an error and there would likely be fallout as a result. The amount of brand damage that was expected ranged in estimate.

However, we must remember the world we live in and the latest report is that this model of kettle sold out within days of the article first appearing online. As TIME documents well in their online article from May 29, the teakettle sold out in quick fashion.

Most recently one of these “Hitler Kettle’s” showed up on Ebay at a price of $199.00 (up from around $45 retail) others also appeared at prices ranging from $175 – $190 SOURCE

The mass online spread of the image above (and subsequently the novelty) is attributed of course to social media, including such sites as Reddit.

The conspiracy theorist in all of us is left wondering whether this was all just a bizarre series of events? Did JC Penney’s marketing team really not notice the similarities? Likely yes, unless you know to look for it, it is not necessarily apparent.

Or was this all a clever ruse & ploy that was executed in a rather bold fashion? We say… probably (and hopefully) not.

Two immediate takeaways from this rather unusual story are:

a. If there is a novelty, even perhaps an offensive one, it will likely have a market.

b. Online exposure clearly works wonders and social media again has proven its weight in the world of advertising and consumerism