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4 Marketing Tricks to Achieve Top of Mind Awareness

How to Achieve Top of Mind Awareness graphicYour customers are making buying decisions every day based on one factor: who comes to mind. Whether they’re choosing a restaurant for date night, planning a wedding, birthday shopping or looking for entertainment when the rambunctious cousins come for a visit, the decision making process is the same. Suggestions are batted around based on businesses that come to mind. So how you get your brand to pole vault into your customer’s subconscious?

Who Comes to Mind? Defining Top of Mind Awareness

What does it take to rank in the top of the class? When it comes to top of mind awareness brands will qualify under one of three conditions:

1. A Perennial Favorite. Everyone has a favorite restaurant, clothing store, hair salon, etc. The only way to increase your chances of getting in under this condition is to consistently provide great products and customer service to all your customers. You will make the cut for some of them and become a perennial favorite.

2. A Lingering Bad Taste. You’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.” Well this is it. This is top of mind, but not in a good way. These are not your potential customers as you are only coming to mind for negative reasons. This is Santa’s naughty list and you don’t want to be on it.

3. The Right Exposure. This is the condition where you can drive the train. This is your chance for top of mind awareness, and it is within your control. The more frequently your customer is exposed to your brand, the more likely they are to do business with you. As you increase your exposure you build brand awareness.

Let me say that again. By increasing your brand exposure, you build brand awareness. That’s the ultimate goal. So what are some ways to do that?

Marketing and advertising are the most traditional ways to build brand awareness. It makes sense, right? Let me give you a little test. Shout out the first brand that comes to mind when I say pizza? How about insurance? OK, here’s a tough one. What do you think of when I say shoes? It’s a pretty safe bet that you answered with a nationally known brand name. Why? Because you encounter their advertising daily, thus dramatically increasing your exposure, and hijacking their brands to the top of your mind.

You’re probably wondering, “How can I achieve top of mind awareness if my brand isn’t as large as Dominos, and my pockets aren’t as deep as Nike?” While there is an advantage to filling broadcast media, magazines and billboards with your logo it can pull the cork on your piggy bank. But that’s not the solution I’m going to suggest.

You don’t have to take out a second mortgage to build top of mind awareness. One reason social media is gaining in popularity for advertisers is because it builds brand awareness without the expense of traditional media. But it does come with a price tag. Your time. By investing your time into building up your Facebook fan page, and talking with followers on Twitter, you can use social media to improve brand awareness. The more often you engage your fans the more familiar you become.

How to Achieve Top of Mind Awareness Using Social Media

My secret weapon for earning top of mind awareness is niche marketing. When you cast a large net you can waste a lot of time and resources in search of a big catch. But if you focus on a smaller fishing hole, and use your best lures, you’re more likely to reel in a keeper. Follow these four steps to improve your brand awareness.

1. Target a niche group of customers. Design a marketing campaign for a small group, maybe it’s your local Twitter followers, or the neighborhood that surrounds your business. A smaller, more targeted approach feels more personal, and will be easier to engage with your customers.

2. Build up brand awareness with regular communication. If you’re using social media post frequently and at different times of day to capture audience attention. Sending an email campaign? Establish a frequency and format your customers can depend on. Same goes with direct mail.

3. Seek and share feedback. Customers love to feel appreciated. Ask for their opinion on new products. Collect and share testimonials from happy clients. A new customer is encouraged to learn there are happy customers out there.

4. Reward frequency. Every business wants, dare I say needs, regular customers. So why are new clients the ones who receive the discounted rates? It’s much more difficult to bring in a new customer than it is to keep an old one. Offer a free product or discounted service to your best customers and ensure they continue coming back. The more often they visit your business, the higher you rank on top of mind awareness.

Have you discovered any marketing techniques that help rocket your business to the top? Share them in the comments!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Marketing, Social Media

 

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How to Use Negative Space to Improve Your Advertising

What’s the biggest mistake you can make when designing an advertisement for your business? Over-stuffing. Oh, you know what I’m talking about. If the last ad you produced was packed like a suitcase on a 3-week safari, then you’re guilty as charged. But relief is on the way. I’m going to give you one simple tip that will improve your D.I.Y. design skills overnight.

Focus on the Negative

Negative space, that is. Also referred to as “white space” it’s the empty space in your design. The area that surrounds the important copy, image or logo. Negative space allows the eyes to rest, focuses on the message and improves retention.

Imagine a garden that’s planted so snug that every flower is straining for light, food and water, and no one notices their individual beauty. Or, perhaps you can relate to a closet so full of clothes, purses and shoes that you can never find anything to wear. Why? Because there’s not a square inch of space that hasn’t been filled with clutter.

Like a garden, or a closet, our ideas need breathing room. If you clear away the extraneous debris, and unnecessary information, the concepts we’re trying to express come into focus. In advertising, negative space is that solution.

What’s so important about Negative Space in advertising?

As a designer it’s all about building a balanced composition. Like ying and yang, the negative space helps to balance the positive. For the advertiser that means drawing attention to the ad’s message. And for the reader it’s welcome relief from all the action on the page. Which is a bonus for you if they’re resting their eyes on your products now isn’t it?

When you’re designing a display ad, short TV spot, even a website, it’s easy to start filling every inch of space with information. Logos, address, phone number, email, website, free offer, taglines…STOP. Even this list is boring to read.

I can see your eyes widen in disbelief, like looking in the mirror when you first wake up. It’s not a pretty picture, but you recognize the reflection. That’s OK. We’re going to fix it.

How to use Negative Space to Improve your Advertising

1. Choose a Focal Point: Select a singular focus for each ad or promotional piece to ensure your reader gets the point without a lot of confusion. Just because you have a fax number and a twitter ID doesn’t mean it needs to appear on every piece you create.

It’s important to remember this: one ad can’t be all things to all people. That’s why there are thousands of opportunities to engage your target market.

An ad in a local magazine or newspaper should focus on their readers and what your business can do for them today. It doesn’t matter that you have 15 locations world-wide and are open 7 days a week if you’re promoting a One-Day In-Store Sale. One ad = one relevant subject, period.

“It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry

2. Let it Breathe: I realize that ad space is valuable, and often paid for by the inch. So why should you leave that space blank instead of loading it with information? To punctuate your message. A little breathing room around that Special Offer or perfect product shot gives you the super power of controlling the readers eyes. Magically their focus is drawn to your message. And without the extra distractions, your message gets top priority in their memory.

Have you ever noticed it’s much easier to remember a telephone number you just heard than, say, a 10-digit bank account number? That’s because our short-term memory uses a technique called “chunking” to make it easier to recall long bits of data. This works in advertising too. When you insert negative space into your ad it breaks up the message into manageable chunks which are easier to remember. Business identity, focal point, contact info. Enough said.

So how do you know this technique works?

Got Milk ad image

Got Milk Campaign (copyright 2009 gotmilk.com)

Consider some of the most successful national ad campaigns as an example. Got Milk? The message is simple. One photographic subject, one headline and a short bite of copy. They’re paying for a full page color ad, when the content could fit on a quarter-page. But without the negative space around the actor it wouldn’t be as effective.

Or how about the power of the Nike “Just Do It” ads. All the drama of action-packed sports is captured in a freeze-frame image of one athlete mid-air with the phrase, Just Do It and the signature swoosh. The negative space doesn’t always have to be “white,” it just has to be plain. You want the subject to be more memorable than the background.

Now that you know what I’m talking about you’ll start to notice these ads jumping off the page when you’re reading a magazine. And with the steps above you’ll be able to transform your advertising into attention grabbing masterpieces too.

As they say, sometimes less is more. And when it comes to ad design it’s OK to focus on the negative…space that is.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2010 in Design

 

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KISS Your Way to Better Advertising

You’ve heard it before, Keep It Simple, Stupid. But do you know how to apply the principle when it comes to your marketing strategy?

“It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry

When faced with a small display ad, short TV spot, even a website, it’s easy to start filling every inch of space with information. Logos, address, phone, email, website, free offer, taglines…STOP. Even this list is boring to read.

So how do you apply the K.I.S.S. approach to your campaign?

Focus: One singular focus for each ad or promotional piece will ensure your reader gets the point without a lot of confusion. Just because you have a fax number and a twitter ID doesn’t mean it needs to appear on every piece you create.

Cut: Even with a focused concept you still need to edit. One great way to add clarity is to cut copy. If you need help, check out this article on How to Write with a Knife.

Be Clear: Don’t lose your customers with complex industry jargon or a lengthy description of your business philosophy. Get to the point. Simplify your campaign, simplify your life.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2009 in Design, Marketing

 

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