Marketing in the flesh – Personalised Marketing Materials
In the age of social media marketing and pay per click advertisements, it’s easy to forget that marketing to an audience in the real world is also a very effective way to make an impression on customers- both potential and existing. This can take a variety of forms, so we thought we’d provide a few ideas and reminders of how to use real world situations and audiences to get your brand and message across with your marketing.
Along side the typical arrangement of products, seasonal or event oriented displays are a great way of joining in a larger conversation and making sure that passers by don’t get to over familiar with a display by keeping it fresh. The fashion industry is a great example of how this can work, with frequently changing leading products in the window, along side dressing to reflect the change in season. Red and yellow leaves in the autumn (such as seen here: http://www.plantartbespoke.co.uk/catalogue/images/artificial-autumn-birch-tree_large.jpg) and beach balls and sun loungers in the summer are typical examples of ways fashion retailers look to add interest and topicality to their displays for passers by.
For new shops, a more extravagant approach can pay dividends. Think of adding attention grabbing colour and a sense of occasion to your opening, marking out to potential consumers that there’s something new on offer. A balloon arch over a doorway is an eye catching way to draw in visitors from the passing footfall and announce your presence, whether it’s for an opening or a special occasion. In the below example from Funky Muppet an Italian themed spiral arch matches the New York Italian theme of a Frankie and Benny’s restaurant celebrating its 1st birthday. As in this example, these displays are a great way to communicate your brand through colour and decoration. This is also an interesting option to get attention and to make an impression at trade events where you’re competing in a vast space of other stalls.
Video for Web Marketing – What are your options?
Video is becoming an increasingly necessary marketing tool, particularly online. Studies have demonstrated that a social media post with video content is more likely to travel further in terms of impressions made, as well as increasing chances of virality. In part this is due to human nature, with those receiving content preferring to have information fed to them in video format rather than reading- call it ease or laziness but it’s the typical behaviour of an online audience. To compliment this, Facebook is one platform which studies have suggested prioritise video content in their algorithm when delivering content to those who follow branded pages. Increasing reach in Facebook can be achieved by uploading video content directly to the platform rather than sharing from an exterior platform through an embedded link.
Studies have also shown improved SEO performance from video, so with such importance placed on this method of communication, we thought we’d summarise some of the options available for different styles and purposes of corporate or marketing video content.
The whiteboard video is a medium which has proliferated over recent years. First becoming used widely in the mid to late naughties, they are a simple means of communicating ideas through a combination of animation and explanatory voice-over. These are a great format for explaining ideas in a visually appealing way and have been used to cover ideas from political theory to story telling in business to consumer marketing.
The use of arrows to give direction to a story renders this medium is being particularly good for outlining processes and procedures in a chain, whilst the often cartoonish drawings which are part of the presentation are suggestive of school days and the classroom, just like the whiteboard format would suggest. Whilst these were initially very expensive to produce, with hours of animation and photography work, the new digitally created animations are less time consuming to produce and can offer much of the appeal of the original videos whilst reducing costs. Here are some examples from London based specialists Doodle Direct Doodle Direct - our work
This is a broader category of videos which involve animation in numerous forms, but are not restricted to the tradition and format of the whiteboard video. Both 2-D and 3-D animations are both options, with different suitability. 2D animations are great for telling simple stories, demonstrating an idea through the use of appealing and colourful characters or for motion graphics or animated text work.
3D animation, whilst a more expensive option, is a great idea for communicating marketing ideas which pertain to more complex visual demonstration or story telling. For development work for example, animation is a great way to visualise potential of a space in 3D. For new architectural work or urban development this is a useful tool to sell an idea or show how a design will fit together. 3D animation is also perfect for telling stories in a more dynamic way, with eye catching action as well as character use and narrative. Here’s a good example of work from Motiv Productions based in Manchester, who use 3D animation to explain the concept of a car club in a modern urban space which is brought to life in the video.
Whilst working with animation whether in a whiteboard format or not can be a complex and expensive process, often using the assets you have is a far more cost effective means of getting your message across. If you are working with a photogenic site or picturesque landscape then use this to your advantage. It makes more sense to show this than to hide it with animation. In this video from Leeds based Manto Films the historic city of York and the delicious looking treats of the afternoon tea at Betty’s take centre stage and the location can take centre stage. Using real footage is not only cheaper but in these circumstances is a far better option to showcase the qualities of the product.
Most of video used in television of interrupting advertising (such as ads on Youtube, Dailymotion and other video sharing platforms) are live action rather than animated. Live action footage is also typically a better option for testimonial and case study video, as well as naturally being the trusted medium to record and share live events.
One size doesn't fit all - co packing services for hazardous products
Different products require very different types of packaging, especially when it comes to hazardous or corrosive products. Thanks to the wide range of co packing services droinow available throughout the UK, you'll find that there's a product packaging available for your sector.
Packaging for personal care products
The personal care sector covers everything from hair care products such as shampoo and conditioner, through to bath salts, make up or hair dyes. Personal care products can present a range of challenges when it comes to packaging as the packaging used needs to be leak-proof and robust, yet attractive enough to make the product inside stand out from the rest. A range of different styles of packaging are suitable for personal care products, including bottles, tubs, jars, sachets and pouches. Hair dyes, medicines and health care products require specialist packaging that is designed to be tamper proof with child proof caps and lids.
Caring for pets isn't just about buying food and the market for pet care products such as shampoos is now huge. Finding attractive packaging that's designed contain pet care products is relatively simple and a range of different options can be used depending on the product type. Bottles, sachets and pouches are all appropriate for pet shampoos and cat litter deodorisers.
Household productsFinding suitable packaging for household products presents a unique set of problems: it should be leak proof and strong enough to prevent the potentially harmful products inside from leaking and causing damage or even injury to consumers. The range of household products is vast and can cover everything from air fresheners and carpet freshener powder, through to hazardous cleaning products including bleach, disinfectant and oven cleaners. A wide range of packaging designs are suitable, including bottles, sachets and pouches; however some products will need to be packaged in containers which have been fitted with child-safety caps or lids.
Garden care products
The garden care product category covers some extremely hazardous products including weed killer, fertiliser and vermin poison. With this in mind, garden care products call for robust packaging that's designed to be tamper resistant and to include safety features such as child safety caps. Garden care products should also be strong and leak-proof.
Car care products
A wide range of car care products are available, including car shampoos and waxes, glass and interior cleaners, coolant products, fuel, fuel additives and oil. Some car products can prove very hazardous indeed and especially in the case of fuel and fuel additives, call for tough packaging that won't leak and is designed not to spill easily. Bottles, sachets and pouches are all suitable for most car care products but fuel needs to be packaged in specially designed containers.
Advertising on a shoestring?
Despite the fact that we’re being told that the UK is finally coming out of recession, many small businesses are still struggling to keep their heads above the water and if you’re finding it hard to stay in the black, it can be tempted to slash your spending on advertising. However, rather than blowing your entire annual advertising budget on just one double-page advert in your local paper, it’s much better to save money and make your money work harder by using a number of smaller, cheaper advertising options.
Whilst blowing the budget on just one newspaper advert, using your local press to your advantage can prove very lucrative indeed. There are a number of ways you can do this: classified adverts are relatively cheap but to really raise your profile, writing a press release is a great, and free, way to let hundreds of potential customers know who you are and what you sell.
Business cards are an often overlooked advertising tool and by making the most of yours will help you reach new contacts and reinforce those you already have. Make sure you always carry plenty of business cards with you; enough to give two to each contact so they can keep one themselves and another to pass on.
Branded merchandising is another, relatively low-cost way to advertise your products or services. Use a marketing company around the Leeds areaif you want to be sure.... However, to be successful, it’s important that you only use items that your clients or customers will actually use and that you give away your merchandise at every possible opportunity. Steer clear of completely useless items and remember that people often appreciate a free pen or key ring but are likely to find gimmicky items annoying. The cost of buying branded merchandise can be surprisingly cheap and it’s worth bearing in mind that savings can be made by ordering in bulk.
The notice boards you see in supermarket entrances and by the checkouts aren’t just for advertising second-hand bikes or furniture; a very cheap (often free - see Small Business Computing articles) way to raise your profile, placing an advert on a supermarket board can help you reach new customers. Make sure your advert is concise, eye-catching and conveys your unique selling point.
Advertising on public transport isn’t as expensive as you might think. The majority of taxi and bus companies now carry advertising and when you consider that many thousands of people will see your advert every day, investing in this type of advertising can reap significant rewards. However, this form of advertising doesn’t work for all business and if you’re based in a rural area and are hoping to reach local customers, for example, it’s likely to better to consider other options.
Last and by no means least, don’t overlook printed flyers, designed to be posted through customers’ letterboxes. Printing flyers usually costs under £100 for around 250 if you design them yourself but obviously the costs will be higher if you have them professionally designed. Make sure you include contact deals and a clearly defined unique selling and point and you should find that your flyers bring in plenty of new enquiries.
Using Photography in Marketing and Web Design
There’s a long established understanding in marketing and design that audiences respond to ‘people’. Faces are very important to building trust and communication with audiences, being an image that we’ve evolved to respond to. Portraiture and lifestyle photography then, can play a vital role in the impression that’s created by your marketing materials and in website design, offering reassurance and a human connection with a product or service.
This blog from Usabilla looks more closely at the effect of human faces on web design. It explores how faces are chosen to grab attention and to control the emotional response to content or advertising. Because we instinctively respond to other faces in an emotional sense, this makes it easier to begin to use them to tell stories about products and services, and to achieve an understanding with an audience of how your offering could benefit them. Audiences are known to respond to the emotional elements of a product more so than factual information, selling the story convincingly in this regard requires a human sensibility and by placing people in the consumer’s position they start to relate to the story within your marketing.
In terms of their use in design, faces can be used to guide the eye through a piece of design, to draw attention to a specific area, or to influence the order that information is absorbed in. They can also help in dictating the emotional atmosphere within a piece of design, to create a sense of excitement, joy or relaxation for example. Because we instinctively read emotions from the faces of other people, this has a subtle influence on how we understand the atmosphere of a website and this can bring out an emotional association with a product or brand.
Whilst there is a great opportunity to use human faces in design and marketing to use the intuitive response of audiences to your advantage, you need to ensure that the photography you capture is believable and authentic. If your photography is corny and lacking reality and credibility then you will struggle to bring about the desired emotional response from the viewer.
Specialist in business portraiture and commercial lifestyle photography Paul Craig [www.paulcraigphotography.comnotes on his site that he looks to take a photo journalistic approach to capturing people in a business or lifestyle setting. This is true of office portraiture and organic feeling lifestyle photography. By putting the subjects at ease and allowing them to be absorbed into the task or situation at hand is important in creating a credible end results. If the photography lacks a sense of reality and doesn’t feel natural then it won’t inspire trust from its audience, which is the chief objective.
Using people as subjects of photography and in web design offers several advantages and allows designers and marketers to utilise the way that audiences instinctively respond to faces. If credible and used thoughtfully this is a great opportunity, however working with a professional or someone with the right skill or experience is absolutely vital to the execution.
Is your website letting your business down?
It's all too easy to get the design of a website wrong and unfortunately all too many small businesses fail to recognise the importance of having a well-designed, user-friendly website that showcases their brand, products or services.
When your potential customers are searching online, the chances are that they'll simply stumble across your website by accident; instead they are likely to be searching for a solution to a problem. Take a good look at your website and if the home page is all 'me, me, me' it needs to be changed so that it demonstrates that you care about what your customers want by offering them a solution. For example, if you run a garden landscaping business, a website which tells potential clients all about you is no good - what they really need to know is what you offer and is it right for them.
Another pitfall is boring, run-of-the-mill stock imagery. Avoid this at all costs as what really attracts customers and makes your business look authentic and authoritative is good quality, original photographs which demonstrate what you do and reflect your brand or company image.
A website that's full of fresh, new content is vital as by leaving out-of-date news on display for all to see says nothing to your customers. By ensuring that your website is continuously updated you'll be able to engage with your customers whilst building trust in your products or services. Effective, relatively simple ways to do this include a newsletter section or blog posts. Don't forget the importance of offering to keep in touch and then doing so; social media such as Twitter and Facebook are great ways to do this.
Don't try to be all things to everyone as this won't help you win new customers or clients. Let visitors to your site know exactly what your niche is and what you're offering: by demonstrating you are an expert in your field you'll help build confidence in your brand or services.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to website design is that your website shouldn't simply be a sales brochure. Don't forget that not all visitors to your site will want to buy your products immediately and if you want to generate viable, productive leads, your website needs to do more than simply present the basics about who you are, what you do and what you're selling.
If you're serious about using your website as a powerful marketing tool, using the services of a professional website design and digital marketing company will prove to be very worthwhile investment. You'll find that that there are companies throughout the UK offering such services designed for small businesses, with a range of options available to suit most budgets and requirements. So rather than being embarrassed by your website, don't you think it's time you turned it around so that it boosts your business, rather than hinders it?
How could video marketing help your business?
Video marketing is rapidly becoming one of the most popular methods of marketing for small businesses and if you haven't jumped on the video bandwagon yet, you need to make a start on making your first marketing video.
Tablets and smartphones have become an integral part of daily life and we now rely on them to provide instant information. As a result, the popularity of video marketing has rocketed thanks to its eye-catching content and upbeat music, all designed to grab our attention in our increasingly fast-paced world.
It's well worth bearing in mind that video is shared more than any other form of online content and a recent survey has revealed that when consumers are given the opportunity to view a marketing video, they are more inclined to buy a product or use a service.
In addition, as a result of the increased use of video viewing platforms such as You Tube, creating video content is easier than ever before. Video editing, recording equipment and professional video marketing are all more affordable these days which means the cost of making videos is continuing to drop. All this adds up to making video fantastic marketing tool, ideal for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Before embarking on your first video marketing project you'll need to take time to think about your objectives and what you want to achieve. For example, you might want to think about whether you're hoping to raise customer awareness of your products or services, increase customer loyalty or to attract increased traffic to your website, just like the Marketing Doctor.
Marketing videos should be as short as possible with a script that's snappy and sticks to your key message or objectives. The perfect length for a marketing video is around 60 seconds - this might sound short but this is the optimum time for keeping the attention of the viewer. You'll also need to consider a number of practical issues such as the setting for your video, who will present it or if you think a voiceover would be more appropriate. This is where a video production company can come in and with professional video production services costing as little as £40 for a one minute video, working with a video marketing expert can be well worth the expense to ensure a professional result.
Your marketing video will be easier for potential customer or clients to share if you ensure it's embedded onto a digital platform such as a blog site. Once embedded, your video will also bring additional benefits in terms of SEO. Last and by no means least, for additional impact, don't forget to post links to your promotional videos on social media and then, fingers crossed, your followers will share your video and the rest is history! The perfect way to grab your customer's attention in our increasingly busy world, video marketing is the cost-effective marketing tool with the power to boost sales and raise the profile of your products or brand.
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