Archive for the ‘Web Marketing’ Category

Branding - continuing 2

Friday, April 1st, 2005

What is the most recognised symbol in the western world?

The Eiffel Tower? Big Ben? Empire State Building?

Each of these is a poweful image, but the answer is no. It is the MacDonalds Arch. It spans countries, cultures, languages and age barriers. It is the most significant piece of product branding in history.

When you think about all of the change going on in our society, it has remained consistent for the last 20 years - you don’t mess with success. Most other organizations have changed their branding over the years - Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC, Honda and other Japanese car companies have created complete new lines like Acura or Lexus.

If you think about it, it is only the losers that change. Honda wanted to create an image of luxury - and even though they produce excellent cars, they felt they were trapped behind the brand. KFC wanted a snappy new name, and in these days of health concern to distance themsleves from ‘Fried’. The story goes on…….

Organizations spend billions of dollars a year on branding, and then making sure that brand gets exposure to the consumer.

This is fine for the mega corporation, but what can a smaller business learn from this?

The lesson is simple in concept. You need to create an icon for your organization, and then use it consistently in all of your communications. Even though they are using a shortened title, the KFC logo is still the colonel, Mercedes Benz has their very distinctive trisected circle, Macdonalds has the Arch. Each is very simple, but in its own way very unique.

Some use their name - Ford is a perfect example, but their the font used is consistent and very distinctive - same is true for Walmart. Some use their intials - UPS or NASA come to mind.

What is true in each case, is that they are simple and distinctive and are product independent. Ford’s logo has nothing to do with automotive, Macdonalds isn’t a small hamburger and the Shell sign certainly has nothing to do with petroleum. That way they are not trapped as their business matures.

Does your logo work for you?

If you would like a free consultation on Branding then please contact us and we would happy to advise you.

Branding

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Having a web site is no different than having a brick and mortar store. Irrespective of whether you are selling services, products, widgets or yourself, the same principles apply to on-line as brick and mortar with one significant difference and that is time.

If you have a brick and mortar store, once a person actually enters your store then you have at least a little time to make an impression. Having taken the trouble to open the door and step in, they are likely to at least spend a minute or two looking around before they leave. Your decor, your goods and services, your displays and the look and feel of your organization are all factors in that initial impression.

With a web site, the amount of time you have is very limited. Studies show that if you don’t attract a potential clients attention with something within 15 seconds, then they will click away and go elsewhere. Thats like the equivalent of attracting someones attention as they drive passed at 30 miles an hour.

To that end, you have to spend a significant amount of time and your budget working on your home page. This is your store window to the world, and you have to attract your potential clients attention so that they will come in. Once you have got them passed the entry page, your job is a little easier, but those first 15 seconds are crucial. Pay per click campaigns may bring potential clients to your front door, but if you don’t sell your message then the campaign is worse than useless.

Over the next few articles, we will be introducing how you brand your web site and successfully get them into your world. We will talk about colour schemes and how you co-ordinate your site with the product or service you are selling, and we will talk about writing attractive copy.

If you would like a free analysis of your web site, then please contact us and we would happy to advise you.

E-mail - has it lost its way?

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

Judging by the number of unrequested e-mails that arrive in my inbox everytime I log on, the world is filled with hustlers trying to sell me everything from cheap drugs to cheap mortgages to highly dubious sex toys. It is an avalanche of garbage, which very quickly gets consigned to the waste bin. I’ve set up e-mail rules to filter some of this out - but still there is a significant amount that creeps through and clogs up my in-basket.

There are the get rich schemes that seem to be originating in Nigeria, where someone has found my esteemed name and would like to give me a million dollars for helping them free up a ridiculous amount of money trapped in some backwater regime.

There are the viruses - at least two a day that my virus scanner does a pretty decent job of catching, and to be safe, I never open an attachment these days without scanning it.

Which brings me back to the starting point - has e-mail lost its way?

Certainly it has become as much of a pain to sort through e-mails as it does having your fax machine clogged up by cheap travel offers, or all of the unsolicited garbage that drops through your mail slot. Personally, I find it even more invasive than the hard copy material - at least with that, someone had to spend money to create flyers and the post office staff are gainfully employed delivering it. Junk e-mail just sets my teeth grating, and when the next poorly spelled missive manages to sneak passed my e-mail rules, the delete key takes significant punishment.

SPAM legislation seemed to have a short run effect with the volumes dropping significantly for a short while, but they seem to be back to the epidemic proportions that pre-dated this legislation.

So is e-mail a legitmate marketing tool any more?

The answer to that is a qualified yes. The statistics still show that e-mail campaigns are cost-effective ways of getting your message out but like any other marketing campaign - you have to be selective and targeted. If you mass e-mail everyone on the planet with a broadcast about your product, then quite frankly you deserve to be locked up in a rubber room with the sounds of Lawrence Welk being played 24 hours a day.

When you create your e-mail campaign, you have to decide who your target audience should be, and craft your message to that audience. The more focussed your target audience is, the higher your chances of getting your message over. Purchasing e-mail lists from on-line sources is not a way to go here. While I’m sure there are some reputable vendors of this information, I certainly haven’t found them.

Our sources are usually taken from information we have gathered from our web-sites. At least that way we know that there is some degree of interest, and we’ll be discussing how you capture that infomation in a later article.

Next - you have to get through the junk filters. The first rule is that you send one e-mail to one person. If you have to buy software to enable you to do this, then go ahead, but the fastest way to kill a program is by sending one e-mail to multiple recipients. I won’t guarantee success with any campaign - but by breaking this rule - I’ll guarantee failure.

The next obstacle is to attract attention, and here is where your subject line comes in. You probably have a total of 40 characters to get your message across and make someone want to open that e-mail. There are two things that you need to do here - firstly you have to identify your organization and the second is to show WIFT (whats in it for them). Short and sweet - once you get the person to open the e-mail you are more than half way home.

We will continue this later!