Is Politics Good For Business?

Open Numbers 27 Oct 2014Let me be clear, not just business but marketing your product or service via email marketing.  Here is the set up:

Each week we send out an email newsletter with the guest list for our daily business broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour. (You can take a peek at it here if you wish.)  The system we use, Emma, gives us feedback on how our email newsletter ranks against others using a ten-point scale.  The image here is the response from our October 27th send where it was opened by about 29 percent of the people to whom it was sent.  Now, remember, this is just before the election in November.

This past week we sent out our weekly newsletter and this image is from Open Numbers 25 Nov 2014that mailing.  About 33 percent of the people opened the newsletter and, as you can see the ranking moved from 7.2 to 8.4.

Our take from this?  During the election cycle, and shortly after, there is so much "in-box-email-fatigue" that many folks simply delete, delete, delete.

And, that...if you are marketing using bad for business.  In fact, we'll go out on a limb and suggest that nearly any and all advertising/marketing done during the election cycle is bad for business because so many consumers are...tired.

So, what to do?  That's a great question for you to answer.  Got a tip?

We've got several suggestions but open to what you might think.  Go!





Oh Those Banner Ads

We're not fans of banner ads mostly because the actual click through rate is lousy and, for the most part, banner ads are major distractions.  And, now Error 404 that some outlets are focusing on "pop-up" banner ads it's really distracting.

However, they are revenue.  And, for folks who create, sell, and push banner advertising we understand.

Our recommendation is that unless the media company is GIVING you the banner ad to make the sale.  Forget about it.  Here's why:

There are better ways to getting consumers to notice your product or service:

  • Engagement - Advertising/Marketing takes work. Simply buying an ad (any ad) can be a waste of time and money if you don't have the engagement behind the advertising.  Talk to your customers...more;
  • Video - When we look at click through rates (CTR) for banner ads it comes in at about 0.11 %. However when you look at the CTR for mobile video a staggering 11.8 %.
  • Native Advertising - This is organic marketing that simply engages the consumer and feels "natural" in the digital stream. We like a bunch and when combined with rocks.

Basic to all of this is that you must know to whom you are marketing. If you know your consumer you can drive more in that direction.  And, in this case if you are selling a specific into a specific market perhaps banner ads will work.  Know thy customer!

Here's a link to the Click Through Rates in Digital Advertising.

Thanks for reading!






Don't Marry Them!!!

So, should you link your Facebook Page to your Twitter account so each Man Woman Wedding Cake time you post something on Facebook it hits your Twitter Stream.


We're not purists, but while Facebook and Twitter are both social media channels they are different beasts. In our experience Twitter is more about quick thoughts, news, pushing a blog post, responding to other feeds and learning.  Facebook is, for us, so much more social, friend to friend

On Facebook you can ramble on about your thoughts, photos, experiences but on Twitter you've got 140 characters and that means you have to be succinct. 

We think your posts should be separate.  When we're watching the Twitter Stream and a FB Post know that we know...right?  And a third of the way through your thought you ask us to head to your FB page.

Better that you create your Facebook Post and then distill your thoughts for Twitter. Besides, and we hate to say it...linking up your FB and Twitter sorta...lazy.






"Our bad!"

Recently I was at an annual meeting for a professional group and the CEO, during a Man Cut Expensesreview of the past year's efforts, said, "Several years ago we made the decision, in a cost cutting move, to reduce and finally eliminate our marketing budget. The result has been a loss of recognition among consumers. Our bad!"

I get it.  Times were tough.  The recession hit us all and often the first, but the wrong, budget item to cut

Had this group been our client we would have told them what we told our clients during this time, "Whatever you do, please, do not reduce the amount of  money you are spending on R&D or on marketing.  Why? Because you will, and I promise, you will grow business and steal market share from others."

And, I was right.  The clients who listened had eight to ten percent growth each of those rough three years.

For the companies who cut R&D and Marketing they now face an uphill battle.  Their budget does not reflect a line item for marketing and now, just to "catch up" they are going to have to spend...plenty.

Sometimes "stay the course" isn't in the best interest of business. But, history has shown us, time after time, that during rough economic times those companies that continue to be agressive in their marketing...grow and yes, steal market share.

Just a reminder....



What can we do?

Man Paper AirplaneThat was the honest question asked by a new blogger.  "What can we do to get our company blog post out there more?"  

They wanted to know if others would re-post their blogs or if other bloggers might use their content or if somebody in publishing might pick up their blog for some technical information.

Here is the reality:  Other bloggers might pick up another company blog IF it has amazing content. The blog might get re-posted IF there is some really interesting content that helps others. The media might pick up the blog if, once again, there is some great content that they might not have access to.

Notice the one word "content".

To be fair, we had not seen this corporate blog until we got the email and once we clicked through and found it...

Lesson #1 about blogging:  Quit selling!  When your company blog is simply a sales message about what you can do or what you have for sale or how wonderful your service is...nobody will pick it up or re-post other than friends (maybe) and family (maybe).

Three tips on content:

Be Helpful - You might have the very best product on the market but if you are seen as constantly selling turns folks off.  Better to tell a story about how your product or service truly helped somebody that needed it. Story telling is powerful.

Be Sincere - The days of the "Snake Oil Salesman" are long gone. (Unless you are in politics it seems.) Better to help people understand how you can fix a problem they have and be factual.  

Be Easy - A blog post should not scream at the reader.  It can be funny, helpful, informative but bold type, various hot colors in the text don't cut it.

One more?  For your blog post to "get out there" you must post more than three times a month. Honest...

Now, go "Get Out There!"

Thanks for reading...


The Power of Sharing

Our agency Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is the fuel behind the daily business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour where we report on Yarn ONE usethe business news of the nation, region and the Des Moines Metro. 

Along with the business news of the day we also have a business interview or two.

One of the things we do is, following the interview, we send to the business we've just interviewed the link to the Radio Blog, the Podcast Page and several photos.  We tell our guests they can use them however they wish.  They can post on Facebook, on
their own website, share on Twitter...whatever it takes to get even more benefit out of their time behind the microphone.  Yarn Two

Here is a great example of doing it all well: (Go ahead and click the images!)

On October 15 we interviewed Beth Rowles from the Yarn Junction located in Valley Junction in West Des Moines.  Since then her interview has been downloaded over 500 times!  Here is a screen shot of our Podcast Page with the numbers clearly shown:

How was she able to boost the value of her 10 minute interview?

She did exactly as we suggested.  She placed a photo of her doing the broadcast on her website along with the interview...see.

Yarn threeThen she went to Facebook where she posted the same thing and notice that there were 1
3 shares of her post...which no doubt accounted for more downloads and listens.

Clearly she "got it" when it came to boosting the value of her time in studio and she did exactly as we suggested.  

Nice job Beth and Crew!!  Oh, you want to see that screen shot of her Facebook Page too?  

Here you go, click on the image. 


How to turn ten minutes into so much is the Power of Sharing!  Something for your business to remember when you've been in front of the media and you want to extend the value of your opportunity!



The New RAGBRAI Logo

When we first saw the 2015 RAGBRAI Logo we LOVED it! And, because Soviet Ag Poster (some of us are old enough to recognize some historical things) it looked faintly like a Soviet Agricultural Poster from the Stalin Era. See...

That made it all the better...great lines and the "red star" made it even more attractive. (Commies....)

Then our friends from the "cycling community" started to voice concerns, "It looks like the tractor is running over a bicycle!" was the most 
RAGBRAI Logo 2015common.  And, indeed, if you look at the logo with that does.

"News Flash!" (Yep, the words of the RAGBRAI Director...) Clearly the Des Moines Register graphic design folks must have read the piece written by our friend Kyle Munson just days before the logo reveal (maybe not) which centered on the killing of a cyclist in Calhoun County early this year.  The judge set down the maximum penalty under Iowa Law, $1,500.  If you didn't read that you can listen in to a segment of the Business News Hour where it was discussed. 

Did we happen to mention that Iowa has fallen in the rankings of "bicycle friendly states" from 6th most friendly to...25th?

But, this isn't about the pitiful way in which Iowa treats its cyclists.  Or how many folks in Rural Iowa think bicycles have no place on the roads of our state.  Nope, it's about the logo...which, by the way, we still like.

Now, if only, we could get more folks in Iowa to love cycling for more than the dollars it brings some of our hamlets, THAT would be super!




Mobile Doesn't Matter?

Being able to connect your message with your target consumer has never My Emma Opens Desk vs Mobile been easier or more complicated.  We've got all sorts of tools from email campaigns, traditional media, social media and so much more. That's why these latest statistics are so important.

We've been telling our clients, and anybody else who might listen, that having the ability for your message to be seen and understood by mobile devices is so critical. And, I've got proof (I know, you like the proof part.)

We do a weekly newsletter that highlights our guest list for the daily business broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.  The percentage of people who open the email is pretty good, averaging about 34%.  How they are getting the email is even more astounding:  About 36% of the folks who open the newsletter do so on...wait for

Mobile is responsible for over a third of our readers.

So, how about you?  Can your message be seen by your target market? Can your website be used by your target market?


Mobile Matters...

Need some help getting there?  Ask your local advertising agency or give us a to chat about the opportunity! 




Why would you want to start a new business?  It's a fair question and one we asked Joe Shields MPL talking 21 August 2014ourselves when we launched the only business news broadcast in the region. After all, does the Metro really need another news/talk outlet?

The answer on that is a firm "No!"

And, judging by this article about "Oversaturation", we were right when we launched and said, "This is non toxic-talk radio".  This is the business news of the nation, region and Des Moines Metro without the shouting and finger pointing.

The article mentions "listener fatigue" because what you'll often hear on "news/talk" stations is the same old thing, outrage and silliness. And, listeners are tired.

When we launched Insight on Business the News Hour last year our goal was, and is, to give voice to the owner/managed businesses that would never get a chance to tell their story in a broadcast.  To provide news that is not only informative but also useful in the business environment.  To celebrate the large and the small and be even handed.

Why?  Because nobody in the broadcast world was doing it.  Nobody, and that would make it...."under-saturated".

Thanks for the opportunity!




The Numbers...Just Stop It!

This is severely going to fly in the face of those of you who slice and dice Stop figureyour engagement metrics.  I know some business people who pour over the analytics, spending hours comparing last month to this month, how long a person lingered on their website, how many page views, what they looked at last before they were gone.

Stop it...

Go check the deposit tickets.

Did your marketing efforts result in more (wait for it...) sales?  If the answer is "yes" wonderful keep rolling forward.  If the answer is "no" let's start to pay attention to your message.  In other words does your marketing message match the needs of your target market?  Are you using the correct channels to reach your target audience? 

Don't get me wrong.  Your metrics can yield some valuable information but, from our seat, you might better spend your time with a focus on the message and the channel.  

But, hey, we're "old school" about those sales things.

Thanks for reading!