Old School?

It's 7AM on Sunday and I'm in the office writting "GREAT to Meet YOU!" Thank You Notesnotes to roughly one-hundred people I met last Friday during the 16th Annual Midwest Speakers Bureau Speakers Showcase and Iowa Meetings Expo.

Yep, I could have sent an email but that's not my brand besides, I'd rather not be deleted with a push of a button.

Sure, it's pretty old school but there is something about sitting down and writing words on a piece of paper that links us...better than LinkedIn:

  • Time - It's valuable and taking time to write to your customers/clients and new friends is an investment in branding;
  • Personal - Sure you can personalize your email but why not take the extra step and communicate something special;
  • Memorable - So few people write words on paper anymore that it's highly likely this "note" will at least get noticed and, perhaps, sit on a desk for a day or so.

Shameless self promotion?  No, taking the time to write also allows us a chance to reflect on exactly what we are doing...adding value to a brief meeting that, when action is taken, benefits the writer and the reader.

So, what do you think?

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and host of the daily business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.

This is Killing New Business...Dead.

Honestly, I want to help so here is something that will help your business grow while improving your brand.  (And, it's free!) FREE (2)

You know that automated answering system you have on your telephone? The one that asks me to "Enter the extension of the person you are trying to reach" or "Using the key-pad, type in the first few letters of the first name of the person you are trying to reach".

You know...That System?

It's killing your brand and your business, especially new business.

What if I don't know who the sales manager or salesperson is? Or worse yet the first name is Cathy and not Kathy?  Your answer: "Oh, just punch zero!"

Really?

And then what?  Get a voice mail like, "You've reached our general voice mail system, please leave your message at the tone."

You care that much about business...new business...to direct me to your "General Voice Mail System"?  Nice touch.

Why is your time more important than the customer who has a question or wants to buy something?

Have a good answer?

I didn't think so. 

Two things:

  • Hire Your Brand Expert - Get a real person to answer the phones and direct traffic. Then train them in your brand effort. This is an investment in your brand and your business.
  • Your Voice Mail - Change it...daily. Let people KNOW that you actually check the voice mail and that if they leave you a message you'll call them back.

Two simple, free pieces of advice that will have a major impact on your brand and your business.  Hey, it's what we do.

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and the host of Insight on Business the News Hour.

 

 

We've Got Work To Do...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of addressing 40 leaders from the world of Woman work to do
tourism in Central Iowa. The program was 5 in Twenty-Four "Five things any business can do in 24 hours to maximize its brand."  These are all low cost to no cost proven methods of marketing.  And, yes, they work.

When I got to the part regarding social media and asked how many in the audience had incorporated a blog into their marketing strategy seven hands went up. Seven out of forty.

There is work to be done and here are four solid reasons why blogging should be one of your marketing tools:

  • Blogging Gives You "Voice": Sure you have a website but what is your "back-story"?  What nuggets can you share with visitors poking around on the Internet that will drive traffic back to you?  We think...plenty.
  • Blogging Offers Another "Touch Point": Again, you should want to maximixe the ways in which you reach out to consumers. A well crafted blog does just that.
  • Blogging - A Quick Alternative: We get it. Changing your website two or three times a week is a pain.  However, creating a blog that tells the story only you can tell is quick, easy and interactive.
  • Blogging Improves Your Skills: You have a story to tell and by sitting down and sharing those stories you will improve your story-telling skills.  And, remember, people react to...stories.

Thank you, Central Iowa Tourism Region for your warm reception!

If your business, for profit or non-profit, isn't incorporating a blog into your marketing efforts you could be missing out on...opportunity.  What do you think?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Teeny Tiny?

It's a design thing.  Child Magnifying Glass

Over time we've collected thousands of business cards. Thousands. Recently we've noticed a trend that may impact how people make a connection with you or your business.

Teeny Tiny Fonts and Other Issues

While the name of the company is prominent, good luck being able to read the email address, phone number...etc.

Connection...that is the point of a business card.  Right?

Some simple things to remember:

  • Not Everybody has 20/20 Vision:  When your potential client/customer must use a magnifying glass to see your contact information. Not good;
  • Artwork: We get it because we too are into creating stunning designs. However just because it's cool looking let's not over-shadow the contact information;
  • Clarity: I'm looking at a business card, right now, that has three (3) Twitter addresses. Three...really?
  • Stock: We get it, you are trying to save money. However your business card is such an important touch point. Try to have them printed at a printer, on heavy card-stock and try to refrain from printing them in your office.  Trust us, it's an investment;
  • Does It Work:  If you have a QR Code on your business card, make sure it works and points to something useful, descriptive and informative.

Hey, we're just trying to help.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!

Adding Value

The other day I got a call from a group asking if I might be able to speak 5in24 Image to them about advertising and marketing and specifically my presentation on "Five in Twenty-Four - Five Things a Business Can Do in Twenty-Four Hours to Boost its Brand".

"Be happy to do that!" And we settled on a fee arrangement.

I then asked if they would like my one-page handout, in advance. That's pretty standard in the speaking industry.  But then I put the icing on the cake:  "How do you market the event and this session?" They told me they send out a newsletter and emails.  I then offered something of added value: "Would it be helpful if I produced a video invitation focusing on the reason why people should attend?"

They were surprised.  "You would do that?"

Of course...it is adding value to the already secured business relationship.

Which begs the question:  Once you've secured the business transaction what added value can you bring to the relationship that will move it above your customers expectation?

We think it's a wise business decision.  What added value can you take to your customer?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour. On twitter we're @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

What's Your Value?

We've always believed that if you live by the price, and are a commodity, Man Value you'll die by the price.  However, if you build value into your business people will continue to ask you for...business.

There is always somebody out there that can match your price or, just for kicks, beat it.  However, if you build value into your product/service nobody can take away your customer.

Of course there will always be people who buy on price alone and couldn't give a rip about value.  And, those consumers are usually less loyal and can cause most of the trouble for your brand.

So, how do you add value to your product or service?  Exceed the expectations of your customer.  How do you do that?  By thinking of them...first.  If your focus is always on the bottom line if you are scrambling to make ends meet you're in a commodity business.  If you think, really think, of how you can bring extra value to your customer you'll have a transforming business.

High Value trumps Low Price

That's what we think.  How about you?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency and is also the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour.

Thanks for coming by!

What Your Voice Mail Says...About Your Business

We take this voice mail thing seriously.  Each day we update our out- Man Fingers in Earsgoing message.  It let's clients, vendors and others know that we actually check voice mail and their message doesn't get...lost. Here is that post with simple tips to make your voice mail work for you.

The other day we reached out to a local business, at their request. Here is the message we heard from a woman at the business: "Thank you for calling. We open at 3PM. Messages left here are not checked."  

Huh?  Well, at least they "thanked" us for calling.

Uhm...one word: Stunned.  So much so that four days after calling it's still bugging us. Guess we could call after 3PM but we're more likely just to pass on this one.

Are we wrong?

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Insight Advertisng, Marketing & Communications is based in Des Moines, Iowa and is the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour a daily business broadcast.  

Trust, Business and Consumers

Have you ever heard of the Timkin Trust Rating System?  No?  Well, Bill Reicharteach year, since 2010 the Timkin Group does a survey about consumers and their trust level of US corporations. It allows for the ability to identify which brands consumers trust and which ones they don't want to associate with. They measure 10,000 consumers and 298 brands.  Here is the report if you would like to read more.

That started us thinking about local businesses and trust and who, during our time in the Des Moines Market stands out as being one of the small businesses that was built on...trust.

Enter Bill Reichardt.  For those of you too young to remember Bill and his television ads and his famous line, "No sale is ever final here...I'm here and I own the store." It was a textbook lesson in building a trusted local brand. Better yet, here is a sample:

 

Not all business owners have the charisma of a Bill Reichardt but all businesses can learn something about the way Bill took ownership of more than just his name on a sign.

Thanks for reading.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines, Iowa and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour the regions only daily, hour-long business broadcast.

Sound Familiar?

We were visiting with a client the other day about some advertising they Man Confused had been doing, which we had encouraged. The client said, "I am disappointed we didn't get any calls about the ad.  I was afraid of that."

If you own a business and you have ever advertised we bet that you've thought the same thing.  So some considerations:

How do you know?

It's a fair question. Unless you, as the advertiser, have asked the consumer to do a very specific thing it's highly unlikely you know where the traffic is coming from.  And, even if you do, how are you tracking the response?

Did you ask for action?

Unless your ad asks for action on the part of the consumer how can you expect the consumer to take advantage of your "offer"?  A "branding ad" is far different than a call to action.  If your advertisement does not call for action then saying you "didn't get a response" isn't the correct answer to the question.

Was your offer valuable?

Even if you do make an offer is it valuable enough to the consumer? For some reason business seems to think, "If I offer 10% off my regular price people will flock to my door." Wrong. Studies have shown that the offer needs to be considerably higher to move the consumer to your product/service.

What to do:  When considering placing advertising think about what you want.  Do you want to brand your business?  Do you want to associate your business with success? Are you wanting to drive traffic? What sort of offer do you have in mind and is it a fair value to you and the consumer? How are you going to measure the ROI?

Your thoughts?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour. Our Twitter Stream is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here

Always Fun Being Part of a Launch - Country Vet Naturals

When you watch an idea become reality it's the biggest kick we get here Grouping horz cookies at the agency. Three years ago we started talks with our long-term client Country Vet Pet Foods about changing their formula, creating a natural dog food and packaging that matched what it was. Clearly consumers were asking for it...all we had to do was deliver. 

Then it was testing names, packaging designs, formulas and now, three years later, Country Vet Naturals is being launched at Pheasant Fest in Milwaukee.

All weekend representatives from Country Vet Naturals will be visiting with dog owners about the food and the new treats, Country Vet Naturals Quick Bite Cookies (In Oatmeal/Cranberry thank you very much!).  

Will it be sold in Des Moines?  We're hoping so.  Now that we've finished this round it's on to additional natural pet food products and loads of new ideas regarding the formulation.

We like what we do!

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is located in Des Moines, Iowa.  On Twitter it's @InsightADV and here is our Facebook Page.  Thanks for reading!