Absolute Blog

  • Posted 17/08/2016 by absolute

    Email marketing: proof that it works

    01spamEmail marketing has a problem. Our opinion of it is tarnished, both by the companies that overuse it as a marketing device and by the steady feed of spam that we receive on a daily basis, more often than not purporting to be from a bank that we don’t bank with, or from some random offering v1agra!

    This irritable quantity of unwanted emails sculpts our perceptions of email as a marketing tool. We tend to overlook the other emails that we get each day, from contacts that we know, or recognise, containing useful information that we selectively skim read, then either file or act on by clicking on, or flag for later consideration when relevant.  Meeting times, statistics, follow-up reports, circulars, newsletter subscriptions, special offers … there are soooo many useful things that we get from emails but when it comes to using them for marketing purposes, a lot of people write them off before giving them a chance.

    So does email marketing work?

    First of all let’s put it in perspective. Ten years ago, running a promotional direct mail campaign (note the lack of an ‘e’ before the word ‘mail’) went something like this:

    1. Prepare the content.

    2. Brief the ad agency who then conceptualise it, design it, edit it and print it once approved.

    3. Merge and export your database.

    4. Get the materials fulfilled, including your reply paid card, and mailing labels printed, peeled and applied.

    5. Lodge it with the mailing house.

    6. Wait (for up to a month for the responses to trickle in).

    7. Pass the leads onto the sales department to follow-up and then tally the number of recipients to measure the results.

    With the above scenario I remember that if we generated a response of more than 2% from the total target list, it was considered successful.

    Fast forward to here and now. If you have a message to communicate:

    1. Prepare the content.

    2. Code it, upload it, email it.

    3. Check back in 3 hours and see how successful it has been.

    Email marketing is simpler to produce, quicker to organise and way more cost effective. Emails get straight to the person they were intended for (most of the time) and are far more responsive than ‘conventional’ media. They are also a fabulous strategic device when considering your other business marketing tools and communication objectives. For example:

    • Regular emailings and beneficial content can quickly hardwire your business web address into your customer’s minds.
    • Hyperlinks leading to previously unexplored parts of your website where useful information is held, help to develop well-worn paths if they keep coming back for more.

    Furthermore the customer statistics are far more detailed and consequently useful. It’s possible to find out who clicked, on what, how many times, who the bought something, who is interested but undecided, and what caught their eye.

    report

    There are also the viral possibilities of your customers forwarding interesting or useful information to their friends and colleagues.

    Ultimately there are the interactive possibilities. Emails allow your customers to email you back which is where the magic happens. Your simple email campaign has suddenly opened up conversations.

    The one BIG disadvantage to email marketing; it’s all over very quickly.

    Conversely the craft and thought that goes into a well-designed print mailshot still means that recipients will spend much more time reading and appreciating the content if it’s relevant. What’s more, when people like something tangible they tend to keep it, usually somewhere prominent like on their desks which can provide days and often weeks of in-their-face branding. This is why we always advise our clients to vary their promotional mechanisms.

    And now the proof.

    Last week we rolled out a new ecommerce website launch announcement on behalf of a client of ours. Within three hours of releasing the emailer, more than 26% of the recipients had read the email and 16% of them had clicked through to the new website. Our client’s web traffic for that day more than doubled and new sales orders were placed too. Bish bash bosh, job done.

    So yes, email marketing works extremely well. It is both efficient and cost-effective too as long as you make it useful to your customers.

  • Posted 17/08/2016 by absolute

    Turn your sales pitch into a knock-out tablet presentation

    presentation

    Tablets are great travelling sales tools and are additionally intriguing when used before live audiences, be it a one-to-one over a coffee, or a one to one-thousand from a podium. As well as being very portable, their hi-resolution displays will make your corporate presentations really pop out of the screen.

    In recent months we’ve designed and published an increasing variety of tablet presentations for use on iPads, Galaxy’s, and other popular devices.  They help our clients to impress their prospects, not just with the content and with their impressive, forward-thinking use of technology, but with a few swipe and pinch gestures thrown in too, to add a bit of drama.

    From our clients’ perspective, iPad’s and tablets provide a consistent backbone for their sales presentations, which is a great way to achieve consistent message delivery when you have a large salesforce. Perhaps more importantly with ever-evolving business structures and product ranges, presentation content updates can also be made when required, rather than having to wait for the next print run of your corporate brochure … at some point in the distant future.

    Probably the handiest aspect of using a tablet as a presentation tool is its scalability. The type of display used can be ‘adapted’ to suit the size of your audience. With one, two or three people, the tablet itself is usually sufficient but, if you are addressing a larger audience, then plugging a video adaptor into the iPad dock connector and connecting the other end to an external display is all that’s required. This can be to a flatscreen TV which most boardrooms are equipped with, or a projector which can of course be scaled to suit much larger audiences.

    Getting the presentation onto your tablet is as simple as copying it into an iTunes library and syncing it, and turning your next sales presentation into an impressive, tablet based slideshow is even easier. Simply call Absolute on 07 3300 0494 and we’ll take it from there.

  • Posted 17/08/2016 by absolute

    The downside of great branding

    As a graphic design studio we are partner to lots of small businesses and a handful of large corporations. Amongst the small to mid-size companies the term ‘Branding’ is regularly misunderstood, and furthermore it’s often dismissed as being something that only large corporates need worry about.

    For the benefit of those naysayers, this article gives a few ideas about how small businesses can build strong brands too, and in doing so develop greater relationships with their customers.

    To begin with, we find that many small businesses fail to take advantage of the opportunities that branding offers because of their own preconceptions of what it is. The three responses we tend to witness include:

    Branding … that’s just another word for a logo isn’t it? Well no, actually it concerns the vision and values of your business; in essence it’s personality and the promises that it makes to your customers.

    Branding … that’s just a fluffy marketing term! Ha. Brands in-fact appeal to our emotional selves and like it or not, everyone has their own instant emotional reaction to your brand, because humans are wired to do exactly that. In considering branding ‘fluffy’, some folk are ignoring the fact that those instant reactions are an opportunity to engage and communicate with their customers at an instinctive level.

    Branding … that’s for multinationals with fast moving consumer goods. Traditionally it was. However many service related business came to realise that their customers were only able to make a judgement about their services after the purchase has been made. Whilst products have tangible benefits, services have no taste, touch or smell. They can only be experienced after they’ve been bought. Service business started to realise that as part of their sales, they needed to build confidence and a level of trust that they were the right choice for the customer, prior to the sale.

    The very essence of Branding can therefore be used in a variety of ways in support of the businesses desired outcome:

     

    To influence choice

    To build loyalty and advocacy

    To command a premium price

    To provide differentiation, particularly in highly competitive markets

    To provide a platform for growth.

     

    This means that across any business mix of promotional materials, customer and sales service, websites, advertising, marketing collateral, and yes … logos, the brand identity can be developed to communicate a range of recognisable traits and positive qualities:

    Pride - professionally designed logos and brand identity systems show that you are committed to presenting as a strong contender in your industry.

    Visibility – the majority of prospective customers look for highly visible, well-defined and reputable businesses when seeking to make a purchase. The look and feel of your identity plays a major role in the decision making process, particularly in an ecommerce environment where their only experience of your company prior to making a purchase is the website and content itself.

    Credibility - credibility with strong visual messaging in a professionally developed branding system, used throughout all business and marketing communications is how many of the most successful corporations stay one step ahead of their competitors.

    Appearance – your brand identity positions your business to work with larger organizations. This helps to increase margins by setting premium rates for your products and / or services.

    Retention – humans are visual people, and most people remember the things that they see, better than the things they read or hear.  A consistent visual identity for your business and marketing communications will keep you at the forefront of current and potential clients’ minds when they require your products and services.

    Stability – when you’re not in a position to claim that you’ve been ‘in business for 25 years’, a purposeful branding system can build the impression that your business is dedicated to the industry.

    Differentiation – if they follow the direction of your strategic marketing plan, then a professional logo and a strong identity system will enable you to position your business succinctly, and in the right place in relation to the competitors in your market.

    One great example of a small business reaping the benefits of a deliberate move to branding itself professionally is Brisbane based Exhibition & Display Services.

    Originally established for the Brisbane Expo in 1988, they are a very well established business with many longstanding customers. However their external communications were suffering from a combination of fundamental errors, the sum total of which was creating a lack of professionalism and emotional appeal, both of which are paramount in the minds of prospective customers looking for competency and experience in exhibition design and event hire services in Brisbane.

    In a steady approach over an 18 month period they have had their logo redesigned, then their website redesigned, then their business stationery, product catalogues and so on (all by us of course). The design approach itself sought to leverage the positive and more identifiable aspects of their existing materials, mainly the colour scheme, so that there rebranding was more of an evolution rather than completely throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    With the introduction of clean bold lines, confident design typography, and a Swiss style colour palette approach with a breakout of complimentary swatches to enable navigation of their broad event hire product range, they’ve ‘honed’ themselves and in-doing so have created great pride within the business, and great interest from new customers. Our headline for this article was inspired because they’ve been almost too successful, with renewed interest in products and services making them almost too busy!

    Ultimately a brand has to be nurtured. Good branding takes time, thought and consistent application, but that doesn’t equate to a big budget. A good branding mindset requires both discipline and passion. It’s about caring for the big picture and the small detail.

    To discuss your branding, call us now on 07 3300 0494.

  • Posted 17/08/2016 by absolute

    The book title says it all

    Absolute recently attended the celebratory launch of the new edition of artist Jan Jorgensen's printed collection of works titled ‘Changing Places, Brisbane’. Following on from the popular first edition published by Macmillan in 2002, the new edition is illustrated with 54 new images of original paintings by Jan Jorgensen, who also wrote the accompanying poems. The new edition was designed and produced by us at Absolute Media.

    jan-jorg-book

    Jan’s work has become increasingly important to both to art lovers and city historians alike. Her work captures the light, the everyday and the Brisbane that many do not see and this delightful book provides an interesting ramble through some of Brisbane's most historic streets and backyards. It records changes taking place in the city as the picturesque, old domestic architecture gives way to new developments and will doubtless be attractive to those interested in the changing faces of the city and in the familiar urban environment.

    Copies are on sale at Mary Ryan’s and other reputable bookstores. And anyone who spots Absolute’s former Paddington studio on in one of the published artworks … is very observant!

  • Posted 17/08/2016 by absolute

    Can you see the page for the pixels?

    Centenary Natural Therapies Clinic (CNTC) is a longstanding provider of naturopathy, remedial massage and acupuncture services based in Brisbane's Western suburbs.

    When looking for a business to handle their Search Engine Optimisation business they were referred to us by one of their clients … who is in-fact one of ours too.

    cntc-web

    When we started to analyse their website, visitor traffic and SERP's it became startlingly apparent that whilst they were achieving great visitor numbers, they in-fact had a massive bounce rate of over 80% (the bounce rate being those visitors who leave a website from the same page they entered, without exploring any further).

    From CNTC's perspective, most of the visitors that their search results were attracting were being turned-off by the landing page content. A combination of factors - inappropriate colour use, misleading headlines, unsuitable visual tone, key word discrepancies and content placement - were clearly sounding alarm bells. Much of CNTC's content was actually suitable, but the compounding result of content misplacement, overly-strong sales messages in the wrong parts of the page layout and general 'addition attrition' meant that it was quite misleading and misinformative. Interestingly no one was really at fault for this problem scenario but, over the course of its lifetime, as greater reliance was being heaped on the website as a productive sales tool, the net result became conversely more detrimental to its purpose as more and more content was added. Our client was just so close to the problem that they couldn’t see the page for the pixels!

    So before channelling resource into their search engine rankings for keyphrases like 'remedial massage Brisbane' or 'acupuncture Brisbane', we were clear that this problem needed to be addressed first and recommended giving their website a makeover to make it more appealing to their respective target audiences.

    As you'll see if you follow either of the above links, whilst still containing much of the original content the website design is now perfectly apt. Following some careful re-organising, toning down and repackaging of information, the site is also far more communicative, with a hierarchy of prioritised information and with clearly navigable paths to the most in demand information. Most importantly the website meets their client expectation of what a service provider of natural therapies should look like, so on finding the site visitors are now exploring an average of four pages per visit.

    We are now focussed on CNTC's SEO keywords and with a number of them now listing on Google page one, we are very proud to report that in January this year, CNTC's bounce rate was less than 24% … which is a significant improvement.

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