Absolute Blog

  • Posted 17/08/2016 by absolute

    13 marketing ideas, lucky for you

    Unlucky for some but lucky for you, here are thirteen marketing ideas that will kick–start your customer base into action in 2013. Our print and digital design solutions will distinguish you from your competitors, deliver your key messages effectively, and convert buyer interest into sales action:

    1. Email marketing

    When it comes to digital marketing, companies now use a plethora of means with which to reach their customers – websites, social media, online advertising, e–marketing – but which one works best?

    A recent article celebrating the 30th anniversary of email states that “an overwhelming 77% of all consumers surveyed prefer to receive promotional messages from companies via email, compared to just 5% preferring text messages and 4% Facebook.”

    Do you even have an e–mail marketing program? If so how is it working for you? Having achieved read rates of more than 40% with campaigns on behalf of our clients, e–mail campaigns are proven to reach customers in a way that they like, and even more importantly they are very targetable, trackable, and measurable.

    2. MEMORABLE direct mail

    Before the internet heralded new ways to communicate with our customers, direct mail – letters, leaflets and print mailshots – was the most accurate method of letting them know what you were up to, what was being launched, were you would be exhibiting, about your special offers, what you would be up to this year, and how you could make their lives easier and businesses perform better.

    At Absolute we continue to rave about direct mail as part of the marketing mix. The downside; it takes a little more effort to organise, and its impact is less immediate. The upside; interesting and informative direct communications have a far greater shelf life. They stay on customer's desks for much, much longer, providing a constant reminder of your company, products or services for days and often weeks. They are also often conveniently filed and referred to at a later date.

    3. A website makeover

    As a provider of website solutions, we see the rapid advances in web design (I stress the word design) more than most.

    You will probably agree that it's quite easy to guess how old a website is by the look and feel of the homepage interface. What was hot two or three years ago probably now seems slightly tired, especially on iPad and tablets which hadn't even been launched.  Many people pick–up on dated web designs, mainly because they visit massively popular websites that are bang up–to–date as part of their daily lives and notice the difference. Unfortunately they also subconsciously disregard them in favour of something more current, especially when they're planning to purchase online.

    So if your site looks out of date, whether it was last updated in the nineties, noughties, or even the tensies (if indeed that's a real term yet) or if you are considering the inclusion of social media links, a shopping cart, video, optimising your site for display on an iPad or mobile device … or any other enhancements … have a look at our own website first, and then use our contact form to get in touch!

    4. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

    OK so you've got a great website, but can anyone find it when they enter search terms that are related to your products or services into Google?

    If you answered 'yes' please go straight to point five (below). If you're still reading, then the chances are that you need to improve your search engine rankings but either don't know how best to proceed, or are rightly very wary of the whole shebang because of the daily raft of emails that you receive from Mary, Rajit and Sanjay, somewhere in the Asian sub–continent.

    Absolute have been optimising websites for the best part of 12 years. Our success is demonstrable; we have numerous clients sitting on page one of Google when relevant search terms to their business and products are used. The chances are that we can get your company there too.

    5. Fresh advertisements

    The desired reaction that we all hope for when advertising – client sees ad, then phones to place a humongous sales order – seldom, if ever happens.

    The primary advantage of any form of advertising is the establishment of trust and confidence amongst your target audience. By seeing your ad whilst relaxing, because that's what we're doing when we're watching TV or reading a magazine, people have time to explore their curiosity and actually enjoy good, engaging advertisements. The time spent doing this builds awareness, breeds familiarity and sows the seed for future success when the buyer's need for your product arises. The actual impact of advertising therefore is one of longer term stability and credibility.

    When did your prospective customers last see your business and products in the press?

    6. Effective sales brochures

    Effective brochures are a compact means of advertising, allowing the delivery of detailed information, to a specific audience, in an engaging form and with the correct flow of information. They explain, they inform and they persuade. Done correctly they will translate facts and features into customer benefits and sell your products and services.

    The staying power of a great sales brochure is priceless. Well designed brochures also play a dual role; in electronic format as incentive downloads on websites and for follow ups as an email friendly pdf, and in print format as long lasting reminder and reinforcement of your company and products.

    7. Create a bit of a buzz

    The first 10 people to phone Absolute Media in response to this article will be entered into a draw to win a brand new Toy–yoda!

    If you've ever heard that story then you will know the power that competitions, special offers and incentives can create. Creating a bit of excitement is a simple yet often overlooked means of locking in buyer behaviour, generating additional revenue from a sale, and above all making your customer feel better about you for it. So why wouldn't you do it more often? Give yourselves an opportunity to shout about what you do, and above all, get noticed for it.

    8. Incentivise

    Do you set targets for your customers? Maybe you lower price units for volume purchases, provide discounts on upgrades, or free training for your top buyers?

    How about adding a bit of spark to your next incentives program and upping the feel–good factor? Have a chat with us about soft benefits, promotions, up–selling, random rewards and sweepstakes for exciting prizes, to see what 'motivation' really can do for your customer loyalty.

    9. Corporate video / youtube

    Video production was once an expensive and largely insignificant media for marketers, but with sites like YouTube and Vimeo now generating more than 3 billion video views each day, and the means to create video content on most mobile phones, things have definitely changed for the better.

    It's now so easy to review a new product in front of a camera, then put that review online, and email the link to your customers. Hey presto … an almost instantaneous, engaging audio visual presentation that you can use time and time again and even embed on your website. The same can be said for product training, simple repair procedures, 'how–to's' for installation, sales presentations and so much more. Of course it helps to make these things look at least slightly professional, and that's where we can help you.

    10. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising

    If your company's organic search engine optimisation efforts aren't delivering results, PPC is an immediate way to get your site listed on page one of Google. It's also flexible, easy to manage, highly targetable, achieves results on a set and limited budget, and is quite difficult to get your head around! Call us today and we'll tell you more about what’s possible and how best to approach it.

    11. Create something unique

    All too often we receive a creative brief which goes something along the lines of 'this is what our competitors are doing, so we want to do the same'. Harrumph!

    Rule #01: To get noticed by someone who is bombarded with the same amount of promo materials that the rest of us receive on a daily basis, you have to make your message stand out for the right reasons. The chances are that your competitor's overused idea gets ignored anyway, so why would you want to emulate that?

    Find a new angle, use something newsworthy, try a different media, mix it up a bit. When you do something that is fresh, your audience takes notice and begins to associate adjectives like 'innovative', 'dynamic' and 'creative' with your company and … hey presto, you're brand building!

    12. A new target audience

    Our clients are always telling us that they should be selling more to 'such and such' a sector, or 'this particular' audience. Let us source a new mailing list on your behalf to pinpoint your targets as accurately as possible and we'll gladly help get your message to them, with impact.

    13. Mobile apps

    Mobile applications are yet another new media development proving to be a great way of building relationships and making it easier for your customers to do business with you. Once a customer has installed your app on their phone, they have a potential solution to urgent problems in their hand for most of the working day, in the shape of your contact details. Companies are starting to exploit the further capabilities of mobile applications by giving customers access to their inventories, allowing them to track support numbers, trace order shipments, provide them with accurate contact lists, and so much more. Call us today to discuss how you might use mobile applications to strengthen your customer relationships.

    So there you have it, just a handful of many marketing ideas that Absolute Media of Brisbane can bring to the party in 2013 and beyond. Ultimately a 'keep in touch' strategy is crucial to sustaining business growth. Statisticians will tell you that it take at least seven rounds of contact before a client is ready to do business, so by mixing your marketing initiatives, spicing–up your communication, and in doing so making your competitors seem boring and uncommunicative by comparison, you will soon see the benefits of a concerted investment in marketing yourselves to existing clients and new prospects.

  • Posted 17/08/2016 by absolute

    No passing the buck here

    Once upon a time I worked in electronics industry where, if something went wrong with a client’s integrated system, each manufacturer would take turns to blame the problem on someone else’s product … definitely not their own. Nine times out of ten the client’s system installer would go round in circles trying to find a solution, and get increasingly annoyed at everyone. Repeat business was un-surprisingly limited.

    It was the experience of this ‘pass-the-buck’ attitude where no-one took ownership of a problem, which causes us to do the opposite. We work to resolve issues and, with websites becoming increasingly complex and dare I say it ‘integrated’ beasts, we had another great example of how we do it. We had designed a new ecommerce website based on the Magento CMS and to streamline the inventory process our client had sourced and signed up for a cloud inventory software product called Unleashed. In short they didn’t want to manually process each online order into the stock system.

    magento ecommerce website dev brisbane

    The fun started when on trying to connect to the ecommerce website, Magento fired back an error message to announce that connection wasn’t possible. After a few rounds of phonecall ping pong, a number of attempts by our developers to identify the issues, support calls to Unleashed, the upgrade of the web host server to a Virtual Private Server, more error messages, calls to the host company, more attempts by Unleashed Technical Support to connect to Magento … (you get the idea) … more than four weeks had passed an our client was no closer to a solution, causing them mild frustration and making us a little uncomfortable on their behalf.

    As with most ‘Once upon a time’ stories, this one also comes with a happy ending. Much to our client’s delight one morning, on realising that integration between the Unleashed and Magento systems was occurring, they called to inform us of the amazing news whilst we were typing an email to them explain that we had finally identified and solved the problem.

    The reason for this mini diatribe is to explain that at Absolute we don’t just take the money and run once a job is complete. Our primary objective is to keep our clients happy with our creative output, with digital solutions and with our customer service. Try us and you might just like us.

  • 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 digital 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 6308 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.

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