Sparks October 2006 -

Sparks October 2006

In the News

Overcome Time Deficit Disorder
How can you make your marketing effective in a world where the average customer is running through life at the speed of light? Reach your prospects by using these tips to overcome TDD (Time Deficit Disorder!):

Be brief. Whether you’re creating an ad, email, or direct mail piece, break text up into small chunks. Use succinct headlines and sub-heads.

Use every surface. Particularly on a brochure or postcard, put your key message/s in every area where your prospect will look. That includes the address panel, each interior panel, and even along the bottom.

Tell readers how your product/ service will save them time. This may not be appropriate for all businesses, but many companies do offer products and services that can help save time. This is a selling point and should be communicated!

Tell readers how much time you’ll need. A growing trend in email marketing is to have a statement at the top of the email saying how long it will take the recipient to read the message + what they’ll get out of it. Ex. “Reading time: 90 seconds. Results: Three key strategies for winning an interview.”

Our busybusy lifestyle shows no signs of slowing. Make it easy on customers to learn about you by respecting the many demands on their attention and time!
More strategies for TDD (free registration req’d)

Podcasting 101
No, this is not an article about Martians. Podcasts are like a radio program, only they’re delivered via the Web, can be downloaded to your desktop or portable computer, and can be listened to any time.

Since its appearance last, podcasting has grown in popularity. Forrester Research predicts over 12 million listeners by 2010. Apple includes podcast access in its popular iTunes software. Listeners can also access podcasts directly from your website. Ready to get started?

Determine a topic. Some of your existing written marketing materials may be more effective if delivered via audio. Or you may want to create something new. A message from your company mascot could be a great podcast for kids. Advice, expert interviews, or motivational talks are also great topics.

Determine freqency of delivery. Decide if you’re making one podcast or a series of several. Don’t overcommit. Start with a handful, promote them heavily, then determine, based on a review of your web statistics, whether the number of downloads and the response rate is worth continued investment.

Record your podcast. Audacity is a respected free software program that can help. While there, download Lame MP3 Encoder so you can export your file.

Create an RSS feed. This is a simple technical operation that allows your podcast to be downloaded and even subscribed to. Get step-by-step instructions or read an overall tutorial.

Upload your files to your server. Add marketing copy to encourage site visitors to subscribe to your podcast.

It’s that simple! Learn more about creating podcasts.



This month’s winner: Jill Adler!
Long-time VisoVerbo champ Jill wins a digital print featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

St John Associates
This month’s spotlight is a little different from our usual fare, because St John Associates hired us to develop a marketing plan rather than a visual asset such as a logo or brochure.

It all started so simply. Ann St John, tireless “give ’em love” CEO of St John Associates, first contacted us to ask whether her company’s physician placement service website needed more high-tech gadgetry to be more effective.

Our conversation led us to recommend reviewing the company’s marketing processes instead. In the highly competitive world of physician placement, St John Associates (SJA) has a number of competitive advantages but was not marketing them effectively.

We developed a marketing plan for SJA that laid out a number of options; some short-term and some long-term.

The most significant, immediate change was to transfer their email marketing to a professional service provider. They can now track how many people receive their emails, open them, and click on links. Since this is their main way of communicating with prospects and clients, it’s made a dramatic improvement in their business strategy.

We’ve also helped SJA develop a more consistent voice. Previously the tone of SJA communications varied widely depending on whether the topic was a marketing pitch, an informational communication, or a contractual agreement. Since their strongest asset is the warmth, expertise, and professionalism of their staff, we brought that tone through all communications.

As a smart, go-getter company, SJA recognized more opportunities and is working with us to implement a variety of longer range recommendations. These include a new visual identity, a dramatically improved website, new marketing outreach programs, targeted website promotions and pay-per-click campaigns, and a number of relationship-building techniques to help boost business.

SJA has a very strong internal brand. As a boutique firm in a sea of big-box competitors, they have a significant opportunity to carve out a market niche and own it!