Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do You Remember Billboards? Do You Think They Still Work?

Do you remember those who were advertising on billboards? They where and still are everyone from Doctors, Lawyers, and Dentist. Even local Churches. And when I say everyone I mean everyone. I am talking about the ads you see at bus stops or even on the sides of the buses themselves, as well as upon the benches that were provided for that very reasoning.

And I am also talking about ads that run on gas pumps, or a top of Taxis in almost every major city through out the world. This Idea and these adverts are not new; they have been around for quite awhile now. I'm talking about billboards real life or virtual Space (hyper space) to be rented and/ or sold to advertisers.

You know those huge poster boards that dot the main highways and by-ways of our great land. They now dot every website and their pages. Web Traffic or Hi-way traffic. To me there is not much of a difference. They both have about 2.8 to 3.6 seconds to grab your attention as you pass them by at 65 mph or or even quicker when you are browsing the Web.

I don't know about you, but I am in a car or some other mode of transportation for approximately 45 minutes to an hour and a half each day one way, but I am in front of my computer about 12 hrs a day working or playing or just looking around.

Either on my way to work or to somewhere else. Each morning I'll see an average thirty to forty pieces of advertisement. As well as about an hour or so on my way home. And I notice billboards and old Barn signs and their roof tops or water towers and their side walls. Now I readily admit I am not your average person; I am a Marketer. These things did sell and they still do Sell everyday.

Del Reeves~ "Girl On the Billboard"

The reasons for this; my fascination is simple, I am always looking to advertise something and do it for a reasonable price. Just because this is what I like to do or want to do; sell Advertising. I look at billboards and I have been studying them here lately. I notice when a new ones goes up, and/or when an old one comes down in my area.

I notice the sides of railroad cars and Tractor trailer trucks, School Buses. I am noticing that many of them are now becoming mobile billboards. There are even special made vehicles in my home town areas. Which are beginning to sprout up and out around the commercial parts of the near by little cities. Rest stops in the men's bathrooms and tacked to the stalls doors. Adverts are everywhere and they are being re-vamped to sell, sell, sell.

Why? You maybe asking yourself do we care? How is it people use to do things. Well by now you know that I believe in what goes around comes around and what has been will be again. So you can begin to see where I am leading with this line of questioning. I believe that out door Advertising still works most efficiently. Don't you?

I look at things from a different perspective as many of you may do as well. But of course this is not about me or you. No this is about our fellow consumers and whether or not they respond to billboards. Be they of a traditional or of a digital nature. Do they have any impact on us all; when it comes to making a purchase.

I went looking for some research and what I found was not much. Either way, the findings, I think, would be very relevant and paint a very interesting picture into the minds and psyche of the American consumer and what impact, if any, billboards have on us when it comes to marketing and advertising.

Now the first thing to know is we spend a lot of time in our cars and at least three to four times as much in front of or digital devices; be they mobile or not. On average each of us spends upwards of 20 hours per week and travels more than 200 miles per week. I can only guess how much time we spend in front of our computers and mobile devices or how that would compare to the miles or distance we travel.

Of course what this all means is there is ample time for us to be exposed to all sorts of billboard advertising. The question, of course, is do we pay attention to it and if so, does it cause us to make a purchase? Some of us have tuned adverts totally out consciously, but are we able to do so sub-consciously?

Well, the question of whether we pay attention to billboards, is an obvious one for me, as I am a highly visual person. We all are, we are vision originated beings with four other senses. Sight is at the top of most everybody's list to keep when it comes to losing all, but one of these God given gifts. If I could keep, but only one of these gifts it would be Sight.

As to exactly what information we are gleaning from any given billboard varies as according to some studies more than half of billboard viewers aged 18 or older have learned about an event they were interested in attending from a billboard.

Talked about something funny they saw on a roadside billboard. Been reminded to tune into a TV program from a billboard or a radio station noted or been reminded of a popular businesses phone number or Web site.

The jingle jangle lyrics of these advertisers run through our minds 24/ 7 every second of the day and night after we have heard them for but a few times. So we only need to get a glimpse of them else where to set them off, hence billboards.

Now I don't know about you, but I never remember a website address or phone number that I have seen on a billboard. And I am OK with this for if I want to know something about a given company, I will do what millions of others do every day when they want to know something I'll Google it.

Well, according to some studies that I have skimmed over, “billboard viewers make shopping decisions while in their cars.” Consumers often times decide to or plan to shop on their way home from work.

Some of them say they were motivated to visit a particular store that day; because of an outdoor ad message. Or they visited the retailer they saw on a billboard later that week. They also reported receiving directional information from a billboard or have immediately visited a business because of an outdoor ad message.

Not surprisingly, but grocery stores/supermarkets or large retail chains were the locations most often cited by respondents as the places they visit on their way home. Which is often times just before the evening meals. This may explain why fast food chains and dinners or restaurants will advertise on these outdoor billboards or so, it would appear, at least to me. From my past experiences driving around the country.

Yes I would say outdoor advertising does work, at least in the sense that people A) notice it and B) are influenced by it to some degree. But, this does not mean all marketers and advertiser should run right out and start a billboard campaign. Or should they only have just a billboard campaign.

You have to do it right. Which leads me to how I want to end this article a billboard done right and a billboard done, not so. Can and will make a difference in the Traffic you receive. Think of your ads as little billboards where and how they are placed makes a world of difference.

I don't think I have to tell you which one is which, do I? OK, if you insist. The one done right is the one that conveys a message in an entertaining or clever manner; as opposed to the one that conveys a very crowded message with various fonts and colors and leaves you with a splitting headache. Keep your ads above the fold as often as possible, and place them next to relative content when below the the fold.

CYA Later Taters!
Thanks for stopping by.

Donnie/ Sinbad the Sailor Man

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guidelines for Creating Content

Titles and Headers

In general; Words in a Title or Header should be capitalized, especially the first word of the Title.
The exception to this is the small and/or common words.

These include: Common words such as; the, and, it, a, to, etc

Prepositions: on, at, by, for, with, etc

Any word that is three letters or less, unless it is a noun

*Do not end your Title with a period*

Try to use the active voice instead of the passive voice when writing headlines:
e.g. "They Watched the Movie" instead of "The Movie was Watched."

Titles and paragraph headers should be punchy, to the point, and should describe what the article is about: e.g. "How to Train Your Dog" instead of "Why Won't Ruffles Obey Me?"

Try to cut out any unnecessary words: e.g. "How to Train Your Dog" is much better than "How to Train Your Disobedient Dog to Obey Your Commands."

Choosing a Pen Name
You can choose any Pen Name you would like. However, research has shown that realistic pen names are more successful in gaining readership and increasing recognition; while they create a greater potential for maximizing your revenue. Many an Author has use one or several Pen Names. And for one reason or another.

Your pen name is the only name that appears attached to your published work and It will be the only way to claim credit for your work. Also, your pen name is the name by which you will be known to others by and by which you will be found in the search engine querries. I suggest that you choose a pen name that is either a Version of your own name, or sounds realistic.

If you decide to change your pen name, with the type of genera as to whether it is a Fictional or a Factual work. Many Authors have several Pen Names as they write on a variety of controversial Topics at which point in time that they would not have written other wise; because of their notoriety.

Tips on how to Develop a Topic
Choose a topic that you are interested in and are passionate about. When you write about a topic that invokes emotion in yourself, it shows. Your writing will flow more naturally, while your enthusiasm for the subject and will affect your readers in a positive way.

Ask Yourself if Your Topic Might be Potentially Popular
Think about your audience. While you don't have to write about celebrities and current events, you also shouldn't pick a subject that no one has heard of, unless you can deliver relevant reasons to interest and entertain your readers. Take your topic's popularity into account, and try Google Trends to help you decide.

Make Sure that You Have Enough

The subject shouldn't be so limited that you can cover all of its aspects in one paragraph, but it shouldn't be so broad that a good article won't provide enough information to cover the relevant points.

Use Good Descriptions
Descriptions should be capitalized normally and should have periods at the end of each sentence

Numbered and Bulleted Lists
The first word of each item in a numbered/bulleted list should be capitalized (like in a regular sentence)
List items that are one sentence or less should not have a period at the end
List items that contain two sentences or more should have periods at the end of each sentence

In Titles, Headers and Subtitles, the numbers 0-9 should be spelled out (i.e. zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine).
Numbers from 10 onwards should be written using numerals (i.e. 10, 11, 12, etc).

Serial Numbers:

Should be written using numerals, without a preceding pound (#) or noun (i.e. "My Beautiful Picture 2", and not "My Beautiful Picture #2" or "My Beautiful Story Part 2").
Miscellaneous Guidelines

Use double quotes " " instead of single quotes ' '

Target Your Article to a Specific Niche Audience
In order to write articles with a clear message, you must know for whom they are intended. While you are writing, try to form a picture in your mind of the ideal readers and imagine what they would want to discover about your topic.

Do the Research to get Your Facts Right

If your article deals mostly with basic facts that many people already know, it may seem unappealing. Dig deep into your research to find interesting and surprising facts, quotes, pictures and videos. Try Wikipedia, Youtube, Flickr, Google, Yahoo, and/or Altavista.

Get to the Point of the Article 
The title and the first line of the article should catch your readers' attention. The last few lines of the article should summarize your thoughts and leave them entertained and satisfied. Make sure you keep your readers' interest by limiting your introductions and conclusions to a sentence or two.
Communicate and explain clearly to your readers what you want them to do and why you want them to do it

Your reading audience is waiting for your article to improve their lives, make their days, and give them something interesting to think about and/or discuss. Make your words and sentences strong, clear, and direct.

Keep Your Paragraphs Short
Readers on the Internet tend to ignore large batches of words in long paragraphs. Break up your writing into easily readable paragraphs.

A Good Article Should Take the Reader on a Journey
In order to do that, a quality article should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Declare your intentions in the beginning, cover the main points of the topic in the body, and draw a conclusion at the end. Don't just jump into a list without explaining why it is interesting and worth reading. You can even hint at surprising facts or quotes.

Provide Something That Your Reader will Appreciate

If you find pictures or videos that add to the value of your article, use them. If you find some interesting links to your topic, include them. If your article has connections to current events or well-known persons, discuss them.