How Direct Response Can Work For Your Business

Deciding what type of marketing campaign will be best for your business is the first challenge when it comes to advertising. There are basically two types you can choose from. The first is “branding” or mass marketing. The goal of branding is to remind customers or prospects about your brand and the products and services you offer. The more times your ad is run, the more likely people are to have this brand in mind when they are considering making a purchase.

 

However, if you are a small or new business, this approach is not always feasible. This brings us to the second type of marketing: Direct Response.

Direct response marketing is all about giving your prospective customer a specific action, such a picking up the phone and calling for more information, following a link to a web address or joining your email list.

Here are some of the main benefits of creating a direct response ad:

Tracking

With direct response, you are able to keep track of what ad or which media compelled your customer to pick up the phone, visit your website or place an order. This tracking information will show you would advertisement is actually working for your business, which can save you a lot of time and money in the future.

Targeting

Because you are able to measure just how effective your ad is, you can also get your hands on value information such as specific niche markets, geographic zones, and demographics based on the clicks and calls you receive. Marketing is extremely effective when it can appeal to a narrow target market.

Special Offer

Usually, direct response marketing contains a special offer decided to get prospects to engage in your call to action. It doesn’t necessarily have to sell something; it is merely a device to get more traffic to your call centers or website. The offer focuses on the prospect rather than on the advertiser. It speaks of the prospect’s interests, desires, fears, and frustrations.

Demands a Response

Instead of simply presenting information, like advertising a 50-percent off sale, direct response marketing requires the customer to respond to receive the offer. Therefore interested prospects have an easy way to respond and learn more about your products. Whether it’s calling a toll-free number to hear more information or visiting your website, your customer is obliged to respond directly to you.

Personal

Overall, direct response is the best form of advertisement when it comes to establishing a relationship with prospective customers. If you want your business to excel, there needs to be some form of connection between you and the rest of the world. You need a personal touch to make a lasting impression.

 

For more information on direct response and how to market your business, visit us at mediapartnersworldwide.com or give us a call at (562)439-3900.

 

How Being a Good Listener Can Help Your Business

As Greek philosopher, Epictetus once said, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” This sounds like something your mother may have said to you as a child when you were too busy back talking instead of doing what she said.

However, with this logic -either Epictetus or your mother’s- good listening can affect every aspect of your life, even business.

Research shows that the average person listens at only about 25% efficiency. While most people agree that listening is a very important skill, most don’t take the time to improve their own skill set. We might focus on the mechanics such as nodding or eye contact, but a truly good listener goes beyond that.

Since the purpose of marketing and advertising is to influence peoples’ perceptions and behavior, good listening should be at the forefront of business skills to master.

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Why Listening is Important

Most companies try to listen to their customers as they are invested in their customer’s satisfaction. But are they understanding their customers?

Listening is more than the ability to hear what people say. It’s about being curious and contemplating someone’s desires and motivations. Empathy plays a huge role here.  In order to truly get a grasp of what your customers want, you need to able to put yourself in their shoes and be able to narrow down their incentives. Recognize that your customer has human feeling and emotions.

This capability is essential for marketing professionals who want to create messages people will notice, like, care about and remember when making a purchasing decision.

You can notice the ones that miss the mark. The ads feel strained or fake or the message fails to engage the audience.

Don’t let an ad fail due to simple miscommunication. Listen with full attention and implement your ability to understand.

Listening contributes to a personal connection between you and your customer. It also creates openness. If you are focused on listening to your customer instead of speaking as much as you can, there will be room for new ideas and brainstorming. Their authentic brand or ideas will be able to shine through.

So what is your next step?

Here is a list of 10 Tips for Being a Better Listener by Gianfanga Marketing Strategy that we found particularly helpful, and hopefully you will too:

1. Take the time. Marketing is a fast-paced business and there’s huge pressure to create campaigns and strategies quickly. But if you really want to succeed, you need to build in the time and budget up front to gather input from the client, customer, and prospect

2. Listen to the right people. Talk with the people you’re actually targeting with marketing – customers and prospects – not just your marketing colleagues or people like you.

3. Learn the lingo. If you want prospects to relate to your marketing messages, you need to know the terms and phrases they use when talking about their needs and your product.

4. Delve deeper. Go beyond the obvious questions (“Are you satisfied with our product or service?”) to more probing queries that help you understand the motivations that drive behavior. Make questions open-ended so people can use their own words.

5. Feel the emotion. How do people feel about your company and themselves when they use the products or services you provide? Do they feel confident, happy, pretty, smart, safe? Listen for the emotions underlying the purchasing decision.

6. Listen with your eyes and ears. People reveal a great deal with their body language when they talk. They lean in, make direct eye contact, and use their hands to emphasize their points. Watch carefully and notice the details; see what makes their eyes light up.

7. Don’t be judgmental. Be impartial and neutral when listening. Remove your own biases. It’s not about what you think – it’s about what they think.

8. Avoid stereotypes. Don’t assume you know what someone is thinking because they are young, old, male, female, married, single, a high school dropout, or a Ph.D. Making assumptions based on stereotypes or demographics is a common mistake.

9. Take careful notes. Relying on your memory can be dangerous, even if you’re under 30. It’s too easy to remember what you think someone said, not what they actually said. Record and transcribe the discussions. Focus groups always should be recorded for the marketing team.

10. Reflect on what you’ve heard. Think about the totality of the discussion afterward. What was the customer or prospect really telling you? What stands out most in your mind? What do they truly care about? This is what you need to know to create marketing campaigns and content that engage people on a human level.

Q&A with MPW CEO Natalie Hale

Natalie Hale, CEO Media Partners WorldwideMedia Partners Worldwide, a women-owned business, was founded in 1997, by Natalie Hale and a small team of radio veterans working out of a garage. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Media Partners Worldwide, we asked Natalie to answer a few questions about entrepreneurship and starting a successful business on her own.

 

1. What three pieces of advice would you give to those who want to become entrepreneurs?

Don’t give up on having a family or put it aside too long. You can still have children and run a company. It just takes coordination with your partner. Sacrifices will be made, but it is worth having the fulfillment of a family and having your own business. One of my biggest regrets is putting a family on hold and thinking that it was selfish or impossible to do both.  Through the years, I have met many successful female entrepreneurs that manage to do both and make it work!

Don’t think that you have to have a lot of capital to get started. I started with some money in the bank, however, I really didn’t need it and was, fortunately, able to have immediate cash flow.  You just have to think smaller at first and know that if you don’t have capital you can still have your own business. Although it will grow more slowly and not have all the bells and whistles at first, you can still succeed.

Get a support group to help you. Without my ex-husband who was a mentor to me in business, I would not have been brave enough to move forward.  After being in business for a few years, I got involved with some different CEO groups that helped me with different ideas and problems.  These groups were invaluable and helped me so much with all the different decisions. From employee legal decisions, motivating and keeping employees,  balancing and figuring out my profit and loss, to dealing with the everyday emotional struggles that can come up day to day,  I learned so much from my CEO groups. I recommend that all entrepreneurs try to join a good group asap. It will help you make fewer mistakes, feel more confident and grow your business quicker with this invaluable support group.

2. What inspired you to start a new business venture? How did the idea for your business come about?

After working for CBS for almost 10 years, I was getting burnt out with the corporate stress and changes.  I decided to take a break and do my own thing temporarily, while I figured out what I wanted to do.  A client asked me to develop and place a NATIONAL radio campaign with 20k per week budget. Luckily, it successfully took off and that was the beginning of my business. I never worried about looking for a job again. I remember I agonized about the name of the company. I wanted it to sound bigger than life!

3. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

I sacrificed not having a child of my own for a long time.  I was terrified that if I had a baby, everything would fall apart and that I would not be able to manage my business.  It was when I was 40, that I finally accepted that with the help of my partner, I could really do both.

4. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Probably would have done more traveling when I was younger, and more networking in college. Many of my old college associates became entrepreneurs and I wish I would have kept better in touch with them, as there might have been more synergy and support to work together, Also, I do wish I would have gone to school and earned my MBA right after earning my BA. Running my company for 20 years, I feel like I have been through a rigorous MBA program now, but it would have been helpful and given me more confidence to grow the business bigger and more quickly if I had that structured information sooner.

6 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

This week, Media Partners Worldwide celebrates 20 years of business! We wouldn’t have the success we have obtained today without the passion and dedication of our CEO and staff.

Success is an objective word, as we all measure accomplishment differently. However, when speaking of business, the word entrepreneur usually evokes images of the ultimate type of success. How do entrepreneurs do it, you ask?

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While we are not all born geniuses or extroverts or overachievers, that does not mean we are doomed to mediocrity. Some of the most famous of entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates, didn’t even make it through college. So while there is no foolproof guide to entrepreneurial greatness, here are six common personality traits that entrepreneurs possess.

1. Passion

First things first, entrepreneurs have a clear visual of what they want. Not just a fainted hearted wish, but an unshakable sense of purpose. They are driven by their heart, not by the chase for the dollar. No matter how bad it gets, it’s their passion that motivates them between ups and downs and all the times when everyone else tells them to quit. Envision your end goal, see yourself in the position you want to be and do it with passion.

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” 
- Buddha

2. Self-Confidence

There are going to many, many moments in your journey where not a single person will believe in you or your mission. Therefore, you have to believe in yourself. Self-confidence is key if you want to achieve success. Entrepreneurs don’t think that their idea could be good. They know it’s good. While they also understand that they can’t do everything on their own, they realize that they are the only ones to make their idea a reality.

“It is only necessary to have courage, for strength without self-confidence is useless.” – Giacomo Casanova

3. Resilience

As an entrepreneur, there are going to be many failures. That is inevitable. While most people give up, an entrepreneur has the extraordinary ability to bounce back. Instead of giving up, an entrepreneur will learn from their failures. They will as themselves what went wrong, or how can they learn from their mistakes. If you understand that failure is part of being an entrepreneur, you will take those failures and use them as learning experiences. Entrepreneurs don’t stay down for long. They’re resilient and thrive off the chance to do better.

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill 

4. An Appetite for Knowledge

In the world of business, there will always be competition. Entrepreneurs know they need to say ahead and constantly be learning about what is new in their field. You will always have competitors breathing down your neck trying to surpass you. There will always be someone claiming to be the next greatest thing. Staying up to date and sharp, through constant learning, enable them to stay ahead and avoid getting passed. Do everything you can to keep learning and absorb new information, whether it be getting up early to read industry news or making a point to read in your spare time. Remember, knowledge is power!

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”. -John Dewy 

 5. Vision

In a way, entrepreneurs can see the future before it happens. They have the vision, clear as day, in their mind. They see opportunity everywhere and are constantly on the look out to develop or improve new or existing ideas. This is what makes them leaders of their industry. Chances are they started their business because they noticed something that could be better and formed their ideas into action. Have a clear image of what you want to achieve and make it happen.

“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision.” -Dalai Lama

6. Adaptability/Flexibility

There are surprises at every corner in business, and in everyday life. Even with a well-thought out plan or strategy, things don’t always go according to plan. Entrepreneurs are adaptable, giving them the ability to respond quickly in any situation. This allows them to make decisions that can navigate them out of potential trouble.

Having this level of flexibility is crucial for any business.  In fact, most entrepreneurs will tell you that their idea or business plan is drastically different than when it began. Sometimes the reality of a great idea isn’t effective. Entrepreneurs are flexible enough to understand this. They are prepared to make changes to their plan when necessary.

“You must always be able to predict what’s next and then have the flexibility to evolve.” – Marc Benioff

 

 

Mobile Marketing Media: Changing Radio Effectiveness?

As effective as radio is, there are still some obstacles in regards to consumer response. In some cases, when hearing an advertisement, potential customers can’t write down the number or remember it later. Texting laws are also limiting customer’s abilities to type on their phones while driving.

#250 Mobile media Marketing#250, a mobile speed dialing service, is providing an easier response method that is hoping to capture more leads for your advertisement. According to their website, “#250 (pound two-fifty) is a speed dial that works right now on virtually all mobile phones in the US and Canada.  Advertisers use it as a replacement for long phone numbers that consumers cannot remember when heard in Radio or TV ads.”

This form of mobile media marketing is extremely effective, as it requires simply remembering a keyword, instead of a whole slew of numbers. By punching in just 4 digits (#250) and stating the keyword mentioned in the advertisement, consumers will be directed right to the business’ call center, website or retail page.  It is also Bluetooth friendly, so you can say the keyword and are connected immediately. Hands free, being the safest driving option, is a huge part of #250’s campaign.

So far, the response has been excellent.

KC Campbell, Western Region Affiliate, said that “clients in LA have seen as much as an 86% increase in their calls in the first month.” Some companies have had to staff up to handle the call volume.

Businesses can choose their own keywords as well. This factor is “unique to each individual client,” said Campbell. So instead of hearing an ad on TV or radio that prompts you to call “1-800-GET-THIN,” customers simply dial #250 and say the keyword “Get Thin.”

And as far as performance tracking, they have that covered too.

“We can see we got “x” amount of calls and there is empirical proof of it because we have the numbers and times that these calls went through.” This allows data to be very specific, as you can see the duration of the call or if a text message was accepted.

Mobile marketing media, like #250, has a great possibility of making radio work more efficiently. With more response options and an easier method of remembering your product, consumers will most likely be responding faster and in greater volumes.

That is the main goal, anyway.

5 Tips for Advertising on Local Radio

In a time where podcasts and ad-free music apps are quickly taking over consumer preferences, chances are local radio is not on your advertising radar.

radioHowever, there are still millions of people out there who find this free resource invaluable. Don’t overlook these consumers, as radio is affordable and working for many agencies.

Here is a little cheat sheet on how to successfully advertise your business or product via radio.

  1. Find High Frequency Ads

Running your commercial only once or twice a week isn’t enough. In order for listeners to really absorb your information, you need to run your ad multiple times a day on a local station. A commercial will have a better change at resonating with potential customers this way. Just be aware of the “nag” factor, as playing your commercial too much can possibly create a distance with customers.

     2. Production is Crucial

Radio gives you the chance to be extra creative on a small budget as you are depending on the listeners  imagination. Since production is simpler, all you need is good voice talent, music, an original, innovative script and sound effects. However, since your commercial isn’t relying on visuals, it is imperative to capture your audience with these tools, right away. Keep your copy clear and concise. And find good voice talent, with a strong radio presence. An experienced ad agency has access to good talent for less and can write and produce your spot so that it has the best chance of succeeding.

    3. Know Your Target Audience

You need to know that your target audience is listening to your commercial. The best way to do this is to find radio stations in your market. Some simple investigation can help you figure out what kind of listeners are tuning in to these stations and if they could be potential customers for your service or product.

    4. Timing is Everything

Radio ad rates are divided into four quarters, for the year. Generally speaking, ad rates are less expensive in the first and third quarters. Running your commercials during these time frames can be cheaper to advertise and potentially easier to negotiate rates with the station. By keeping in mind quarters or the time of year you are advertising in, you have the potential to be more creative with your approach. For example, by connecting your product with the time of year, or say, a holiday, you can establish a closer connection to your audience.

   5. Find the Best Rates

Obviously, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Even though ad rates are always rising, there are bundle deals and remnant ad agencies that can help you stretch your dollar. Sometimes, the more ads you buy, the better.

Keep an open mind as well.

In the new age of media, it is important not to forget about ad-supported free versions of apps like Pandora and Spotify, as they do run local advertisements. Since these apps have access to your registration information, like zip code, gender and birth year, they are able to provide relevant advertisements to each listener.

I hope you found these tips helpful! For more information, you can contact Media Partners directly at (800) 579-3031.

Writing Radio Ads that Work

Bad writing can mean the death of your radio campaign.writing

Because the power of radio relies so heavily on the quality of the copy, it is in your best interest to find a writer who recognizes this medium and understands how to target your specific audience.

Here are some tips for writing ads that will work and generate sales.

1. When Hiring a Writer

The best writers are those with broadcast experience. Radio relies on skill and salesmanship so you need someone who has an understanding of  direct response marketing. You also need to be willing to spend some money, as good writers aren’t cheap.

When hiring a writer, remember to let them write. Good writers will listen to you, but they will also do what is necessary to create the best ad to sell your product. Don’t get in their way and take over the project. Let them do what you hired them for.

2. Timing

Most radio spots are broken up into 30 second or 60 second segments. 60 seconds gives you twice the amount of time to get listeners attention. 30 seconds are usually good for well known products or a simply offer. We typically advocate for a 60 second commercial, as you need to mention the phone number or call to action, such as go to your website, at least three times. A 30 second advertisement is usually too short to include everything you need.

3. Call Now!

Since the main focus of direct response advertisement is to make the phone ring with inquiries, everything in the spot should prompt the listener to pick up the phone and call. Offer free consultations, free information or limited time offers to instill a sense of urgency in the customer. You want them to ACT NOW.

4. Selling Comes First

When you only have 60 seconds to work with, every single second counts. Get the listeners attention, make an offer and generate a response. That is your objective.  A good way to test if your ad is concise enough, remove the product from the copy. If you still have a complete concept, then your ad isn’t selling. The product, website, offer, phone number or selling idea should make up the entire spot.

5. Know Your Audience

This is key in any form of advertising. With radio, you have two options: Talk Radio and Music Radio.

With Talk Radio, your audience is ready to listen. Catching the listeners attention or blending into the surrounding talk are two ways to infiltrate talk radio. You want to encourage further listening.

With music radio, your ad will be an interruption. Your spot must peak the listeners interest before they can change the station.

6. Choose a Creative Format

There isn’t a set way to write a radio ad, however, here are a few creative formats that have been proven to work and get your listeners calling.

Straight Announcer- With a clear, straightforward copy and a strong, direct voice, nothing could be simpler for your ad. The announcer should speak as if addressing one single person. Asking questions such as “Have you ever…?” or “Wouldn’t you like…?” helps create a personal connection with the listener and makes the ad feel less like a lecture. With the right voice, this effortless approach can pull listeners in quickly.

Dialog – A typical example of this type of format, involves two people conversing with one another. One person is excited about a product or service and wants to share this information with the other person, who knows nothing about it. That person asks questions, while the other relays the information, thus divulging your product or services main information. If you have voices that match your demographic, speaking in a believable way, then this ad will come across as a testimony or referral, which is great for business.

Person on the Street– Asking real people what they think of your product is a great attention grabber. Get the person you are talking to on the street to describe how the product worked in their own words, or how it benefited them. Ask if they would recommended this product to others. Listeners will hear real people giving their true opinions and this will act as a testimony to your product. You can take this one step further by having the person on the street address the audience directly. Add in a celebrity endorsement or an experts opinion works great as well.

Vignette– This creative format, starts off with a short life scene exhibiting a problem. Then it cuts to the announcer who will describe your product as the solution. Time permitting, the life scene will continue, this time to show how your product has made their life easier. Make sure to return to the announcer to end the spot with a call to action and your 800 number.

7. Establish name identification early and often

Give the name of your company, service or product early in the spot. Since you only have 60 seconds, you want to establish everything your listener needs to know about your business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Repeat this information at least three times throughout the ad.

8. Use a memorable or relevant 800 number

Most radio isn’t interactive, like podcasts and apps like Pandora where you can click to call or purchase right from your phone. Most listeners are in the car or at work when they hear your ad. Therefore, they need to be able to remember your phone number if a phone isn’t within their reach.  A special 800 number relevant to your product, is very helpful.

9. Call to Action

Answer the question that listeners might have: “What do you want me to do right now?” Of course, you want them to call! Don’t be subtle about it either. For example, the announcer could say, “For a free brochure on how to get rid of extra weight fast, call 1-800-LOSE-FAT.”

10. Limited Time Offers

People respond well to limited time offers. It provokes a sense of urgency and urges a call to action. People don’t like to miss out on good deals. Establishing a deadline forces an immediate response.

I hope you found these tips for writing radio advertisements helpful! For more information, call us at 800-579-3031.

Infinite Dial 2016 – Study On Digital, Mobile Growth

By David Alpern

The annual Infinite Dial study was recently released. It examined the expanding proliferation of smartphones and digital Infinite Dialaudio services, such as listening to online radio and podcasts. The research found that half of the audience now listens to some sort of online radio each week, up from 44% last year. Here are some highlights of how content delivery is evolving:

  • 57% of Americans use online radio each month
  • Podcast listening is growing on a monthly basis (17% to 21%) and weekly (10% last year to 13% this year). Weekly podcast listeners listen to an average of five podcasts per week
  • In-home ownership of a radio receiver has dropped. 79% have a radio at home. Eight years ago it was 96% = nearly every home in America. Among 18-34-year-olds, radio ownership in the home is down from 94% to 68%
  • Pandora remains the best-known online audio brand with 82% awareness. Apple Music which invested heavily to relaunch a year ago is second (67%). iHeartRadio, the largest broadcaster in the country is close to Apple (65%). Spotify has strong brand presence (52%)
  • Music streaming among the 12-24 demo finds that 43% listened to Pandora within the past month and 30% listened to Spotify
  • Spotify gained as the “Audio Brand Used Most Often,” up from 10% to 14%. Pandora leads everyone with 48%
  • Broadcast radio is tied for the lead among all audio sources for keeping up-to-date with new music – ahead of YouTube. However, among 12-24s, broadcast radio falls to third (58%), behind YouTube (86%) and friends/family (74%)
  • Smartphone ownership continues to grow, reaching 76%, up five percentage points since last year. Among 12-24-year-olds, smartphone ownership rose to 93%. Even seniors are getting “smart” with more than half now using a smartphone – up 45 to 51%
  • On demand video-subscriptions are at 51% of the country. The largest is Netflix. 43% of all survey respondents subscribe to Netflix
  • Facebook remains the most-used social media platform (64%). Among 12-24s Snapchat (72%) and Instagram (66%) lead the social media pack

Media consumption is dramatically changing. Mobile is increasingly being utilized as a “first screen” after several years of having established itself as the “second screen” supplement to traditional HDTV set viewing.

Podcasts and on-demand video services are allowing for binge watching and listening, and their anticipated future growth will continue to impact and change the media landscape. Expect to see online radio continue to increase its audience reach and join smartphones and social media as broad mainstream activities.

Radio Continues to Show Strong ROI