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Marketing

4 Best Areas to Place Local Marketing Signs

This is a free guide created by SimpleCrew: The best tool for tracking and optimizing your local sign marketing campaigns.
 
Important: We’re advocating for responsible sign placement. For every suggestion we make, we ask that you please check with store owners and local ordinances before placing your local marketing signs.
 
What is local sign marketing?
 
Local sign marketing is a marketing strategy that uses printed signs to target an audience present in the same region or town in which your business is. It focuses on the people who are within a certain of your business location.
 
It’s an essential part of a marketing strategy for restaurants, local businesses and retail stores, real estate wholesalers, and events. It gets your message in front of the right people in the context of where they spend their time.
 
With local sign marketing, location is everything.
 
Local marketing signs can be an effective method of marketing for real estate investors and wholesalers. The key is, you need to put them in strategic locations to maximize your exposure and funnel in more leads. That’s really the point, right?
 
Important: Before you place any signs anywhere, you’ll need to check with city ordinances to make sure certain areas are authorized. Otherwise you’ll risk getting fined or having your signs taken down. 
 
The better your sign placement, the more people will see it and be inclined to call the number.
 
So let’s get into it: here are 4 proven places to get your signs more visibility, and more leads to your phone.

1. In front of large shopping centers

Important: You should always be careful of where you are putting the signs though or they may be removed by store or property owners.
 
Shopping centers, like Walmart or Costco, are high volume areas that many shoppers pass
by. Placing signs in heavily trafficked locations like this one will almost guarantee that you will get visibility.
 
You also want to be sure that your signs aren’t being overcrowded by other signs that are placed by people that have the same idea as you. Give yourself an open, but highly visible area, outside of all the noise from competitors.
 
Here’s some large stores you can start with that most likely have branches near you: 

  • Walmart
  • Best Buy
  • Costco
  • Home Depot
  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Dollar General
  • Lowe’s
  • Office Depot  

2. In busy intersections

Placing your signs at busy intersections where people naturally have to stop, like stop signs and stop lights, is perfect for visibility. It basically gives people the perfect window to clearly read your sign.
 
Important: This does not, however, mean you should put them at every single corner at every single intersection within a very small area. You want the visibility and coverage, without the overkill.

3. In public medians

Public medians are heavily trafficked areas as well.
 
If you found the perfect location within your target area, then you should only have to use between five and ten signs, any more than this and it can be too much.
 
If you target only the specific areas where you’re trying to sell, then that will be the audience reading your signs.
 
Just remember, too many signs can become an irritant. Be strategic and make sure that your message is direct and enticing and specifically designed for your demographic in your target area.
 
Another thing to remember: medians divide traffic, so proper placement is critical. You want to be sure that the signs can be seen by people traveling in both directions, so placing them on both sides is the recommended option for optimum exposure and balance.

 4. In front of your current inventory for sale  

For real estate wholesalers and investors, it’s always a good idea to place your signs in front of the property you have already acquired to raise awareness to people of your business and who they should call about the property with questions. The point of local marketing signs is to establish a presence in your target community and build your brand awareness.
 
Important: Never place a local marketing sign in the yard of someone’s private property without first seeking permission from the owner.
 
IMPORTANT TO READ: Rules and regulations for local marketing signs:
There are many important rules and regulations when it comes to where you can legally place local marketing signs.
 
These rules can vary enormously between cities and states and it is important to research the laws regarding the signs before placing them and possibly losing out on your marketing strategy.
 
Most states have detailed lists of rules and regulations listed somewhere on their .gov website.
 
Take Massachusetts for example: https://www.mass.gov/outdoor-advertising-and-signage
 
Tip: A good way to find your local rules is to type into Google the following phrase:
 
“[Your State] Outdoor Advertising and Signage”
 
Local marketing signs can significantly improve the revenue and leads that flow through your business and because of this some people feel that the reward outweighs the risk of any fine.
 
Possible consequences:
 
As mentioned before, there are potential consequences when it comes to a local marketing sign campaign, these consequences can include, but may not be limited to, the following:
 
  • Can be given a fine of between $200 to $500 per violation
  • Officials can remove signs and throw them away without warning
  • People can deface or damage signs that have been left out too long
 Potential Rewards:
 
A lot of people firmly believe that the potential rewards from launching a successful local marketing sign campaign far outweigh any costly fines later on down the road because the signs were placed in the wrong locations.
 
Before placing any local marketing signs, be sure that you have a method of being reached when the calls begin to come in. It is recommended that you utilize services such as Google Voice, a call center, or a website to receive the leads. Be sure that the lead’s contact information, such as name and call back number or email are saved and easy to reach, so you can return the calls and emails quickly.
 
Local marketing signs are affordable and will not cost your company a lot of money up front, but the results due to the visibility, your sign’s message, and the placement of your signs could turn into a serious return for you later on. Remain consistent with your campaign and build your buyer’s list and begin to see a return on a minuscule investment.
Categories
Marketing

5 Proven Ways to Promote a Concert

Concert promotion matters.

While that might seem like an obvious things to say (especially coming from us), you can, at times, come across concert promoters who believe that the gig will “sell itself.”

What these promoters don’t realize is that, most of the time, that’s just not the case. You can have the best artist in the world booked to play, but if no one knows about the show, no one’s going to turn up.

So once you’ve got the date, the venue, and the band in place, you need to sell tickets. And for that, you need to know how to promote concerts.

It’s not a dark art – although it might sometimes seem like one. Rather, it is a skill.

Marketing and promotion is a huge subject area, but there are a few basic rules that can help you on your way.

Figure out who your audience are, and be led by them.

Almost everything you do will be led by your audience, rather than the band.

If you don’t know who your existing and potential customers are, how old they are, where they hang out, or what matters to them, you’re not going to have the first clue about how to market to them.

Selling a gig to rock kids between 14 & 25 is a very different job to selling a jazz gig to the over 50s.

Some audiences might be very similar, but they’re never identical. You can very easily waste a lot of time (and a lot of money) on the wrong path, and the best way to avoid that is to put the audience at the center of your marketing plan.

Make sure you leave yourself enough time.

I’d honestly say that you need four weeks minimum, to promote a concert. Ideally you want much longer, but if you get offered a job with less than a month to go, for a band who don’t have a solid local following, you’re going to be up against it.

When you’re learning how to promote concerts, time is one of your most precious resources. And unless you’ve got a really hot show – which will need minimum promotion in the first place – fans probably won’t buy a ticket the first time they’re asked, and you’ll need to remind them.

That means leaving enough time to make sure that posters get refreshed, and flyers that go out several times leading up to the show.

You also want to make sure that word of mouth has time to build, for Facebook event invites to get some circulation, and for fans to invite their friends.

Leveraging the networks of a band’s fans is a powerful way to promote – word of mouth is still pretty much the most trusted form of recommendation – but it takes time to reach its full potential.

Set a budget, and stick to it!

How much cash you’ve got to spend will define how much promotional activity you’re able to do. Is the budget realistic? If you only have a small amount, and you’re expected to sell a huge number of tickets, you may want to reassess.

You may want only to pick those marketing channels which give you the best return. Remember it’s very easy to overspend, so getting really complicated and really pretty posters printed might be less important than making sure you have enough of them.

If you’re not in charge of printing, make sure that you’ve asked for enough to cover your area, and don’t be scared to ask for more if you need them.

Learning how to promote concerts isn’t just about which kinds of activities you’re able to carry out, but also how much of each you’re able to do.

Decide on your channels, and get the right balance of offline and online

Posters and flyers are the mainstays of concert promotion. Even in a digital world, it’s worth having them in the right places around town.

If you’re worried about being able to see where they’ve gone (and indeed if they’ve gone up), then that’s where our street team software comes in.

Press ads can be great if you’ve got the budget, but unless you get a good deal from the publication in question, they can be expensive, and it can be pretty difficult to measure ROI.

Editorial space in the right publications (online or offline) is highly sought after, but you need a good angle, and a good relationship with the publications. Learning how to write a press release might well be time well spent!

Online promotion on blogs, Facebook and Twitter is essential, but it can be time consuming – so like posters and flyers, it’s something that your street team are really well placed to do.

Get them to upload screenshots of their postings to SimpleCrew and you’ll be able to keep track of their work in the same way you keep track of their work on the ground.

Getting the balance between offline and online promotion is important, so remember to be led by your audience: what will they respond to?

Monitor, evaluate, adapt

This is probably the most important factor in making your gig promotion a success.

If possible, link the work you’ve been doing to ticket sales, so that you can very easily see what’s working, and what isn’t.

If posters in one particular neighborhood are effective, that’s worth knowing. If activity on a Facebook event page is getting lots of attention, put more energy into that.

The point about linking it to ticket sales during the promotional period is that you’re able to adapt: by the time the gig’s happened, it’s too late!

If you’re working with a street team, and using our app, the Stats tab will help you monitor how much work individual team members are doing, and so you’ll know who needs a push, and who you should congratulate – which will help you in the long term, as well as the short.

Lastly… and this is one that you won’t find in marketing textbooks: wherever possible, only work with people you trust, and once you’ve found good people, stick with them.

The concert and events industry can be hard work, there can be long hours, and it can require a serious amount of flexibility. But the joy of pulling off a successful show with a team of people you trust is worth the effort.

So go out and do it! We’ll see you on the dancefloor.

Categories
Marketing

Business Lessons Learned from Atlassian

I like picking out heroes in business (and in life). People and companies whose mindset, actions, and achievements I respect and admire.

Folks like Paul Graham37Signals/Basecamp, and Instagram – these guys have been there, walked the path, and have left plenty of inspiration on everything from product features to marketing copy to business strategy.

Today, I stumbled across a Forbes article chronicling the rise of another badass company that’s firmly in this camp for me: Atlassian, a software company that makes collaboration, project management, and communication tools for enterprise companies.

These guys have turned the traditional sales/marketing model for the enterprise market on it’s head:

Unlike the model of behemoths like Oracle , or even contemporaries like Workday or Box, Atlassian chose to minimize costs by not investing in sales staff or marketing, focusing instead on research and development. It simply sold their competitively priced products on the website.

“We felt if we could sell something at a reasonable price and sell it on the internet then we’d be able to find a market there. And that’s what worked out,” Farquhar said.

Like many start-ups, early sales were from friends of friends and acquaintances. But the company knew it had broken through when, without solicitation or any human interaction, the credit card information for a purchase from American Airlines came through.

Sales and marketing will continue to play a huge role in how we push SimpleCrew forward, but it’s inspirational to see Atlassian pushing the boundaries of whats possible with just a maniacal focus on product and development.

That, and they just seem like a cool bunch of guys and girls. Hero status confirmed.

Categories
Marketing

Mobile Stats from Meekers “Internet Trends”

I mentioned Mary Meeker’s “2012 Internet Trends” presentation in last week’s post “The Mobile Generation“.

These were my favorite slides from the presentation, illustrating the optimistic outlook and huge upside still open for the mobile sector:

The slides on “re-imagining” were some of my favorite in the entire 88 page deck, and of them, the “Connectivity” and “Photography” re-imagined slides really hit the nail on the head with what we’re working to do with SimpleCrew.

So much can be communicated with photos, and for the first time ever, SimpleCrew offers teams an easy way to share and organize photos across a team.

It’s a re-imagining of connectivity for teams, with photographs as the medium. And it’s all up and to the right.

Categories
Marketing

The Mobile Generation

Mary Meeker from the Venture Capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers (KPCB) always kills it with her Internet Trends presentations, and I love it every time.

In particular, I love it because of how amazing the numbers have been for mobile. They’re incredible. It makes me feel all warm and tingly inside, seeing the graphs that portray a technological revolution we happen to be right in the middle ofright now.

You don’t even need a VC analyst to tell you that there’s big stuff happening in mobile lately. You can just look around and see it in every pocket – it surrounds us.

Think about how amazing this is: computing has brought about three waves now, each of them creating massive technological change (along with vast fortunes) from the period before. The first was the proliferation of the PC. Then there was the internet. For both of those waves, my generation was too young to really appreciate what was going on, let alone dive in and participate.

But this wave, mobile…

The first iPhone came out in 2007. I was 19, and had just finished my first year at University of Maryland. Like most people that age, I had just recently started considering the options for my future and would be for the next few years before graduation.

A couple months after that first iPhone came out, the economy hit the fan and everything turned to shit. Students started graduating into the crappy economy, and the “Jobless 20-Something” became a defining cliche of the time. My friends and I watched the value of our college degrees plummet to almost worthless, a year before graduation.

And then this happened:

All of a sudden, a ray of light appeared amidst the frenzy of the shit economy, and that ray of light was mobile. A new wave of technology that brought a new wave of opportunities, value, and wealth.

This time, we weren’t too young. And we weren’t too old either – that’s very important. We weren’t 4-5 years down paths towards middle-management in office buildings anonymous.

We were young, jobless, and had nothing to lose. We were just right.

By now, it’s practically conventional wisdom that it’s never been easier to start a company. With basically zero start-up costs, infrastructure readily available, and the world’s knowledge at your fingertips – very little of the barriers to entry that existed just 10 years ago exist today.

And now we have the explosion of this new platform. The smartphone. Think about how incredible of a canvas this thing is. With the touch screen, it offers literally infinite possible interface options. It has a camera (or two), a compass/accelerometer, a speaker, a microphone, a light, and a headphone jack. It’s connected to the web, it’s always on, always around, and there’s millions of them. And that’s just for now.

Think about how many problems there are that can be solved with the right software on this canvas! And of course problems can translate into opportunities for business. You literally can’t put a number on how many business opportunities there are out there now. It’s effectively infinite.

Thus, it’s a beautiful thing Mary Meeker reports on. For a generation that graduated into an economy in the dumps, mobile has offered a beautiful silver lining. The chance to create tools that solve problems and create value for people, and build businesses around those tools.

We may have been to young for PC and the Internet, but this wave, mobile, is our wave.

Categories
Marketing

Measuring Your Brand: Esteem vs. Awareness

There’s a simple exercise that is incredibly powerful when considering marketing, advertising, or branding a company. The practice can be applied to anything – a product, an event, even ourselves – by simply considering two variables: Esteem and Awareness.

 

Esteem

Esteem is what the brand is known for, or its image. This includes how much (or how little) the brand is respected, and what it’s respected (or disrespected) for. On one hand, there are brands associated with quality, great service, and other positive traits – like Apple, Zappos.com, and Mercedes-Benz. On the other, you’ve got those universally accepted as undesirable – companies like Enron, or the NFL Replacement Refs (had to…)

Awareness

Awareness is how well known a brand is. How big – or how small – its reach is. On one hand you’ve got Joe’s Pizza on the corner, serving the locals, and on the other you’ve got Pizza Hut, serving up slices from countless locations on every corner of the globe.

This is what branding is all about. Esteem and Awareness. As far as marketing, advertising, and branding are concerned, they’re the only things that matter. It all boils down to those two pillars. Everything else is secondary.

Practice

With all this in mind, here’s a fun trick: plot Awareness and Esteem against X and Y axis, and then split the graph into four quadrants.

In the top right, you’ll find the well known, and well respect brands. This is the sweet spot. Our examples from before – Apple, Mercedes-Benz, and Zappos – are all comfortably in this quadrant.

Below them in the bottom right quadrant, you’ve got well respected but lesser known brands. This is where you’d find high-end niche brands like Harmon Kardon (speakers), or newer startups earlier on their paths, like our friends at InternMatch (internship marketplace) and LikeBright (social dating) – both extremely valued and respected among the communities that know them (and growing every day).

On the left side, the Hemisphere of Sorrow. The top left: high awareness, low esteem. Our earlier examples of Enron and the NFL Replacement Refs fit nicely here.

On the bottom left: unknown, and unloved. The bottom of the barrel. No good examples are coming to mind, but the depths of Apple’s App Store or Amazon.com’s catalog are probably littered with examples of obscure, crappy products.

In Practice

There’s a couple takeaways from this exercise that we’re applying with SimpleCrew. The first is that esteem comes first. Whatever we do, it’s important that we maintain a great reputation, and that our app stays useful and valuable to our customers. The more the better. That is our top priority.

Awareness, while important, comes second. Our marketing and advertising efforts will grow as awareness grows in importance for us. But all the attention in the world is worthless without the esteem that comes from having a dialed-in product and customer support.

That’s the golden tip: Be good. Make it valuable, and make it work. Take care of the people who already know about you – they’re your foundation for esteem. Those early adopters can later become your biggest promoters. With that in place, then go to town on marketing and advertising.

Scale through the roof, but don’t forget your reputation along the way. Because awareness comes and goes, but esteem is your rep for life.

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