Co-op Advertising: A Win/Win Proposition

June 21, 2017

An easy way for a small business to expand its marketing budget is through cooperative advertising. Cooperative advertising, or as sometimes abbreviated Co-op, is when a producer of goods, for use by service providers or for resale, reimburses the advertising business in part or in full for advertising expenditures that involves its products. These programs are widely available because quite simply they save the producers of goods money. Bottom line is that local advertising rates available to the advertising business are at least 20% lower than national advertising rates. Therefore, the benefit for the producers of goods is increased brand recognition within that market at the lower local advertising rates, enhanced reseller relations, and much more.

However, cooperative advertising programs are an integral part of the producers own strategic marketing plan and for this reason they may not only vary from producer to producer but from product to product. Also, because these programs are an integral part of the producers strategic marketing plan, stringent rules and regulations are often placed on cooperative advertising dollars. These rules and regulations may cover media channels chosen, product placement, ad positioning and size, and much more. Additionally, there may be a separate set of guidelines that the advertising business must follow for financial reimbursement of advertising expenditures.

Because of the perceived complexity of cooperative advertising; businesses may feel intimated by the rules and regulations, not ask about cooperative advertising opportunities, or for help. A business owner or manager should ask every vendor that supplies the business with goods about what cooperative programs are available to the business and how the business can take advantage of these programs. Once the advertising business has established its cooperative advertising programs with its vendors all necessary information should be shared with the representatives of the chosen media channels to ensure proper execution of the advertising to meet the producer’s rules and regulations.

Cooperative advertising is a win/win proposition for the producer and advertising business. These programs allow producers to increase brand recognition in the market at the much lower local advertising rates and allow the advertising business to increase its marketing budget at no additional cost to the business. All small businesses should actively pursue these valuable cooperative advertising opportunities.

Is Your Website Married to a Sound Online Advertising Business Model?

June 21, 2017

A lot of small businesses think that because their website has not been able to attract enough traffic or leads in the past that it is not a worthwhile venture for the future. If you have this mindset, you may be missing a great opportunity to not only generate traffic and leads, but long-term business value, through inbound marketing. Studies of advertising spend suggest that many businesses, including small and medium-sized businesses, will shift as much as 30% of their marketing spend online by 2012. The question is, what approach will they take online, and how sustainable is it? Is it an inbound MARKETING model or, a paid ADVERTISING model? The former takes a long term approach and invests in getting found and addressing site visitor’s needs (wherever they may be at in their purchase process, from the early research stage to readiness to buy right now) through developing fresh and engaging content and compelling calls to action, the latter places the majority of investment in paying for traffic to come to the site, with less thought about what to do with the traffic once it gets there.

If you read our AIM Integrated Marketing blog post, you know that that inbound marketing is all about getting found by your customers online. So let’s start removing some of that black paint off of your website and start developing a better online business model.

The best way to test if you have a fundamentally sound website for gathering leads is to ask yourself the question “When I get a customer online, what do I want them to do?” See if your answer matches up with the way a customer would navigate your site. Are you inviting them to engage? Making offers to them? Are these offers compelling?

You may be thinking, “hmm, we really get most of our customers through person to person networking.” That may be great, and there is no question that word of mouth is valuable. But that might also mean that money is going towards more expensive marketing costs, or that money is being left on the table because an online strategy has yet to be properly enabled in your business. In other words, if you’re spending money advertising but not doing inbound marketing, you may have your spending out of sequence and we can show you why.

Advice for a website layout that will interest customers and attract leads:

  • The main viewing on any website take place in the mid-upper left side. This may not always be the case, but is a very good rule of thumb for you to follow when you are thinking about where to put your most important information, such as your calls to action (C2A). Does your Website have C2As?
  • Make sure your website is intuitive and that you have a logical map for customers to follow on your site. You need to make it as easy as pie for people to find what they need, and sign up for more information via well placed forms and C2A buttons.
  • Make sharing easy, providing easy links for visitors to share your remarkable content with others they believe may also find it helpful.
  • Enable lead nurturing, to stay in touch with site visitors in a low touch way that encourages them to return to your site.

Maybe your customers don’t buy from you online. Still, your website is an important touch point for your brand and is vital in supporting your authority in the market. This article is all about opening up to the idea of generating more leads and making your website a part of your business model. A good website is a terrible thing to waste, especially if it could be bringing you a lot more customers.