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GRATIS: Free Advertising Advice to One and All. [And It’s Really Good Too!]

Category Archives: Advertising

How To Calculate Your Ad Budget

Answering a question from countless businesses old & new

Most business owners know that a percentage of their past and projected sales should be secured for advertising.  In ‘The New Economy” I tell my clients to look at their profits from the last two quarters of 2010 to determine their first two quarters of 2011. I advise clients to budget as much as they feel comfortable budgeting. Meaning, “do not shrink back to the point you know full well you aren’t advertising enough- but do not rack up mammoth debt just to up your media spending.”
Few businesses remember to calculate the correct amount to spend on their Creative.  I’ve learned from client’s who have used bland language and graphics in the past, that you can offer the wrong message a MILLION times a month – even to the right people- and they still won’t do business with you.  So often a client will tell me that TV, or radio, or print, or internet simply will not work for them.  However, when they admit that they have given this medium 6 weeks to deliver, and they show me an ad that has no call-to-action and no real reason to truly remember anything about their product or service or location…  We together realize the medium has not been tested in a way that honestly proves anything.
With the right target audience, message, creative delivery, medium, reach and frequency- advertising works, period.  So in this upcoming year, find out what makes you different from your competition [Westokes would be happy to help] and do as much advertising as you can afford to do.  To figure out your actual budget numbers, here is a helpful tool from one of my favorite enterprises, The Wizards of Ad:
http://adbudgetcalculator.com
May your 2011 be full of peace & love & health, fun & creativity… caring & sharing with all those around you…

Most business owners know that a percentage of their past and projected sales should be secured for advertising.  In ‘The New Economy” I tell my clients to look at their profits from the last two quarters of 2010 to determine their first two quarters of 2011. I advise clients to budget as much as they feel comfortable budgeting. Meaning, “do not shrink back to the point you know full well you aren’t advertising enough- but do not rack up mammoth debt just to up your media spending.”

Few businesses remember to calculate the correct amount to spend on their Creative.  I’ve learned from client’s who have used bland language and graphics in the past, that you can offer the wrong message a MILLION times a month – even to the right people- and they still won’t do business with you.  So often a client will tell me that TV, or radio, or print, or internet simply will not work for them.  However, when they admit that they have given this medium 6 weeks to deliver, and they show me an ad that has no call-to-action and no real reason to truly remember anything about their product or service or location…  We together realize the medium has not been tested in a way that honestly proves anything.

With the right target audience, message, creative delivery, medium, reach and frequency- advertising works, period.  So in this upcoming year, find out what makes you different from your competition [Westokes would be happy to help] and do as much advertising as you can afford to do.  To figure out your actual budget numbers, here is a helpful tool from one of my favorite enterprises, The Wizards of Ad:

http://adbudgetcalculator.com

May your 2011 be full of peace & love & health, fun & creativity… caring & sharing with all those around you…

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Ummm… Does Anyone Else See A Problem Here?

OpenXDualBladeUniversalPackageOp-1Mike saw this while Christmas shopping and mentioned it to me during a discussion about BNET’s 10 Worst Brand Blunders of 2009. User friendly? Maybe it’s just late in the day but I couldn’t stop laughing. Clearly they didn’t call us before making this packaging choice.

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Do People Really Know How Awesome Your Company Is? (Or a Lesson From Charlotte’s Web)

Answering a question from SM, Winston-Salem, NC

OKAY, I’m a sap.  I found myself watching Charlotte’s Web on HBO and could NOT change the channel.  That Dakota Fanning is too cute and a great little actress [Trapped 2002 –age 8/amazing]. They managed to give Charlotte a fascinatingly sweet spider face and with the voice of Julia Roberts- the little arachnid was quite lovely, actually. And Wilber -never has a piggy been more adorable. But I digress.

At one point in the movie Wilber tells Charlotte that she has worked a miracle, to which Charlotte A. Cavatica replies, “No, my webs were no miracle, Wilbur. I was only describing what I saw. The miracle is you.”

It reminded me of the “big reveal” days when a client sees their new logo options/ads/web site ideas for the first time.  For me, there is nothing like seeing a client’s face light up with pride at seeing the their company shine like it should have all along.  They gush about how we created a miraculous look or fantabulous makeover. Truth is, like Charlotte — we just see their potential and bring it out.

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My Brother-In-Law Can Build My Web Site — Why Should I Go Pro?

Answering a question from FC, Greensboro, NC

Hmmm… We get this one a LOT.  And the answer is simple.  If your brother-in-law can build a unique site for your company that you will be truly proud of, one that is easy to navigate and employs all the best SEO great copywriting has to offer— you certainly should hire him to do it. Using a template or similar form of just getting something up there usually ends up costing you as much or more in the long run.  Why not hire a pro now?  Westokes believes in building sites that show you off the way you really want to look. We are constantly amazed at the folks who spend tons on cashola their actual store but scrimp on the place most people check out first these days.  If you can’t get their interest online it isn’t going to drive sales and they aren’t likely to DRIVE to shop with you either.

You need a site that will grow with your company. Most simple, [let’s be honest here, cheap] alternatives end up frustrating the owner of the site because they can’t get updates when and in the way they really want and need them. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  We’ve had tons of clients tell us they sent money to an online web builder who gladly cashed the check and then, ummm… Disappeared off the face of the internet planet and ummmm… “We’re sorry, the number you have dialed is not in service …” You get the sad picture. Go pro from the start for a solid, smarter, more savvy solution.

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Image. Moving. Forward. Why Are You Painting?

A question from our NCFE neighbors, Greensboro, NC

Well, we’re moving offices.  I hate moving almost more than dieting. There is no easy way but just to trudge through all the stuffs you probably should have thrown away long ago and keep only what you need.  When we moved into our current office we had to hit-the-ground-running.  Our biggest client had expanded and needed us to do the same.  T-shirts, beach balls, uber-huge signage had to have a place and being very single at the time, I was able to stay at the office till 1am, 3am, whatever it took.  I added employees and desks, etc. and never really took time to “brand” our space. We’re in a spectacular old Cone Mills factory building with mammoth ceilings and lovely ancient warehouse windows. We had cool tropical plants and fun, creative items about the place- but as our image changed professionally- our actual office stayed the same because I didn’t make time to change that image as well.

I heard/saw a cool idea on HGTV this weekend and it has me thinking. It said to pare down your clutter/accumulated accessories when moving- put all the things you know you HAVE to have in the new space and then “shop” the remaining items.  And Westokes has the have the perfect opportunity to do this because we’re only moving down the hall to a more savvy spot! I can ask myself if I would honestly choose this or that  for the new space if I were buying it for the first time. Anything that doesn’t fit the new updated image, color scheme, etc. will be sold [anybody know someone interested in 70’s style passenger plane dividers?  I hate cubicles so this is what I’ve loved & employed for 6 years but they don’t fit the brand any more.] Things not sold can be given away.

Finally, the inquiry to which all this is geared: I’ve often been asked- why should I change my logo/web site/tv ads?  Why fix it if it ain’t broke?  And my answer is a actually another question- “is it working for you as hard as it could?” If it were an employee- how would you rate it?  If it doesn’t merit a raise then perhaps it’s time for a change. How much of your current brick & mortar office, your click & mortar web site, your advertising period- fits with who you really are right now- moving forward? Does it target your real audience of today & tomorrow? If not, we’re happy to help.

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