VIA Idea #4 Six Steps for Creating a Successful Ad

Even though marketing messages are delivered in ever-increasingly sophisticated methods, the foundation for creating effective ads remains constant. VIA Marketing asks questions first; then we develop solid creative for our clients:

1. Who is the customer? Define your market. Take a step away and make sure you are looking at your ad through the eyes of your true customers.

2. What motivates the customer? Basic human emotions drive the decision-making process and compel a person to think, “I want that” or “I need that.” David Ogilvy called these the “eternal verities” or truths:

  • Live a better, happier life
  • Make more money
  • Be more successful
  • Feel secure/avoid danger
  • Have more sex appeal
  • Enjoy romance
  • Be “heroic” in the eyes of family and friends
  • Be “cool”
  • Achieve higher status/esteem of others
  • Make sure children have all of the above

3. Is it true? Claims made about your product or service must be true and you must deliver what the ad promises. If customers feel cheated or lied to, they won’t come back for more.

4. Is it understood? Don’t patronize the audience, but assume the customer knows nothing or very little about what’s being sold and develop the message from there.

5. Is it memorable? You want customers to remember your offer. The creative must grab and hold the audience’s attention while still clearly delivering the message.

6. Is there a call to action? You must clearly tell the customer what you want them to do. Close the sale by asking for action.

We’d love to talk to you about creating effective ads that will help sell what you offer. Contact us to learn more.

VIA Idea #3 Building a Website – The Team Approach

You wouldn’t ask a carpenter to do the work of an electrician or ask an architect to install the plumbing. Each performs the tasks they were trained for, to produce a finished home. So it is with building a website.

Realistically, very few people are proficient in each aspect that launching a website requires: copywriter, designer, programmer, and marketer. Each component is equally important: the copywriter, or content developer, thinks about purpose and audience to craft a compelling message that humans and search engines will understand. The designer uses CSS, graphics, images, and navigation to present the information in a logical and memorable way.

The programmer writes CGIs, Flash applications or Ajax Web 2.0 applications He or she also creates databases that allow interaction, data mining and transaction history. Data mining allows you to track your prospect and customer information so you can send timely notices to them. Your programmer may also work with XML, handle database administration, and connect sites to existing databases.

The marketer sees a website as a powerful tool in the tool pouch, looking at it as one part of the overall business stategy. That strategy includes customer relations management, sales promotion and public relations. The marketer also works to bring people to the website with blogs, social networks, paid searches and a myriad of other actions that increase traffic. A marketer will watch the pageviews and tracking to validate the effectiveness of Web design work.

If we’ve convinced you that a friend’s cousin’s son is not your best bet for such an important part of your business, let’s talk about the goals VIA Marketing’s Web development team can help you with. Visit to see a few of our client’s websites.

VIA Idea #2: LinkedIn for Opportunity

If you value professional networking, you’ll join LinkedIn. Numbers alone make a strong case: according to Nielsen Online, LinkedIn grew 320 percent from March 2007 to March 2008. LinkedIn reports 43 million members in more than 170 industries in 200 countries. The LinkedIn blog claims this site is growing at the rate of one new member per second!

Because of the power of referrals, we need to connect with one another more than ever. Who among us hasn’t, at sometime or another, gotten the job because of someone we know?

Here are 10 reasons to use LinkedIn:

1. Increase your visibility by creating a user-friendly virtual business card.
2. Improve your connectability by posting a complete professional bio.
3. Advance yourself, your website and your blog up the Google PageRank ladder. People are searching for you; LinkedIn comes up high in page rankings.
4. Scope out the competition, customers, partners and others.
5. Ask for advice. With LinkedInAnswers, you can ask business-related questions to your network and to the entire network.
6. Gauge the health of a company—note employee turnover and if key people have recently left.
7. Track startup companies that may be potential clients or competitors.
8. Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks. Find out about the person who used to have the job you’ve applied for or learn about a department’s manager.
9. Increase the relevancy of your job search. Find companies that need your specific skills and learn about the company before you apply.
10. Make a job interview go smoother by learning about the person you’re meeting. Maybe you went to the same school or both enjoy skiing.

Social networking values relationship building over transactions. It takes some time and effort to build up that network. And, as with nearly anything, the more effort you expend, the greater the reward. But, even a little time invested in LinkedIn can pay handsomely.

Learn more at