Advertising expert David Counsell discusses how online business owners can take advantage of offline marketing mediums.
In this podcast:
00:56 – Some background on David
02:36 – How the iPhone changed marketing
06:03 – Seeing the full picture
08:53 – Is radio relevant for an online business?
09:25 – Test and measure the response
13:34 – Steps to get a radio ad running
16:34 – Sharpen your focus
18:02 – TV advertising
21:57 – Does offline marketing cost more?
22:55 – Start with the message, not with the medium
23:10 – Drive-to-web campaigns that work
27:11 – Catch David’s podcast at David Versus David
When the iPhone was invented six years ago, the world totally exploded. [Click To Tweet].
You should know exactly who your customer is. [Click To Tweet].
Don’t underestimate that value of someone who is clever with words. [Click To Tweet].
Hi, James Schramko here. Welcome to another episode of SuperFastBusiness.com. In our continued interview series, today I’ve got an unusual suspect online. He’s got his own collection of suit of armor and he’s interested in all sorts of strange things but most importantly, he’s a marketing and design expert. I’d like to welcome to the call, David Counsell from Inferno Marketing and Design.
David: Hey, James. How you doing?
James: Good! Now you have got a very, very broad range of marketing experience. You’ve been in the game for a while. Perhaps give us a brief run of to where you’re at right now.
David: OK, well, for the last 18 years, I’ve been running my own advertising agency. In fact at one stage, we were running two advertising agencies but we got a little burnt out with doing that. So we sold one of them and cut ourselves back to one but before that, I was a radio announcer for 15 years and before that I was your general university dropout… really.
James: Right. So you’ve gone in there and you’ve been into lots of marketing and I think the point of interest for us today is going to be around crafting a marketing message and using different channels.
I imagine you’ve seen quite a bit of change with the way that businesses are marketing with the introduction of the Internet. You know, it’s come along during your career. Have you seen much change around the way that people have to market these days?
No One Thought The Internet Would Develop Into Anything
David: Look… Enormous change! I actually remember I’m so old I remember when the Internet first started and I got a connection to the Internet at 28K speed and I made my first website in 1994. That was an interesting experience and at the time, no one thought it was going to be anything.
I had a joke email address because no one thought that you know, it would develop into anything. These days, if you’re not using the Internet or some sort of online marketing point, then you’re really missing out because really, I actually think the pivotal thing was the invention of the iPhone.
David: When the iPhone was invented six years ago, the world totally exploded. Everything in media and advertising changed. Up until that point, sure you can advertise online but there were… there were still a lot of resistance. People weren’t getting into it as much as now today but when you put a smartphone into someone’s hand, they could access the Internet 24/7.
They take their mobile phone with them and everything just broke apart. And that truly has been the key to this huge next wave that will wash through. You know, you’re watching newspapers and the value of newspapers just drop away. You’re seeing people who use television advertising having to totally rethink how to use television so they can interact with their audience through the Internet at the same time.
Same holds true for radio. If you wind your mind back say 15 years ago, so into the late 90s, email marketing was something that people used to giggle about. You know, no one took seriously.
James: Yeah. I have to agree with you about the smartphone. I remember that really changed my interaction with my business because I had an online business being at foundation level. And I remember the first time I saw someone using an iPhone, scroll and look at a website.
That was quite an impactful thing and having family in the travel industry and myself working in the car industry, I saw the way that people buy was starting to change and my kids don’t even know what yellow pages is. When they dumped them out the front, “What is that, Dad?”
David: Oh, look, phone directories, gee. You’re pretty happy if you didn’t know a phone directory at this age. I really and honestly can’t understand why people are still spending money in phone directories. Look, sure, there are… there is a certain segment of the market that will still use a phone directory, but they don’t have high disposable income.
They tend to be the very old who aren’t spending lots and lots of money. They’re hoarding their money or they’ve already spent it on their big sort of acquisitions that they’re going to make. But these days, you know, phone directories, especially the book, we’re really talking about a book here, is just next to useless.
We’ve been showing people how to rip money out of the book and how to reinvest it into marketing that’s actually going to do something for their business rather than just continuing to do the same thing over and over again and hope for a different result.
James: Well, I’ll be interested in talking about that because a lot of our listeners have got their own business. Predominantly online businesses, but I think one of the great untapped things for most online businesses is they’re probably been only advertising online. So they have a different scenario where they might be considering leveraging their business going out to traditional media and that’s where I think you could really help us.
Especially with radio and I believe it’s quite cheap to buy radio space in some places especially if you’re in regional USA and also TV. You can get quite cheap slots on TV these days. So I’m really interested in learning about how a business like mine or another online business can take advantage of an old brain in the advertising industry about the marketing message in those particular marketing channels.
David: Look, absolutely. You’ve got to think about all advertising and marketing as like a jigsaw puzzle and once you got all the pieces in place, then you can see the full picture. Well, if you’re not putting all the pieces in place when it comes to your advertising, then you’re not seeing the full picture.
So if you’re just doing one part of it, you’re actually only reaching out to a certain segment of the market. You need to be able to look at who it is you’re trying to reach and find where they are and that’s where you should be advertising.
There are very few people in this world who spend their entire life 24/7 on the Internet. In the same way as there are very few people in the world who spend 24/7 just watching television or just listening to the radio station. It’s actually all about knowing your customer and where they are and how to communicate with them.
So the best thing to do is actually work out who it is that you’re trying to reach out to, and then the next step is to write a message that speaks to that person. Use their language and use the language that is appropriate for the medium that you would use.
For example if you’re sending a 160-character SMS message out to someone, you know you’re really talking in a very staccato, narrowed down communication form.
But if you’re advertising and linking it back to a web page, so for example if you’ve got an ad on television and it’s running a primetime, so between, say, 6:00 at night and 10:30 at night and your business is actually closed, why would you not be sending them from that particular television ad through to a page on your website when you’ve virtually got unlimited space and you could be using extra video that you shot when you made that television commercial to expand your message out?
Rather than spending dollars per second to try and communicate that with someone, use the medium to call into action if that action is to send them to the web page so that you can explain the full process to them, then that’s what you should be doing. And it’s so easy to do with radio and television. Same works for direct mail or direct email.
Don’t try and explain everything to them in the delivery method. Go to somewhere where you’ve got space and got time to expand that message and communicate with them. So that’s why it’s important to write that message in a manner that talks to them, that’s appropriate for that medium.
You know if you’re using radio, it’s all about theater of the mind, it’s all about painting those pictures using radio in their mind. And that’s great because using that, you’ve got an unlimited budget.
You can, you know, you can be creating scenarios that you couldn’t afford to film. However, if you’re going to use television, then you use the power of both the pictures and the audio together to talk to that person and send them to do what you want them to do.
James: Right. So, let’s get more specific now. We work via message. How do we go about getting on to the radio and do you still think it’s a valid thing for an online-only business?
Secrets To Buying Radio and Television Spots
David: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot of people who listen to the radio and surf the Internet at the same time. It’s the same, as true with television. You know we all know about two-screen viewing. Well I think the number is now up around 88% for two-screen viewing so why wouldn’t you use one of those electronic media when they’ve got access to the Internet and you send them through to your webpage to take that next action.
But send them somewhere that you can measure that they’re coming from your radio ad or they’re coming from your television ad. You know it’s really handy to know what time your radio ads are running or what time your television ads are running. So you can see the piece as people start to come through.
After all, it’s all about test and measure so you want to be able to test every time there’s an implementation of your message to see how responsive those people have been.
One of the secrets when it comes to buying a radio or television is to not just buy a shotgun load worth of ads. Anyone can sell you 4,000 ads for minimal cost because what they’re trying to do is just yield manage their commercials. You’ve got to remember on a radio or television station, there are windows that open up, that they pack those ads into and send them out.
And once that minute has passed, they can readily use that time again. So they want to yield manage what they’ve got so it becomes appropriate for them to try and sell you day slots so they might try and sell you radio from the breakfast shift right through until the afternoon drive shift and scatter your ads across there.
But if your viewers or your listeners aren’t there at that time, if they’re actually listening in their biggest number at 8:20 in the morning and at 3:15 in the afternoon, then why won’t you just buy those times, buy longer ads or buy frequency within those ad breaks to get your message to cut through and send them to where you want them to go to rather than buying 20 ads that could play across the day. All of that’s doing is actually wasting your money.
James: Yeah, we know this from pay per click advertising that we can day part and segment. I guess we can do this online and have an instant result faster than we’ve been used to with traditional medium. But if we’re running radio ads and we know that people have their smart devices on hand, I guess we can track the results of this and measure it which is probably a revolution in the advertising industry these days.
David: Yeah, absolutely. Why wouldn’t you do that? Everything that you do when it comes to advertising is going to cost you money so why wouldn’t you be able to measure how that money is being spent and spend it in areas where you’re getting the greatest response from. So if you do have an ad that goes to air, let’s say the radio station gives you a freebie. They do do it and it rocks out at 20 past 10 in the morning.
That ad goes to where? You can see the response directly onto your website or however you’re trying to get them to call to action. You know if you’re asking them to call you now on their phone then the phone should ring. If the phone’s not ringing, it’s not doing its job. So 10:20 in the morning, it’s not the time that you want to be investing in.
James: Yeah. OK, so track everything. How do you go about getting this remnant radio space that people talk about? The cheaper slots.
David: Oh OK. That’s a double-edged sword. Buying remnant space is actually pretty straightforward. You could come to someone like me, like an agency. There are in fact remnant space agencies that you can go to and that’s all that they’re dealing. But if you’re buying remnant space, you’re buying the stuff that they’ve got left over.
In short, it’s cheap but you’ve really got to weigh that low cost up against what you’re getting in return. I’m actually a really big fan of buying an ad that is targeted as opposed to buying hundreds of ads that could be going off anywhere.
The other thing that I think you should be doing as part of your process is knowing what your upsell process is as well. Too many people that advertise from a traditional media point of view don’t give that a lot of thought. They just go, well, I’m advertising this product. It’s this price. I run the ad. They will come in. But they’re walking away from dollars.
You know, I think at the last decade, upsells for a company that we’re doing it properly are represented an additional 30% of income that they could be tapping into. You know 30% is a lot of money you could be making for sitting down and working on your system and your process as opposed to just hoping people walk in the door.
Creating The Right Message For Your Ads
James: OK. So, what sort of advice would we have for someone who is looking to craft their message, get these ads up and running? What are the actual steps?
David: OK. So, step 1, know who it is that you’re talking to. If you’re an Internet marketer, seriously you should have that down. You should know exactly who your customer is. You should know the language that they’re going to use when you write that message or get someone who is good at copywriting to write that message for you as well.
Don’t underestimate that value of someone who is clever with words. Anyone can write you an average 30-second commercial, that’s about 84 words. Anyone can put 84 words on the page. It’s a different skill altogether to be able to put 84 words on a page that’s going to call someone to action.
And also get them to identify that you’re talking specifically to them. If you think of an average country radio station which might have a quarter hour cume, you know, which is a number of people listening to that quarter hour of say 15,000 people.
There are not going to be 15,000 people who are going to buy your product so your message needs to talk directly to the 35 people that most likely are going to want to buy your product and get them to actually act on it. So get that message crafted properly. Some radio stations will write an ad for you or not charge you.
Some radio stations will write an ad and charge you for it. But you got to be sure that you’re not just taking a cheap ad just for the sake of getting one. What you’re really trying to do is get an ad that’s going to work.
And then the next step is to buy the space, which is what we were talking about before. So ask for some statistics on where your specific customer is listening to that radio station or watch what television programs they’re watching so that you can get a pretty clear picture of where they are.
Now you’ve got a couple of things you could do at this stage: You can approach the station directly and do that. A lot of people, when it comes to approaching stations directly, will be sold on frequency. They’re going to try and sell you as many spots as they possibly can so that you can get frequency. Because radio and television, reach and frequency is really important.
It’s the amount of people within your target that you reach and the number of times that they hear it. On average they need to hear your ad or see your ad between two and three times for it to get that proper cut through and that’s why it’s so important to buy the right times because if you’re hitting them at the right times and you’re getting that frequency up the right way, then you’ll get a quicker call to action than if you’re just putting hundreds of ads out there and hoping that you might hit the right person.
So you can approach the station directly; you could come to someone like myself who runs an advertising agency and get them to buy it, that’s another way to do it. Or as you, we’re talking about before James, you can go to somebody who specializes in remnant space and pull the shotgun out and hope it hits someone.
James: So it might work if you have a… every single person on the planet is your target audience scenario, like weight loss offer but it may not work if you have a very specific profile.
David: Absolutely. But even a weight loss offer. Not everyone is part of your market. It would be nice to think that everyone wants to lose weight but you know, my skinny 16-year-old daughter, she’s not worried about weight loss. You know, give her 20 or 30 more years and she might be a bit more concerned about it but at the moment, she doesn’t care.
Why would you try and spend dollars marketing to her? Narrow the focus. It’s one of the things Internet marketing has taught us all about advertising and that’s know your niche, narrow your focus, concentrate on the people who are most likely to buy your product.
James: So I guess that means we’re going to be pretty specific about which stations we’re going to be able to advertising on.
David: Yeah, absolutely. You know I’m sitting here in the market that’s got eight or nine radio stations in it and depending on who the target is, depends on which one of those stations we would we buy for our customer to reach out to get that message to them, you know. Why would you advertise on these oldie-goldie stations if you’re selling skateboards to kids?
Well, the only reason you would do it is if you are trying to sell it to the mothers of the kids and influence them that way. Well, that’s a totally different message, it’s written a totally different way to the way that you would write the message if you’re trying to sell it to the kids directly.
James: Perfect! Alright, so, what about television? Is it the same thing?
David: There’s a lot of similarities when it comes to television. But essentially it is a different beast, you know. You’ve got vision and you’ve got audio. And you’ve got to use those properly to get your message through. You know the fact is, if you put a face in your television ad that is identifiable to your customer, you’ll actually get a greater response to that television commercial than just putting up text.
People like to communicate. They like that one-to-one communication and that face actually gives it to you. So there are number of other techniques that you got to look at when it comes to advertising on television. One of the things in terms of buying television, is you know, buy the programs where your customers are going to be. And you don’t just buy one television station.
If you’re in the market where there’s two or three three television stations, it would be very unlikely that someone has a favorite television station. You can have a favorite radio station but that’s because people feel more tribal about the music that they like. Music helps identify them as to who they are.
But there’s very few people who wake up in the morning and say, “Gee you know what, that WinTV, that’s me. I really identify with them.” People love programs. You’ve got favorite programs and you chase those programs and watch them on different stations so when you’re advertising, you chase that consumer that you’re after, across those different programs so that they see you all the time.
And then they will go, “Wow! You guys must be doing really well. I see you all the time. I’m here to buy from you.” That’s because you’ve chased them rather than you actually be on every program all the time.
James: Can you tell me about the technical process of putting together a TV commercial. Is it something you have to hire in a film crew to do? Does an agency organize this? Do you supply something you’ve already done? What are the typical scenarios there?
David: Yeah look, there are three ways that you can get a television commercial to air. You can hire an agency, who will do the work for you. You could also write a commercial and then get an agency or a production house to make it for you.
Some television stations, it’s getting less and less, will actually still make a television commercial for you but once again, you know, if you’re being involved in the creative process, make sure that they’re making the commercial that talks to your customers rather than just making your television commercial.
You know, I remember when I was working on radio, the copywriters at one of the radio stations one day wrote 45 commercials each, so 90 commercials came out of two copywriters that day. How focused do you think those commercials were on the customers for those businesses? Yeah, not very much at all.
So you’ve got to make sure that when you’re getting a TV station to which they make it, they’re working with you to get that done. Or the third way that you can do it is make it yourself and I’ve got to tell you, unless you know what you’re doing, that is full of danger. In Australia for example, all television commercials have got to be approved by a government body to make sure that you’re not contravening any laws.
If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll never get that TV commercial to air. If you don’t know the right format to send it through, it will just be rejected. If you make a mistake and put the wrong audio codec on it, it won’t get to air. And you’ll spend a lot of time, a lot of money to do it. And their response is, “Oh I’m sorry it doesn’t make the proper criteria, it’s not going to air.”
So you could be just burning money. So having a television commercial, if you want to be involved in the process, it’s better to get someone else to work with you to get that done. It doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise; it just has to be done the right way and that’s the critical thing.
James: Right. So is it going to be expensive to use these medium compared to what typical online businesses used to spending?
David: I would say that that depends on the cost of the product that you’re selling and the number of products that you’re going to sell from running that ad. If you’re looking to get 1 cent Facebook ads, then perhaps television is not for you because chances are you’ve got a product that’s not going to be generating enough profit to make it worthwhile.
You know, in a regional market, a television commercial costs you $300 then you’ve got to sell an awful lot of products that you’re making 5 or 6 cents profits on to make it worthwhile. However, it will also allow you to talk to a large amount of people in a very short period of time.
So it’s one of the things that you’ve got a way up. Remember when it comes to advertising, you don’t start with, “What medium am I going to advertise on?” You start with who is my customer, where are they in the biggest numbers and what is my message for them? If you start with the medium, you’ve made a fundamental mistake. Go back to go and start again.
James: So what offer do we drive people to with these advertisements? Is there a particular thing that works well for online websites? Is it to sell the product directly? Is it to sell a call to action to come to the site and to fill out something? Have you seen any drive-to-web campaigns that worked well?
David: Yeah, we’re running a quite a few drive-to-web campaigns at the moment. For example we’ve got a business that has a daytime version of the television commercial and his radio commercial, and then a night time version. So when his shop closes at 5:30 or 6:00 at night, the commercial changes.
We’ve got that time so it doesn’t matter if it’s programmed into a television program or it’s programmed on a radio station after that time, the alternate version runs. During the day, we call the people to action ask them to do a specific thing like go to this store, make a phone call, send us an email. And then the sales stuff takes over and brings that customer to the point where they part with their cash.
At night time, when there are no staff there, what the commercial does is just drive them to the website, give them some additional information that says if you’re interested, click this button. It collects their email address and their phone number, and they follow the customer up next morning.
So the first thing that happens at 8:30 when the business opens the next morning is they gather their emails, they collect the leads that they have from the previous notes, they jump on the phone and start bringing that customer to the sale before they go cold or before a potential buyers from all situations can start to bring itself to the front of their mind.
James: Right yeah, well this has been really interesting.
David: Is that an avalanche of information for you?
James: It’s good. I mean, It’s probably a new field for a lot of marketers. I’m thinking about my own situation. My online business has gone really well. I’ve utilized the typical online channels for getting traffic. As you know I found the podcast really interesting.
I think that’s where some of the magic is happening because I’m actually accessing people’s smart devices so I’m creeping my way in front of a user in a more tactile environment and I can’t help but think that if I could switch on some radio ads or if I extend my Own The Racecourse style videos that I’m putting on my website and YouTube onto television, that I could cross that bridge.
I mean I used to do some speaking on platforms and that was definitely an online marketing channel. I haven’t really done print media or radio or TV for my online business.
However, I have been involved in campaigns for customers that were wildly successful. In one case, generating 20,000 opt-ins to a new list in just one week using commercial radio and print media in combination so I’m starting to think that this is something that I should be doing.
David: I think that podcasting is fantastic. It is the next generation in radio advertising. You know the intimacy of being able to talk to someone directly into those ear buds and form that relationship with them because in any form of marketing, what you want to do is establish a relationship with someone.
You know, one of the things I like about social media is it’s like being in the 1950’s again when you used to hang out in the back fence and talk to your neighbor and you’d exchange ideas. Well social media is just like that experience. It’s just that you’re talking of huge clusters of people at one time.
So if you use social media, then why would you use podcasting in the similar sort of way to the way you use radio? Use that intimacy, use that power of theater of the mind, get into people’s brains and start working them towards your sales funnel.
James: Exactly. Well, I think this is interesting. We might have a follow up after developing this. Now also I was recently… you’ve started a podcast of your own and I was an interview guest on that. We were talking about stuff there. Want to plug that podcast on this podcast?
David: Absolutely! I would strongly urge anyone who is interested in advertising and marketing to go to, have a listen to our podcast David versus David. And when we say versus, we don’t mean you know, like in a poem, we mean versus like in Muhammed Ali so it’s the SUS versus so go to davidversusdavid. We talk about this sort of stuff every week.
We’ve spoken about how to make great radio, how to make great TV, we deal with social media. If it’s advertising and marketing, we have a chat about it. In fact we love it when people send in questions and we can deal with individual problems as well. So David versus David, I highly recommend it to you. I might be a little biased but go on, have a listen.
James: Nice. Alright. So there you go. I really, really appreciate this chat, hopefully your listeners will get some value in thinking about radio and TV and I guess print media is going to have very similar conventions and maybe don’t place that yellow pages ad this year if that’s what you’ve been doing.
And if you want to find out more then head over and listen to that podcast we mentioned. Also, if you ask some questions here on this particular post, I’m sure David will come back and provide us some answers. Thanks so much for being on the show, Dave.
David: Thanks for having me, James. Always glad to hang out with you.
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