Simple Advertising You people are idiots.

2Jan/08Off

Advertising Tools #1- Messages

The simple truth of advertising messages is that the simple truth works best. Advertising messages are primarily about the words and are called advertising copy. Good advertising Copy increases the effectiveness of your advertising. If you are ready to spend some money with a big agency, they'll help you hire an advertising copywriter. Yes, this is AFTER you pay for their advice. We work differently. We deliver the advice for free while we create the content.

How does a copywriter work? I don't mean to disappoint, but they do their work by talking to you. If you've worked with advertising people that didn't ask you for your story, then you worked with people who couldn't tell your story. Sadly, they didn't bother to hear it. For a local business, it's good to keep some perspective. If you live in a market with a few thousand potential customers, can you justify big money for advertising copy? Probably not. Your advertising needs to be effective in your own budget.

To give you a comparison, we'll write enough advertising copy to fill a nice website for you for only $400. What we attempt is to get you 90% of the value of extremely good copy, but for 1/10th the price. Because we write longer texts and not just headlines, we have a sneaky suspicion that our copy is actually better than the expensive stuff. We hear all the time that people pick out phrases from our writing to use as headlines or bulleted copy when they are producing fliers and print ads. This copy is usable again for other media and because we will be working on managing results, you get to see how it is really working-- or not working. NeighborWave is not an outsourced service-- most businesses that work with us get to work with a local writer. The way that we work with you is to submit a few varied sentences to you to see what kind of style and tone seems right to you. When you pick the tone and style, we work on your writing three times to make sure that we get it working well for you. Write once. Edit Twice. Simple.

27Apr/08Off

WordPress Consulting SEO

WordPress is such an amazing tool for publishing that it helped make this business possible. What we wanted to do was create websites using good organic SEO for a low price so that small business could afford it and use it. We absolutely needed WordPress to happen. SEO requires that you keep pages fresh and that means publishers need to be able to change their own content. And yes, we are definitely saying that small businesses are publishers!

WordPress was built to work with words and that is exactly what the search engines need to determine results. If you want top ranking on the search engines, you need to work with words. We've accumulated a ton of WordPress SEO tips and tricks and we bring them all to every job. NeighborWave's WordPress consulting was built for small business, but the same techniques can work for anyone using the WordPress platform.

Don't have enough words? NeighborWave implements SEO as part of all of our copywriting services. You can't buy writing from us without SEO. Why would you ever pay for writing help and not put it on your website? Once it's there, why would you not want it to work well with the search engines?

6Mar/08Off

For Small Business

We use a lot of software tools- and we're happy to make free recommendations for your specific task- NeighborWave uses specific tools in a comprehensive plan so that they fit together and meet objectives.

What are the tools that YOU need for advertising your business? A lot of people find this page while seeking advertising software tools to use in their marketing. And they're shopping based on price- with free advertising tools a very strong preference. We really don't like to use fear in our own marketing, but look carefully at those "free" services-- sometimes they contain a "gotcha." A common "gotcha" when using free advertising tools is that the tool ties you to something: someone else's website, a recurring billing, software that needs upgrades... the list of traps goes on and on. Again, we're happy to recommend (yes, for free) the REAL free advertising tools.

Here's what we think about choosing Small Business Advertising Tools...

Toolkit #1- Advertising Messages.

Toolkit #2- Production Technique.

Toolkit #3- Publishing Technique.

Toolkit #4- Managing Results.

Let's step back a little and get some perspective on where advertising actually happens. No matter what or where you choose to advertise, the actual act of advertising is the placing of your information onto a publishing platform. Newspapers, direct mail, internet, radio... they all carry your information to consumers.

The single most effective way you can choose your advertising tools is to first understand the tasks. Choose Advertising Tools to produce the right materials- the right information about you. Next, choose Advertising Tools for Small Business that produce information in a cost effective manner. Then, choose Advertising Tools to produce that information for more than one publishing platform. With the right planning, new advertising efforts can build on previous success and leverage previous efforts. It's easier for the second or third platform when you've got a plan that includes more than just buying an ad.

There are lots of products that might be called 'advertising tools for small business,' but the focus of these products is usually one small task-related aspect of your advertising. Occasionally you can find a guide for one type of publishing- but will those methods affect your other advertising? And how will it affect your costs? Can you use the results again in other places?

NeighborWave works with you as a small business advertising agency that builds and grows your own advertising toolkit. The tools that are right for you. Help where you need it- and zero cost where you don't want it. We focus your attention on increasing the efficiency and reducing the costs of your efforts and your dollars. We work through all of the steps above with your specific situation and demonstrate for you solid methods while we cheaply write, create graphics and place your advertising. We don't charge for the advice-- we do the work and the advice is free. Our advertising plans include a future: You, in control of your small business advertising.

2Jan/08Off

Advertising Tools #2- Production Techniques

The methods that you choose for producing the content in your advertising can greatly affect the cost of future efforts. As an example, when you use a photograph on your website it is displayed using a resolution that is appropriate for a computer screen. The same image, when you send it to a printer will look like junk on a printed page. It's the wrong resolution.

We work right from the beginning to help you avoid these future cost traps. When you work with us, the materials that we gather and create can be used again in your next advertising effort. There are actually a lot of other examples, but-- we aren't interested in how other companies will disappoint you. NeighborWave works right the first time. We work the right way and make sure that you have the right materials for future work.

A little bit of planning, saving you money. Simple.

2Jan/08Off

Advertising Tools #3- Publishing Techniques

I'm sure it's no surprise to you that NeighborWave prefers the internet as a first advertising publishing platform. If you've previously had a bad experience with internet advertising, sorry about that and you should really consider moving on. Too bad you couldn't hire us before. Probably the reason you were unhappy is that no one found your site. And that is exactly what we do. We deliver good solid advertising that gets found by internet searchers looking for your products-- looking for you!

For the 800th time, here's why the internet is Great advertising:

  1. It's cheap.
  2. It's perfectly targeted customers.
  3. You can easily change your messages.
  4. It's pretty obvious that it's the future.
  5. It can teach you for free how to manage your advertising dollars.

The typical bad experience has been paying for a website and then no one ever finds it. We work from a different perspective. The FIRST thing that we work on with your website content is getting it found by Google. After you see it working, it might be reasonable to spend some money and dress it up a bit so that customers can understand the value, the quality in your business. To keep things simple, we like keeping to ordinary ideas like first things first. Get found by Google. Simple Advertising.

2Jan/08Off

Advertising Tools #4- Managing Results

If you read about the Toolkit #3, you know that we like internet advertising. It can deliver a lot of value for you cheaply. There are lots of benefits that you will see, but the best thing is this: It teaches you to manage your advertising. It doesn't matter if you write your own copy or have someone else do it-- you need to know that it works.

NeighborWave helps you learn to work directly with Google and the other search engines. In this regard, we simply act as a teaching consultant while we produce your advertising. You can see directly how differing messages attract and don't attract. You can learn about new opportunities in your market that you hadn't considered. Optionally, you get to cheaply and directly experiment with buying individual leads.

This part is a really gratifying milestone in your advertising project and comes towards the end of creating your advertising. The advertising process can be a little mystifying, but this step peels back all the layers and lets you see the results from your dollars. We love this part. And... it's simple.

28Dec/07Off

Television Advertising Tools

Video Advertising Coming Soon! With our Simple Advertising tools for your website-- the same video on your site can also be your local television advertising. Yep. You heard that right. We're experimenting with simple to produce video advertising that fits on your website-- and then fits again on the TVs in your local television advertising market.

How do you get it on TV? Did you know that Google now lets you place TV ads? The hardest part is actually making the ad, but we have a simple and cost effective way to get your ad made. Get in touch.

The tools, they just keep coming...

15Jul/08Off

Simple Print Ad Creation

This is a guide for making your own print ad using free software.

This page is quick, dirty, detailed and free–AND you can get to the finish line.

Don’t kid yourself. There are a few steps to doing making a print ad by doing it yourself. There is a lot of conflicting advice advertising. It’s hard just to navigate all the terminology, even harder to understand all the services and then-oh hang-there are actually THEORIES about this stuff. Forget all about that stuff.

If you have a really short attention span, here’s a quick tip: don’t begin by trying to buy an ad. The company that sells you ad space is selling you **space**. YOU need to supply what goes in that space. Below is just one way to do it. If you follow the instructions carefully, you can create the computer file that you need to give to company selling you that print ad placement. The important part is to pick a work plan that you can actually do. We're happy to answer any questions if you want to give this plan a try.

The first question (for you), and this is really important: are you willing to budget both money and time? If you are not yet willing to do both, you may not be ready to advertise. Here’s the lowdown on what advertising actually is: when people talk about business competition–they are speaking exactly and precisely about advertising. The ‘competition’ happens in front of prospective customers using communications that we call ads. If you want your business to compete, advertising is worth both time and money.

YOU Create Your Own Print Ad.

  1. Pick your budget. This answers the question of how big to make your ad.
  2. Choose a message. You need words. Ads need words. Don’t clutter. Small words. Not too many. Ask for buyers. Include phone. Get it?
  3. Choose Software. If you were hoping to use chisel and stone, that’s over in the sign department. But you’re right that you need software tools. A print ad requires page layout software. The name brand page layout software is Adobe Illustrator. PhotoShop is NOT the tool for page layout. The freebie in the examples below uses software named Inkscape. Do consider donating to the Inkscape project if you use it. They worked hard and it can help your business create good advertising. Inkscape download.
  4. Design Your Layout. Use the Inkscape drawing tools to create simple shapes to accent text and any pictures. Avoid clipart. Consider using photos instead. Use a simple font, but change the typeface using bold and italics for each statement. Change the FONT SIZE and capitalization for different lines of text. Do not get trapped into thinking that it’s not good enough. Keep your focus on this: make it say something.
  5. Shop For Placement. All publishers that sell print advertising are offering you what is called a ‘placement’ in front of an audience. It’s not unusual for them to sell you space even if they know it won’t work for you. YOU need to be able to understand ‘who’ is the real audience of a particular publication. Don’t take their word for it–look at the publication and ask yourself: Who reads this? If that audience doesn’t match your product’s audience–don’t buy the ad.
  6. Place The Ad. You are the customer. They need to make this easy for you. If they don’t–don’t buy the ad. Tell them how you are working (even if you just point them to this page). Ask for any help that is included in the price of the ad. A good publisher will take your advertising file and correct simple mistakes to help you. Their submission guidelines will probably require you to use “Save As” to deliver the type of file that they want. Again–they should help you.
  7. Practice Makes Perfect. This is the part where print ad publishers learn to love our company NeighborWave. Count on doing it wrong and have that be part of your plan. Learn. You will definitely learn as you go along. The way that you make room in your work plan for mistakes is to keep showing up for the game. Don’t run ONE ad… run a series of them over time and keep using your tools to change the messages to connect better with real people.

You’re done! You did it!

Below are a couple of VERY RUDIMENTARY templates for use with the Inkscape software. If you find these unsatisfactory… we made them damn ugly on purpose so that you’d have to get in there and learn. If you need to see a pretty logo, go here. This page is about YOU creating your own simple print ad yourself. NeighborWave is for hire–and we’ll get you using great, effective advertising techniques–but that’s not the point HERE on this page. You can use the templates as a starting point. Download both the templates and the Inkscape software. Just open the files and click on one of the boxes or the pieces of text and start creating. Don’t over complicate it–your goal is to create and place your own ad. You can do this.

If the clicking the pictures below doesn’t work for you… here’s the same stuff in a zip file.

simple inkscape ad example

Download Here

22Aug/08Off

WordPress Consulting

NeighborWave is a WordPress Consultant Heaven! We usually WordPress in the context of Creating Great Advertising for Small and Local Businesses. Yes, that definitely includes freelancers. Our Rates Are Low enough to be able to promise that even a one person business benefits easily. First, we promise: your site will get done on time. Days, not weeks. Next, we'll help search engines find you. Your site really can help your business sell products--even if your only product is time.

ALL OF OUR WordPress WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS INCLUDES TRAINING FOR 2 PEOPLE.

YOU get to be in control of your own internet publishing
without the hassle of learning everything from the ground up.

When we create new sites We Only Use WordPress-- it's that good. NeighborWave does great real-world WordPress Consulting. Design, Plugins, Themes, Multiple WordPress Sites in a Single Database-- you name it. If you are having a problem, we can fix your WordPress.

Here's what you can get when you use WordPress.

Benefits for HOW you work on your advertising:

  1. An Edit Button For You. The WordPress 2.7 Menus are super easy to use. If you can do email-- you can work on your own site.
  2. A wealth of available talent- not just us! There are millions of WordPress sites and someone had to make every last one. That means you can get real help because there are lots of WordPress Consultants.
  3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization). WordPress is an excellent platform for Search Optimizing your pages. If your website doesn't get found, can you really call it advertising? Our SEO kicks butt and is cheap.

Website Features. These are standard with every NeighborWave website.

  1. A backup Every Day emailed to you. You can pick less than every day if you'd like.
  2. OR a backup every day on your site. It doesn't get any easier than automatic.
  3. Statistics. Who visited? When (by the hour)? What search brought them? What did they look at?
  4. Easy to use SEO tools. Pick the right words and get them on your pages.
  5. Email button for visitors.
  6. Social Networking link tools for visitors.

Website Add-ons. Very low-priced, but full features.

  1. Shopping Cart. Again, with an edit button for you.
  2. Picture and Product Galleries. Again, with an edit button for you. You can upload your own and know that they'll display just great.
  3. Slideshows. Again, with an edit button for you.
27Oct/08Off

WordPress Design

There is one design element that we encounter over and over and over... It's probably an issue with fully half of the sites that we build for small business--and our WordPress Consulting is most of NeighborWave's business.

Top Navigation versus Side Navigation. We totally "get it" that Top Nav looks better to our eye. The issue that we encounter repeatedly is that left to right links are a fixed space in your screen real estate. Computer screens do not readily scroll from left to right while remaining readable. What we recommend is a combination of the two. Fixed "Page" documents across the top and "Post" along the Side Nav.

Side Nav Helps You! For a basic Small Business Advertising Website using WordPress, a typical business really uses just a few pages. "Home" provides and invitation to explore, "About" supplies some information to make people feel safe and comfortable and "Contact" asks the reader to contact the business and buy something. What the Side Nav gives you is a really good space to create a wide variety of topics that can be attractive both to readers and to the search engines.

Even WordPress has gone Side Nav! The advertising folks here at Neighborwave were pretty excited to see the new internal design of WordPress has gone Side Nav! Yeah, now we can scroll down instead of clickcing through many, many tiered topnav menu steps. As always, Nicely done guys!

New WordPress 2.7 Menu System