THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

FACEBOOK REACH TO FALL EVEN FURTHER FOR BUSINESS PAGES?

How to avoid becoming invisible when new content controls are rolled out in January 2015.

Facebook reach for business pages looks set to fall even further from 2015. But what can you do to save your own posts from becoming invisible in the news feed?Doom! Gloom! And more doom!

A recent announcement from Facebook has suggested that Business Pages are likely to see yet another huge tumble in audience reach from January 2015.

The New Year will see the introduction of brand new volume and content controls which will give Facebook users more power and freedom over what exactly they see in their News Feeds.

But is the news really quite as bad as it may first appear?

And what can you do to help save your own Facebook Business page from falling off the radar and disappearing into obscurity?

Down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar, the atmosphere was predictably bleak and angry.
“Is it even possible for the reach of my Facebook page to drop any lower?” wailed Strange Simon. “I thought my organic reach was pretty close to zero already!”

Smokey Joe himself was in a typically cynical mood.
“It’s nice to see that Facebook is still so determined to utterly destroy the reach of my Business Page, after they spent all that time encouraging me to invest heavily into attracting new followers that I now can’t even communicate with!”

He has a point, you know.
I’m honestly not going to attempt to put a blindly positive spin on this.
Any announcement about a further tumble in reach from Facebook is certainly not welcome news in my office.

The Martin Print Facebook Page is a very important component of our whole online strategy. This latest development suggests that we may have to re-think one or two methods in which we currently spread the word on Social Media about our beautiful marketing products and design services.

But let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind Facebook’s new plans for the future…

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YOUR BUSINESS, YOUR DISTINCTIVE CARD

How to choose the perfect style and approach for YOUR unique Business Card design.


How to choose a perfect distinctive Business Card that suits your line of work and conveys your key messages.I often get asked all kinds of questions from people I’ve never met and know absolutely nothing about.
Very few of them are relevant to this Blog article.

I mean, none of these examples are particularly useful.

“Can you move out of the way please, I’m in a hurry?”
“Is there somebody that looks after you?”
“What exactly was going through your mind when you put that hat on?”

However, one specific question pops up on a regular basis, usually when total strangers first discover my line of business in print and design;

“Oh, have you got any quick tips for my next set of Business Cards?”

It’s a tricky one, though.
Of course, I have a few quick general tips.
In fact, I’ve got lots and lots of them.
People usually start dozing off or making a hasty dash to the exit before I even get to my 74th General Hot Tip for Business Card design.

But I’m also very suspicious of catch-all solutions.
If I was to offer some genuinely useful advice on the best way of approaching your unique Business Card design, it would first be incredibly useful to learn a little bit more about your business.

You see, a design concept that ticks all the boxes and works perfectly for one type of business could well be a total disaster and wasted opportunity for another.

Plenty of consideration should initially be given to what exactly you’re trying to achieve with your own Business Card, and the impression you’re trying to deliver.

Throughout November 2014 only, you can save $65 on professional artwork services from Martin Print by claiming a completely free Business Card design.

But if you’d rather go it alone, here are some very brief pointers to consider before settling on your final approach….

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RESEARCHING YOUR RIVALS

Why ignoring your business competition can quickly lead to disaster.

 

Are you keeping a close eye on your competitors? Burying your head in the sand can spell disaster for the future of your business.Are you keeping a close enough eye on your competition?
And if so, are you sure you’re looking in all the right places?

Here’s A Tale of Hot Dogs and Heartache which just goes to show how burying your head in the sand can spell disaster for your business.
And how even keeping a casual eye on your rivals may not be enough to avert a huge setback…

Any smart business owner will already know that regularly checking out your closest rivals and keeping up with all their latest developments is a crucial component of any good business strategy.
Failing to research your competitors as regularly as possible puts you at risk of getting left way behind and in very serious trouble.

To be fair to my good friend, Henry, he was never really one to stick his head in the sand.
Henry’s Hot Dogs was a pretty popular business around these parts for quite some time, and Henry himself usually had his eye on the business ball.
People flocked from miles around to queue up for one of Henry’s legendary Hot Dogs.

Well…that may be overstating his business success just very slightly.
But at the very least, his customers would come from all the way round the corner to buy their greasy snack, or pop in whilst they were passing.
Henry was doing ok.

There’s a Sweet Pastry Shop just across the road from Henry’s Hot Dogs.
Regular readers of this Blog may already have heard me talking at great length about this Sweet Pastry Shop.
It’s where we send Old Bert every day to pick up the lunchtime orders for the Martin Print gang.
We’ve always preferred pastries to Hot Dogs. Hey, that’s just how we roll.

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DUMBING DOWN FOR THE MASSES

Why your business could be losing valuable new leads with marketing that is just TOO simple.


If you dumb down your marketing for the masses, could you be at risk of alienating your own target audience?Could you be wrecking your own marketing content by trying too hard to appeal to everyone?

If you’re ever tempted to ‘dumb down’ your marketing and boil everything down to the simplest possible terms, you could be at serious risk of alienating your target audience…

This is an odd topic for me.
I’m usually the one sat in the corner of Smokey Joe’s Business Bar, loudly proclaiming how all the best marketing is simple and crystal-clear.
And I still believe this to be largely true.

However, the problems begin when you get just a bit too carried away with the idea that your content should be comprehensible to every single soul in the universe.
And, in some cases, just a couple of disgruntled queries from confused readers can propel your business marketing into entirely the wrong direction.

To illustrate my point, let’s take a look at what happened to a fellow business owner from the inner entrepreneurial circle down at Smokey Joe’s Bar.
He found out the hard way that marketing content can sometimes end up too simple, and it’s impossible to please everyone…

 

The Lone Voice in the Wilderness Who Could Trash Your Marketing Potential
The business owner in question is an all-round top bloke called Graham.
He runs a very specialist business delivering complete IT solutions to corporate companies and other relatively big organisations.

That’s an extremely simplified overview of what he does, to be honest.
But I promise you that’s not because I’m trying to dumb down this article.
It’s just that I’m largely baffled by what he does and it would take me an eternity to explain.
Besides, I’m not a member of his target audience and I’m never going to buy from his business, so my own perception of his services really shouldn’t matter to him.
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SOCIAL MEDIA DIMENSIONS

A complete guide to Social Media image sizes.


The Complete Guide or Cheat Sheet to Image Sizes on Social Media. Get the right dimensions for your business profiles and cover photos on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr.Wouldn’t life be easier if one size fitted all?

Alas, thing are never quite that simple in the world of Social Media Marketing, particularly when it comes to sizing up the dimensions of your images on each platform.

Your latest Cover Photo may look amazing on Facebook, but you’re unlikely to get a similar result if you just try and shoehorn the exact same image into your Twitter profile.

An image that fits perfectly on your Pinterest boards may lose a lot of impact when you try and display it on your LinkedIn company page.

I often hear the cries of despair echoing around the walls of Smokey Joe’s Business Bar, as entrepreneurial souls hunched over their laptops suddenly realise that things haven’t gone quite as planned.
“You can’t see my head! Facebook has just chopped my head off!”
“No! My new business logo has been squeezed out of the picture!”
“Gah! Does anybody know the recommended dimensions for a Google+ Cover Image? Quickly? Anyone?”

Fortunately, help is at hand.
This Complete Reference Guide to Social Media Image Sizes below is completely up-to-date with all the accurate dimensions for every popular type of image on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr.

So, whether you’re hunting down the very latest recommended dimensions of a Twitter Header Photo or you’re seeking clarification on the square and rectangle shapes of images displayed alongside your shared links on Facebook, this quick and simple guide should point you in the right direction.
It’s a text-based guide without any confusing infographics or strange arrows pointing all over the place to baffle you even more.
It’s everything you’ll ever need to know all in one handy place.

Before I unveil the Social Media Image Cheat Sheet, I should just quickly mention that my team of graphic artists here at Martin Print can always lend an even bigger helping hand by taking care of all your Social Media visuals for every individual platform that you intend to use.
Simply drop us a quick line if you’d like Martin Print to design and handle all your Social Media imagery on your behalf.

Now, let’s try this for size…
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SHOWING YOUR TRUE COLOURS

Branding your business in colours with hidden meanings.

Are you sending the right subliminal messages with your choice of colours in your business branding?What colour is your business?
Can the colour choices in your business branding really convey your secret subliminal messages?

This quick guide to The Meanings Behind the Colours may just help you to pick out a perfect palette that speaks in the right tones to your target audience…

Designer Josh reckons that everybody here in the Martin Print studio has their own distinctive ‘colour.’
For example, Old Bert is allegedly ‘a vibrant red’ whilst I’ve been told that I am ‘a pale green’.

I did briefly wonder if Josh was claiming that he could see into our souls and identify the true colours of our spiritual beings.

Alas, no.
Old Bert is ‘vibrant red’ because of the state he gets in after his regular disagreements with the coffee machine in the canteen, whilst my own ‘pale green’ colour is apparently how I look after a night out drinking rum down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar.

But on a more serious and slightly less spiritual note, some experts will tell you that each and every colour contains a mood and a hidden meaning.
When you’re picking out the splashes of colour that will breathe life into your marketing goodies and business branding, it can be a big help to understand the secret subliminal meanings behind the colours and the psychological messages you will be conveying with your colour choices.

Of course, I should quickly point out that these are hardly ancient laws set in stone, and different types of people will perceive different types of colours in different types of ways.
It’s also worth remembering that there’s far more to a winning marketing design than just picking out a few colours that seem to fit the mood.
If you’re in need of a professional new design from a team of experienced graphic artists with real marketing know-how, then pop along to the Martin Print website and get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

However, if you’re simply after a little inspiration for the choice of colours on your next slice of business branding, then the following quick guide could be a handy starting point.

Whether you’re in the early stages of cooking up a new product promotion, a new Brochure, a new set of Business Cards, or even a brand new Logo Design, these pointers could help you send exactly the right messages to your intended audience… CONTINUE READING

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BAGS OF MARKETING CREATIVITY

12 greatest examples of Business Bagvertising.


Business Bagvertising at its best! A rundown of some of the greatest ever promotional Bags which take creative marketing to new heights…Do you have your latest business marketing campaign in the Bag?
Or perhaps your latest business marketing campaign is actually on the Bag?

Here at Martin Print, we’re very big on Bags.
I can often be heard pondering aloud at great length about the power of a promotional item which your recipients will happily carry around as a memorable moving advertisement for your business.
I’ve got a Bag. I  love my Bag.

In response, Old Bert will often grumpily tell me that he wishes I would wear my Bag over my head during team meetings, so that I don’t keep frightening away some of the new designers and printing boffins.
That’s a little unkind, although he has got a point.

Old Bert himself still uses the same promotional Bag that was given to him for free about 40 years ago.
I bet the business in question could never have guessed the incredible durability of that particular marketing campaign.
It’s a shame they went out of business in 1982, but never mind…

Of course, some businesses like to get the creative juices flowing with their Bagvertising strategy.

Here are 12 of my favourite examples of quite brilliant promotional Bag Designs, ranging from the clever to the enlightening, from the shocking to the thought-provoking, from the bizarre to the slightly naughty.
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THE PROOF IS IN THE PACKAGING

How to package your business products and influence people.
 Are your business products presented to your customers in smart packaging? And what makes great packaging anyway?
How much time and care do you spend on your Product Packaging?

Did you know that your packaging could be one of the biggest influential factors in a customer’s buying decision?

And what exactly turns bad or boring packaging into something that actually helps to sell your quality product and improve the perception of your business?

The answers are a lot simpler than you may imagine.

Old Bert claims that the best packaging he ever came across in his life was from a purchase he made in 1987.
Unwrapping it was a bit like playing the kids party game Pass the Parcel.
Each exquisite layer of packaging revealed another equally exquisite layer of packaging underneath.

He claims that the layers must have been infinite.
After all this time, he still hasn’t managed to get to the actual product inside, and he’s long forgotten exactly what he was supposed to have bought in the first place.
Hmm…

I would never dream of suggesting that great packaging will help you to sell a poor product.
I’m sure there is some truth in that, but it’s hardly the path to a healthy and successful business.

However, I would suggest that poor packaging can seriously let down a great product.
And it would be such a shame to see an amazing business lose momentum simply because of an oversight in the presentation of those terrific products to the public.

But why is it so hugely important?
And what are the key points to consider when putting together your design?

Let’s unwrap some of the secrets to Smart Product Packaging… CONTINUE READING

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THE BIG QUESTION

Should you be asking Rhetorical Questions
in your Business Marketing?


Does your business ask rhetorical questions in your marketing copy?How many questions are you posing to your potential customers in your marketing content?
Is your audience likely to be drawn in or turned off by the Question Mark?
And do you get a little bit irritated when you’re hounded by a seemingly endless series of silly questions?

Ah. I see what I did there.
But I should quickly point out that I’m talking about a very different and very specific type of question, not usually found in Blog articles or general publications.

I’m talking about the Rhetorical Question.
The short and simple marketing question, designed to hook the attention of your audience and intrigue them into reading more.

For example;
“Do you want to lose weight and grow bigger muscles in less than ten minutes?”
That kind of thing.

The Marketing Question can be a powerful tool when deployed in the right way.
But what’s the difference between a good strong marketing question and a terrible repulsive marketing question?
What sort of factors should you be carefully weighing up before Crafting the Perfect Question and throwing it out into the public arena?
And just how many Rhetorical Questions are included in this very Blog article?

Here are some of the answers… CONTINUE READING

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BAD BUSINESS CONNECTIONS

How to avoid the ‘experts’ that could slow down your business growth.


How do you tell the difference between a true expert and a potential disaster for your business?It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.
Or is it?

I’ve always had a slight problem with the phrase above.
There is very probably some genuine truth hidden away in those words, and it’s hard to deny that having useful connections in business can certainly be a big help.

But I still believe that what you know is a pretty important asset, along with how you implement what you know to the very best effect.
The success of your business surely can’t be pinned entirely on the friends you make and the working relationships you nurture on the journey.
Can it?
Hmm…

Well, down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar last week, I was having a chat with a fellow business owner who is convinced that business success is all about who you know.
Flash Floyd seems to think that everything hinges on the people you choose to work for you, the other businesses you hook up with, and the experts you assign to a particular job.

“It’s all about picking the right people!” he assured me with great confidence.
“Once you’ve cracked that, everything else just falls perfectly into place.”

Perhaps he has a point.
Or something remarkably close to the beginning of a point.

It’s better to avoid making business connections with certain alleged experts in their field.  But how can you identify a genuine expert who can really help your business and deliver a winning service?But here’s the problem.
Despite his strong convictions, Flash Floyd is struggling in all kinds of ways at the moment.
And from where I’m sitting, it seems to me that this is largely because he picked the wrong ‘experts’ for the job.

Maybe it’s not just about finding the right people and making the right business connections.
It’s equally important to avoid making connections with the wrong ‘experts’.

That may just sound like the flip-side of the same coin.
But you should watch out for the serious warning signals which may just help you to avoid the risk of mistakenly believing that you’re making the right choice.

With just a little bit of inspiration provided by Flash Floyd’s own poor selection, let’s kick off with a very quick look at the Breeds of ‘Expert’ That Could Spell Disaster for Your Business.

It’s not hard to spot the reasons why making these types of connections could end up developing into a very bad decision… CONTINUE READING

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