THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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.
CONTINUE READING

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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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CUT THE CLICHÉS!

Business Jargon and Tired Cliches – The Top 20 Worst Offenders.

WARNING: This Blog article may contain strong traces of Cliché. Please stop reading now if your poor brain is not fully prepared for a mental battering.

Thinking outside the box for better alternatives to tired old business clichés and outdated jargon which don’t really mean anything.Do you find that the occasional cliché or slice of outdated business jargon can often creep into your business content when you least suspect it?

Have you ever been accused by customers – or even your own employees – of actually speaking in meaningless clichés in the office?

Today’s new Blog article is my attempt to encourage you to push the envelope and start thinking outside the box, as I drill down into the problems of…

Ah. It’s harder than you think to avoid them completely, isn’t it?
Still, at least I think we’re all on the same page here. (Gah! Another one! I may have got away with it though.)

However, let’s not get into too much of a panic just yet.
Unless you’re reeling off hundreds of clichés a minute and the whole of your marketing content is positively riddled with pointless jargon, you shouldn’t be punishing yourself too severely at this stage.
It’s a perfectly natural everyday occurrence to slip into ‘cliché’ mode every now and then, and it’s not usually a crime.

But could you be at serious risk of alienating your audience and fellow team members with far too much jargon?
What’s the problem anyway with using tried-and-tested phrases that people recognise?
Are there really any stronger alternatives?
And is it ever acceptable or even recommended to deploy a sneaky cliché into the mix?

I’ll examine those points in just a moment, but first let’s take a look at my own current list of The Top 25 Worst Offenders which crop up far too often in business content and office conversation for my liking.

So should you be avoiding all these clichés like the plague?
(Gah! Another one! Nurse!) CONTINUE READING

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DIY BUSINESS CARD DESIGN

The Essential Checklist for creating
your own Press-Ready Artwork.


Fancy designing your own Business Card artwork? Here’s the essential beginner’s guide to DIY Business Card design, including the top Do’s and Don’t to consider before submitting your artwork to your chosen print shop.Thinking of updating your current Business Card design or creating brand new artwork from scratch?

Ideally, a professional design by an experienced graphic artist is more likely to demand attention and generate results.
But you may prefer to keep the costs as low as possible and have a go at crafting your own DIY design.

So, what points do you need to carefully consider before creating your own Press-Ready Artwork and submitting it to your chosen print shop?

What elements should definitely be included within your design, and which bits need to be left out completely?

How do you prepare the ‘Bleed Area’ for your design – required by good print companies who care about your finished results?

What’s the crucial difference you need to know between CYMK and RGB Colour Modes in your image-editing software?
And why could working in the wrong mode result in a hugely disappointing final product?

Here’s an essential beginner’s guide to DIY Business Card Design, including The Top Do’s and Don’ts to consider before sending in your artwork to the printing press… CONTINUE READING

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BREACHING THE SPAM MARKETING RULES

How your business could face a big fine for breaking the tough Australian Anti-Spam Laws.


Nobody likes Spam Marketing. But could your own business be in danger of breaking the rules and facing a fine?Nobody likes a Spammer, do they?

It’s an accusation that gets tossed around far too freely these days, though.
You may even have been branded a Spammer yourself by an aggrieved reader who was less than happy to receive your well-intentioned marketing content.

In the past, I’ve been accused of ‘spamming’ just because I’ve written a post on Facebook seen only by people who willingly chose to follow my updates!
It sometimes feels as if you’re always going to upset somebody out there every time you stick your head over the parapet.

However, if your business sends out regular Emails and Newsletters or you make use of SMS Marketing, you could be in bigger danger than most of crossing the illegal line into Spam.

Still, it’s nothing to worry about, is it?
Nobody really gets into serious trouble just for getting a little bit too spammy, right?

Wrong.
Breaking the tough Australian Anti-Spam Laws can now land your business in financial hot water, and some pretty hefty six-figure fines have already been dealt out right across the board, from the tiniest of small businesses to the biggest of corporate giants.

In many cases, a business owner has faced a harsh financial penalty simply for making a careless mistake or failing to spot a tiny technical error in their marketing.

Starchy Steve is an entrepreneurial acquaintance of mine who’s had more than his fair share of accidental spammy headaches, although this may have quite a lot to do with his deeply unusual line of business…

With Starchy Steve’s help and wisdom and painful experience, let’s take a look at The Big Three Rules of Anti-Spam Marketing which should be considered very carefully if you’re keen to avoid crossing the line and making a potentially costly mistake… CONTINUE READING

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A PRIVATE WHISPER ON WEBSITE DESIGN

Revealed! The biggest best-kept secret to a winning Business Website.


What is the biggest and best-kept secret to a winning Business Website Design? And why do so many professional website designers still seem to get it so wrong?Are you in the process of developing a brand new website to represent your business online?
Perhaps you’re considering a major redesign to your existing site or you’re starting from scratch for the very first time?
You may already have called in the professionals to get the ball rolling.

But there’s a very common mistake that even some of the professional website designers seem to make far too frequently.
So what exactly are the secret ingredients to a winning Business Website?
And what is the biggest design secret of all?

 

Exposing the biggest secret behind good business website design…After what felt like an eternity of tense anticipation, the waiting was finally over.
Down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar, Flash Floyd was about to unveil his brand new business website on the screen of his laptop.

He’d been talking about nothing else for months and months.
This was apparently going to be the most amazing business website design ever to be glimpsed by human eyes.
It was going to be jaw-dropping. It was going to be utterly unique. And it was going to change the way we think about business websites in the future.

There were certainly plenty of astonished gasps echoing around the bar as Flash Floyd flipped open his laptop with a proud grin on his face.
The general verdict seemed to be that the new website did indeed look out-of-this-world and lived up to everything that Flash Floyd had promised.

But here’s the bit where I come across as a bit of a party-pooper.
After navigating the site for a few minutes, I have to admit that I wasn’t really impressed at all.
In fact, I preferred Flash Floyd’s older website which has sadly already been despatched to Cyberspace Oblivion.

This new website design was clearly a professional job and looked as if it may have cost a small fortune. Or maybe even a big fortune.
But in my eyes, it was a failure as it completely overlooked the one real secret to a great website design.
And it’s all about what your website is actually supposed to do. CONTINUE READING

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IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE?

Four reasons why your business content could be getting completely ignored.


 Could your business marketing content – including Blog articles and Social Media posts – be getting completely ignored for a very good reason?Are you failing to generate a healthy response from your Blog posts, Social Media updates, or other slices of marketing content?

When you’re trying to whip up a healthy and lively online discussion, do you often find that you end up getting completely ignored?

And is anyone out there paying the slightest bit of attention to what I’m saying right now?
Is this thing even switched on? Helloooooo?

Actually, I’ve become used to writing content which gets utterly ignored.
Not here on the Blog, you understand.
And not on my Facebook page or any of the other Martin Print Social Media channels.

I’m mainly talking about the Sweet Pastry Shop orders that I give to Old Bert every lunchtime.
I present them to him in a variety of formats for maximum impact.
I write them down on paper, I put up the details on the notice board in the canteen, and I even have them printed up on a stylish glossy Menu down in the printing press.

I’m wasting my time though, as I know Old Bert never bothers looking at any of this content.
He seems to prefer injecting a bit of fun into lunchtimes by just trying to guess what everybody wants and getting it all hopelessly wrong.
Still, at least I know the cause of that particular problem.

On a slightly more serious note, it can be frustrating when you fail to generate a response from business content which was designed to get your audience talking…and you don’t really know why it failed.

There could be a very good reason why your Blog article or Social Media post failed to take off in the way you’d planned.
But we can only work on the solution after we’ve first identified the real cause.

Here are four of the most likely reasons why your business marketing content could be getting totally ignored by your audience… CONTINUE READING

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