THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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What should and shouldn’t appear on the BACK of your Business Card.


What should and shouldn’t appear on the back of your Business Card? Which graphical elements, key messages, and contact details should ideally only appear on the front side?What appears on the reverse side of your Business Card?

Should your Business Card even have a back at all, or is it a side best left blank?

And does the reverse of your Business Card currently contain elements which should ideally be displayed on the front?

It’s a debate which rages on and on down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar.
Some business owners are convinced that cheaper single-sided designs work better, whilst others believe that double-sided designs – with both a front and a back – will naturally have twice the impact.

So, what’s the final professional verdict?
And what do you need to take into account when cooking up the design for your next set of Business Cards?

Well, I should begin by making it clear that the Number One rule in Print and Design is that there are no rules.
Thanks for reading.
THE END.

Oh, wait, I’ve got some more space to fill in today’s Blog post, I suppose I’d better expand upon my feelings a little bit.

I wouldn’t dare to present you with a list of strict rules which should be obeyed at all times, and that’s certainly not the point of this article.
Some of the most innovative, creative and memorable Business Cards – or indeed any other slices of cracking professionally produced promotional material – are likely to break all the conventional rules anyway!

But if you’re chewing over the choices of what exactly you could potentially place on the back of your Business Cards, here are just a few general pointers which may help guide you to a final decision…

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TAKE A SELFIE!

How Selfies can help and hinder your Business Marketing.


Can a simple Selfie really help to give a fresh new human identity to your business marketing? Or can Selfies do more harm than good?

Is your Smartphone crammed full of Selfies, or do you get deeply irritated by the very idea?
Do you have friends, colleagues, or family members who seem to be obsessed with taking ridiculously similar photographs of themselves?

Yep, it seems like an odd concept, and I wouldn’t normally do that kind of thing my, er, self.
But can a simple Selfie really help to give a fresh new human identity to your business?
Or can they do more harm than good?

I had one of those moments earlier today when you know that something feels wrong in a blindingly obvious way, but you have to stand there looking foolish for several seconds before you figure it out.

My name was howling around the corridors of the Martin Print design studio.
It was Old Bert screaming out for my urgent assistance.
I dashed to the scene in case he’d got his fingers trapped in the toaster again.
But no, it wasn’t quite as drastic as that.

He simply wanted me to take a few ‘Selfies’ of him with the camera on his new phone, as he’d heard that it would be good way of bringing a friendly human presence to the Leaflets for his weekly Tap Dancing classes.

I stood there for a while with his phone in my hand, and I encouraged him to pull a variety of different poses. I love a tough challenge, and I felt determined to make him look sophisticated.

It took several seconds for it to sink in that we were actually going against the whole point of a ‘Selfie’.
I blame the fact that the Coffee Machine was out of order this morning, and we had completely run out of Froot Loops.

Even if you’re not a fan of Selfies, or the very idea of pointing a camera into your own beaming face makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, you can’t deny that the concept is universally popular.
It’s not just teenagers doing it now. The idea has caught on with celebrities, film stars, politicians, Presidents, excitable tourists, and even slightly grumpy caretakers who don’t really know what they’re doing.

But are they any good for your Business Marketing?
Here are a few snapshot pointers to bear in mind…

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THE FUTURE IS YESTERDAY

This is NOT a Blog article about predictions for new business trends in 2015.


Looking ahead to new marketing trends and developments in 2015? Here’s what your business should really be considering in the new year ahead.If you’re an avid reader of Business Blogs, I expect you’ll have already skimmed through a whole stack of new articles and posts which make earnest predictions on the new trends you can expect to see in 2015.

Don’t panic. This is NOT yet another one of those crystal-ball articles.

Well, okay, I will be passing on a tiny slice of good news and a tiny slice of bad news about the year ahead for your business.

But I’d mainly like to put forward the suggestion that we shouldn’t be getting too concerned about the shape of the future, as we’ve already seen it.

Here are the points you should really be considering in 2015…

I got thinking about this topic during the Annual New Year’s Bash down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar.
After several exotic cocktails too many, the evening usually drifts into a chaotic guessing game about what lies in store for us all during the year ahead.

This is the point when all the far-sighted entrepreneurs gather round a table and make their confident predictions about the new marketing trends, new developments, new gadgets, and new strategies that we’ll need to take into account if we don’t want to get left behind in the future.

It’s the highlight of the evening for some of us.
Smokey Joe used to have a Crystal Ball prop which he would place on the table for extra effect, but it got smashed during a clumsy fall from one of the wannabe fortune-tellers back in 1997.

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MAKE A MEME

How to create Internet Memes and go viral with your business marketing.


How to create your own Internet Meme and go viral with your business marketing.WARNING: This Blog article contains words.

I’m sure the vast majority of Martin Print Blog readers would never shy away from a few blocks of solid text.
We’re not frightened by whole lines of words, are we?

Alas, we could be a dying breed, at least in terms of internet marketing.
Cyberspace is now a visual medium.
The best way of getting your messages absorbed by the online crowd is to think almost entirely in pictures, with a line or two of text at the very most.

This is why the visual medium of Pinterest is rapidly developing into one of the biggest ever platforms for Social Media marketing.

And this is why those silly Internet Memes are still so incredibly popular.

A winning Internet Meme can help to raise awareness of your business logo, products, and services.You know the ones I mean.
I’m sure you’ve seen them plastered all over your Facebook news feed and pretty much every other Social Media platform that you might use.
They are usually generated from a very small pot of pictures, each one accompanied with a witty slogan or caption designed to raise a smile.

Perhaps you still enjoy some of the funnier ones.
Or perhaps you’ve long been sick of the sight of them!

Either way, I’m not suggesting that you create a Meme from that same pot of repetitive pictures.
But you can take the basic idea, improve upon it, and create your own unique Internet Meme.

Even if you’re bored to tears of seeing them in your own news feed, it’s worth bearing in mind that the fundamental idea – fun image overlaid with witty caption – is inherently shareable.
They can be absorbed and shared with friends on Social Media in just a second.
And your own business logo and details will also end up getting shared to a wide online audience if the Meme belongs to you.

Here are the quick steps to creating your own Internet Meme and raising awareness of your business….

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A FESTIVE MARKETING GREETING

Quick tips on crafting a gorgeous Christmas Card from your business.


How to create the best marketing Christmas Card from your business this year which will surprise and delight your customers.It won’t be long now until the Martin Print office becomes so flooded with Christmas Cards and gifts that we’ll barely be able to make our way to the canteen without tripping over some kind of festive greeting.

Hardly any of them will be addressed to us, you understand.
Well, except all the ones that Old Bert always sends to himself every year in a misguided attempt to make himself look incredibly popular.

No, it’s just that right now is the perfect time of year for smart businesses to start cooking up a memorable Christmas greeting to send to their customer base.
And the Martin Print team are already super-busy designing and printing a sackful of unique new Christmas Cards in a huge range of shapes and sizes.

Here’s the wonderful thing about Christmas Cards.
They’re actually a gift to your business.

For most of the year, a business has to wrestle with a valid reason for getting in touch with existing clients.
Not every customer is going to bother opening up that marketing email which has just popped up on their inbox screen, mainly because it looks on first glance like every other email desperately trying to sell them something.
It’s hard to convince the client to open your messages every time, because it’s hard to give them an instant reason why they should.

Sending your special clients a physical Christmas Card to tear open is a far more natural way of getting their attention at this time of year and keeping your business firmly in mind throughout the festive period.

Here are a few quick tips on wrapping up the perfect Christmas Card design…

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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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