THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

THE UNFOLDING SHAPE OF BUSINESS CARDS

10 creative Folded Business Card designs that demand attention.


10 creative Folded Business Card designs that demand attention.Could your Business Cards fold up into a truly stylish and memorable experience for your recipients?

We’re all familiar with the traditional dimensions of a standard Business Card.
But you don’t necessarily have to restrict your creativity by cramming your design onto a card that is exactly the same shape and size as everybody else’s card.

A custom-designed Folded Business Card can open up a whole new arena of imaginative possibilities which aren’t limited in any way by pesky standard specifications…

A huge amount of brand new Business Cards are regularly exchanged down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar every day.
That’s hardly a great surprise.
After all, Smokey Joe’s Business Bar is the number one meeting place for the finest entrepreneurs in town.
(Well, that’s what it says on the sign on the front door, anyway.)

Whilst I’m watching these business owners proudly pass around the latest versions of their freshly-printed masterpieces, I’m surprised to see that the overwhelming majority of these cards still conform to the traditional rules.

It’s such a rare delight to see a folded Business Card design which bends out or pops up into an utterly unique shape and often reflects the nature of the business in some way.
And it’s exactly this type of card which is always destined to burn a longer-lasting reminder of your business into the heads and hearts of your recipients.

If you’re after a professional approach to folded Business Card design, the Martin Print team are always on hand to brainstorm new ideas and get your uniquely shaped cards rolling into production.

But in the meantime, here are ten creative examples of folded Business Cards which genuinely stand out from the pack…


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GET ATTENTION, QUICK!

Just how long exactly is the average attention span of your potential business customers?


Just how long is the exact average attention span of your potential business customers?A quiet evening down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar was pierced by the following question from a fellow business owner standing right beside me.

“Hey Martin!” he began.
“You might know the answer to this one. It’s probably relevant to your field of expertise.
“A few of us were having a good healthy debate a little earlier about the average attention span of a potential customer.

“One guy was trying to say that business marketing needs to grab attention within just a couple of minutes, as the average attention span of a consumer isn’t much longer than that.
“I argued that business marketing needs to make a point within seconds rather than whole minutes. The average human attention span must surely be getting shorter and shorter every year, don’t you think?

“So what exactly is the average attention span of our potential business customers these days, Martin?
“Martin? Martin, are you even listening to me?”

At least that’s what I think he said.
To be honest, I became distracted after the first few words.
A dog had just wandered into the bar dressed up in a Superman costume and it was now trying to liberate some left-over nibbles from a recently vacated table nearby.

In fairness though, a lot of people would have found their attention wandering even without the surprise super-dog incident.

Here’s the shocking truth of the matter.
The average attention span of a human being is now a paltry 8 seconds.

Even more incredibly, that’s now one second less than a goldfish!
So, if you’re promoting your business to the goldfish market, you have one extra second to play with.
Otherwise, you need to grab that crucial attention within an average of just 8 tiny seconds.

But how exactly can you capture attention in such a relatively short window of time?

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DIY – PIMP YOUR OWN BUSINESS CARDS!

How to add cool finishing touches to your own Business Cards without paying for extra printing costs.


DIY GUIDE TO PIMPING YOUR BUSINESS CARDS. How to add cool finishing touches to your own Business Cards without paying for extra printing costs.Fancy owning a really cool and distinctive set of Business Cards?

Of course you do.
Not many people purposefully choose a cold and boring Business Card to represent the quality of their services.
A bland Business Card is likely to be totally ignored, dismissed, and ultimately tossed in the bin.

However, a genuinely creative, beautiful, interesting, or surprising Business Card is far more likely to make a truly memorable impression and be kept by your recipients for future reference.

Most reputable print and design companies will offer a big choice of finishing options, extra textures, and luxurious upgrades for your Business Cards, but you’ll obviously need to be prepared to pay a little more.

So how about going down the DIY route and having a go at adding some of these extra touches yourself without shelling out for extra costs?

Here’s a quick guide to pimping your own Business Cards with Gilded Edges, Self-Embossing, Wax Seals, and much more…

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YOUR BUSINESS IS AWESOME!

But how many of your prospective customers will walk away without ever discovering the truth?


Your business is excellent! But are you explaining this in the right way to your potential customers?“I know that I run a truly outstanding business!
But why am I finding it so hard to convince my potential customers of this?
Most of them just seem to go with cheaper prices and lower quality elsewhere without ever even realising what they missed out on!
What am I doing wrong?”

It’s a common cry for help.
This particular one came from a business owner called Alex who was venting his feelings in my direction this week down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar.
A bit weird and unexpected, really.
I’d only asked him if he had any loose change for the jukebox.
But there you go.

Here’s the thing.
I know Alex runs an amazing business.
His products and services are genuinely excellent. He puts his closest competitors to shame. He should rightly be hailed as the number one name in his field.

He should also be charging a lot more to reflect the quality of his services.
And the customers should be battering down his door to pay him this money!

But that’s just not happening.
Alex just doesn’t seem to be convincing his potential clients that his business is awesome.
Why?

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THE MOST USEFUL MEDIA OF ALL?

Why 12 Million Australians prefer Catalogues to the Internet….and quick tips on designing YOUR Business Catalogue.


Why 12 Million Australian consumers prefer Catalogues to the Internet….and quick tips on designing YOUR Business Catalogue.Would your customers prefer to browse your website or your catalogue?

Ah, no contest, the internet wins at everything in the digital age, right?
Online shopping, online banking, online dating…
I’m pretty sure that if somebody out there developed an online tool which claimed to brush your teeth in the morning, we would all have thrown our real toothbrushes away by the end of the week.

But hang on a minute.
When it comes to certain categories of products, it turns out that the majority of Australian consumers still find the Catalogue to be the most useful media of all, with the poor old internet having to make do with second place.
And 12 million Aussies surely can’t be wrong…

A recent survey from Roy Morgan Research reveals that over 12 million Australians still find Catalogues to be the number one go-to media when shopping for a range of product categories including groceries, alcoholic beverages, children’s wear, toys, cosmetics and toiletries, and clothes and fashion.

Some consumers still prefer to flick through the glossy pages of a real catalogue instead of having to navigate their way through a business website.The most popular product category for catalogue-browsers is Groceries, with 49% of the surveyed consumers declaring that catalogues are the most useful medium for grocery shopping.
Only 20% claimed to prefer the internet for this category.

Alcoholic Beverage shoppers also showed a surprisingly high preference for the catalogue (42% of consumers chose catalogues, 22% chose the internet), as did Children’s Wear shoppers (40% catalogues vs 25% internet) and Toy shoppers (39% catalogues vs 31% internet.)

Nowadays, we may sometimes assume that the internet is perceived as the one-stop solution to everything, but it’s interesting to see that so many Australians still prefer a physical and reassuringly traditional form of printed marketing.
It appears that a big chunk of your consumers would still rather sit in comfort and flick through the glossy pages of a real catalogue instead of having to navigate their way through the menus and buttons and pop-up windows and error messages of a website.

So, what do you need to consider when planning out the design of your own Business Catalogue?
Here are some quick tips and pointers to help you get started…


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FREE GIFT INSIDE!

How promotional gifts can pull in far more business than a discount.


FREE GIFT INSIDE! How promotional gifts can pull in far more business than a discount.MONEY OFF!
FREE GIFTS!

Here are two marketing strategies which have the potential to secure a sale or perhaps even encourage future custom.

But which one works best?

Here’s why I believe that free promotional gifts are of significantly more value than discounts, and are far more likely to generate bigger business…

I was thinking about this today after Old Bert returned from the shops with his choice of breakfast cereal.
He’d apparently been torn between two very similar types of cereal, and it had taken him several hours to reach his final buying decision.

One of the cereals offered a small discount on his next box.
The other cereal offered an enticing free gift inside the current box.

After putting himself through prolonged mental torture, Old Bert ultimately decided to buy the cereal with the free gift.
I’m not entirely sure how much use he’s really going to get out of that little wind-up jumping frog, but it was interesting to see that in this case, the ‘free gift’ won out over the ‘discount’.

Hmm.
Maybe I should be giving you a slightly more persuasive and sensible argument which is not entirely based around Old Bert’s peculiar buying decisions…

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WHO ON EARTH ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?

Why failing to accurately identify your target audience is bad for your business.


How well do you know the character behind your typical customer? And why is it so important for a smaller business to accurately identify and understand your own target audience?You can’t please all the people all the time….can you?

A particularly ambitious business owner may well believe that his or her target audience is absolutely everybody on the planet!
And you can hardly blame an entrepreneurial spirit for thinking big.

But in the ongoing battle between corporate giants and smaller businesses, are we really in a position to make such a strategy work?
Or should we be adopting a different and far more focused approach?

In short, do you really know exactly who your customers are?

Down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar last week, I was with a group of Small to Medium Sized Business owners.
I’m talking about the sizes of the businesses, not the sizes of the people.

We were gathered around a table drawing up detailed character profiles of our perfect ‘typical customer’.
I’m not quite sure now how or why we started to do this.
I suspect it had something to do with the Electronic Quiz Machine getting taken away for repairs on that day.

A few of us really got into the spirit of things and were able to draw up quite convincing profiles of our specific target audiences.
I’d like to think that my own profile for the perfect Martin Print customer – in search of premium-quality printing and results-driven design to boost their business marketing – was pretty detailed and accurate.
Although I now think I may have used the wrong colour for the hair.

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BACK TO THE OLD SCHOOL

3 Traditional Business Marketing strategies which are still more than relevant in 2015.

Three Old-School Business Marketing strategies which are still more than relevant in 2015.

Are you overlooking the value of Old-School Marketing in the digital age?
And are too many business owners wrongly dismissing certain types of traditional marketing as old-hat and out of date?

Let’s take a trip back to the Old School to discover which classic marketing strategies still have plenty of relevance to your business today.
We may even find a slice of traditional marketing which has somehow become even more powerful in 2015 than ever before…

Here in the Martin Print design studio, we’ve recently been talking quite a lot about the olden days;
Things that were supposedly better back in the good old days.
Things that we were all glad to see the back of.
Things that we miss, things that have been superseded or upgraded, things which would now be considered obsolete.

Admittedly, a lot of our canteen conversations seem to end up with Old Bert droning on and on and on about the changing sizes of chocolate bars, whilst the rest of the Martin Print team each make subtle and cunning exits from the scene.

But yesterday – whilst Old Bert was busy with a squeaky chair emergency up on the sixth floor – the Martin Print designers and printing boffins all gathered at the round table for a slightly more sensible discussion.

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UPGRADE YOUR SUBJECT LINES!

The Official Best and Worst Words to Use in Your Email Subject Lines.


Revealed! The best and worst words you can use in the Subject Lines of your business marketing emails.Hurry! Click to Open!
Don’t Miss Out!
Please Open Me! Pleeeease!

I’m sure you’ll have come across plenty of Emails in your own inbox which already reek of desperation before you’ve even clicked on them to see what further horrors await inside the main content.

In fact, unless you’re feeling particularly bored or downright reckless, you probably won’t even bother taking that extra step to open up the email.
A badly-worded subject line is far more likely to get your trigger finger pointing straight at the Trash Bin.

But how much thought and consideration do you give to the Subject Lines of your own Business Marketing Emails?

You may have just invested a huge amount of time and brainpower in perfecting the content of your latest mind-blowing email.
But it could be at serious risk of getting completely ignored by the majority of your recipients if it was let down by a poor and hastily-composed Subject Line.

I do wonder how many sensational emails have sadly remained largely unread – just because they were given a dreadful Subject Line which they truly didn’t deserve…

Those crucial few words that pop up on the Inbox screens of your recipients are perhaps the most important words of all to get right.
A poor choice of Subject Line can result in your emails getting dismissed without even getting opened.
There’s very little point in composing amazing content for the inside of your email if you’re only going to slap on a lousy Subject Line to represent the outside of your email.

Let’s take a look at some of the Best and Worst Words you can possibly use in a Subject Line, along with some quick tips and pointers on Creating Killer Subject Lines for Your Marketing Emails…

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PROUD TO BE LOCAL?

Why smaller Australian Businesses have an edge over the Global Corporate Giants.


Are you a small local Australian business? The encouraging findings from a new report reveal that you have a very powerful ally who could help you to fight back against the corporate companies; The Australian consumer.In the ongoing battle between smaller local businesses and giant international corporate companies, it can often seem as if the odds are stacked heavily against the smaller business owner.

But let’s never forget who ultimately came out victorious in the battle between David and Goliath.
(Spoiler alert! It was David.)

And if you’re beginning to feel like a downtrodden local Australian business owner who’s losing the fight against the heavyweight competition, you may be interested in taking a look at these statistics below.

The encouraging findings from The 2015 Westpac Australia Day Report reveal that smaller local businesses have a secret and very powerful ally who could help them to win the war;
The Australian consumer.

Down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar, there’s a guy called Frank who’s always ranting and raving about his corporate rivals and how much custom they’re stealing from his local business.

Just last night, he was angrily complaining about how these bigger companies have slashed their prices even further and tempted away some more of Frank’s previously loyal long-term clients.

I can often see his point.
Realistically, corporate companies are a major threat, and there’s no point in denying this.
Some consumers are always going to be driven into a buying decision on price alone.

But is this threat always quite as big as we fear?
And could our complaining friend Frank be re-focusing his efforts into something more productive which might help his business become a serious contender again?

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