THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

MISLEADER OF THE PACK

How to Avoid Breaking the 3 Simple Rules of Honest Advertising.

Could your customers end up feeling cheated or conned by misleading advertising from your business, even if the mistake is purely accidental? Here’s how to avoid breaking the rules of good honest advertising.Here at the Martin Print Blog, I often discuss new and creative ways of demanding attention from your Business Advertising.
But it’s all too easy to get carried away with compelling copy, and drift a little too far from the clear and simple truth.
Here are the 3 Rules of Honest Advertising to help you avoid accidentally misleading your audience and landing your business in legal hot water…


I invited Old Bert to have a drink with me last night, down at Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar.
I’m not usually so generous to Martin Print’s very own grumpy caretaker, but I was willing to push the boat out after spotting one of Smokey Joe’s new promotional posters in the window earlier this week;

“FREE EXOTIC COCKTAIL FOR EVERYONE WHO WALKS THROUGH THE DOOR!”

It sounded too good to be true.
It was.

When I cheerily tried to claim our two free drinks at the bar, Smokey Joe swiftly drew my attention to the small print on the promotional poster, directly underneath the big bold headline.
He passed me a magnifying glass, just to make sure I could read it without too much eye strain.

It turns out that Smokey Joe was actually offering a Free Exotic Cocktail to everyone who walks through the door…and buys a Smokey Joe Mega Grill Meal for only $99.99.

Hmm.
There were plenty of disgruntled noises coming from my fellow customers, one of whom was even threatening to report Smokey Joe to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) for false advertising.

If Smokey Joe had followed his usual route of getting Martin Print to professionally produce his promotional material, my team would have been very quick to point out the huge mistake he was making.
Alas, he got a mate to run off very low quality prints on the cheap, and he was now left to deal with a very unhappy crowd of customers.

Here’s how to avoid upsetting your own audience by following the 3 Simple Rules of Clear and Honest Advertising


CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


STATIONERY WITH STYLE!

Inspiring Ideas for Getting Creative with Your First Class Business Stationery.

 Is your business delivering a strong and memorable impression with your uniquely branded Office Stationery?
Here’s a Showcase of 12 Stunning Stationery Collections from businesses that were determined to create maximum impact with Letterheads, Compliment Slips, Note Pads, Envelopes, and more.

A showcase of some of the most creative examples of Business Stationery ever. Can your own branded stationery compete with the very best?I received two invoices in the post yesterday morning.
I don’t always get so excited about this kind of stuff, I promise you.

Whenever the postman makes his daily delivery to Martin Print H.Q, I usually rip open the intriguing bulky packages first, just in case anyone has sent me something wonderful like a novelty electric pencil sharpener or a funky new desk toy.

But it was these two invoices from fellow small business owners that attracted most of my attention yesterday, mainly because of the enormous contrasts in presentation and effect.

As I type this, I’ve already forgotten just about all the details of the business that despatched the first invoice to me, including the name.
This dull invoice arrived in a plain envelope with no frills and no surprises. After the outstanding amount had been paid, the invoice was filed away forever, along with any memory I may have had of my experience with the business.

The second invoice arrived in a beautifully printed envelope featuring a stylish business design. This striking theme continued to impress as I opened the small package to find a matching invoice and an exquisite little Compliment Slip thanking me for my custom.
To complete the package, the business had also popped in a handy little Note Pad branded with this deliciously designed theme. It still sits on my desk at this very moment.
There’s no way on Earth I’m going to forget the excellent service I received from this business in a hurry.

Of course, there’s a lot more to Business Stationery than just invoices.
A professionally produced set of Stationery branded with a winning themed design can be used for every communication you make with an existing or prospective customer.
Your Letterheads, Compliment Slips, and other slices of Stationery can accompany every product you sell, every query you answer, and every update you despatch.
So let’s give the recipient something to remember.

Here’s a selection of 12 truly inventive and distinctive Business Stationery collections which were designed to leave a lasting impression.

By the way, if you’re interested in cooking up brand new designs for your own Business Stationery, you can claim FREE professional new artwork (worth up to $195) on Letterheads, Compliment Slips, and Note Pads from Martin Print until 30th April 2014.


CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


READY TO ROLL THE CAMERAS?

Getting to Grips with the Basics of Online Video Marketing.

Have you ever considered shooting simple video content to help market your business online? Why is it becoming increasingly important to connect with your online audience via the medium of moving film? What are the basic essentials that you should be taking into account before the cameras roll?
And what are the most common strategic mistakes to avoid when mapping out your video marketing content?


Action! Here are the basic essentials to consider before shooting a new online marketing video to promote your business.I’m currently sat in Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar, dressed up in a silly Wizard’s costume which is way too big for me.

I’m surrounded by Elves, Dinosaurs, Clowns, Giant Rabbits, and a couple of blokes arguing over which one of them is supposed to be Tarzan.
(I’m guessing the one in the loincloth will be declared the winner. The one in the spaceman outfit has clearly got the wrong idea altogether.)

All this is not a million miles away from a typically chaotic scene down at Smokey Joe’s Bar, yet there’s something distinctly odd and exciting in the atmosphere today.

You see, we’ve all agreed to take part in Smokey Joe’s brand new marketing video.
We’re not getting paid or anything, we all just thought it would be fun to get involved.

With hindsight, I kind of wish that I’d asked to see a script or something before I agreed to participate.
In all honesty, I have absolutely no idea why I’m dressed as a Wizard, or what role I will eventually play in this online 90-second promotional video.
I’m hoping all will become clear very soon…

But Smokey Joe certainly has the right idea in embracing the online marketing video, even if he seems to be over-egging the production just a little bit.
He should perhaps have worked a little harder on his strategy before inviting the big expensive cameras into his bar.

Here’s a brief rundown of the essential points to consider when preparing to create brand new video marketing content for an online audience, and a couple of clues on where Smokey Joe might just be going wrong…

CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


BE MY GUEST?

How to Write Guest Content for Related Blogs
and Publications Without Getting Rejected.

Getting your own unique words of wisdom splashed around the pages of online and printed publications related to your business can be a powerful way of connecting with your target audience.
But how do you convince the editors that your Guest Content is fit for publication?

Hooking up with the editors of Blogs or publications related to your business could prove to be a fruitful partnership. But how do you make sure that your proposed Guest Content doesn’t get rejected?For the third time this week, I found myself stuck in a very long queue down at the Sweet Pastry Shop.

I don’t usually mind too much, as I often find myself getting engrossed in useful conversations with equally hungry business owners in need of pastry-based refreshments.

Today, I ended up discussing the merits of Writing and Submitting ‘Guest Content’ with Greenfingers Graham.
He runs a business selling gardening equipment, and he’s been super-busy composing all kinds of expert articles for possible inclusion in Blogs and magazines aimed at the keen gardener.

It sounds like a cracking idea in principle. But has he had any luck so far?

Nope.
“Complete waste of time!” he wailed. “Nobody out there is remotely interested in publishing the stuff I write. I’m close to giving up on the whole silly idea!”

I was initially a little surprised, as I know for a fact that Greenfingers Graham is a really good writer who composes engaging content.
I was once strangely drawn in by one of his 35-page articles on birdhouse maintenance, despite not really having much interest in the topic. At all.

But the problem seemed to be that Greenfingers Graham was submitting the wrong sort of content.
He was delivering the kind of material that the publications were already providing in-house.
He was sending in highly technical stuff to simple and fun Blogs. He was going overboard with the promotion of his own business. And he was submitting wild and wacky content to intensely serious publications that weren’t really a suitable outlet for all his turnip jokes.

Here’s how to reduce the risk of rejection and get those editors interested in your own Guest Content…


CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


LOGO DESIGN JURY

Hit or Miss? What’s Your Verdict on These 12 Controversial Business Logos?

 The best and worst of Business Logo Design! Here are some pretty good and pretty bad examples of Business Logos. But what’s your verdict on these controversial designs? Hit or miss?A winning Logo Design can be a tough concept to crack for any business.
Over the years, I’ve been truly blown away by quirky and clever logos, and I’ve been taken by surprise with original and attention-demanding designs.

I’ve also been largely unimpressed or completely baffled by logos that have failed to convey a clear message, and I’ve been left disappointed by designs that ultimately don’t quite hit the mark.

Sometimes, I’ve experienced all the above reactions from just one single Logo Design!

A new logo has so much work to do, so many boxes to tick, and so many potential clients to impress, it’s perhaps not surprising that so many new designs stumble over at least one of the crucial elements.

Personal tastes and opinions may differ when it comes to choosing all the right ingredients for a perfectly crafted logo, but there are certainly several key factors which should generally be avoided at all costs.

Plenty of consideration should be given to that very first glance from a prospective new customer.
But the second glance is critical, too.
Oh, and the third glance is fairly important. And the fourth. And the fifth.
And maybe the 379th.

In the interests of scientific research – and also because I was at a bit of a loose end last Sunday afternoon – I took a batch of 12 unusual Logo Designs down to Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar, and asked the usual entrepreneurial crowd whether they thought each design was a HIT or a MISS.

But what’s your own instinctive verdict?

The jury is now seated, have your scorecards at the ready…

CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


ARE YOU GETTING THE MOST FROM TWITTER?

The Tools, Tips and Tricks that YOUR Business Should Be Using on Twitter This Year

The tools and features that every small business in Australia should be using to pull in the biggest marketing results from Twitter.When using Twitter as a marketing tool, those 140 characters can seem like a long shot.
Here in the Martin Print office, we have difficulty in getting Old Bert to condense his vocal ‘crucial communications’ down to 140 minutes.

You can imagine the fun and games we endured when we tried to introduce him to the succinct sound bites of Twitter. It was a total non-starter.
We never really got past his irrational fear of trolls anyway. I don’t think he fully grasps the meaning of the internet slang term, but it was taking forever to explain that he was not going to be pursued by an army of cave-dwelling creatures with mighty noses.

However, forget the trolls, ignore Piers Morgan, and get signed in;
Twitter is undoubtedly worth your time. It’s a free opportunity for your business to communicate and engage without stuffing promotions down the necks of your customers.

Twitter features are evolving all the time, so let’s take a look at some of the finest features this year and how other businesses are already using them.


CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


PROUDLY PRESENTING… YOUR BEST WORK! Why Building a Small Business Showcase is Far More Effective than Writing Hollow Words

Are you showing your audience what your business can do instead of just telling them? Here’s a show and tell with no tell but lots of show.Are you showing your potential audience the very best bits of your business?
Could you be falling into the trap of trying too hard to tell instead of show?
And how exactly do you build up powerful online and offline showcases of your very best work?

Well, I’d like to kick off by talking about broken business promises.
Not that you or I would ever break a promise to our customers.
Not intentionally, anyway.

No, I’m talking about the empty marketing promises made on a regular basis by less reputable businesses.
The kind of business that doesn’t actually have anything decent to offer, so makes up for it by shouting a lot.

You know the sort I mean. They’re not in a position to show anything good, so they will instead try to tell the customer that their product or service is ‘Amazing!’ or ‘Out of This World!’ or ‘The Best in Australia!’ or ‘So Brilliant That My Grandma Bought Nine and She Doesn’t Even Own a Hovercraft!’
They usually do this in a very big font with capital letters and lots of exclamation marks.
The end result never lives up to the hype.

Nobody likes a broken promise.
Whenever another business breaks a promise or misleads the customer, a little fairy dies.
Far more importantly, it makes every business look bad. It makes our job harder.

A cynical customer who’s been let down in the past is never going to just take our word for anything.
That’s probably the right attitude, too. Why should they?
Anybody can call something Amazing, especially if they’re trying to sell it.

This is why you need to show the quality of your business instead of just coming up with a string of generic excitable words.
You need to show your prospective customers exactly what you can do, why you’re so uniquely brilliant, and why they would benefit from signing up to your services instead of your inferior rivals.

So, how do we do it?


CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


BUSINESS CARDS – GREATEST HITS!
Revealing the Most Creative and Quirky Business Card Designs to Roll Off the Printing Press

Revealing the most creative, quirky, and funny Business Card designs ever produced. Does your own Business Card hit the target?How cool is your Business Card?
Does it demand immediate attention from your admiring recipients?
Or is it far more likely to crumple in mild embarrassment?

Here are 15 of my favourite Business Card designs which certainly hit the mark for all kinds of different reasons.
But is your own card a big hitter against the strong competition?

I seem to have picked up a vast collection of Business Cards on my travels, and this perhaps is not so surprising.
Whenever I’m introduced to a stranger and I mention my line of work at Martin Print, I often end up getting asked for my professional verdict on a Business Card which will be wafted around under my nose until I accept it.
Not that I mind one little bit, of course. I usually enjoy the experience, and I’m always intrigued to see something new.

Every now and then, I’ll be blown away by something truly original and creative.
I love those moments.

But I’ll let you into a secret. Those moments are very rare.
More often than not, I’ll see a Business Card that looks like pretty much every other Business Card in the world. A card that says nothing to me about the owner or the business or the quality of their services.
It seems like such a wasted opportunity to surprise and delight and impress the recipient.

A professionally produced Business Card has the power to make a real dramatic splash.
It can raise a smile, possess a quirky quality, do something unusual or unexpected, or even have a genuinely useful function.

CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


COAX YOUR CLIENTS INTO ONLINE SHOPPING
The Crucial Factors That Your Audience Will Consider Before Buying Online from Your Business

How to convince your potential customers to buy online from your business. It takes just a little more effort than a smile…I’d like you to join me on a journey inside the mind of your typical prospective customer…

If you’re determined to sell more of your products online, it would certainly be useful to take a peek inside the head of a member of your target audience.
You could discover the crucial considerations that are getting mentally weighed up before a firm decision is reached to buy or move on.

For example, how much is the average customer likely to spend on a product without seeing it first? What kind of goods would they never consider buying online?

And most importantly of all, what exactly can your business deliver during the online shopping experience that will make a potential customer far more likely to buy your stuff?

A recent report from PR firm Walker Sands reveals some of the answers, and one factor in particular seems to be dominating the inner thoughts of the everyday online shopper…

My own investigations into this were inspired by a challenge that I set the Martin Print team last week;
I asked them to find Australia’s least likely person to ever make an online purchase, and then convince him or her to enter the digital world of internet shopping.

They didn’t have to look very far.
They believed that this dubious honour went to our very own resident caretaker, Old Bert.
He’s suspicious of anything developed after 1957.
The team reckoned that if they could persuade Old Bert to experience the benefits of buying a jar of his favourite pickled eggs online, they could persuade anyone.

CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


QUICK DRAW COPY!
How to Write Business Content
for an Audience Turned Off By Words

It can be a tricky challenge to communicate all your key messages within a single slice of business content. So how do you hit all your targets without confusing your audience?Communicating a big batch of crucial business information to a target audience who are repelled by reams of words can be a challenging prospect at the best of times.

So, how on Earth do you compose business content for people who instinctively switch off from the sight of too much text?

A cynic might suggest that the digital generation just don’t have the concentration levels or willpower to bother with reading lots of words in one sitting.

But the truth is perhaps more to do with time and efficiency.

We live in a busy world and your target audience will have a lot of other stuff to do.
In many ways, it would be quite unreasonable of us to expect them to put everything else on hold whilst they absorb every detail of our long-winded essays.
Let’s be honest, it’s a pretty big ask. And it’s up to us to come up with the solution.

So, whether we’re writing a slice of new marketing copy, an email communication, helpful snippets of advice or guidance, a new Social Media post, or indeed any type of written business content at all, it’s vital that we focus on making ourselves readable.

It can be particularly tricky to convey a mix of potentially complex information within a single parcel of content.
Here are a few helpful tips and pointers on how to get your messages across in the most effective possible manner…


CONTINUE READING

Send to Kindle


Subscribe!