THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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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PLEASE TURN OVER

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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