THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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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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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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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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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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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GOOGLE YOUR BUSINESS

The new free tool from Google that helps to put your Aussie business on the map and ditch the Octopus.

Google My Business is a new free tool which gives you the power to control your business presence on Google with only one pair of hands. But is it any good?


Google have recently launched a new free platform for Australian Small Business which is designed to change the way you manage your crucial presence on Google forever.
But what exactly is this new tool Google My Business supposed to do?
How do you sign up to the service and is it really worth taking a look?

Essentially, Google are promoting the new platform as a handy solution for bringing together Google Search, Maps, Google+ and more under one easily manageable roof.

It might just mean that Martin Print can finally get rid of the annoying Octopus that we hired earlier this year, whilst you can quickly enhance your online business presence without tying yourself in knots.

Attempting to keep on top of all your different Google-shaped profiles and platforms could often be a bit of a nightmare, especially when things like Google Maps, Google Places, YouTube channels, customer reviews, and Google + Local were scattered around all over the place. CONTINUE READING

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CALLING FACEBOOK USERS TO ACTION!

The Secret Words that generate the biggest interaction from your Facebook posts.


Could success or failure in generating interaction from your Business Page posts on Facebook depend on the choice of words you use in your Call to Action?Which secret word hits the spot when it comes to inspiring your Facebook followers to engage with your latest status update?
And which hugely popular word doesn’t seem to do much good at all, despite getting used millions of times every day by business page owners?

It’s very tempting to kick off this new article from the Martin Print Blog with a dramatic Call-to-Action which urges you to “READ THIS NOW!!!”
But would that really encourage you to read further, or is it much more likely to put you off completely?

Let’s take a look at How to craft the perfect Call-to-Action in a Facebook post

 

Down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar this week, I was having an intriguing chat with Sharp Simon.
He expressed his total bafflement at the results he was getting from his Facebook business page posts.
Sharp Simon generally publishes around two to three status updates every working day, but he seems to generate wildly differing results from them.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all just totally random,” he admitted in a defeated tone.
“There are times when I write a fairly low-key post which takes me by surprise and attracts a whole stack of Likes, Comments, and Shares.
“Then there are other times when I feel as if I’ve written a really strong and powerful status update…which ends up doing absolutely nothing!”

Taking the prickly issue of Promoted Posts out of the equation for now (although you might like to read my article on Pay to Play Facebook for further insight on this topic), it appeared to me that Sharp Simon’s hit-and-miss results were simply a matter of wordplay.
In particular, the success or failure of his Facebook posts largely depended on the choice of language he was using in his Calls-to-Action.

A recent report from TrackMaven has examined over a million and a half posts from Facebook business pages to assess which secret words were working wonders and generating real interaction.
It also revealed which types of Calls-to-Action were falling flat and driving readers away in droves.

So what exactly is the best secret word of all to use in a Facebook status update?
READ THIS RIGHT NOW TO….sorry, hang on, I lost my concentration there for a second. I’m sure there’s no need to be quite so pushy.
Ahem. Why not take a look at some of the findings below?

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