THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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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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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MORE BAD OMENS FROM FACEBOOK

How the three latest Facebook updates could impact your Business Page.


How the three latest Facebook updates could impact the post reach and referral traffic from your Business Page.The latest updates from Facebook could potentially see a further decline in your post reach and referral traffic.

But what exactly are these three brand new updates and what do they mean for your Facebook Business Page?

There was definitely a sinking feeling down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar when we first heard the announcement on new updates from Facebook which will change how content is delivered to the user’s news feed.

Even before we’d heard any of the details, we instinctively knew that it was going to be bad news for Business Page owners.
It always is.
I can’t remember the last announcement from Facebook which included any good news for Business Pages.

One business owner in the bar was still happy to admit that he was intrigued, though.
“I’ll be fascinated to see how they can make my post visibility go any lower than it already is!” he howled.

As the details were slowly revealed to us, it unfortunately looked as if our instincts had been right.
It certainly punctured the mood in the bar.
Such a shame after the pirate-themed Karaoke competition had gone down so well, too.

The new updates were officially unveiled in a new Facebook Blog post written by Product Manager Max Eulenstein and User Experience Researcher Lauren Scissors.

Most of the big changes relate to balancing the news feed content between posts from personal friends and ‘pages’.
As you can probably already imagine, it’s the ‘pages’ which are now walking away with a tougher deal and less visibility.

So let’s take a closer look at each of the three new updates in turn…

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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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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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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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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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