THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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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RESEARCHING YOUR RIVALS

Why ignoring your business competition can quickly lead to disaster.

 

Are you keeping a close eye on your competitors? Burying your head in the sand can spell disaster for the future of your business.Are you keeping a close enough eye on your competition?
And if so, are you sure you’re looking in all the right places?

Here’s A Tale of Hot Dogs and Heartache which just goes to show how burying your head in the sand can spell disaster for your business.
And how even keeping a casual eye on your rivals may not be enough to avert a huge setback…

Any smart business owner will already know that regularly checking out your closest rivals and keeping up with all their latest developments is a crucial component of any good business strategy.
Failing to research your competitors as regularly as possible puts you at risk of getting left way behind and in very serious trouble.

To be fair to my good friend, Henry, he was never really one to stick his head in the sand.
Henry’s Hot Dogs was a pretty popular business around these parts for quite some time, and Henry himself usually had his eye on the business ball.
People flocked from miles around to queue up for one of Henry’s legendary Hot Dogs.

Well…that may be overstating his business success just very slightly.
But at the very least, his customers would come from all the way round the corner to buy their greasy snack, or pop in whilst they were passing.
Henry was doing ok.

There’s a Sweet Pastry Shop just across the road from Henry’s Hot Dogs.
Regular readers of this Blog may already have heard me talking at great length about this Sweet Pastry Shop.
It’s where we send Old Bert every day to pick up the lunchtime orders for the Martin Print gang.
We’ve always preferred pastries to Hot Dogs. Hey, that’s just how we roll.

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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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