THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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Thinking outside the box for better alternatives to tired old business clichés and outdated jargon which don’t really mean anything.Do you find that the occasional cliché or slice of outdated business jargon can often creep into your business content when you least suspect it?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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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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PUT DOWN YOUR SMARTPHONE!

The real reason why you check your emails every 5 minutes…and how you could be seriously harming your own business productivity.


Put down the Smartphone and step back… Do you check your phone every 5 minutes for business emails? And could this behaviour be putting your own business productivity at risk?Are you the kind of person who…
PING!
Oh, hang on, just give me a second. This phone notification could be important.
Ah no, a mate of mine has just left a Facebook comment on that photograph of me dressed up as Tarzan.

Where was I?
Oh yep. Are you the kind of person who gets constantly distracted by your noisy Smartphone? Do you find it hard to get through five whole minutes without ‘checking your emails’?

If so, you could be putting your own business productivity at serious risk – and that’s official.
This Blog article digs up the truth on why your brain has been conditioned to accept such destructive distractions without question, and reveals how to stop this behaviour messing up your own business productivity.

I hope that my highly scientific Pickled Egg Conundrum will help to explain exactly where the human race got it so hopelessly wrong in the digital age, as I also take a look at why the telephone might just be the most staggeringly rude device ever to be invented… 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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NEW FACEBOOK REDESIGN IS HERE!

Everything you need to know
about the new Facebook layout for Business Pages.


Changes are coming to Facebook business pages! But is your own page ready for the big redesign?Another brand new look for Facebook pages is ready to be rolled out this month.

You may already have clicked on an option to update your own view of the page so that you can tinker with the content before letting it loose on the wider world.
You may even have gone ahead and ‘published’ the new look for all your followers to see.

But whatever the case, your Facebook business page will be automatically updated from June 20th 2014, after which date everyone is stuck with it.

I know, I know.
You finally begin to get comfortable with the last re-designed layout, and then they come along and throw another one in your face when you least suspect it.

Before we all start to panic, I should quickly point out that the new-look doesn’t involve any huge sweeping changes.
It’s more of a tweak and a polish than a major revamp, and only minimal effort is required at your end to optimise your updated Facebook Business Page.

But it’s still a good idea to keep one step ahead of the game and ensure that your own Business Page isn’t left lumbered with any strange quirks and outdated oddities from the transition.

Here’s a brief rundown of all the essential information you need to know on Cover Photos, Tabs and Apps, and where to find all the important bits that moved when you weren’t looking. CONTINUE READING

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CRACKDOWN ON FAKE REVIEWS

The tough new guidelines and penalties for business owners who cross the line on Review Sites.


Fake reviews of your business on independent review websites could land you in trouble with the ACCC. Here are the tough new guidelines to follow if you want to stay out of trouble.Glowing testimonials from happy customers on independent Review Sites can certainly help to drum up confidence in your business.
But positive AND negative bogus reviews are threatening to shatter the consumer trust in these sites.
The ACCC have introduced strict new guidelines to combat this unscrupulous activity, and even a business owner with good honest intentions will need to know the score.
Here’s everything you should know to avoid falling foul of the law…

 

Review Sites were such a good idea.
When a customer needs convincing that your business is going to deliver the goods, he or she is hardly likely to ask you for an unbiased opinion!
A genuine customer recommendation on a completely independent website is likely to carry far more persuasive power.

Unfortunately, the credibility of Review Sites has taken a battering in recent times, thanks to a flood of dishonest postings from business owners who think they can score some crafty extra points by writing a ‘fake positive review’ or even a ‘fake negative review’.

It must seem temptingly easy to pretend to be a genuine happy customer, and post a quick online review which praises your own business to the skies.
A particularly fiendish business owner might even prefer to take on the role of a genuine unhappy customer, and write a scathing review of a competitor’s business which tears the whole outfit to pieces.

People have been getting away with this shady behaviour for far too long, and consumer confidence in these review sites has dipped to an all-time low as a direct result.
Hardly surprising.
How on Earth is anyone ever supposed to know if a supposedly genuine review is the real deal or a fraudulent fake?

Thankfully, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has come to the rescue with a set of tough new guidelines which deliver strict penalties to those business owners who are not playing the game fairly.

And it’s worth taking a good look at these guidelines in detail, as even a business owner with the very best of intentions could potentially slip up and suffer the consequences if they haven’t brushed up on the rules… CONTINUE READING

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PAY TO PLAY FACEBOOK

Why ‘Free’ Facebook Posts Will Soon Become a Waste of Time as Organic Reach Plumbs New Depths.

Have you noticed just how quickly the visibility of non-promoted posts from your Facebook business page has plummeted over the last couple of years?
Is your audience reach tipped to drop even lower in the very near future?
Could posting a ‘free’ update soon become a total waste of time, and is there any way back from Pay to Play Facebook?

Just how low is the audience reach of free Facebook posts from your business page set to plummet in the near future?It was good while it lasted.
But the days of reaching out to your loyal Facebook business page followers with completely ‘free’ or ‘organic’ posts finally seem to be over.

You may remember a time when Facebook was telling us that the platform was a wonderful way to build up a new audience and engage with your prospective customers.
But you’ll now have to pay for promoted posts if you want any hope of reaching out to that audience you spent so long on building up from scratch.

Over the last two years alone, the audience reach of a typical ‘free’ Facebook post from a business page has already plummeted from 16% of your followers to a mere 6%.

But here’s another slice of bad news;
A reliable source close to Facebook has recently indicated that the world’s most popular Social Media platform is now working hard on slashing that organic reach down to as little as just 1%.
So, 99 in 100 of your Facebook fans will completely miss every free post you make in the future.

Before I go any further, I should quickly stress that the average personal Facebook user will not be impacted in any way by the ever-dwindling reach of organic posts. This only affects businesses and brands that are trying to communicate with all those fans who willingly clicked on the ‘LIKE’ button of a Facebook page.
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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


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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.


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