THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

BANG ON TARGET!
How to Identify and Connect with the
Perfect Target Audience for Your Business

Get on target with your small business marketing! But how do you identify and connect with your perfect target audience?Is your Small Business Marketing reaching the right targets?
Have you identified your target audience and built up a profile of your typical customer? How do you get connected with your chosen targets? And perhaps more importantly, how do you stay connected with this audience well into the future?

The Martin Print team have been chatting this week about the types of infuriating marketing that really drive us all round the bend;
Hostile marketing, pushy marketing, intrusive marketing, dressed-up-in-a-giant-chicken-costume marketing…the list goes on and on.

But one form of marketing that kept cropping up in our conversations over and over again was deeply irrelevant marketing;
The kind of stuff that lands on our laps without any thought or care as to whether it might be at all suitable for us.
In many cases, this marketing material might be laughably unsuitable.
For example, I can’t really think of any logical reason why I keep getting bombarded with strong encouragements to upgrade my current knitting machine, or why Old Bert keeps getting told where to go for all the latest Volcano Boarding accessories.

Of course, there are situations where there may well be some value in grabbing tiny crumbs of custom from a blanket catch-all marketing strategy.
But it’s surely much more cost-effective and rewarding to focus your marketing campaigns on a shrewdly considered target audience.
You stand far more chance of generating the right results without aggravating everybody else who gets caught up in your marketing net!

So, let’s take a look at the four key points to bear in mind when narrowing your sights on the perfect target audience for your products and services…


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ON THE INTERNET BUT IN THE DARK
How Every Australian Small Business Owner Can Get Help to Improve Your Digital Literacy

How’s your digital literacy? Is your business making the most from the internet? A new report from Paypal suggests that Australian SMB owners are struggling to seize the true potential of online marketing…How do you rate your own digital literacy?
According to new research from Paypal Australia, there’s every chance that you might not be making the most of everything the internet can offer for your business.
In fact, you may be barely scratching the surface…

A new report from Paypal entitled Digital Literacy Among Small Business in Australia suggests that a whopping 3 in 5 Aussie SMB owners feel that their low levels of digital literacy are preventing them from running their business more efficiently.

But what other shocking findings have been thrown up by the report?
And what are the positive steps you can take to improve your digital literacy for the sake of your business?

In all honesty, I’m not entirely surprised by the figures.
We may happily live in a world of expensive fancy gadgets which plug us into the infinite realm of Cyberspace, but how many of us are really taking advantage of all the solid business opportunities right at our fingertips?

Last week down at Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar, I was having an insightful chat with Sharp Simon.
Well, I say insightful chat…
He was actually just throwing his latest ‘hi-tech business purchases’ in my face, and telling me how super-fast they all were, and how much he had paid for them all.
Smartphones, desktop PCs, laptops, iPads, tablets, phablets…Sharp Simon had the lot.
And for a second or two, I was mightily impressed.

“I see you’re taking the digital revolution very seriously,” I ventured.
“I’m guessing that all these gadgets are vital in helping you to build and maintain a huge online presence for your business. So, tell me a bit about your online marketing strategy. How’s it coming along?”

At this point, Sharp Simon faltered for a minute.
He eventually showed me how quickly he could access Angry Birds, and then pointed out the crisp definition of the screen displays.
Hmm…

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TAKING OVER THE WORLD!
How to Conquer Your International Worries and Take Your Business Overseas

The whole world is at your fingertips…but is your business taking advantage of the new online opportunities for international custom?How’s your business doing on a global scale?
Are you fully committed to connecting with a vast international audience, or are you totally dedicated to serving your local customers?
Could you be missing out on lucrative opportunities for business growth and expansion by turning your back on the overseas market?

Of course, not every single business under the sun can realistically consider going global.
Just for a bit of fun, some of the Martin Print designers have taken part in a mini-brainstorm session in the canteen, in which I asked them to think up any types of business which could never ever work on an international level.
Within just a few minutes, we’d come up with a little list of utterly unsuitable business types that were destined to stay local for the time being.
And that was before we got carried away with the sillier suggestions.

But here’s the thing that worries me quite a bit;
People who worry when there’s really nothing much to worry about.
It gives me sleepless nights and puts me right off my bowl of All-New Healthy Froot Loops in the morning.

To put it in another way that might make slightly more sense…
So many business models are positively crying out to stretch their wings and capture the bigger bounties of the international market.
But the business owners just don’t seem convinced. They can’t be persuaded to grab the opportunity with both hands.
Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they have serious doubts. Maybe they think it’s all just far more trouble than it’s worth.
Or maybe they’re still worrying about problems that were happily solved years ago…

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GETTING CREATIVE WITH
NFC ON YOUR SMARTPHONE
Inventive and Surprising Ways to Use
Your NFC Goodies for Business and for Fun!

Experimenting with the new force of NFC…but are you getting creative with your branded NFC Business Cards and Key Rings?Just how many new and imaginative uses can you find for NFC on your Smartphone?

It’s possible that you’re currently still considering your first steps into the developing new world of NFC Business Marketing.
Or perhaps you’ve already been experimenting with your own set of branded NFC Cards or Key Rings, and now you’re hungry for new ideas and possibilities!
Whatever your situation, you might just be surprised at some of the incredible things you can do with this new marketing technology which is all set to explode in popularity in the very near future…

If you’re a complete newcomer to the concept of encoding an NFC Business Card with enhanced digital functions which can be unlocked by your recipients with a simple tap from a Smartphone, you might want to start off by checking out this special FAQ article from the Blog which reveals Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Those NFC Cards But Were Afraid to Ask.
Don’t worry, it’s all much, much easier than you may imagine!

It’s fair to assume that the majority of business-owning NFC adventurers will have already been tempted to set up their NFC Cards (or other NFC marketing goodies) with a simple link which will instantly direct recipients to the business owner’s website, or Facebook page, or YouTube video, or practically any other slice of suitable online content.
It’s a perfectly sensible strategy which ensures that your clients can get connected to your online presence with just a simple tap of a card!

But what other powerful business marketing opportunities can be unlocked with the power of NFC?
And how much fun and value can we squeeze out of the concept on a strictly personal and highly functional level?

Is it really possible to configure your NFC Cards to switch on your computer remotely or even turn the lights on and off in your house?
(Quick answer – yes, but those advanced options are a little more complicated to set up!)

Here’s a full rundown of the some of the most creative, useful, powerful, and downright wacky ways to take advantage of NFC on your Smartphone screen…


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FACEBOOK FALLING OUT OF FAVOUR?
Why the Next Generation of YOUR Business Customers May Be Turning Away from Facebook

What’s in store for the future of Facebook? Could it be that your business customers of tomorrow are already turning away from the biggest Social Media platform of them all?Imagine a world without Facebook.

The social networking site has held such a firm grip on both our personal and business lives in recent years that trying to imagine a world without Facebook is a curiously difficult thing to do.

The platform has rapidly developed over a relatively short period of time into one of those things that just seems to have been around forever and is widely expected to continue playing a huge role in everybody’s lives until the very end of the universe.
A bit like the internet in general. Or mobile phones. Or digital cameras. Or Celebrity Masterchef Australia.

But is the future of Facebook really so secure?
Will we all still be using Facebook so frequently in ten years from now or even just five years from now?
Could it be that history will ultimately remember Facebook as nothing more than a passing trend that was popular for several years before eventually drifting off into obscurity?

An intriguing article written by a 13-year old girl from New York has recently caused a few ripples on the Social Media scene, and could even be interpreted as an early warning sign that Facebook may already be falling from favour with the next generation of your business clients…

The headline of the article in question is certainly an attention-grabber which makes you stop and ponder;
“I’m 13 and none of my friends are on Facebook!”

The article, written by young Ruby Karp for Social Media and Tech website Mashable, raises several interesting concerns on the future of Facebook from a crucial teen perspective.

Before we go any further, it’s important to bear in mind the current age restriction on Facebook;
You’re not officially allowed to open up a Facebook account until you reach the ripe old age of…yep, you guessed it…13.

Not that this rule will stop every inquisitive young mind from sneaking behind the backs of their parents and opening up an account regardless.
But it’s fair to say that Ruby Karp has hit that age when she and her friends should be fully embracing all the fun of Facebook with the complete backing of the official regulations.
They should all be looking forward to a future of friend requests, private messaging, madcap photographs, friend blocking, and petty online arguments played out in a public arena!

However, that just doesn’t seem to be happening.
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NFC ON YOUR iPHONE?
The Sky’s the Limit for NFC Business Marketing as Promising
New Rumours Suggest that Apple is Preparing to Join the Party

 The sky’s the limit! Could NFC-compatible iPhones finally be on the way from Apple?Are you currently using an Apple iPhone?
Do you feel as if you’re missing out on the thrilling new digitally enhanced marketing opportunities dished up by NFC Technology?
Or perhaps you use an NFC-enabled device at the moment but you’re reluctant to invest too heavily in snazzy NFC Marketing Tools in case some of your target audience are using incompatible Smartphones?

Any niggling worries you may have right now about missing the NFC Party could well be resolved in the very near future, as the signals seem to indicate that Apple is getting ready to jump aboard and push NFC Business Marketing to a whole new level.
But as ever, it will certainly pay to keep one step ahead of your competition by developing your strategy right now and arriving early at the party to grab the biggest results of all…

I nearly missed a party myself this week, down at Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar.
Smokey Joe was celebrating twenty years in business by throwing a huge party with the promise of fun, laughter, and free drinks for all.
I’d been working late in the Martin Print office, and my invitation to this special event had completely slipped my mind until the very last minute.

Fortunately, I found that the party still hadn’t really got going by the time I came breathlessly bounding through those doors in blind panic.
I think that the celebratory mood had been slightly punctured by the revelation that Smokey Joe was only offering certain types of free drinks for all;
Mostly non-alcoholic drinks with chunks of fruit and meat floating about in them.

Still, I soon managed to liven up the atmosphere by passing around some of the brand new NFC Business Cards which my team had cooked up that very day, and showing everyone exactly how they worked.
Many of the party guests were quickly reaching out for their Smartphones so that they could join in the fun as I passed the cards around.

I’d actually encoded all the cards with completely different digital features.
So, for example, one particular card would open up the main Martin Print website on a Smartphone screen with just a single tap.
Another would import all my details directly into the contacts list of the lucky recipient’s phone. Another would open up this very Blog!
And so on and so on.

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ON TOP OF THE SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS!
But Exactly How Much Benefit is Gained from Your
Small Business Grabbing the Top Spot in Google Search Results?

Flying to the top of the Search Engine results! But how much difference does it really make to your Small Business website traffic?There’s one particular chart in the world of Small Business marketing in which the ranking position of your own Small Business really matters;
The Mighty Search Engine Results!

But exactly how much difference does it make to your Business if it’s sitting proudly at the top of those Google Search Results?
When a potential customer types the most relevant keywords into that innocent little search box, does it really matter if your business is at the top or bottom of the page of results?
Does anybody even care if your business is in first position, second position, tenth position, or 500th position?
The true facts and figures might just surprise you…

I was having a quick chat with a miserably defeated entrepreneur the other day down at Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar.
Wonky Alan seemed to have given up hope on ever achieving a respectable ranking position for his unique business in the Google search results.

“It’s impossible!” he declared. “I’ve been trying for years just to get onto the first page of results, but it’s never gonna happen. The whole thing just seems like a big corporate con to me. Only the giant companies can win that sort of game.”

It’s certainly true enough to say that gaining a prime spot on the Search Results page is no quick and easy task.
There are times when a user might input a search query into Google which would suggest that this particular person is positively crying out to be connected with your own products and services.
But the mighty Search Engines are unlikely to push your business to the top of those search results unless you’ve already got all the groundwork in place.

Having said that, Wonky Alan’s failure to reach the top of the Search Engine Charts is a particularly baffling case.
There surely can’t be that many other businesses in Perth that specialise in delivering professional skiing lessons for dogs.
So, why is it that when I type Perth Dogs Skiing Lessons into Google, his business doesn’t even make it onto the first five pages of results?
He must be going drastically wrong somewhere along the line…

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ATTENTION:
THE FUTURE MAY BE SLIGHTLY DELAYED
Is 3-D Printing Really On The Brink of Changing The World As We Know It?

3D printing is the future! But just how long will your Small Business have to wait to take advantage of this thrilling new revolution? It may be longer than you think…“Ah, so you’re in the printing industry? I know a little bit about that myself.
“3D printing, that’s the future, isn’t it? In a few years, we’ll all be able to print out pretty much anything we want. Fascinating, isn’t it?”

I’d found myself chatting to a newcomer down at Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar who went by the name of Rufus.
He seemed to be an enthusiastic upcoming entrepreneur who clearly had a beady eye on the future.

“Yes, I’ve been thinking of getting a 3D printer myself at some point this year,” he went on.
“They’re certainly coming down in price, aren’t they? Seems like the right moment to jump aboard and see what all the fuss is about. I’m hoping that I won’t ever have to buy anything else in my life. I’ll just design and print everything I ever need. Hey, I don’t suppose you can print out new employees, can you? That might shave a few dollars off my business outgoings.”

Hmm.
There certainly seems to be a fair amount of excitement and expectation surrounding the dawn of a new era of 3D Printing.
But before we all get too excited, maybe it’s time to slow down and pause for breath.

Could it be that the age of everyday 3D Printing at home or in the office is much further away than we’ve been led to believe?

If you’re completely new to the concept, I should just quickly explain that 3D Printing is a groundbreaking process in which the printer will ‘read’ your design blueprints and use this information to create actual physical objects.
The printer then ‘builds’ your design from the bottom up, by gradually depositing razor-thin layers of plastic in all the right places until the finished 3D shape finally emerges.

That’s the theory in very simplified terms. Let’s not get too technical here on the Martin Print Blog, I’ll be in danger of giving everyone a headache. Myself included.

But now that the prices of these 3D printers look set to drop to a reasonably affordable level in the very near future, is it possible that 3D Printing is now on the verge of becoming a truly mainstream activity?
Will we all be designing and creating our very own wondrous 3D creations in just a few years from now?

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BAD MANNERS AND RUDE BUSINESS
How to Avoid the Most Common Ways
of Annoying Your Clients and Colleagues

Are Small Business owners at risk of treating our clients and colleagues in a rude manner without even realising it? Here are the most common Business Etiquette mistakes to avoid…“Good morning, Sir. You’re looking well today! May I take your coat? Please do take a seat. I’ll be with you as soon as I possibly can. May I offer you some refreshments while you wait?”

This is the kind of greeting that I often dream of hearing as I’m reluctantly making my way to the local gent’s hairdressers just around the corner from Martin Print H.Q.

However, the reality never quite matches my hopes.
Instead, I usually get something along the lines of;

“Oh no, not you again! Are you really due another haircut so soon? You’re determined to ruin my day, aren’t you? Oh well, sit down and be quiet, and try not to scare off my other customers. Don’t touch anything either, I’ve got my eye on you…”

To be fair, it’s not quite as bad as it may sound. I’ve been enjoying this kind of ‘banter’ with my local hairdresser for years. Besides, he’s the only one around for miles, so he knows that I’m unlikely to take my custom elsewhere.
I’m fairly sure that he wouldn’t treat new clients like this. If he did, his business would never have lasted much longer than a week…

But are Small Business owners ever in danger of accidentally annoying customers and colleagues with Bad Business Etiquette? Could some of us be at risk of displaying common rude behaviour without even realising it?

I got thinking about this topic as I settled back down at my office desk again, following my typically blunt experience at the Hairdressers.
Doris, our resident cleaner, popped her head round the door to say hello.
Well, kind of.

 ”Oh no, you’re back again!” she cried. “I was going to clean your office, but you’re in my way again. You’re always in my way! Can’t you just go away and do something constructive instead of sitting there and pretending to look busy? Why don’t you go and get your hair cut or something? What? You have? Oh, right. It looks terrible. Did you ask for your money back?”

Hmm.
You know, any normal person might start to feel paranoid about constantly soaking up so much abuse in one day!
But, fortunately for everyone concerned, I’m far from normal.
And I know for sure that no harm or malice was intended in any of these abrupt conversations. No offence was taken.

I’m also fairly confident that most of us would never dream of communicating in such a seemingly discourteous manner in the professional arena of Small Business – either to customers, business associates, or fellow team members.

But what if we’ve picked up some bad business habits which cause offence without our knowledge?
Here are some of the most common examples of rude business behaviour which should be avoided at all costs…


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NFC FAQ
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About
Those Amazing New NFC Cards But Were Afraid to Ask…

New NFC Cards have arrived at Martin Print! Here’s the full lowdown on the incredible new format for the 21st Century Business owner…I lost my voice today.

I was hoping that some kind-hearted members of the Martin Print team may have shown some sympathy, and perhaps even fetched me a hot drink or two to help ease my burning throat.
They all know that I’m trapped here alone in my office, croaking helplessly away to myself, and unable to even answer the telephone.

But no.
Every time somebody wanders past my door, I attempt to wave frantically at them or throw something soft in their direction in a desperate bid to grab their attention.
But it never works. Not even when I panicked and accidentally threw my chair at Old Bert.
No, everyone is always far too immersed in their own conversations which usually revolve around how particularly quiet and peaceful it is today.
Nice.

However, even a lost voice can’t dampen my enthusiasm too much this week, as I’m thrilled to report that the incredible new NFC Cards are now rolling into production right here at Martin Print H.Q.

These wonderful new Cards deliver an extra digital dimension to your savvy Small Business marketing, and can be used in all kinds of deeply funky and highly functional ways.

I’ve been excitedly babbling on about this dramatic new digitally-enhanced development in custom-crafted Cards to everyone I’ve bumped into over the last few days in all kinds of places – here in the office, down at Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar, even whilst waiting patiently in the queue down at the Sweet Pastry Shop.
Nobody was safe from my bubbling buoyancy.
Well, until I finally lost my voice and just ended up croaking into people’s faces and scaring them away.

Since that unfortunate moment, my burning throat has made it difficult to answer all the burning questions on new NFC Cards that continue to pour in from every direction.
I did briefly consider handcuffing myself to Old Bert so that he could handle all the queries on my behalf.
But I eventually decided that it would make far more sense to compile an ultimate list of the most frequently asked questions on NFC Cards right here on the Martin Print Blog!

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