THE BLOG FOR AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS

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keep one step ahead of the game and ensure that your own Business Page isn’t left lumbered with any strange quirks and outdated oddities from the transition.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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OPTIMISE YOUR VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE – FAST!

How to Unlock the Secrets of Optimisation from the Internet’s Biggest Marketing Weapon.

You’ve created the world’s most compelling marketing video to help spread the word on your business…but it’s likely to get missed by a potentially huge YouTube audience unless you’ve taken a few quick steps to optimise your content.
Here’s A Complete Guide to YouTube Optimisation which should help to give your visual gems the best possible chance of getting discovered by prospective new customers…

How to optimise your business marketing videos on YouTube, and give your content a better chance of getting viewed by potential customers!Unless you’ve been living in an isolated cave for the last few years, I’m pretty sure that you’ll have experienced YouTube in one way or another.

In fact, no, that’s not quite true. Even those cave-dwellers have jumped on the video-sharing bandwagon.
An old mate of mine has been living alone in a remote cave for the last decade, after making the decision to pursue a quiet and simple life, far away from human beings and technology and deeply annoying ringtones.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered recently that he’s now got his own YouTube channel!
He regularly uploads new video content delivering survival tips, cooking suggestions, and fun games to play when you’re completely alone in the dark.

Thanks largely to dog weddings and skateboarding cats, YouTube is now the second-largest search engine in the world, boasting well over a billion unique monthly visitors.
A staggering 6 billion hours worth of video footage is viewed from the site every single month.

Now that fun and engaging video content can be quickly produced on a Smartphone by any business owner with no real budget but plenty of imagination, it’s very little surprise that so many businesses are tuning into YouTube for big marketing results.
(For further insight on the strategic points to consider before shooting your next video, you might be interested in taking a peek at a recent Blog article which explores The Basic Essentials of Video Marketing.)

Here’s a cause for concern, though;
Far too many business owners get so carried away in the excitement of uploading a brand spanking new YouTube video, they overlook those small crucial steps to total optimisation.

They’re quick, simple, and easy. It’s mostly about planting the right keywords in the right places, with just a couple of extra juice-boosting steps thrown in for good measure.
And this short path to YouTube optimisation ensures that your unique video content is far more likely to be found by those prospective customers in search of the exact services you provide.

Here’s how to squeeze maximum marketing power from your own YouTube videos… CONTINUE READING

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CHEQUES, CREDIT CARDS, GATEWAYS, PAYPAL & BITCOINS!

How to Choose the Best Range of Payment Methods for Your Business Customers.

As Martin Print becomes the first Australian print and design company to accept Bitcoin as payment for our business-boosting services, we take a closer look at some of the popular payment methods that your business could be making available to customers.
Everything from Cash (remember that?) to Cheques, from Direct Bank Deposits to Online Payment Gateways, and from Paypal to Cryptocurrencies

 Bitcoins roll into Martin Print! We’re Australia’s first print and design company to accept Bitcoin as payment for our services.The Bitcoins are now rolling into Martin Print!
This week, we’re celebrating our decision to become Australia’s first known print and design company to accept Bitcoin as payment.

If you’re fairly new to the concept of Bitcoin, I should just quickly explain that it’s a purely digital peer-to-peer cryptocurrency which has been generating headlines around the globe.

Although not universally recognised as a ‘genuine’ currency, the online payment system is growing in popularity with buyers and sellers wishing to ‘cut out the middleman’.
Bitcoin actually empowers users to deal directly with each other by placing instant deposits into electronic wallets with no input from a central authority or bank.

I’ll return to the subject of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in just a moment.
(By the way, if you’d like to use Bitcoin to pay for your next batch of custom-crafted goodies from Martin Print, please just mention this when placing your order!)

But this decision got me thinking about how many businesses I come across that don’t have a particularly wide range of payment options available.
I’ve lost count of the number of occasions when I’ve felt a sense of crushing disappointment after realising that I couldn’t pay with the method most convenient to me at the time.

In certain cases, it’s even prompted me to look elsewhere for a more suitable arrangement.
I suppose this is how Old Bert feels all the time when he gets told by a business that they sadly don’t accept ballads, long-winded jokes, or pearls of wisdom as payment.

But could you be losing some of your own prospective customers because you’re not offering them a wide enough range of payment options?

Here’s an overview of some of the most popular preferred payment methods which members of your own audience may well be hoping to choose as their ideal option…


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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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READY TO ROLL THE CAMERAS?

Getting to Grips with the Basics of Online Video Marketing.

Have you ever considered shooting simple video content to help market your business online? Why is it becoming increasingly important to connect with your online audience via the medium of moving film? What are the basic essentials that you should be taking into account before the cameras roll?
And what are the most common strategic mistakes to avoid when mapping out your video marketing content?


Action! Here are the basic essentials to consider before shooting a new online marketing video to promote your business.I’m currently sat in Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar, dressed up in a silly Wizard’s costume which is way too big for me.

I’m surrounded by Elves, Dinosaurs, Clowns, Giant Rabbits, and a couple of blokes arguing over which one of them is supposed to be Tarzan.
(I’m guessing the one in the loincloth will be declared the winner. The one in the spaceman outfit has clearly got the wrong idea altogether.)

All this is not a million miles away from a typically chaotic scene down at Smokey Joe’s Bar, yet there’s something distinctly odd and exciting in the atmosphere today.

You see, we’ve all agreed to take part in Smokey Joe’s brand new marketing video.
We’re not getting paid or anything, we all just thought it would be fun to get involved.

With hindsight, I kind of wish that I’d asked to see a script or something before I agreed to participate.
In all honesty, I have absolutely no idea why I’m dressed as a Wizard, or what role I will eventually play in this online 90-second promotional video.
I’m hoping all will become clear very soon…

But Smokey Joe certainly has the right idea in embracing the online marketing video, even if he seems to be over-egging the production just a little bit.
He should perhaps have worked a little harder on his strategy before inviting the big expensive cameras into his bar.

Here’s a brief rundown of the essential points to consider when preparing to create brand new video marketing content for an online audience, and a couple of clues on where Smokey Joe might just be going wrong…

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DOMAIN NAME GOLD RUSH 2014!

Why Your Business Should Be Planning Ahead for the All-New Domain Extensions. 

Are you ready to strike gold with the introduction of brand new domain extensions for your business? Here’s why you should be planning ahead for the future and staking your claim to a perfect new domain name.2014 is going to witness one of the biggest and most dramatic changes in the history of the internet.
But is your business preparing to take advantage of this golden opportunity to secure a perfect new domain name?

We’ve all become very familiar with those boring old domain extensions that have been around since the dawn of time.
Stuff like .com and .com.au and .net and .org.

But this year will see the gradual rolling-out of a whole treasure trove of brand new domain extensions – one of which could prove to be a valuable goldmine for your own business.

These new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will include such precious jewels as .expert, .health, .engineer, .dentist, .florist, .photography, .builders, .supplies, and many, many more.

Big Ted, the chief printing wizard here at Martin Print, was hopeful that he might be able to grab a new .snakesandladdersgrandmaster domain extension for his latest little online venture, but that’s one of the few possibilities that has yet to make the list.

However, glaring omissions aside, the new gTLDs have the power to be a real game-changer for businesses seeking to upgrade their domain name and hammer home the brand with a deliciously short URL.
For example, a self-employed photographer currently operating a website with the URL martinrussellphotography.com.au, could well be in a prime position to grab the much smoother martinrussell.photography domain name if he’s quick off the blocks.

The first batch of new domain extensions have already started to roll out in recent months, and you can check the full schedule in the handy Launch Calendar below to see when your perfect new extension is due to be released into Cyberspace.

But just how easy – or expensive – is the process of securing your new-look domain name?
Why should we be thinking about both sides of the dot from now on?
Should you be staking your claim during the initial Sunrise or Landrush periods of a new domain extension?
And what on Earth do those mean anyway?

Let’s go digging for Domain Name Gold…


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HOW SAFE ARE YOUR PASSWORDS?
The World’s Worst Passwords of 2013 and How to Protect Your Own Business in 2014!

The worst passwords in the world are revealed, as I take a look at how to strengthen your own online security without having to remember long strings of random letters and numbers.Do you take care and consideration when choosing super-strong passwords to secure your online business activities?

If one of your own passwords features on this list below of The Official Weakest Passwords In The World, it’s definitely time to spring into action and create a new one before it’s too late…

Those thoughtful people at SplashData have recently released their annual definitive list of the 25 Worst Ever Passwords, compiled from literally millions of ‘stolen’ passwords which have been posted online for the whole world to see.

Is one of your own crucial business passwords on this List of Shame?

And how do you ensure that you’re choosing the strongest possible passwords to protect your business without having to remember hideously long strings of random letters and numbers?

Is there an easier way to keep your business safe from the attention of hateful hackers?

Well, let’s dive straight into the data, and take a look at that list in full.
Here are the Top 25 Poorest Passwords of 2013 which certainly caused more than a mild headache for many of the hacked businesses who used them at their peril…

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COAX YOUR CLIENTS INTO ONLINE SHOPPING
The Crucial Factors That Your Audience Will Consider Before Buying Online from Your Business

How to convince your potential customers to buy online from your business. It takes just a little more effort than a smile…I’d like you to join me on a journey inside the mind of your typical prospective customer…

If you’re determined to sell more of your products online, it would certainly be useful to take a peek inside the head of a member of your target audience.
You could discover the crucial considerations that are getting mentally weighed up before a firm decision is reached to buy or move on.

For example, how much is the average customer likely to spend on a product without seeing it first? What kind of goods would they never consider buying online?

And most importantly of all, what exactly can your business deliver during the online shopping experience that will make a potential customer far more likely to buy your stuff?

A recent report from PR firm Walker Sands reveals some of the answers, and one factor in particular seems to be dominating the inner thoughts of the everyday online shopper…

My own investigations into this were inspired by a challenge that I set the Martin Print team last week;
I asked them to find Australia’s least likely person to ever make an online purchase, and then convince him or her to enter the digital world of internet shopping.

They didn’t have to look very far.
They believed that this dubious honour went to our very own resident caretaker, Old Bert.
He’s suspicious of anything developed after 1957.
The team reckoned that if they could persuade Old Bert to experience the benefits of buying a jar of his favourite pickled eggs online, they could persuade anyone.

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RED HOT HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013
A Rapid Roundup of the Juiciest New Developments of the Year for Small Business

The red hot highlights of the year! Here’s a roundup of the best Small Business developments of 2013.What was your favourite Small Business Highlight of the Year?
Maybe it was an intriguing new development?
A useful new innovation? A fresh opportunity to market your business in an exciting new way? Or simply a comical highlight which made you smile?

My own Rapid Roundup of My Favourite Bits of 2013 hopefully includes a brief sample of all of the above…

I did ask some of my fellow Martin Print team members for their own thoughts, but I must have forgotten to stress the ‘business’ element.
Josh was very keen to point out that the highlight of his year was reaching Level 172 in Candy Crush Saga with only minimal screams of frustration.
Charlie, our Shipping Supremo with a mind rooted in strategy and tactics, seemed particularly proud of his work mapping me out a brand new route to the Sweet Pastry Shop.
It shaves a whole two minutes off my travelling time, although I now get stung by nettles and scratched by thorns every lunch break.

Meanwhile, Old Bert claims that his highlight of the year was beating Big Ted at Snakes and Ladders in a high-tension match which went on for days. His victory celebrations lasted just slightly longer.

Hmm.
Well, I’ll politely skip over those for now, and unveil my own selection of the hottest highlights of the year for Small Business.
From long-overdue changes to Facebook Contest rules which change the game completely, to the rise of NFC marketing, via the funniest Social Media meltdown of the year.

Did you miss any of these juicy bits of 2013?


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AVOID THE BOGUS RULES OF SMALL BUSINESS
Why You Should Never Follow These
Mythical ‘Unwritten Rules’ of Business

False! Wrong! Bogus! Untrue! Let’s take a look at a list of some of the worst unwritten rules in Small Business and why you should never follow them…Are you following any of the so-called Unwritten Rules of Business?
If so, could you be making a very dangerous mistake and putting your business health at serious risk?

I was having a catch-up with my good friend Wonky Alan last week down at Smokey Joe’s Small Business Bar.
I’d spent what seemed like two hours listening politely to his latest news, updates, and plans for the future.
In fact, I’d managed to get through four Fizzy Frothy Fruity Fusion drinks before it got round to my turn.

Eventually, I got the chance to share some of my own new stories and anecdotes from the continuing design-driven adventures of Martin Print.
However, I was only really starting to get to the good bits when I was abruptly cut short after less than ten minutes.

“Stop!” yelled Wonky Alan, dramatically. “Have you been feeling unwell or something? It sounds as if you’ve been breaking every unwritten rule of business in the book! Maybe it’s time you took a holiday?”

Well, I wouldn’t say no to a holiday. But I strongly disagreed with Wonky Alan’s reasoning.
I’ve always had a bit of a problem with ‘unwritten rules’ of anything.
If a rule is so good, why on Earth has nobody ever bothered to write it down?
Could it be because the rule in question is actually a bit rubbish?
Is there even perhaps a small chance that the unwritten rule could turn out to be completely wrong?

At this point, Wonky Alan pulled out a curiously named book from his pocket called The Definitive List of Unwritten Business Rules.
Hmm. Surely a contradictory title? Unless all the pages were blank.

But no, the pages weren’t blank. In my honest opinion, the pages were crammed full of very bad business advice which should definitely have remained unwritten and unspoken.
Wonky Alan seemed to have been absorbing all this nonsense recently, so I decided to postpone sharing my own stories and news until our next catch-up.

I felt our time would now be better spent on exposing the lack of logic in many of these mythical guidelines, and ripping up The Top Four Completely and Utterly False Rules of Business


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