What businesses often fail to understand about social

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What businesses often fail to understand about social

Finding the true worth of social

 

Have you ever sat back and said “I don’t get how social works for my business” or are you doing social and thinking “This is pointless” only to read every second day how people are building empires from social media exposure for their business?

Meeting as many business people as I do, especially men and women in their late 40s through to their mid 60s I often see and hear how they just don’t think social is doing anything for their business.

Sometimes, we will be engaged by a client for social whom we know will leave us after 6 months and question our role and the role of social at all in their business.

We have a wide array of processes in place to try and educate customers on the role of social, the realities of undertaking it, the commitment required to do it well and the potential outcomes for their businesses over time, but often despite all this our customers (a certain, small percentage, mind you) will leave and feel they got nothing out of their investment.

You may be thinking it is unusual for one to be so honest about a failed business relationship, but it is this approach that typifies how social works: being genuine and informative and I think there are lessons to be shared and learned by showcasing failure not merely success.

And as Henry Ford says failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Which is why each time we have a disappointing or failed experience with a client we further refine our offering to offer and even better service to our current an future customers.

So our success on any project often comes down to a combination of factors, some as an agency we can influence, others we can’t. But here are some are three key factors to consider when looking to find success sin social:

  1. Content
  2. Time
  3. Tracking

 

Content – MAKE IT GREAT – CREATE MOMENTS

One of the greatest mistakes brands/businesses make with social is they merely take their approach to promoting their products/services and plonk them on a social platform.

Social media is NOT an advertising medium in the traditional sense. Yes, people advertise there, but what really gets followers engaged is thoughtful and interesting content.

People in the social environment want to be entertained, intrigued and delighted but above all followers want genuineness… and it is that aspect of social, businesses fail to understand.

Successful brands in the social space don’t just “Brand” content, their content exemplifies their brand, its values, its approach and therefore it speaks clearly not merely about the products or services they sell, but why the brand exists and whom they exist for.

If you take a look at Red Bull for instance their content richly reflects their brand and appeals to those who identify with the more extreme… and if not those who necessarily live that life, at least those who aspire to add a little more excitement to their day. It isn’t about the product itself but the “lifestyle” the drink fits into.

A brand I have worked on – Maccona also has a hugely successful social following, and their content is all driven around the core idea that Maccona (the product) provides its drinkers with a moment of escape, through the taste, through the ritual of having a coffee. So, their content is formulated to provide a similar and simple moment of escape online.

Now these are both beverage brands and when I showcase these examples to customers (not in the Fast-Moving Consumer Good Space – FMCG) they often refute their ability to achieve this when their product or service is so much more utilitarian or generic.

And my argument is simple That is Bullshit.

Sure, your business won’t produce content that emulates Red Bull or Moccona, but there is no good reason why your brand/business can’t make content in the social space that is authentic to your brand and provides genuine engagement for your customers.

So, what is an example. Well if you haven’t followed the NSW police – check it out. Now I reckon the cops have a pretty tough sell on their hand with enforcing the law…. And let’s face it the “constabulary” don’t always have the easiest brand position either. But some of their stuff is pure gold.

Or what about mailchimp. Let’s face it mailchimp sells the ability to send emails to customers and its one of hundreds of similar products. It’s far from sexy, and as a facilitator who exists in a highly price sensitive environment – what could this brand really do to be “social”.

Mailchimp have done three things that I think are very clever for such a pragmatic product.

  1. In the social space they have taken a very pragmatic approach, their content is typically designed to give real working examples of how to maximise the effectiveness of your communications and in turn they seek to showcase the ease of use, not to mention how to maximise the outcomes using their platform.
  2. They have been consistent in their approach with regular posts across platforms both in terms of frequency and content.
  3. They have spent time and continue to invest in a brand identity (visual style) that goes beyond their logo and underpins the way they present their social communications.

 

This visual style is clever and recognisable and something that not many brands bother investing in. This isn’t just content it is content that is branded both in terms of the strategic approach as well as the ongoing content presentation.

There’s a lot we can learn from these brands, these are not funky products, not emotive brands and yet they have found a way to show their personality despite having boring businesses. They’ve produced genuine content that reflect their brand on social media which keep users alert to their future posts but also keeps their brand front of mind which will allow you to get more followers, build engagement, and grow your business, but let’s be honest to make all of this happen and build a solid following will take…..

 

TIME – ROME AND A SOCIAL FOLLOWING – BOTH WEREN’T BUILT IN A DAY

Building a social following for a retail fashion brand like Boohoo or The Iconic can be rapid and the numbers of followers, sharers and buyers – massive. Again, not every business will have this same ability. So, understanding your business and your customer is vital in determining how many followers you want and having a plan for how long it might take to reach them is just as important.

What is also important in determining the time investment required for your social presence is the latency of your sales funnel/process. For example, if you sell cheap holidays the time between posting via your social channels and seeing a sales response may be a mere matter of days, but if you are selling large mining equipment it may take an extended and ongoing effort to see conversions from social.

In some respects, however your regular sales process should give you some indication around this, so if you do sell heavy machinery don’t expect to put up a post on Linked In once and sell a 1000. Expect it to take some time to build, we suggest that to properly target and build an engaged social following will take a minimum of nine months and up to 18 months before certain business types will see results begin to flow.

But how do you know?

 

TRACKING – SOCIAL SHOULD BE TRACKED – IT’S NOT JUST FOR FUN

This is a big one – And socially savvy businesses consider this often long before they even make a post. How you track success and how you track sales through your social media initiatives are vital to the process and how you seek to measure this will vary business to business and product to product.

Ultimately, investing in systems that track sales and the channel from which they were derived is one thing, but if your business doesn’t have robust digital systems in place, then try simple things like unique URLs, pricing or promotional codes that can help your sales teams track sales coming from your social channels specifically.

This really is very important because, as an example, we worked with a client once who saw a 15% uptick in sales in six months after investing in social with us. We asked them if they could see the correlation between our social campaign and their sales increase. And their response was “no one has specifically said they found us through social, so we are no sure this is working”.

As an agency, there was only so much we could track the performance (within the scope of the brief), so whilst we could see and share from the analytic data showing the increased traffic to the website, see the increase in online enquiries and they reported the subsequent increase in sales Without the client actually finding out where customers found them, we couldn’t close the loop in regard to the effectiveness of the work.

Which brings me back to the crux of this article. Why do some of our clients fail to see value in social?

I think it is often a lack of understanding of one or each the above key factors and the effort that each takes in tandem to find success. Whether you are executing your social in-house, by yourself or with an agency partner you really do have to be invested; invested in the idea of creating meaningful content, invested in the idea of being patient and giving your social initiatives time to work and invested in the systems and processes to track its performance.

As an agency who helps business with social, what I can tell you is whilst our talent at producing great content and managing the complex nuances of each platform is what we pride ourselves in, what makes a truly great relationship and delivers the best outcomes in social is when the client is truly invested in the outcome and knows why social is important for their business.

Give us your feedback – Why is social important or not important to your business?

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Marketing is not a chore!

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Marketing isn’t a chore!

On the weekend my friends were discussing house cleaners; of the group, 3 people had cleaners (two fortnightly and one had hers come weekly).

 

 

I don’t have a cleaner – that’s not to say I am better than them, far from it: I don’t have kids nor do I have as big a house (apartment, in my case) and I have a terrible confession to make I don’t hate cleaning – shocking I know – but nearly every Sunday morning I put on some music or a podcast and get to it: vacuuming, mopping, clothes, bathroom, bedroom, windows. kitchen gets wiped down every night after dishes are done. And then during the week I will do some spot cleans here and there to keep it all spick and span. It’s just not a big deal.

My friends clearly still have to do a lot of the things on my cleaning list (e.g. wiping down the kitchen bench for example) but the nitty gritty is done by the cleaners – and that’s fine! They choose to use their hours on the weekend (which are precious and all too few) doing other things and pay someone to clean – and that’s fine.

It got me thinking that there seems to be direct correlations with marketing.

  1. Many people view marketing as a chore.
  2. Some people do theirs in-house and some outsource their marketing.
  3. Cleaning and Marketing make you look good.

On the weekend – they were actually having a laugh about the old trope of cleaning the house before the cleaner gets there to make it look respectable enough for them.

It’s often true that when you hire an agency you will still have to do some of the work. Whether it is provide a brief for us to work to or give some insight into an article we are writing or simply give feedback.

Most clients are great but sometimes we get some push back from clients or they drag their heels on answers. They view approvals or reviewing the stats from the last campaign as a chore.

But it shouldn’t be seen as a chore because it can be fun creating plans to get people excited about your company. And just like cleaning it makes you look good!

There are simple ways to change the perception of a chore

Treat yourself:

Mary Poppins had it right a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down; reward yourself when you do it on time.

Make it fun:

She’s at it again

 

Allot the time:

We are all busy and you have to prioritise – so choose the time each week/month/campaign when you will sit down and a) do the tasks required b) discuss upcoming opportunities. It will make it easier.

Positive reinforcement

Whilst you have allotted the time review how far you’ve come – it will make it all worthwhile.

And of course, even if you are a little messy doesn’t mean you can’t pretend (we are all messy sometimes)

 

 

If you have a mess that even you can’t clean – call in the professionals

 

 

give us a buzz sometime

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The client always comes first… but isn’t always right.

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Customer Isn't always right - providing great service in the digital industy

 

The client always comes first…
but isn’t always right.

Our job is often to create something new almost every day. I am not always sure that customers or even those around us appreciate how difficult it can be to create something from nothing nearly every hour of every day of your life.

For us, as artists, that can be both thrilling and terrifying all at the same time, and it can also be draining.

One thing is certain is that designers, writers, videographers and producers all inherently attempt to make something great each time. And that too can be as much trouble as it is worth sometimes.

Especially when those for which you are making things for (we’ll call them clients) are often not necessarily trained nor geared to think or do what we do.

Now this article is not to place us on some pedestal, nor to belittle clients, after all what we do exists 99% of the time solely for you, but it is an article designed to offer some perspective and perhaps seek to help clients better understand the process we go through for you.

So let’s role play here a little:

  • You’re a client and you need a logo, a brochure, a video or something…
  • You brief your designer, now there are a few key phrases we hear almost daily:
    • “I’m not looking for anything fancy”
    • “Don’t spend too much time on it”
    • “I need it quickly”

Each of these phrases is the beginning of the exact same process, effort and compromise as someone saying, “really make it awesome, invest as much time as you can in getting the right result, but the deadline is X”… You see the only real difference is the mentality the client brings to brief, because from this point on a client’s expectation is generally the same, but ironically, the one who suggests any of those first phrases I mentioned, are likely to be the most difficult client to deal with.

Why?

There are a couple of key reasons, the phrases themselves reflect a lack of appreciation of the time, effort and inherent skill the designer and design process entails. It also generally shows a lack of genuine personal investment in the achievement of the outcome which is distinctly different from their desire for the outcome itself.

When a designer (or, a design firm, or agency) present a client with something or a range of options, one of the most difficult aspects of our job is the flippancy for which customers either dismiss ideas, overlook the thinking that went into the work or again underestimate the skill that went into its creation.

Now, I am not insinuating that we are always right, but at the same time I am insulating that customers aren’t either.

If we have selected a certain image, or left s p a c e in a design it’s generally a considered approach to a design problem, it has been worked on and tested in all matter of ways to get to the end result – a result that attempts to blend the aesthetic requirements of the task with the need to showcase and clearly display or convey information.

Now all the words in the world can succinctly showcase my point so I thought these short videos might help.

Don’t get me wrong, you are the client and your opinion matters, but if the logo is a certain size, or the designer has left space for words to breath, it is not some sort of attempt to frustrate you, but rather it is years of education, thousands of hours working at their craft and an eye for aesthetics that make them specialists in their field being provided to you as part of their service to you.

As a designer, they will always put you first, a business we will always do the same, but the creation of all the work we do, we are always open to suggestions, but before you make them, take some time and consider if your feedback reflects the best interests of the project and if it may go against the approach your design or agency partner has put forwards with the best interests of your project, your message and your audience.

Enjoy the videos.

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New Years Inspiration For Marketers

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Marketing Inspiration For 2019

We thought that our first article of the year should be something a little inspiring to help kickstart your success for 2019, so here are a few pieces of extremely valuable advice from 5 of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs…

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.

Bill Gates (Microsoft)

At the time, unhappy customers can make you feel very disappointed, and rightly so. But take that disappointment and turn it into improvement. Unhappy clients can be assets. Pay attention to what any disgruntled customers might have to say. This is a wonderful chance for you to learn and to grow in the right direction.

“Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”

Steve Jobs (Apple)

Steve Jobs is really an entrepreneurial legend. And he had some very sound advice for entrepreneurs. He is known for his exemplary attention to detail, and putting quality over quantity. If you always put quality first, you can’t really go wrong! And in the context of marketing/social media, it is definitely better to go viral once, than have two average posts!

“Move fast and make mistakes… Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. We have a saying: “Move fast and break things.” The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough… Most companies mess up by moving too slowly and trying to be too precise. When you are moving quickly or doing anything like this, you want to make mistakes evenly on both sides. We wanted to set up a culture so that we were equally messing up by moving too quickly and by moving too slowly some of the time. So that way, we’d know that we were in the middle.”

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)

A pretty self explanatory way of thinking (and a pretty different way of thinking, too)! Play around with your marketing. Making mistakes is all a part of the game, until you find out what works best for you and your business!

 

“Business opportunities are like buses; there is always another one coming.”

Richard Branson (Virgin Group)

Richard Branson is what you could call a pretty bloody successful business man. He has more than 400 companies under his wings, with an extremely diverse business portolio! So, keep your business portfolios as diverse as possible, and always be on the lookout for new opportunities! Marketing is very similar. It is always changing, so you need to keep your finger on the pulse and keep up with the trends! Don’t fall behind and miss out on good marketing opportunities!

 

“Business success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics.”

Tony Robbins (Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist and Life Coach)

Tony Robbins is possibly the best business and life strategist out there. In fact, he is quite remarkable, and his success has been nothing short of that. He is an expert in organizational turnaround, psychology of leadership, and the art of negotiations. He believes that in order to succeed, you must be clear about your strengths, weaknesses, goals and strategies! Marketing is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics, also! It is all about connecting successfully with your customers and inspiring them to BUY!

​We hope that 2019 brings you lots of success and some very successful marketing, and that this article helps in some way!

 

 

Photo by Jon Tyson
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How To Write The Perfect Subject Line

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How I wrote the perfect subject line

3 ways to write the perfect subject line

How to write the perfect subject line

Today, a client was asking for advice with their email subject lines and whilst I was writing the email I figured I would share it to a larger audience.

And I should be honest, I lied, there is no perfect subject line although the above is pretty damn good, if I do say so myself 😊 *pats self on back*

THE BASICS

A good subject line will be compelling, descriptive and creative. That’s a tall task for a few words (If you want a masterclass in how to write a great story in 6 words click here)

The one thing you should never do is be misleading; it will annoy the reader and make sure your follow up email does not get read.

AUDIENCE

Depending on your audience, things can change dramatically if it’s someone you know well they are going to open it anyway – half the time my friends might not even bother with a subject line or the even more interesting “Fw: “. But in general, when wanting to write a good opening line it’s to someone you want to impress either in business or personally and it might be a large group or an individual.

THE STARTING POINTS

You want people interested in what is inside the email. It’s oft told that there are only a few stories in the world and they are just told differently so goes the email subject line. It’s all roughly the same just with a different emphasis here are some tried and true methods

You can ask a question
• Do you know how to write a great subject line?
• Can you write a great subject line without even trying?
• Are your subjects subpar?

You can impart knowledge
• Learn 6 ways to write a great subject
or you can tweak it and make it a personal story
• How I wrote the perfect subject line
• Why did they not reply

Urgency or FOMO or Jealousy
Play on peoples egos or insecurities
• Don’t waste another email
• Hurry – Last chance to learn how to write the perfect subject (ok so they don’t all work for all situations)

Offer
People love an offer. “X% off” or combine it with urgency FOR “25% off sneakers for another 12 hours.”
• SAVE time when writing your emails (ok cheating but if you aren’t selling)

Make it Personal
Never be afraid to drop in a name if it makes sense to do so
• Stephanie, Learn why your emails aren’t getting opened

Mix it up!
And don’t always start the subject with Brand X’s [weekly newsletter] consistency isn’t bad but it can get boring and wastes valuable real estate.

AND you can be cheeky
Is the subject line the new pickup line?

THE BUZZWORDS

Instincts can get the best of us and when we see certain buzzwords our interest is piqued the good people at CoSchedule has given us, not one but two, great lists. Words that will get your emails opened and words that won’t DON’T MIX THEM UP!!!!

All these tips should see you in good stead to write popular, thought provoking, click generating headlines, subject lines, text messages…

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When Can I Stop Marketing?

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WHEN SHOULD I STOP MARKETING?

A friend asked me the other day “When can we stop marketing?”

I smiled and suggested that the answer may be never but it could also be right away (it should be noted that she works for a company that we are not contracted with so I do not have any skin in the game). “Why do you want to stop?” I asked.

Then she rambled some reasons off but the gist of it was

Our ads are just adding to the maelstrom of crap out there – I don’t want to annoy people…  people unsubscribed from our mailing list plus no one is engaging with our Facebook page.

Basically, it sounded like a marketing existential crisis.

To Stop Or Not To Stop

You might have been surprised earlier when I said you could stop marketing right away but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do – it would mainly be a reason to pivot. There are two reasons why you could stop marketing:

  • Your marketing is genuinely losing you money – in which case, I would say you need to change your strategy rather than stop.
  • You feel so loathsome and part of a corporate machine adding to the crap that it’s affecting your life – in which case I would say you need to relax a little and then frame it differently in your mind. We don’t have to call it “marketing” or “advertising” we can call it communication or connecting or outreach. And I would also change my strategy because if you feel loathsome – you probably don’t have enthusiasm for your brand and the communications you are putting out into the world and if you don’t – why should/would your current and potential customers?

The main reason why you shouldn’t stop marketing is that you have a product or service that needs to be sold. Depending on the size of your business – you may say that word of mouth has treated you ok so far, well, at it’s very essence all marketing is word of mouth even if it’s organic. You starting a business and telling your friends and family that is in essence marketing. Them telling their friends – that’s marketing, and you don’t feel disgusting about that now, do you? So why should you when you are connecting with people via a different platform be it traditional media or any of the new platforms that we have access to nowadays..

So if you see an unsubscribe don’t feel bad assume that that person was not the best fit for your company not that everyone that gets your messages is perturbed by your very existence. If on the hand no one ever opens your emails then it might be the time to rethink your content. One client recently was scared after many unsubscribes in one email but it was the first email after these people had been added to their list after entering a competition which can be expected after all we use entry guidelines like subscribe to win but inevitably some people will unsubscribe once the competition has finished.

Another way to make you not want to feel like giving up on marketing is embracing your customer find out what works – sift through the analytics; use AI; a simple chat bot can prequalify your customers but also gain valuable insight into what your customers are expecting from you, your website or a given page.

Will they buy the cow if they are getting the milk for free?

Another customer was scared about giving too many tips away for free – I say give more and give it better because:

  • you have more knowledge than your readers
  • you will never not be better than them at your job and
  • they will never have the time to do what you do because they already have a role

At the end of the day the only reason we think you should ever stop marketing is when you close your doors.

If connecting with your customers is getting too hard or feels likes its not working . Don’t give up! The value good marketing brings is invaluable! Be patient, be persistent, create content that is true to your brand, offer value, embrace your customer and make it easy for them to get what they want.

 

 

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Check Your Facts, People

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Research for Digital Marketing content

 

CHECK YOUR FACTS, BEFORE YOU WRECK YOUR…

We love a good statistic, all of us. Period. We, marketers, that is, use stats to demonstrate value.  One great stat that I love is:

 

 

Doesn’t really sound like a stat… here… how bout this… “Renown essayist says that 50% of what is seen should not be trusted”We like well researched and enjoyable content to read so it’s important to get your facts straight when creating content for your readers. When we create content we always double check our facts and make sure they come from reputable sources and are pertinent to the message that is being conveyed. If it’s not you will lose your readers… quickly.

Part of the reason I am writing this is because of a post I was reading the other week – it was an article called “28 Powerful Facebook Stats Your Brand Can’t Ignore in 2018” today and many of the stats were eye opening to say the least.

Many of these listicles (articles that are written as lists) and stat driven posts pop their heads up year round but especially at the sta(r)t of the year (so get ready for the 2019 articles to appear).

Fake news has been one of the hot topics of the year, and many think it’s insidious and it is but it can also just be good old fashioned negligence at fault.

You might find a great stat from a reputable site and think awesome have I got a topic to attach this too without really reviewing it especially if the stat while true came from a study that was ill conceived.

So back to the article, one of the stats reads “40% of Facebook Users Have Never Liked a Facebook Page” I read that and thought wow – there must be so many fake accounts but the opposite of click farms – why would there be that many? And would Facebook own up to a stat like that? Hell No

So I found the study it was based on (NB I’m not shaming the company they do have some good research on the site but the quality control person clearly took the day off in this case) and noticed that the sample size was 300 Americans over the age of 18. Not only was the sample size fairly small but the question was misleading and the inference taken by the article writer even more so. The question read “how many brands they tend to Like on Facebook” 0, 1-10, 10-20. They tend to like? What obscure language for a hard hitting stat with a headline 40% of Facebook users have never liked a Facebook page.

And then I looked a little deeper and noticed this illustrious study that it had to be included in an article about stats that my brand couldn’t ignore in 2018 was conducted 4 years ago (or 28 in dogs years and a millennium in internet years).

I went back to the post – That headline again 28… powerful… stats… can’t ignore… 2018? This is a picture perfect clickbait headline (hence why I was reading in the first place).

I scrolled down the page and noticed that it was posted in Feb 2018 but the comments below are time stamped over three years old so this is an old article that was updated and repurposed for 2018 (editor’s note: In SEO speak it’s a good practice to update blog posts from time to time to keep the information relevant and to keep the link authority tied to the updated post rather than creating a new one. It’s also best practice to mention that it is an updated article, which in this case it is not).

There were a number of other mistakes in the post, like a fact that said “Facebook Has More Than 2 Billion Daily Active Users” and then only to contradict itself a line later to 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook.

Don’t worry rant is almost

So, in summing up, if you are planning on going down the content marketing path there are many rules to follow but please make check your facts your readers will be thankful. If you need help on how you can embark on a comprehensive content marketing strategy drop us a line.

Also there is rarely a time you can’t find a relevant Simpsons quote…

Homer take it away

 

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Countdown: Top Resolutions for EVERYONE but mainly marketers

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Countdown: Top Resolutions for EVERYONE but mainly marketers

We flipped the good old new year’s resolution on its head and are counting down the most popular ones with a slant for the marketer.

8 – “I’m going to read more”

All of us want to knock off those books on our list, but we should also be reading more on the internet, and by that, I mean reviewing your pipeline and your statistics, spending a bit of time each week to know exactly where you stand. When you are across the ins and outs fine tuning will be a breeze.

7 – “I’ve always wanted to learn a language”

The universal language of love? Nope, I am talking the universal language of the code. Learning a coding language can be a lot simpler than one would think and even if you aren’t going to use it day-to-day it helps to be self-sufficient if you need to roll up your sleeves and do some maintenance PLUS it gives you a better appreciation and understanding of how one of your most vital business systems work.

6 – “Make New Friends”

Some of us wake up one day and realise that we don’t have many close friends, perhaps after struggling to find a ripper party to go to on NYE. Building your social following or email lists can be similar – you may have once had a thriving social media life but people move on get married, unsubscribe, have kids, unfollow you. You have to continually top up your streams with new friends that want to spend time with you.

5 – “Spend more time with family and friends”

On the flipside, nothing is better than rekindling a friendship that you hold dear so before you lose your friends engage them – keeping your followers interested in what you are doing is only half the battle, don’t foget to be interested in what they are doing, who they hang out with and where they do it.

4 – “I’m going to get more sleep”

Having a regular routine is key to getting sleep; just as having a routine like a calendar for creating content and reviewing your campaigns can keep the momentum going and not find yourself running out of time for one of the most important facets of your sleep business.

3 – “Take a break”

We often get preoccupied with work and lose focus on what’s important: our lives outside of the office which is why it’s so important to take on only what you can handle and delegate responsibilities for those that could be better handles by others.

2 – “Eat Healthy, Get Fit”

Leading on from taking a break is turning yourself into a lean mean marketing machine. If you are feeding your site with all the healthy hygiene and spend time getting massive gains from your hero content that will deliver engagement and awareness of your brand.

1 – “This is the year I will get organised”

You know you have been putting it off and doing things the hard way for too long, but this is the time to do it, clean out those drawers of unwanted items and get to organising and having everything in place. That means segmenting your DBs, making sure your followers are still engaged run a reengagement campaign. Oh, and wouldn’t it be great if once everything is organised you take a break, get some sleep, spend time with friends, new and old, and all those other things? That’s right part of organising is getting that CRM perfect and using your marketing automation platform that you set up but never really put the finishing touches on.

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Marketing: Persevere, Persevere, Persevere

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Persevering in marketing is a lot like persevering to reach a goal

 

Marketing: Persevere, Persevere, Persevere

My father once told me “When times get tough, persevere”.

Anecdotally, after having met so many businesses over the years, there are two key numbers that I hear over and over: 11 and 13. These are the years it takes many businesses to find the success many dream of when they first start a business.

Both numbers are fairly big and if your business is just starting out reading that may seem frightening…

But I may have a short cut.

MARKETING!

I was in a networking event just this week where this fella said to me “advertising – just doesn’t work. The only way to build your business is word of mouth.” Now, be it driving down the freeway passing billboard after billboard, listening to the radio, watching the TV or looking at the amount of content being produced online I think there is a weight of evidence that may suggest otherwise.

Word of mouth is a beautiful acoustic performance and let’s be honest there are few things better than being in an intimate room with an artist and hearing them play just for you, but it can be equally thrilling listening to your favorited artist belt out the same tune with 100,000 people singing along around you in a stadium.

But to sing to 100,000 you need to amplify the singers voice and this, for me, is a key to growing your business quickly… amplifying your marketing efforts.

That amplification can be scary be it as a singer or as a business takes commitment

  1. Because you need to invest infrastructure to achieve it and,
  2. Because you need to be able to back up your promise of a great show or else you are going to seriously damage your brand…

I think a big part of the reason that many businesses are afraid of implementing marketing initiatives is because they are genuinely afraid of growing. Afraid of the commitment it takes…

So, if you are not afraid read on.

Like business itself, I believe, like my father did, that marketing is about perseverance.

Perseverance in Marketing

How does this apply to marketing?

The big bad world of marketing is massive and the options endless; so how can any business know what is going to work for them and what business can possibly afford to do, or try, them all?

And even if you could, where you find success may ultimately surprise you….

Unfortunately, marketing isn’t an absolute science, moreover one of the greatest challenges of business is differentiation and much like your USP (and you should have one (Have a read about USP’s here) your marketing needs to set you apart from your key competitors. The look, feel, messaging and channels you use may be guided by your competition (note: research is key to standing out) but may take time to make work.

Time…that old chestnut. Yes, great marketing takes time – marketing is a marathon not a sprint and you should prepare for accordingly.

Here are some things to consider

  • Have a genuine goal
  • Have a plan
  • Some will recommend 90 days but we would suggest 180 day to trial and evolve a marketing initiative before abandoning it. Not 2 weeks!!!
  • During that time test and tweak it
  • Understand what the purpose of your marketing is there to achieve. There is a huge difference between marketing for sales vs marketing for brand awareness, so be clear about what it is you are aiming for before you begin.
  • Invest in quality execution. If you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all.

Marketing success won’t happen overnight. The companies that do it best are those that are willing to roll up their sleeves, get a bit dirty, do the work and stick with it.

A creative director I used to work with many years ago, Paul, once said to me “Ideas a worthless, what makes a great idea is how you execute it” and most businesses abandon them for the next bright object instead of sticking with their plan. Which is one of the greatest challenges we face as an agency, we build plans for businesses and a timeline with which to permeate it, only to have the client change their objectives or be concerned they are not seeing results one or two months in.

Yes, you can always change something if it doesn’t work. But, before you do, make sure you didn’t just abandon great ideas or great plans because the results weren’t instant or because it was more fun to try something new.

Marketing in some ways can be like going to the gym and working with an agency like working with a personal trainer…It is going to be hard. The trainer is going to build you a plan and going to push you to stick to it.

 

Your muscles will be sore, your diet may be restricted and for a while it may feel like you are getting nowhere, but stick with it and you will come out of it looking and feeling better than ever.

 

Remember

Be patient

Be involved

Be consistent and

Be persistent…

 

And both your business and your marketing will flourish. And if you need some help, just ask we’re always here.

 

 

 

Photo by Ian Chen on Unsplash
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Differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace: A comparison

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Unique Selling Proposition Real World Example

 

Differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace Breakdown

When I was musing about Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) the other day I thought it would be interesting to give a real-world example. It just so happens that the next ad I saw was for QuickBooks and my decision was made.

Can you tell me the difference between Quickbooks, Xero and MYOB?

I can’t… I am not an accountant and all but basic accounts receivable and payable is lost on me.

What I can tell you is how I view the three brands

 

By the way, this was the ad:

 

QuickBooks

The ad in question, plays very much to a small business owner – it is accounting software that makes your life easier, especially the incomparably annoying job of chasing accounts in arrears.

Xero

Although Xero has been around for a while in internet years it seems like the easy yet technologically advanced choice.

MYOB

MYOB is an interesting case it has both a positive and a negative from the one factor: its age; they have years of proven experience and many happy customers in Australia but like pc vs mac they may have a little image problem of being a dinosaur.

 

 

But that’s just my viewpoint, let’s have a look at how they portray themselves online.


Upon landing on QuickBooks you can notice a few things

  • Small business: they refer to their customers as the hardest workers shameless pandering but also how small business view themselves (and rightly so) and their navigation includes small business, self employed and then accountants/bookkeepers – also there is a hardworking small business owner in the hero image looking at her phone after working on pottery.
  • customer service: voted #1 plus you have multiple options of using that customer service via the side buttons; live chat and customer service number in the navigation.
  • Technology: you also have a video that is in the shape of a mobile (smaller image next to it denotes it works across all platforms) with a the User Experience (UX) of their app they know a lot their small business owners are on the go and want access to a simple to use platform from their mobile.
  • Last but not least; you will see the word Your books, made easy

 

Xero’s current home screen has:

  1. Social proof: a million subscribers; an image of a few happy customers from different industry but all pretty trendy looking; and Canstar winners 4 years running.
  2. Tech savvy: the branding itself is very sleek; tagline is better business; and they have Features & Tools as their first nav choice after which they have Why Xero plus words like advisor, resources and partners are all speaking to its technological prowress.
  3. Local: I thought Xero was trying to sound approachable mentioning AUS and NZ as well as YOU BEAUTY but something I did not know was that it was founded in NZ and is listed on the ASX. So there you go.

And lastly MYOB:

  1. Design/technology: whether or not my assumption was right about MYOB being considered a dinosaur in the accounting software space – they are definitely rallying against it via new branding (it was updated less than 2 years ago), a young trendy person who has her finances sorted on a phone
  2. No nonsense, easy copy: DONE… Set your business up for success… actually lets you run a business.
  3. Social Proof: also like Xero over a million users but they don’t need to include NZ in their drawing pool.
  4. Big & oozing with legacy: A breakout mentions version 19. The copy asserts that their software scales with you and the navigation separates you into small, bigger and accountants/partners.

 

So, you might think my prognostications were to pat myself on the back if they turned out to be right but it was quite the opposite – my intent was to suggest that each of these companies do a great job of keeping their messaging consistent; that we almost instinctively know what we are getting from them even if we know little of them. The differences might appear small (to anyone who doesn’t spend hours appraising the UX of different websites weekly) but they are there.

 

On a side note, if you did focus on UX (and websites in general) every day you would notice other little things.

  • Like the banner for all three has copy on the left and image on the right
  • Another common best practice for Software-as-a-service companies is to offer a free trial.
  • The fact that the call-to-action buttons are all green the universal symbol for go even though QuickBooks is the only one that uses green in their branding colour scheme. Don’t feel like you must use green, it’s not 100% fool proof, some use red as it suggests urgency or special but at the end of the day our mantra is test early and test often.
  • And you will notice that the word “you/your” appears at least once on each of them – Remember, you are always talking to your customers on your website – be friendly!

 

But I digress, back to differentiating yourselves… if the website has passed the 5 second test and attention is piqued a user may scroll below the fold where usually they will see more important selling points of a product.

 

QUICKBOOKS

 

XERO

 

 

MYOB

 

QuickBooks focusses on you: save time, claim dollars and mentions (again) their award-winning support.

 

It should be note Xero has a customer video stories breakout before the list of features when scrolling down the page. Xero decided to have a few more bites at the cherry – showcasing 9 features that will change your life. The focus here is on the variety and technological strength of the application with over 700+ third party apps.

 

And MYOB goes for the national pride theme for Aussies by Aussies and speak to a human but not just any human an Australian human. And you can do it wherever you want.

 


Each brand has its differences and similarities but they have all carved out a niche for themselves by appealing to different consumers. So even if you think your offering is the same there will be a way to showcase why you are the right business to solve their need.

 

 

 

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
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