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How’s Business?

Craig Munns - Sales Innovation

How are things going for your business? We hear a lot about how many businesses are hurting at the moment. Does that sound like your business? If so, what can you do about it?

A tight market is a great catalyst to think of new ways to do business in smarter ways. Your competitors are invariably looking to ‘batten down the hatches’ and ‘ride out the storm’ (apologies for all the sailing idioms). You can take advantage of this situation by looking at ways to capture new business, which can often be easier in this situation, as many businesses are just looking to keep what they have, and are not aggressively pursuing new business.

Looking for new business from a sales perspective is not going to cost you anything (or much more than you already spend). Your ‘hit rate’ may be lower, but at least you’ll be active, spreading the word about your business, getting some business, and preparing the market for the inevitable improvement, where you’ll be in a better position than your competitors.

The important thing is to be more active in this market (not less), and to keep track of what your prospects and clients are doing, so that even if they are not buying from you now, you will be a prime position to take their orders when things get better.

So see a tight market as an opportunity to gain more business, by looking positively at the market and the fact that many of your competitors will not be as active.

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Jean McIntyre

 

 

 

 

By Jean McIntyre

 

www.marketingangels.com.au

As I sat down to write this post today I have to confess I had a blank mind – nothing to write about.

Those of you who know me well know that it’s unusal for me to have writer’s block – I’ve always got something to say.  I started to think then, what do I tell my clients when they aren’t sure what to write on their website, on a blog or in a newspaper advertisement.  It’s pretty simple – GET BACK TO BASICS!

What do I mean by that?  I mean that every business should have a positioning statement and key messages that communicate to its market exactly what benefits that business can deliver for the customer and how it is different from its competition.

Once you have developed these messages then they go absolutely everywhere.  You use the same messages whether you are writing a radio ad, updating your Facebook page, writing an email to a prospect or introducing yourself at a networking event.

How to develop your key messages

“But how do I go about developing my messages?”  You might ask.

The answer to this is pretty simple – ask your friendly marketing manager to help you 🙂

If you want to have a go at doing it yourself there are a few key steps to the process that you need to work through to make sure your messages will work for you in your market.

  1. Understand your business
  2. Get to know your market
  3. Articulate its needs
  4. Identify what you can deliver
  5. Make a statement

Understand Your Business

The first step is to get clear about who you are, what your strengths and experience are and why you do what you do.  Understand what your goals are and how much money you are prepared to spend to achieve them.  This helps you to be able to match your offering to the market. Your skills, knowledge, experience and your brand are the things that attract customers to you and start to form your offering to the market.

Get to Know Your Market

Research, research, research.  That’s the marketer’s catch cry.   First, get a picture of what your market looks like.  How big is it?  That will help you work out if it can deliver your financial goals.

Use the ABS and industry reports to get an idea of the size and makeup – age, gender, location, income, family situation etc.  This helps with planning.

Next, find out what makes them tick.  You can do surveys, read studies, hold focus groups or even sit and watch them in the shopping centre.  What and how do they buy?  How do they choose their suppliers?  What do they read and watch?  What activities do they participate in?  This starts to tell you how you can reach them and get your products to them.

Articulate the Market’s Needs

This is probably the most important step.  Once you know what your market looks like – it’s time to get inside its head and heart.  Marketing is all about feelings – so you need to have a good idea about what’s important to people and what they need.  If for example you find out that the most important thing to your market is that they are well liked by others – then you can start to think about products you can offer them (within your expertise) to help them acheive this.

Marketing is about making people feel good so that they’ll buy your products.

Identify what you can deliver

Once you know your market and what it needs you need to examine your business’ strengths and see what products you can develop to meet their needs.  Part of that is about how you package what you do to appeal to them.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that your expertise is Human Resources and you offer a consulting service. You might think that all HR services are pretty much the same. That’s not the case.  If you understand your market really well and know where the gaps are in meeting its needs, you can develop specialist HR services that are delivered in a way that better does it better than your competitors.

Make a statement

The last step is to write it all down.  Come up with on short statement of 5 to 7 words that encapsulates what’s special about your business with regard to meeting your market’s needs.  That’s your positioning statement that goes with your logo.

Then write down some short supporting statements about what you deliver and how it makes your market feel – how it will make its member’s lives better.  Use language your market is comfortable with and make it brief and simple.

Use it Everywhere

Once you have developed your key messages you can then apply these to every communication you have.

That’s how you develop your brand to be recognisable as one that will meet your market’s needs.

I’d be interested to hear your experiences of how you developed your company’s key messages.  If you need help, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Jean Mc

PS:  If I don’t talk to you beforehand – have a great Christmas.   Check out my Christmas video!!!

tips on branding and design canberra

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on website management

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Make sure your website looks like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules).
  3. Make regular updates to your site. (clients and search engines like this)
  4. Check your statistics and title tags. (some easy SEO here. That’s Search Engine Optimisation!)
  5. Use a local (Australian) and reliable host.
  6. Learn how to use the sites CMS. (Content Management System)
  7. Use your key marketing messages to direct your visitors to where you want them to go.

7 tips on taming your designer (or getting the most from your designer)

  1. Brief your design professional on your audience and messages.
  2. Let them offer options and ask them why these options will work.
  3. Provide real deadlines. (not just asap, or before lunch!)
  4. Provide feedback and amendments promptly. (so they still remember the job. It may even still be up on their screen!)
  5. Define the scope of your task in the briefing. (this will allow for costs to be estimated up-front)
  6. Provide feedback based on the original briefing scope and direction.
  7. Don’t rely on them to spell correctly! (proof read carefully)

5 tips on electronic publishing

  1. Save on print costs with on-demand printing from PDF.
  2. Apply your brand to everything inc. emails, blogs, PDF downloads, etc…
  3. Make your reports available as PDF downloads from your website.
  4. Send your brochures or fliers to clients as PDF’s by email.
  5. Ask your design professional to make them interactive too!

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

10 tips on re-newing your brand for growth

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Research your audience.
  3. Ask, why re-brand?
  4. Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
  5. Consider a wide range of options.
  6. Let go of previous solutions.
  7. Package your “stuff” (visual collateral) to keep costs under control.
  8. Use the change to promote your business more, or differently.
  9. Plan to phase out ALL old material.
  10. Ask your design professional for a set of rules for application to ALL your “stuff” (visual collateral).
  11. Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

(oops, that’s eleven!)

5 tips on email marketing management

  1. Keep your emails short and fun.
  2. Allow unsubscribes.
  3. Make your emails look like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules)
  4. Use HTML emails (they look better and nearly everyone can see them).
  5. Track opens and click throughs on links.
  6. Build your database with online subscription web forms.

(still having trouble counting!)

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on design for start-up businesses

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Research your audience.
Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
Get your brand design done before your website, business card and brochure.
Plan ALL your requirements, then get some done now.
Get the others done later by the same designer.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

10 tips on re-freshing your brand

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) consistent.
Look to “modernise” your logo (keep it’s shape and intent, change its feel and appeal)
Add some new graphics and text treatments
Compliment your standard colour palette with a few new ones.
Choose a small set of iconic images for your marketing and promotion
Change the format (shape & size) of some material.
Change the delivery method of some material.
Use a quality paper stock for your key material.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Jean McIntyre

By  Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Jean Mc talks about how small businesses can learn a lot from NASA by clever use of resources.

I got the inspiration for writing this post from watching one of my all time favourite movies ‘Apollo 13’.

My favourite scene (well one of my favourites) is where they find out that the carbon dioxide filters are the wrong shape for the inlets and they have to build new ones or the astronauts will die.

They collect stuff they have on the ship – socks, flight plans and things and a guy walks into a room of engineers, throws it all on the table and says:  “We have to find a way to make this, fit into the hole for this, using nothing but these.”

Of course they achieve it.  Nasa engineers are very clever but it’s such a good metaphor for ingenuity – especially in business.

Be Like NASA

Marketing in small business is all about clever use of resources.

When we write a marketing plan – it’s a roadmap for how the business could use its resources.  It lays out what the opportunities are, what the costs are and the likely payoff from using those resources.  A marketing plan helps the business owner to make decisions about for what they will use their resources and what they expect to achieve with them.

If the US Government hadn’t decided to spend the money they would never have achieved their goal.  Now we live in a world where a man has walked on the moon.

Deciding on Resource Expenditure

The first thing a business needs to decide on is how much they want to spend on marketing.  That includes both money and time.

It’s true that marketing can take a huge chunk about of a business’ operating budget.  The really big companies think nothing of spending millions on their marketing campaigns because spending money on marketing works.

That said, marketing (particularly if you advertise) can suck up all of your spare money if you aren’t clever about it.  You need to decide what is a reasonable amount of resources to spend to achieve the kind of return you want.  Marketing Angels has a very good e-guide about this subject that’s downloadable for free called “How Much Should I Spend on Marketing“.

Once you know what you want to spend – then you need to decide what to spend it on.

Hint:  Startups need to spend a much higher proportion of their budget on marketing than existing businesses.

What to take with you to the moon

There are literally 1,001 different ways you can market your business (I have a book with exactly that title!).  So what to choose.

I’ve talked in detail in previous posts about the different forms of marketing and when to use them. To make decisions on this you really need to understand your market inside and out.

Knowing your market (from research) will tell you: what magazines and newspapers they read, what channels they watch and listen to how they use the internet and what websites they frequent.  Research can tell you what organisations they belong to, how they shop and how much they spend.

All this informs the kind of marketing you will choose to spend your resources on.  It can drive your advertising, your publicity, your networking, your sponsorship, your events.

Most importantly it determines exactly what you will say to your market in your advertising – your key messages – so that what you say encourages potential customers to buy from you.

The NASA engineers know their ship, the astronauts, the journey and the destination inside out – so they’ve got a lot to work with to decide what resources to use and when and where.

Decide then DO IT

Probably the most important issue around using resources to market you business is to have faith and just decide to do it.  You know it will cost you time and money to succeed and committing those resources to marketing is perhaps the hardest leap to make in business.

In helping you with making that leap – I’m hoping you might find inspiration from President John F Kennedy when he announced that America was going to land a man on the moon.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on resource expenditure for marketing.

Jean Mc

Opportunity

Author  Donna Moulds

When opportunity knocks make sure you open the door.

 

Recently I have been listening to Donald Trump’s program “Think Big and Kick Ass” and he often talks about opportunity and making sure you take every opportunity you can so long as it is for the right reasons. I would add my personal opinion of, “is it for the greater good”? The greater good for me comes from my values. When opportunity knocks for me it has to be for the greater good. This could relate to a number of things such as my Family or my Team or my Business. Sometimes we are presented an opportunity that will also push us into a place we didn’t think we could go. Think Big and kick Ass, has made me realise how small I was playing in Business and since realising this, I have been thinking bigger and greater opportunities have presented themselves.

We have all heard the statement that “everything happens for a reason”, well this can be a subject for great debate, as I have heard many times in the past from various opinions. As this is a blog and my personal opinion, I have to say though, from experience everything does happen for a reason and at times we don’t know till much later on or with great reflection why! I also strongly believe that adversity brings great opportunity, such as self development and personal growth. We may feel uncomfortable or stretched physically and/or emotionally, however their will be a reason behind what is happening.

Do I have lessons to learn?
Do I want different results, therefore need to change what I am doing?
Have circumstances changed, where I need to adjust?

Opportunity can look different if you are an Optimistic V pessimistic person

Is your glass half full or half empty?

In the program The Shift, Dr Wayne Dyer spoke of people at a radio station loosing their job and how devastated they were and he made a statement about it being time to move on, and if you weren’t ready you would be forced by change. What I have seen in the past is optimistic people will accept decisions and find a solution sooner than a pessimistic person, who may take longer to find a solution and they also make statements about how this will impact them negatively or other statements that may place them in a victim mentality. Now let me also say, I agree loosing your job can be very devastating especially with bills to pay and a family to feed….

Tips…..When a situation occurs that may push our comfort levels slightly or significantly, try to ask a number of questions before you take action.

What specifically has occurred here?
Can I change the situation?
What resources do I have that I can tap into?
Who could I call on for advice or support?

Then break the situation down into the facts and take appropriate action. This strategy can also provide you with the mindset to see greater opportunity.

Till next time Bloggers

Donna Moulds