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Posts Tagged ‘small business marketing’

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

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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

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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

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tips on branding and design canberra

We’re 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 why branding?

  1. Your client’s perception of your business is based on how they see you.
  2. They “see” you at every contact point with your business.
  3. This impression is created in a second.
  4. Their perception is often unconscious.
  5. This perception is often not a considered decision.
  6. To your client, their perception IS reality.
  7. When this perception is positive, potential sales become clients, and clients become advocates.

Why are the best businesses watching their branding?

5 tips on branding your business

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Review your brand and it’s purpose regularly (every 6 months).
  3. Apply brand rules across ALL aspects of your business.
  4. Apply brand rules ALL the time.
  5. Be consistent and stick to a single solution.

5 tips on managing your brand

  1. Review your brand regularly (every 6 months).
  2. Follow a checklist to make sure everything is considered.
  3. Create a system of rules.
  4. Make sure everyone follows the rules.
  5. Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) safe and retrievable.

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

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Is competition something to be feared, ignored or confronted full on.  Jean Mc talks about the nature of business competition and ways that marketers can help businesses deal with this inevitable consequence of success.

I was reading in the Canberra Times on 28th February about the demise of Brand Depot and DFO. Both it seems are in danger of closing and certainly both have seen a mass closedown of tennant stores.  They put it down to both the GFC and development and upgrading of other shopping centres in the region.

Wikipedia defines competiton in economics as: ” the notion of individuals and firms striving for a greater share of a market to sell or buy goods and services.” Surely with words like “individuals”, “striving” and “share” this can only be considered a good thing.

Certainly Wikipedia goes on to say that economist consider competition to be a healthy thing (as did my economics lecturer at UC) because it promotes “consumer soverienty”.  This means that the greater the competition – the more choice and control that consumers have.

Competition is a good thing – really!

It usually means that prices come down which (in a narrow way of thinking) is less good for businesses than it is for consumers.  The good thing for businesses about competition is that it tends to keep us focused on our brand and continually innovating new products and ways of promoting them to keep our place at the top of the market.

In short – when the customer is king then it makes sense for businesses to think about newer and better ways to meet their needs.  That folks is the essence of marketing.

Dealing With Competition

I talk about competition a lot when I go around the Capital Region talking about marketing.  It’s not that easy to understand.

In some ways, your business is in competition with my business and every other business that people might spend money in.  If we agree that consumers (business, Government or household) have a limited amount of money in their pockets to spend – and even less discretionary money to spend – then in this way each business competes with every other for this money.

Plumbers compete with gymnasiums, with supermarkets, with financial planners and with charities for all the money that households have to spend.  This is probably how accountants see it.

How to Have No Competitors

Marketers see it a different way.  Marketers start with fully understanding the needs of the target market (through research) and how your business could best meet them.

A marketing savvy business works out how their unique resources (skills, knowledge, people, technology, experience etc) can be packaged together to meet the needs of the target market in a way that no other business can match.  Promotion of the business then becomes about building a desire in the market to have their needs met in this way.

An example

Mary has a shoe store.  She conducts some research about how her market feels about shoe shopping.  She discovers that her potential customers look forward to shoe shopping as a way to relax and make them feel special.  With a bit more research, staff input and some customer feedback – she develops a ‘Valet Shoe Fitting Experience’ where customers can come and relax, mingle, drink and eat and have a customer care specialist give them individual attention.

Mary found that women in her market were prepared to pay a premium price to have their special needs met in this way.

You might say “but not every woman would find that appealing”.  That is the whole point.  Mary has specifically targeted a small section of women with specific tastes and values and put all her resources into serving them better than every other shoe store.  Of course she did sufficient research to identify whether there were enough women fitting in to this niche group to be able to support her business.

In this way – having created a need for this valet service among her market – Mary  has removed all the other shoe stores from her competition.  She simply has no competitors in this market.

Research is the Key to Removing Competition

If you would like to be like Mary and remove the competition then the place to start is with research.  You need to research these things:

  1. Characteristics of your target market (size, income, location, age, spending habits etc)
  2. Values of your target market (what’s important to them, what do they put a premium on?)
  3. What they need (needs and desires – fears they want to allay)
  4. Where are the gaps in the market?  (Who is meeting these needs and who is not – how are they positioning themselves?)

Once you have a good understanding on what the market needs you can then start to develop products (goods and services) that meet their needs better than other businesses and start to eliminate your competition.

Marketing Angels can Help with Research

If you need help to understand what makes your target market tick – contact Marketing Angels for expert help on marketing research.

I’d be interested to hear about your experiences with competition and how you have managed it successfully.

Jean Mc

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By Jean McIntyre

Marketing Angels

Jean McIntyre

If you’ve got bright goals for where you want to take your business then marketing is the tool to get you there – but many businesses just won’t make that investment.  Jean Mc talks about the 5 worst excuses businesses give for not investing in marketing.

I’ve done it myself.  I’m in the shopping centre and walk past my dentist or my car mechanic – even the lady from Weight Watchers many years ago – walk over the other side and bow my head in guilt and shame because I know I haven’t come up to what I know they expect of me.

I get the same from business people who have talked to me about marketing.  They avoid me because they don’t want me to know that they haven’t done what they need to do to move their business forward.

I’m sure my dentist would say “Well it’s your teeth”, the mechanic “It’s your expensive car”.  I say to business people “it’s our business you are hurting by not marketing”.

When people give me excuses it’s usually one of 5 reasons:

1. Marketing is just another cost among many I’d rather not pay

This way of thinking is what separates out entrepreneurs from people who’ve just bought themselves a job.

An entrepreneur is someone who is clear about what they want their business to achieve.  They have faith in their product and their own ability to achieve their goals.  They have planned the path they need to take to build their business and KNOW that if they invest what’s required  that they’ll reap the rewards.

Entrepreneurs invest in legal and accounting advice.  They will register to protect their intellectual property.  They’ll spend the money to make sure they have their staffing right.  They often have business coaches under contract and any other experts they think can help them to achieve their goals.

Most importantly entrepreneurs understand that they need marketing to raise awareness of their brand in their chosen markets, to generate new customers and to strengthen relationships with existing customers.

2.  I don’t need marketing – word of mouth works for me

This excuse shows a lack of understanding of how marketing works.  For a start – word of mouth only works with an established business with a good reputation and excellent brand awareness.

Growing through word of mouth is a very slow process.  It relies on excellent products (goods and services) and fantastic customer relations.

To make word of mouth work you first need to understand your market, develop products that meet their needs, create language and messages that connect with them and develop lots of brand advocates to help you pass those messages on.

You need to make sure you take charge and that when people are passing on good word about your business they are saying what you want them to say to the people you want them to say it to.

That requires a good marketing strategy.

3. Things are tough right now – I need to prioritise

It’s when things are tough that businesses need marketing more than ever.

Things are tough for your competitors as well .  You need to make sure you continue to promote your business and maintain customer relationships so you are top of their minds and they are likely to choose you over your competitors.

Yes there are lots of things about marketing that are costly (such as advertising)  but there are many things that a marketer can help you plan for that cost very little or nothing to implement.  You can explore online strategies, product development or re-packaging and pricing, new distribution methods, reward programs, public relations and many other strategies that cost very little but can make a big impact in tough times.

4. Marketing is easy – I can do it myself

It’s true.  Marketing isn’t rocket science but it takes a lot of time and energy to do well.

If you don’t currently have the capacity to generate revenue with your time then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t spend it doing your own marketing.

If that’s not the case then you need to weigh up whether spending 12 hours of your time doing what a marketer could achieve in 4 hours is the best use of your resources.

There is however some added value that a marketer can bring that you may not have in your own kitbag:

What a marketer brings:

  • Up to date knowledge of the latest tactics that have worked for other firms
  • A good list of suppliers and introductions to strategic alliances that can best deliver on your requirements
  • Current knowledge of market trends
  • Useful online and other tools for more efficient marketing
  • Good writing and language skills
  • Sounding board – offering an external, independent, objective opinion – someone who won’t get caught up in the “politics” of the business
  • Research – customers will tell an outsider things they wouldn’t tell you
  • A structured approach – to help you download all that fabulous info and ideas in your head and channel them into a realistic plan.
  • Greater awareness of the real cost of marketing implementation
  • Realistic priority setting – i.e. not what you like to do best, but what is most important to achieving results
  • Flexibility – someone you can call on as and when you need to

5. My business is doing well – I don’t need marketing

This goes along with point 3.

I can’t count the number of times recently that people have said “I wish I’d put resources into marketing when things were good to carry me through the tough times”.

The most important thing you can do for your business is to do a marketing plan and then use that plan to set a marketing budget.  Once you know what you need to spend on marketing to achieve your goals – you can put that aside so that you are able to keep your marketing activity going through all eventualities.

It’s about making hay while the sun shines.  When things are good – invest in building brand awarness and growing your customer base – that gives you something to draw on when times get tough.

So What’s Your Excuse

If you have a business that’s more than just a job – that you want to grow and thrive and perhaps sell for a profit – you need to ask yourself the question “Am I putting enough resources into marketing to achieve my goals?”

If your answer is NO then you need to put time in your diary to contact your marketer and get cracking!

I’d be interested to hear your stories about how investing in marketing has paid off for you.

Jean Mc

PS:  I’ll be at the National Tally Room on Saturday – celebrating I hope!

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Brian Miller, Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Brian Miller, Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Recently in discussions with business colleagues and clients, an issue of semantics and definition has arisen.

Those involved may not have realised they were entering into such murky waters. The concepts may well be crystal clear in their own minds, but the fact that all were obviously thinking of similar things and calling them different names, or thinking of different things and calling them the same name, raises the issue of definition.

Most business people know the value and importance of marketing. There will, however, be heated discussions as to the value of advertising and branding. And thrown in amongst it all will be talk of design.

When I talk of branding, I’m usually referring to the visual form of the branding – I’m a graphic designer so that’s what I know. But I’m not talking about branding as a strategy or component of a broader strategy.

In marketing terms there are normally three avenues of approach. Advertising, Referrals and Public Relations. Each has it’s own sub categories and associated tactics. A branding strategy will generally sit above all three and create the character and feeling for the different approaches.

So where does design fit in?

Lets start with what it isn’t. It isn’t another sub-category of marketing. It isn’t a sub-category of advertising. It isn’t even a sub-category of branding.

Design is the component that gives a physical form to all the ideas.

All the ideas that are marketing, advertising, public relations, and branding. Design even gives form to referral marketing, where it is required to be more than just spoken words.

Wherever a marketing strategy is meeting with its final audience, design has to give it a form. That may be a press ad, poster or direct mail piece in an advertising campaign. It may be logos and iconic imagery in a branding campaign. It may be this identity applied to written materials or trade show appearances in PR activities. Marketing support from printed collateral or websites need a physical, or electronic form to be available to their audience. All these are created by the designer.

Chronologically, design fits in after the marketing ideas and strategy have been formulated and prescribed. Your designer may help and advise on these matters sometimes, adding subtleties and refinement to the strategy, but their role is not the creation of the ideas initially. This is the role of the business owner and their marketing experts, whether in house or outsourced consultants.

Design is a separate and essential component of the overall business strategy. Not done instead of advertising or branding, and not excluded because referrals or PR have taken its place. Design is crucial for all, or any, of these components to work effectively.

Clearly, design needs these ideas in order to give them a form, and would just be pretty pictures without them. But without design, these ideas will remain just that. Wonderful ideas in the minds of their creators, with no audience to benefit from them, or to ultimately buy from your business.

Want to give some form to your great marketing ideas?

Think design.

Brian.

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