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A crash-course in ‘pivoting’ without the Buzz Words

A crash-course in ‘pivoting’ without the Buzz Words

Ok. Maybe a couple of Buzz Words. Because words like ‘pivot’, ‘agile’ and ‘transformation’ have saturated business conversations for the last 12-months. Especially when talking about small businesses 'surviving', maintaining 'relevance' and 'embracing' the brave new world that will rise from the ashes. Quite frankly, the Buzz Words and drama are getting a little old. All this talk of pivoting is really about understanding how your customers' needs have changed and meeting your customers where they are. It's not a new concept. I mean, there was that catchy song about how Video Killed The Radio Star. And now look at how popular podcasts are these days. If you have been running your business for a number of years, you have probably adapted and changed with your audience, and it's happened organically. Coffee loyalty cards have changed from physical cards that you stamp to a phone app that the user swipes, and we were happy for the convenience. The difference is that businesses have had to adapt quickly. Really quickly. There is no time for market testing products, research reports, testimonials from early adopters to reassure you that your business decisions are the right ones. The safety net of our decision-making process - the ability to rationalise our choices - is gone. And that is terrifying. But is the ability to make informed decisions really gone? The cookie cutter approach is doing something that is tried and tested. It is the easy solution where we do what has always been done, or what everyone else is doing. When we have so many competing priorities and are feeling unsure, it's the safe path. But now there is no mold, we have to go back to basics. I get it. Spending so much energy on just surviving leaves little brain-energy to commit to the overwhelming task of changing your business model. So grab a coffee and put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign for the next 5 minutes and lets dig around some ideas. Who Is Your Customer? Firstly, I want you to think about: Who is your customer in 2019? Who is your customer in 2021? When I ask who is your customer, it’s a generalisation. I don’t mean specifically Garry who comes in every Saturday at 8am for his usual order of Eggs Benny and a long black. I want you to be thinking about a typical customer's age, gender, location – perhaps Garry is the embodiment of your typical customer, or perhaps Garry is the exception to the rule. This is an audience profile. When you understand who your clients are, you can start to consider what motivates them. A Little Something I Prepared Earlier... Let's say that you run a high-end dining establishment. Your customers are typically aged 40+, couples or groups, affluent and local. Consider: Why do they come to your restaurant over the one down the street? The quality of food The service of your staff The atmosphere – it's an event to treat yourself to dinner The Convenience - no shopping, preparation, or dishes The challenge is - how do you re-engage with your clients when the point of going to a restaurant is physically going to a restaurant. The meals you have might not travel well as a takeaway - and you don't want to compromise your reputation you have spent years cultivating by providing anything sub-standard. So how can you get around this? Break out the neon markers. We need to get creative. Case Study: Restaurant We know your customers typically come in as couples We know it is the atmosphere they like We also know it's about convenience and quality Idea Offer a date-night hamper. Your 'hamper' could include a 3-course meal, a paired wine and even some candles and flowers for the table. Convenience: Everything is supplied in a nicely presented box or basket and delivered to your clients' door Atmosphere: Why not include a menu with tasting notes If they are a regular, perhaps a hand-written card from one of your waitstaff, or add an extra dessert because ‘I know XX loves the homemade Gelato so we included an extra scoop!' Service: Include instructions or ‘tips’ for serving and presentation Special instructions from the chef What about recording a posting to youtube a how-to tutorial for the finishing touches Let's not stop now that we have re-purposed your product! Encourage clients to share and tag your social media with their creations The instruction will mean your food is restaurant presentation even at home, so looks good when shared We all know that sharing and tagging is fantastic organic content How about running a competition judged by your chef for the best presentation It can be as simple as clients post the photos on Instagram or Facebook and tag your restaurant Get creative and set-up a spotify playlist on-theme with dinner We are changing how we interact, so these new ways of connecting are also able to continue when we are not in a lock-down. A form of takeaway hamper could be encouraged for weekend picnics, or for someone who is not a cook but wants to impress friends or a date - you're their secret weapon. These products are also easy to scale-up and roll-out for future lock-downs. We hope it doesn't come to that, but be prepared. It’s all trial and error to work out what works for your business. What you might consider a failure is what we marketers call Market Testing! Followers and Subscribers Do you have an email list and/or Social Media pages? You probably do. I want you to re-think your use of these platforms. Instead of just looking for sales, you can do your own customer research. Example: Date night hamper Run a promotional email campaign to your database Run a promotional campaign on your social media Take a moment to consider who has ordered the hampers: Ladies or Gents? Do you have their birthdates, or when people pick-up the hampers you can get a feel for the demographics? If it's delivery then you know the locations You might find that you have received 50 orders, 40 of which are from ladies aged 40+ in a 5 kilometer radius of your restaurant. You have just found your target audience for this product You can use that to tailor the targeting of your paid ads on Social Media - your return on a campaign improves with better targeting Yes indeed. A marketing campaign doesn’t only have one purpose. Next time, promote 3 versions of the hampers to your database to see which sells the best Perhaps you could have a limited supply of Hampers and they are only available on Sunday nights Creating your own sense of urgency and tapping into everyone's fear of missing out is an old tactic that works wonders if executed well. Now, start considering how you can apply something similar to your business - think about the customers' motivations, not yours. Social Media Now you have a product that has been market-tested and you know which hamper is your best seller in this crazy new world. So let’s go find your new customers with a small social media budget. One of the easiest ways to kick off Facebook advertising is to boost a post to a radius of your business. Because Facebook likes your $$, you can easily follow their step-by-step instructions to promote a social media post. This is especially useful when you know what types of posts are going to have a good engagement to give them an extra push. However, creating content is a lot of work. Yes. It is. So much work. Sometimes for so little reward. This leads us to frequently question: Is it worth our time? I've said it before and I will keep saying it: Don't shout into the void, post with a purpose. Look strategically at what and when you are posting. Posting regularly to platforms such as Facebook creates analytics that allows you to see: What type of posts are interacted with most frequently: Videos Images Blog articles How-to guides What day and what time is best for you to post for the most engagement Scheduling programs allow you to schedule your posts across a range of your social media assets - at the optimal time for post types Next time you run a promotion, you want to know that a video tutorial posted at 10am on a Sunday is your peak time for exposure. Your orders for that product also seem to increase on Sunday Nights. Co-incidence or strategy? Don't think outside the box. Repurpose the box. That's quality cardboard. Case study: Cafe If you are small and local, your weakness is also your strength. Can you be a local connection for people in isolation? Do you have a book co-op or op-shop nearby? Why not team up and do a mystery book included in a Saturday breakfast order? If it suits your audience, connect with a local fitness instructor and do a healthy brunch bowl Have your box include an exercise series by a local instructor Set up a 'mystery gift' - encourage neighbours/friends to send a coffee and book as a gift with a note to someone in the community All efficiently ordered and paid for online Do you have a local organisation with a list of people who are in social isolation or vulnerable - your clients can donate a coffee and book to these people? Pair up with your coffee roaster and run a competition for the best at-home coffee art next lock-down Have one of your Barista's do a coffee tutorial or challenge video to post on your socials These are not game-changing ideas. They are a few ways to quickly adapt resources you already have. The aim is to expose you to a new audience, create a fantastic piece of PR, and build a very loyal customer base coming out the other side. Take a risk and if it doesn’t work – you have lost some time, but investigate why your promotion didn’t work. Maybe your idea was solid but the timing was bad or the audience was wrong. Was your idea too complicated? Even if you haven’t started to change your business model yet, it’s not too late. Start looking at what has worked for businesses in your niche, and ask yourself why it worked? It's time to get back to work and I hope you have a bit of inspiration now to adapt and overcome. If you want to tailor a plan or flesh out some ideas for your business, check out my idea-intensive workshop.

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SEO Be Damned, I Will Write My Irrelevant (Sometimes Irreverent) Blog Titles!

SEO Be Damned, I Will Write My Irrelevant (Sometimes Irreverent) Blog Titles!

(Ironically, that is one of the most relevant titles I have had to date.) Let’s talk Search. Have you ever considered that in that split second between hitting enter on your search terms and the answers appearing, a Battle Royale is going down behind the scenes between every relevant website? No? That is probably for the best. Because this is not exactly - or even close - to how a search engine works. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a lot to get your head around. I recommend you grab a glass of wine and settle in whilst we take look under the bonnet. When it comes to SEO, the algorithms used by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are kept under wraps. And they change. Aiming to 'crack' the algorithm is not an approach that is recommended. So why bother trying I hear you ask? Because SEO is important. Because engaging your audience is just as, if not more, important. Because having your site optimised for search engines and having your site optimised for humans are not mutually exclusive goals. Trying to 'crack' the algorithm means you are not prioritising the human part of your business: Search engines aren't purchasing your products or services, people are Search engines are constantly being updated to mimic the human decision-making process so all that work can quickly be outdated Your content should be engaging because it is written for people Ranking high in search results, driving lots of people (traffic) to your website and delivering irrelevant content is not doing you any favours. Think of it like this: If I am looking to buy a case of wine online - I don't want to be taken to a webpage selling equipment for making wine. I am going to leave your machinery website pretty quick, because I am focused on finding a case of wine that is going to be conveniently delivered to my door in the next few days. This is called a bounce. Clarification: Leaving a website as soon as you land is called a bounce Buying a case of wine online is called Wednesday Typically, your pages will have relevant headings and titles such as 'Our Wine Range'. Written with some nice spacing. Maybe a few bullet points to make it easy on the eye. Probably something describing the product - what we call the Key Words - Shiraz, Merlo, Red, White, Urgent, Express Delivery. Boom. By writing for people, you are on your way to writing SEO content! You see, SEO is what we call ‘Organic’ advertising. You are not paying to show up in a Google Search. Your site appears because you have met the criteria and your website or page is deemed worthy by the search powers-that-be. Sorry, what did you just say? "Hey Alana, But you don't follow the rules - your structure is terrible, and your blog titles are always misleading?" Yes. Writing for people is just the start. So let's look into this a bit deeper. Cataloguing Your website is catalogued by search engine bots. I like to think the bots are like little librarians, with rules about where everything ‘fits’. When your website was set-up, someone should have rolled out your basic SEO so the bots can find you. This includes a Sitemap - a file that sits on your website and is formatted for the bots to easily read. Like a map. To your site. Most new website platforms automatically update this. Simply put, if you are regularly creating content, uploading new stock, blog posts or services - your site will automatically get updated in the various search engines as the bots review your website intermittently. This is where those relevant headings and keywords all come into play. They tell the librarian bots how to catalogue your content. Behaviour We have already touched on it, but user behaviour on your site is also important. If my mum is my only reader and she spent 5-minutes on a post - that alone is not going to help my rankings. I need a number of readers spending 5-minutes on my pages. I need you spending time reading my content. I am in the analogy zone with this article, so let's try another one: Do you know someone who can walk into a room and everyone listens to them? They always seem to have something interesting and relevant to say. People gravitate towards them. They have Social Authority. The algorithm is trying to mimic this social behaviour. Based on the quality of interactions with your site, it is determining your Authority. If your site shows when I search for 'Wine Purchase Urgent' AND I, plus everyone else doing a similar search, spend time on your site visiting multiple pages and/or purchasing something - then the search engine is going to tick this site as relevant. Which means it will prioritise this site in similar searches. Sorry wine machinery company, your listing is going a lot lower because we don't have time to make wine. It's Wednesday. Side note: By feeding us the most popular opinions, there is a valid concern that the information we find is framed by the status-quo. Aka, are we only reading what we want to read or being exposed to the most popular opinions? This is an entirely different, but very interesting conversation. But I digress. It’s actually quite fascinating when you start looking into the complexity behind something so simple as a search result. Why do I break the ‘rules’ in my blog articles? You see, my articles are written to maximise engagement - the amount of time someone is staying on my page. When I was writing this, the average time spent on my Musings is just under 5-minutes. Do you know how hard it is to have a full 5-minutes of someone’s attention online? Let's take a second to consider... Right now, where are you? According to the stats on my site 75% of you will be on a mobile device. Which means you are probably killing time waiting for a train or on said train, flicking through cat videos in front of the TV, lying in bed about to go to sleep. Lying in bed just waking up. Calm down. My website doesn’t tell me if you are actually lying in bed. That is weird and creepy. There are many moving parts that contribute to your search rankings, and we will need a few more articles to break this down further. However, creating engaging content is a good place to start. At the end of the day, SEO is more a game of strategy then a bloody Battle Royale. In saying that, if there was a Battle Royale my website would absolutely be represented by Xena, Warrior Princess. On Wednesday when you are searching for that a case of wine, take a moment to take note of the search results and how closely they match what you were searching for. And most importantly, wine recommendations can be emailed to alana@musecommunications.com.au.

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Dear Raphael, I am sorry I compared you to a Turtle

Dear Raphael, I am sorry I compared you to a Turtle

I used to have an amazing Barista. One quiet morning, my Barista started a conversation with me. He introduced himself as Raphael and in all my wisdom I replied: ‘Ah, like the Ninja Turtle’. To which he stared at me blankly for a few seconds. Then replied ‘Yes, like the turtle… I have never thought of it like that’. Slowly, he turned around to make my coffee and that was the awkward end of our interaction. I am telling you this story because March 1st is National Barista Day. It makes me think of Raphael. And all the ways I could have not made a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reference. So, let’s all show some appreciation for that Barista who greets us warmly in the morning and sends us to face our day with a coffee made just the way we like it. At least, I think today is National Barista Day. It kicked off with a bang in 2019. And then 2020 happened… But I am going to run with it because it’s a day for appreciation of our Baristas, and do you know what that means? My third coffee today is absolutely justified. National Barista Day is the brainchild of Almond Breeze. Yes, a milk company promoting the consumption of their products. It’s quite clever marketing. Why is it clever? Because is it easy to get on board with. It’s a great opportunity for a coffee shop or café to have some topical content to connect with your clients. Get them to try something new. Like an Almond Milk Latte. Clever. As a café, aligning yourself with Barista Day is pretty easy: It is on-brand, and it can be fun without being unprofessional. If your brand is a little cheeky, roll with it! Fun equals meaningful connections with your clients, and meaningful connections means building your client loyalty. Put simply, to find the ‘Newsworthiness’ of a story we look for a combination of seven elements: Impact – does it affect a lot of people? Timeliness – Is it a recent event? Prominence – Does is involve a well-known person or entity? Proximity – Is it about something local? Conflict – Is it a disagreement? Weirdness – Is it something unusual or strange? Currency – Is it related to a topic people are already talking about? For a café, Barista Day is going to cover a number of these elements. At the very least: It has an impact on you and your clients if you run an event or special It is timely (today) It is in proximity, because you are promoting to your clients who are likely to be regulars and physically come into your café It can be weird – that one is up to what you want to make of it In a nut-shell, it makes great content. This is not to say you should jump on board with every cause around. If your cause is political or divisive, consider what you do all year round to support it. A timely show of support is nice, but keep in mind that token efforts can backfire. For instance, a shop that specialises in Fair Trade and ethically sourced products could find ‘Fair Trade Day’ on the 8th of May an opportunity to raise awareness, educate and expand their reach, whilst promoting the cause they back all year long. If you are a coffee shop and you don’t sell Fair Trade Coffee, you might want to sit this promotion out. There is a day of a year for pretty much everything. Align yourself strategically, and these can be a fun way to engage with your clients and customers. For some inspiration, check out this site dedicated to ‘days of the year’: www.daysoftheyear.com. And just so we are all clear; the next time I meet a Raphael there will be no mention of turtles.

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My Sister is an Alchemist

My Sister is an Alchemist

My Sister is not an Alchemist. That was misleading. The thing is: My Sister is a Chemist. A very good one. February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. My Sister is my favourite person to troll. This will never get old. Ever. I have a blog. I am not sorry. I refer to her as an Alchemist to annoy her. Standard sister stuff. Alas, to my eternal disappointment she is so used to me referring to her as an Alchemist that I don’t get a reaction anymore. This blog article has upped the stakes, I will keep you posted. Also - in my defence, there is no Alchemist without Chemist! That joke does not go over well with my Sister either. But in all seriousness, today is about important stuff. Firstly, why do we need an International Day to recognise Women and Girls in Science? Well, because ‘History is written by the Victors’. It is written by those in power. And sometimes we need to highlight that there are alternative narratives to those that we have been told. This is not always a dichotomy of right and wrong, just sometimes there is more. Oh wait, you just realised this was political? Yes, indeed. But you have made it this far, so you might as well keep going. The thing is, we all have internalised prejudices’. Oh, yes you do. Calm down, it is a fact not an accusation. We are all the result of the constructs of our environment and culture. So acknowledging our internalised prejudice means we can take note and address it. Let me ask you this, when you think of a Scientist – who do you envisage? Personally, I see Einstein. Did you miss that? Let’s re-cap. My Sister is a Scientist. But I instinctively envisage Einstein as what a quintessential Scientist should be. Do you see what I am getting at? Cultural Norms. Let’s try another exercise. How many Famous Scientists from history can you list? Off the top of my head there is: Newton Einstein Curie Frankenstein I said what I said. And I have only one female in my list. Let’s delve a bit further. Last year two female scientists won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Read about it here. Indeed, the title of this article is: ‘Two Female Scientists Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry’. Why is it so notable that they are female, that this is the headline? Turns out 2020 was the first time this Prize has gone to two female scientists. I concede, that is a big deal. But please read the article because the research is also a big deal. Like in many industries which are predominately male-dominated, we see too frequently ‘Female Scientist’. Not ‘Scientist’. Because a Female Scientist is not the 'Norm'. Let’s flip that. Shout out to the Female Scientists: Do you even want to be the 'Norm’? Wouldn’t it be nice if when we read ‘Female Scientist’ we were to read it and think: ‘Now, there is a woman who has overcome barriers. Someone who was held to a higher standard and slayed.’. It's a badge of honor. But that is not what happens when we see ‘Female Scientist’. We read ‘being female is so far outside the normal that it is a more notable then the actual contribution’. And because of our cultural conditioning, more often than not we don’t even realise that we read this. It’s a blind spot. Similar debates circulate about ‘Female CEO’. And let’s not start on the debate of infantilisms in the ‘Girl Boss’ label... Simply put, Norm is in our heads. But now you realise he is there, you can do something about it. It won’t be easy. What barriers will we face? Let’s take a look: With the decentralisation of our news and the emergence of platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook we have seen the ease of spreading misinformation. We also have the challenge of everyone Shouting into the Void. A place where legitimate thought leaders are drowned out. I mean, it is International Women and Girls in Science Day and you are reading my self-indulgent blog designed to annoy my sister. And then we have the Echo Chambers, places where we hang out online. Places such as a Facebook Group where we feel safe because everyone has the same core values and our beliefs are reinforced by repetition and insulated from rebuttal and challenge. These barriers are significant, but not insurmountable. So long as we are brave enough to acknowledge the power structures so ingrained they become cultural blind spots. Because with that same technology that gives us barriers, we have the opportunity to write our own narratives. No offense Norm, but you have to change. And words can change the world. If you are in a STEM field, the truth is you need us artsy types with our waffly words. Those are our tools used to subvert cultural barriers and blind spots. And we need you to quantify our waffle and give us credibility when we write a blog post without a single source... please. You see, the fascinating power of a narrative is to be able to make someone think and examine their fundamental core beliefs. An idea that we weave into a story can resonate in the mind long after the pure facts of the matter are forgotten. Each time you read ‘Female Scientist’ you are now going to notice those words. Ideas are powerful like that. Final question - did anyone ever ask you what label you wanted? Because I am asking. And I want to know. You can decide if you want to be a Female Scientist, a Female CEO, a Lady Boss, a badge you have earned because of the glass ceilings you have smashed. Or you can be a Scientist, CEO, Boss - because you should be on an equal playing field and there should be no 'us' and 'them'. I like to think Norm is waiting to become Norma and just needs our help. You can boost your profiles, use your tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to reach those beyond your echo chambers. Show you are not the exception to the rule. You just Rule. At the end of the day, I would probably understand more of what my Sister does if she just said ‘Magic’. And if asked, she would probably surmise what I do as ‘Waffle’. But what we can all agree on, is that you can blame her for the time you lost reading this post. Because when I mentioned the 11th was Women and Girls in Science day and my Sister said sarcastically ‘What, are you going to write a blog about me?’, she really should have seen this coming.

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The Iceberg Illusion: What people see & what is underneath

The Iceberg Illusion: What people see & what is underneath

I’m not normally one to throw around some Jargon, but the Iceberg Illusion resonated with me, and also it made me think of a lot of discussions I have had recently about knowing your worth. Let’s jump back a step. I hear you saying ‘What is the Iceberg Illusion?’. To everyone’s disappointment, it has nothing to do with the Titanic. Or with lettuce for that matter. It is ok if you are disappointed about the lack of lettuce in this post. I am as well. The Iceberg Illusion is where Success is measured by what you accomplished. Kind of like this: “Hey Alana, This blog post is so informative. I can’t believe you rattled it out over a cup of coffee at lunch time! It doesn’t ramble or digress. At all. You must really know what you are doing. I should hire you…” It's the conversations that frequently end with: “Oh, that much? I saw something similar on Freelancer for $6.50 an hour, so I’m going to go with them. Its seems like a simple task”. What they see is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Below the surface is what makes a successful outcome. It’s the sacrifice – the training, school, university, internships, the eating of your feelings, the fights because someone ate your chocolate you brought to eat whilst cramming for an exam (a grudge you take to the grave). These are the sacrifices we made to get where we are. It’s the amount of failures you had. The things you screwed-up and your ability to learn and never do them again. Never. Ever. Again. You know the one. They don’t see the disappointments. They don’t see the hard work. They don’t see the persistence and dedication. How many years have you spent refining what it is that you do? Educating yourself? Practicing? Training? Upskilling? You can do a task quickly. Obviously it is because you are awesome. But it is also because of the part of the iceberg that is underwater. The market will dictate what people are willing to pay for your services and products, true. But think of it more as a price range. Don't get me wrong, if you are selling for less than you think you are worth - I am not discrediting the fact that you are selling. This is an accomplishment and you should own it, because the practicality is that you have to eat more than just lettuce. But I want you to start thinking about why you feel you are not valued – and come up with a plan to show people your worth. Because understanding the value you bring to the table means your clients and customers will understand the benefit of engaging you at a better price. Some food for thought: If we were having a coffee, could you tell me what distinguishes you from your competitor? If I am about to buy your product online, do I have the same feelings and knowledge as I did when you pitched over coffee? How do people know what is unique about you if you have not told and/or shown them? Loyalty is not dead. We consumers are just a bit more picky – and not very forgiving when you break our trust. Look at the About Me that you use on your website, store, etc. How does it position you? How could it better reflect your values and passions? This is absolutely easier said than done. Make no mistake. My humble advice is: Don’t lie. Ever. You will be found out. Find your voice and speak your truth. If you feel your elevator-pitch is more of a Shakespearean soliloquy, indulge me by trying a little exercise. Explain what you do to someone, then have them surmise it back to you. Don’t pick the nice supportive person who doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. You know that person who is brutally honest in only the way a family member or close friend can be? That is the one you want. Explain what you do and ask them to explain it back: Maybe this little exercise will help you to refine your pitch. Maybe it will tell you that what you think are the interesting points, are not the aspects which stick in someone’s mind. And if not, what is it that stuck - or didn’t? Is this a new angle for you? Maybe it will tell you what aspects you need to clarify better? Maybe it will make you question your life decisions, so please have supportive friend or family member on speed dial and a block of chocolate on hand when you do this exercise. I may not know you, but feel free to call me with an existential crisis and I will absolutely eat chocolate with you. In a nutshell, conveying your worth is about how you communicate with your clients. And how you communicate, how you connect with your customers and clients will convey your point of difference. This is your worth. Often we don’t think a communications strategy is necessary in small businesses. But it is. Communications is more than talking, and it shouldn’t be in the realm of something only relevant and attainable for Corporations. It starts with the first interaction: How easy is your site to navigate? Does your Ad take me to a relevant page? It’s the follow-up: Do you send an automatic thank you or confirmation email from a subscription or a purchase? It’s the personal touches: If you do commission work, how about including a hand-written thank you card? And finally, my pet hate. Brace yourselves as we are going to get controversial here: Are you on sale all the time? Personally, I love a good bargain. But If you are always on sale, you might be conditioning your clients that you are not worth your value. We expect that big stores mark-up their prices so they can then mark everything down and still turn a profit. Small businesses don’t have those margins. Please don’t sabotage yourself! Try adding value, instead of discounting. Hang on, what is that? You have just subscribed to my blog? Naw, you make me blush. Well, if you purchase my Motivator Package, I will give you an additional hour of follow-up training and set-up assistance. FYI - I will absolutely do that for you. And also, that is value-adding simply put. The thing is, we often fall into the trap of thinking that Marketing and Communications are just what we do to get exposure to clients. We think it is all pumping out ads and content. But I want you to take a minute and think about what happens after a client has connected with you. Could you improve your communications? Communicate better and show your value, you might find it converts clients in your pipe-line more easily, and you get that repeat business. In the end, with better conversion rates you can spend less on ads whilst maintaining the same sales rates - at a better price.

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It doesn’t matter how many resources you have if you don’t know how to use them

It doesn’t matter how many resources you have if you don’t know how to use them

Have you had that moment of fear? Paralysis? How do I know what platform or tools I should be using? SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress or a million other platforms promising you the world? Literally. Promising you the world at your feet if choose them. It’s like you are on the Bachelorette and everyone is vying for that final rose. But you didn’t sign up for this. You just wanted to connect. And suddenly there is all this pressure. Everyone will judge your choice. Because everyone has an opinion. In fact, everyone has told you their opinion. Even though, for the most part, you didn't ask and very few have bothered to listen to what it is you want and need. What’s that? You don’t feel doubt? Well it turns out you are killing this. You, my friend, have your shit together. This article is not for you. I am, however, open to publishing a follow-up guest article ‘I Got My Shit Together’ with some tips for our readers – call me. But right now, I am looking at you doubters. I see you. I hear you. And you know what? It’s ok to doubt – because that means that you are open to doing things different. Open to doing things better. And that is awesome. But you have to find the sweet spot. You have to take the plunge at some point. There is a point between ‘I just eyeball it to see if the shelf is straight’ and ‘I just spent 4-hours perfectly aligning this shelf and still have 4 more to install’. We swing between these two states. It’s perfectly normal. On somethings we will demand perfection, on other things we’re a bit more ‘let’s wing it’. That sweet spot is where you understand that fussing over whether your image should be 1mm smaller is not the difference in a sale. However, that 3-hours you spent fussing is time you have lost in revenue-driving aspects of your business. The sweet spot is the point of diminishing returns. No one is invulnerable to feeling doubt. After working in Marketing for 10-years, I sat staring at my LinkedIn post, ready to announce to the world that I am going Freelance. I sat there. For 15-minutes. Staring at my screen. I had a cup of tea. I re-read a 25-word post for typos that weren’t there. And then I hit ‘Post’ and had something stronger then tea. The point is, that in that moment of fear sometimes we are overwhelmed and do nothing. And sometimes we sign up for everything recommended to us because these promises are too enthralling. All the promises of new tools to make our business more efficient. More automated. More effective. Let’s face it – more money and less time. How many times have we heard: Work Smarter Not Harder. But now you have a million platforms to manage. You spend time managing your platforms but you’re not seeing any results. And you have over-committed. You gave out too many roses, and you don’t feel like the Belle of the Ball. You just feel tired. Where is the Utopia you were promised? Because having an extensive catalogue of resources means headaches and heartaches - if you don’t know how to use them. You might not be a marketing executive, but you will find that you intrinsically know and understand your customers (well, for the most part. Some people are challenging for fun and we don’t have time to understand that negativity). So go back to basics, and ask yourself: Who are your clients? What campaigns and platforms worked the best - and most importantly, why? What didn’t work - and why not? Once you know who your customers are and where to find them, refine those core platforms for communicating. Review your website, could it convert better? What tools do you have on your website that you are not using, but should be? Review your Facebook, are there any integrations with your website available? Get your core platforms and tools right then work your way out, understand what works and why. Then you can start refining your other platforms and tools, and decide what makes a difference to your business and what is just a black-hole absorbing your precious time. Once you have your foundations and you know what you are doing and why, that voice of doubt will become quieter and less paralyzing. And then come back to me with that article about how you have your shit together - because you have got this! But, if you need some help getting back on top of your communications - check out our Marketing Motivator Package!

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