Small Business survival through Covid19

Low-cost marketing tips to ensure your business remains strong through the Covid19 crisis

Small Business survival through Covid19 Low-cost marketing tips to ensure your business remains strong through the Covid19 crisis

Small Business survival through Covid19

Wow, we did not expect a new decade to start the way it did. First, we had the devastating fires that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses across the East Coast of Australia. Next were the floods which finally helped to extinguish the fires but left devastation and damage and the third (and hopefully last) disaster to hit Australia is the Covid 19 virus.

The Covid19 virus has crippled small and medium-sized business across Australia. As I sit here writing this article, Australia has over 800 cases and its climbing by the hour.

As a small business owner, I naturally panicked. Clients are cancelling, money suddenly stops coming in, and you wonder how long this impact will last? How will it affect my family, community, customers, my local town and my, of course, my business?

I know that when money is tight, we naturally cut back on costs. Marketing is a cost to any business, and now more than ever, I urge you to continue with your marketing efforts. Remain in front of mind with your existing customers and target market. It’s often during times like this that you can help your customer, just as much as they help you.

Marketing is an essential element of your business. Marketing activities generate the leads that will convert to revenue. Instead of completely stopping all marketing activities, I have some handy low-cost marketing tips below to ensure your business and brand remain strong through this crisis.

1. Keep publishing your posts on social media

The whole world is glued to the internet right now, waiting for the latest news and information on the COVID19 crisis. Leverage this opportunity to share useful and helpful insights with your customers and potential target market. Connect and stay connected. There is no need to spend enormous amounts of money boosting your posts, work out what you can afford over the next few months and budget accordingly. Even if it’s $5 or $10 it will provide a boost to your existing followers on your page. Ensure you select relevant hashtags that are trending now to increase your exposure, such as #shoplocal #smallbusiness #businessowner. Ask friends, family and local community pages to share your page and posts.

2. Take the time to call existing customers

Brands tend to over-rely on email because it’s inexpensive, and production times are short. However, consumers inboxes are overwhelmed with marketing messages. To ensure you reach your audience a personal phone call to your top performing clients and touching base on how they are going, will go a long way. It’s an excellent opportunity to ensure you communicate that you are open and willing to help any way you can.

3. Google ads and SEO Strategy

Do you advertise on Google? Now is the time to reconsider if it is worth it? Does it yield a positive return? 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results. This is a staggering stat, and one people don’t realise. In this time of uncertainty, cut your Google ad word spend back and invest money into building your organic SEO traffic. SEO optimisation is a constant moving feast, and you need to ensure you are working on your site weekly. FourSeeds Marketing is trained by Google and can provide your business with recommendations and tools you need to build your SEO presence.

4. Write Blogs

Write blogs that benefit and help your target market and share them! It has a tremendous positive impact on your business. It provides new and interesting information on your social platforms, and it gives you regular new content for your website, which is essential for your SEO performance.

5. Contact your local media

If you have some helpful information that you can share with your community to help navigate COVID 19 chaos, then share it. Prepare a media release and share it with your local media outlets. If you need help constructing a media release, we can help you with some simple steps and guides.

6. Join social media groups

There are thousands of LinkedIn and Facebook groups where your target market are members. Research them and join them. They provide a great opportunity to listen, hear, watch and interact with your target market in a virtual environment.

7. You tube videos

Create useful videos that will help your customers. Do you have a product that could benefit from a visual demonstration, or can you provide advice and visual blogs for customers? Keep in mind the average viewing time is 4 seconds when you load videos onto Social platforms. Keep the video short and straight to the point. No need for fancy introductions and ensure you have subtitles so people who are watching in a feed can still follow the video with no sound.

There is also a great variety of free or low-cost video editing software available online. Most are very easy to use and provide templates that are simple drag and drop technology.

8. Marketing plans and competitor reviews

Now is a great time, while business is quite to review your competitors and update your marketing plans. A marketing plan helps you promote products and services in your business that meet the needs of your target market. It requires research, time and commitment, but is a valuable process that can significantly contribute to your business success.

Writing and researching for your marketing plan gives you the chance to:

  • Identify your target market and understand how your product or service meets their needs.
  • Identify your competitors and what your target customers think about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Position your brand, products and services so that your target market sees your business as better than, or different from, the competition.
  • Set specific, measurable goals and time frames for your marketing activities.
  • Map out a strategy to reach your target audience, including the messages, channels and tools you will use

9. Canva design studio

Do you currently outsource all your social media posting and graphic design? Why not save the costs and try doing it yourself. Have you heard about Canva Design Studio? If not, you need to try it out! Canva is a great online design studio. Costing A$17 per month, it will make an affordable addition to any small business. It is a simple drag and drop design studio with professional layouts and pre-set social media, website banner and flyer designs to just name a few!

Finally, remember that you are not alone. Thousands of businesses are going through the same thing as you. Build a strong network of friends, family, colleagues and trusted mentors around you. Together as a community, we will overcome the covid19 crisis.

 

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Seven tips to help you on your next company logo design

A company logo is an important part of your business. It’s a visual representation of your business and it’s usually the first thing people see when they interact with your business online.

Even the best of designers find it challenging when it comes to designing a compelling logo. Getting it right can be tricky. FourSeeds has put together seven design steps to help and guide you on your next logo design. 

1. Create a brief and budget

The very first step is to ensure you create a detailed brief for your designer listing your expectations, goals, brand attributes and personality, target market, competitors in the market, designs you like and dislike budget and timelines.

Creating a detailed brief and setting the expectations from the start ensures that your logo designs will be on target with fewer changes and time wasted. 

Logos are important. Budget for them accordingly.

2. Brand Personality & Typefaces

Firstly, a typeface is a set of characters of the same design. These characters include letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols. Some popular typefaces include Arial, Times, and Verdana.

Each typeface has a personality and you need to work with your designer to select the right option for your business and brand.

Bold fonts can come across strong and loud and softer flowing fonts provide a calm and relaxed feeling. Selecting the right font for your logo is one of the most important steps.

We recommend that you should keep to a maximum of two typefaces. Anymore than two and the logo will look too busy.

3. Trendy or timeless

Your logo needs to be fresh and modern, but you need to ensure your logo is not a trend, that will be outdated in a couple of years. You want your logo to be timeless. Always use standard easy to read fonts, colours and images that will stand the test of time.

4. File Formats

When selecting a designer, it imperative that you ask that your final approved artwork is supplied in vector format such as Adobe Illustrator. You need the versatility to scale your logo down to a postage stamp size and enlarged to a banner without compromising on image quality. 

5. Trademarks and Plagiarism

You need to ensure your new name and logo design doesn’t impede on any trademarks or plagiarises another companies design. You want to ensure your logo is unique and original to your business. Trademark infringements and plagiarism can negatively affect the branding of your company and result in expensive legal battles. It’s always recommended conducting a trademark search before finalising any new company names or logos. For medium to large businesses it is recommended that you trademark your brand name words and the design in Australia and any other countries that you operate within. For a full list of trademarks in Australia visit – https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/trade-marks

6. Colour Selection

When you design a logo, one of the biggest decisions is selecting your brand’s colours. Picking the right colour palette helps establish your identity. Psychology of colours is an important consideration when you build a brand identity. The right palette can convey deep meaning about your values and elicit specific behaviours.

Red – Energy, love, romance, heart pumping, warmth

White – Represents purity, cleanness, clarity and innocence

Yellow – Friendly, cheerful, youthful, energy and happiness

Orange – Energy, Excitement, prosperity, warmth, change

Purple – spiritual, luxury, truthfulness, high quality

Green – Nature, Health, Wealth, Tranquillity, Harmony

Blue – Wisdom, loyalty, sophistication, calm

Black – power, strength, glamour, luxury

Grey – Timelessness, Classic, Mystery

7. Busy and complex designs

Less is more. White space is ok. Your logo needs to be simple, effective and resonate with your target market.

The world’s largest brands such as Apple, Google, Macdonalds and Nike all have one thing in common, their logos are simple yet memorable.

Don’t over complicate your logo design, keep it simple and clean.

Designing a new logo can be a daunting experience, FourSeeds Marketing can work with you to ensure your new logo design meets your business needs. Contact Katie via email – katie@fourseedsmarketing.com.au or mobile 0404 037 479.

Google have released a new reporting tool for search called Click Share

What is Click Share 

Click share is the estimated share of all achievable clicks that your Google ads have received and is available only for Search and Shopping campaigns. It shows how effectively your ads are engaging users compared to the competition. Whereas, Impression Share, which is often cited, shows how effective you’ve been at getting your ads shown to users.

How to use Click Share 

You can use the click share metric to understand where you have potential to capture even more clicks. The lower your click share, the more opportunity you have to capture additional clicks.

For example, if your ad is clicked 20 times, but Google estimate that it could have been clicked 100 times if you had more extensions, higher bids, or higher budgets, your click share is 20%.

Pallavi Naresh, Product Manager, Google Ads has said “Continue using clickthrough rate (CTR) for ad copy  performance comparisons. Use click share to view click growth opportunities with more extensions or bid or budget increases. Use impression share to view impression growth opportunities with bid or budget increases”. 

Click here to read the full release from Google

Step by Step Click Share Guide 

FourSeeds Marketing has been put together a step by step guide on how to activate Click Share in your ad account. Click Share can be set up at the campaign and ad group level.

  1. Log into your account and click into your campaign or ad account
  2. Click on columns
  3. Select Modify Columns
  4. Click Competitive metrics
  5. Select / tick Click share
  6. Click “Apply”

 

Google Click Share

Google Click Share – New Tool Set up Guide

If you need any help or advice on your Google ads account, call Katie at FourSeeds Marketing on 0404037479 or email katie@fourseedsmarketing.com.au

Reviewing your website proposal

Important steps to consider when selecting the right web developer

You have received your website quotes back and you don’t know where to start? Here are some important steps to consider when selecting the right web developer.

1. Budget and timeline

Who was able to meet your budget and timelines? Are they clearly communicated in the proposal what they can deliver by when?

2. Who is loading content?

Does it clearly list who is loading content? This is often missed and the developer will only load content on some pages, its important to clarify this if you want the developer to load all your content

3. SEO guarantees

What has the developer guaranteed in terms of a SEO compliant site? Have they discussed SEO strategies in the proposal? Some will include a separate charge for SEO set up. Just check your proposal carefully.

4. Does it include all your page designs and specifications?

Does the proposal include all the pages, design and technical specifications as you listed in the brief? Discuss how they propose to build each major section to ensure you get what you want. Ask for examples of previous work so you can see how similar sites work.

5. What CMS system are they proposing?

There are open and close source CMS systems. Both have pros and cons

Open Source Solutions

Open Source Solutions can include WordPress, Joomla, Wix, etc.

PROS

  • Can easily change website developer if things don’t work out, as there are thousands of companies that specialize in open source websites
  • Plenty of plugins to enable good website usability. This usually reduces your website build cost as its not a bespoke solution for you.
  • CMS systems are easy to use
  • You can host your website with any host you would like. You are not restricted to be held with the web developer. It’s usually recommended that you always use a separate host to ensure you have flexibility to move or change developers in the future.

CONS

  • Open source solutions are more vulnerable to hacking, so you need to be careful with site security
  • Having to many plugins can slow your site and cause issues, as they can rely on one another to work
  • You need to ensure you’re always running the most up to date versions of the software and plugins is imperative from a operational and security point of view.

 

Closed source, custom CMS systems

PROS

  • Usually a lot safer! They are much less prone to hacking
  • Bespoke custom CMS system and it may have industry relevant features that you need
  • You can create any website you want, the developers can create bespoke solutions and designs just for your business

CONS

  • You are tied to that website developer. You can’t move your website to a different developer if things go sour or worse if they go bankrupt. Some will provide you a clause to state that you will have full access to their CMS System in any bankruptcy case, but who actually knows what will happen. There are no guarantees.
  • Usually you have to host with the website developer and it can cost a little more

The next step after reviewing the proposals is to organize face-to-face meetings with the developers to get a feel of who and what they are. You need to ask yourself, “Can I get along with them and can I see myself working with them?” It’s best to narrow the selection to two finalists and ask for a list of references you can speak with along with links to previous work they have completed.

At the end of the day, selecting the right website developer is a very important step for your business. You need to make sure you select the company that will create a website that will set your business apart from the competition.

FourSeeds Marketing can help you review your website proposals, provide advice on the next steps and if needed assist throughout the entire website building process. Contact us on 0404 037 479.

How to create a detailed website brief

How to create a detailed website brief

Do you need to build a new website? This blog will give you the essential steps to ensure you provide a detailed brief to website developers for quoting.

First step – The first step is completing a review of your existing site, examine its strengths weaknesses and gaps.

Second step – Review your competitors websites and work through what you need to add to your new site to remain competitive.

Third step – you need to work through where your business is heading so you can ensure your website is built to evolve as your business grows.

This is the exciting step, now you know what you need and want you need to write a detailed brief. You can always get help at this stage and FourSeeds Marketing can help you write a brief for you!

The following is all the information that should appear in a detailed brief to ensure you get the most accurate pricing from website developers.

1. Information about your business

Its good to give as much information as you can, as this helps paint a very clear picture for the developers and designers.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What makes you unique?
  • Overview of your target market who will be visiting the site. Information includes age, gender, profession, language requirements. Why are they visiting your site – make a purchase, research information or a make a booking?
  • Overview of your competitors
  • Your current sites limitations

2. Your website goals

List some goals that you would like to achieve within 6 to 12 months. This is an important step as it sets goals for both you and the developer to achieve.

Some goals could include – organic google search results, increase in the number of website enquiries or orders and number of clicks to a product page.

3. Website hierarchy

Create a site map. You need to include every page that will appear on your new site and what hierarchy you would prefer. This is important step as it forces you to think of every single page in your site. It gives the web developer a good indication of the size of your site and it also allows you to get quotes on copywriting. Copywriting is useful as they can review your website content and and write in a SEO friendly manner.

4. Page Descriptions

This is where you list down all the major sections in your website such as about us, products and contact and list the main features you would like included.

Some examples include –

  • Product search
  • Product compare matrix
  • Contact form
  • Live chat feature
  • Search box
  • Do you want moving banners
  • Gallery
  • Different forms
  • Subscriptions to mailing lists

Remember when your designing a site with shopping cart you need to include information about how you would like this to function. Things to consider are security, product photo gallery and zoom capability, one page checkout etc.

5. Design and technical information

You can include wire frames with your page descriptions and you need to clearly communicate how you envisage how the design will look and feel. You should include thing such as colours, fonts, pictures, reference other sites that you like. Is it a modern and simple website or an industrial website targeted to a B2B market place. Remember to consider your target market and their needs when creating a design brief.

Remember that mobile sites are very important today, so don’t forget to include your requirements for a mobile site what pages need to be seen.

6. CMS System

A Customer Management System (CMS) can be an open source solution (word press, joomla etc) or a closed custom CMS system. You need to think through all the features you would need to ensure you select the right developer and CMS for your needs. Things to consider are ability to add, remove and move pages, change content and add pictures.

7. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a very important tool today, you need to ensure you have the right tools to enable your site to be a SEO friendly site. List some keywords where you would like to obtain organic search results and discuss it with the developer on what skills they and the CMS system has to meet your goals.

8. Budget and timeline

Clearly indicate your timeline and budget.  Ensure they are realistic and achievable. An average website build can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

You should send your brief out to 3 to 5 website developers. Its best to get a mixture of developers so you can get a mixture of idea, capabilities and quotes.

If you need assistance building your website brief, contact FourSeeds Marketing today on 0404037479.