Posts tagged " branding "

How to nurture prospects into long-term customers

November 29th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

In business the assumption often is that once a consumer has made a purchase, they are automatically a customer. But business is much more complex – the reality is that to attract long-standing customers, you need to nurture and develop relationships.

They need to view your brand as a trusted source which has solutions. So how do you develop a relationship where the customer sees real value in your brand? Read these tips on attracting and nurturing long-standing customers.

Develop a journey map
Map out every aspect of the customer’s experience by developing a journey map. This is a blue print of every point of contact you have with the customer, from initial discussion when they are a lead to ongoing engagement through content to the desired end destination – a long-standing customer. Creating a relevant journey requires understanding your customers inside-out – what their pain points, habits and desired outcomes are, what technology they use to get information and where you can add real value and solutions. In short, journey mapping is about anticipating the customers’ needs, knowing when and where to deliver solutions and guiding them towards choosing your brand instead of a competitor’s through value, quality and expertise.

Create killer content
Create content to fill out your customer journey map – consider what information, in the form of content like articles, video and offers – you can share to educate, entertain and build trust in your brand. Lead progression requires its own marketing content which is different to lead capture. It should be relevant and reinforce the notion of your organization as a trusted adviser with real solutions to boot. Focus on providing solutions focused at the customer instead of marketing your brand. Lead progression is all about building trust until they become a customer.

Play the long game
Prospects cannot be rushed. Sometimes it can take several months from the initial interest to convert the lead into a customer. Sales staff should be prepared to play the long game and proceed at the customer’s pace. Try to hurry them along and you may find that instead, the customer chooses an alternative route.

Don’t give up!
It may sound obvious, but businesses that invest heavily in lead nurturing report a 45% higher return on investment than those companies that don’t. So when the going gets tough, remember it’s a long-term journey to get a prospect to the point of purchase. Nurturing that relationship further, beyond that initial purchase to one of valued customer, can be an even longer process. It will, however, be a much more fruitful one.

Use Bartercard to cover the cost of content creation – we have article writers and videographers available to make your brand’s content cut through a cluttered market.

 

Original article written by Bartercard Australia.

How to create a $10,000 marketing campaign for $0

September 27th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Most business owners are forever crunching return on investment figures and sizing up the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Thinking outside the box, Lisa McGuigan, with the support of Bartercard, increased her cash sales by 30% as a result of a marketing campaign that cost her business $0 cash.

After identifying a gap in the marketplace for unusually packaged wines with an edge, this innovativewine maker launched Lisa McGuigan Wines in 2010. Basing her split-based venture out of the Hunter Valley and Sydney, and sourcing grapes from Mudgee (NSW), Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand and Hungary, she focused on landing her label with stockists, today selling at retailers around Australia and the UK. Lisa said before launching the business, she was a seller for a vintage wine brand and already had the contacts, experience and insight into what worked and what didn’t. “My parents have a vineyard in the Hunter Valley and I love the whole process from growing to bottling, which gave me the confidence and knowledge to launch my own label,” she said.

“I’ve built my brand up to three collections – including an entry level range of wines that are clean and fresh and two more collections that show greater complexity. I source a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a Gruner Blanc from Hungary, which I then customize and stabilize with a Semillon in Australia. This lets me put my own slant on a traditional variety. My collection includes international wines because for me, the world is a grape canvas.”

She said Bartercard started out as a test to sell older vintages. “When Bartercard approached me I decided to try it out with a couple of wines that weren’t selling as fast as I wanted – because you can’t sell everything to everyone. I sold the excess stock quickly and soon built up a considerable sum of trade dollars.”

blog-Lisa-Mcguigan.png

The campaign

“I decided to run a three month promotion in 10 retail stores that stocked my brand. I sourced everything for the campaign on Bartercard and boosted sales by over 30% over those three months.  The campaign would have cost me around $10,000 if I had paid cash.  It was called ‘On Ya Bike’ where customers who purchased three bottles of Lisa McGuigan Wine went into the draw to win a bicycle. I bought the bikes with my trade dollars. The Moscato we were selling at the time had a silver label so I found mannequins and spray painted them in the same color to tie my brand in. I covered posters, design and everything else in the campaign with my trade dollars. Bartercard essentially gave me a marketing spend off the back of excess stock.

It takes something different to really get seen!

After this initial success Lisa said she used Bartercard to run another marketing campaign at a wine outlet in the Hunter Valley that stocked her label.  I used Bartercard to create 1.5m tall bottle-shaped signs leading all the way along the road to the retail store,” she said. “I was able to offset $5,000 of the cash expenses on Bartercard. People loved them so much they were taking photos in front of them, which created user-generated content on Facebook. Bartercard allowed me to run this large scale, harder hitting campaign to really get cut-through in the market.”

Expanding local reach

“Bartercard can really help you break out of the local market to expand your reach and really get seen,” said Lisa. “I approached restaurants on Bartercard who quickly picked up my label to offset cash costs. It was as simple as curating and designing a wine list then blasting it out to bars and restaurants on Bartercard which helped me get on a lot of wine lists. It takes a lot of avenues to get business pumping but Bartercard is a direct line to businesses.”

Lessons learned

Lisa runs a successful wine company that’s pushing industry limits. Through edgy branding, larger-than-life advertising and campaigns which really step outside the box, these are the lessons she’s picked up along the way.

Deconstruct the market

“You have to really think outside the box, pull the market apart and look at it differently to everyone else. I leveraged off the fact that women purchase over 70% of wine in Australia and took the approach of looking at my brand like fashion. Consequently I put a lot of time and effort into the aesthetics.  Each range has unusual packaging, including matte black wraps, silver painting and metal labels. The result is gothically minimal bottles which really stand out on shelves!”

Lead don’t follow

“I love leading the market and I hate following. That’s why I took the initiative to launch marketing campaigns that are a little different. This has included life-size displays and signage attracting user-generated content – people share them on social media and consequently my brand is put in front of their followers.”

Look around you

“Rather than pouring all your effort into going global, look around your business and see what else is in front of you.Take a look at the opportunities available on Bartercard, like I did. I found there was business right outside my front door.”

Visit lisamcguiganwines.com

 

Article written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia.

Small business tips to boost brand exposure and sales

September 20th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

1. Fine-tuned customer targeting

The first step to boosting brand exposure is a clear-cut picture of who your customer is, so you can select the most effective channels to reach them. Do you sell custom-embossed tech accessories to females 25-40, working in corporate? You can do a targeted Facebook campaign to specifically reach these demographics. Trying to appeal to everyone will water down your brand, so have a clear picture of what your customers like and do, what their pain points are and what solutions you have.
Click here to read more about finding your online audience.


2. Do things differently 

Part of getting seen is doing things that stand out from the throngs. What pain points are you tackling, in what creative way, and what led you to launch? Brands like Dollar Shave Club mail out competitively-priced grooming supplies straight to customers while Coca-Cola appeals through clever emotive story telling. Think what you can do differently to impact the market – like Uber delivering ice cream – #ubericecream. As part of your brand story, everything in your business should be conducive. Are healthy deserts your specialty? Serve them in environmentally-friendly packaging to stay consistent. 

brand lighbulb.jpg

3. Build your brand

There’s over one billion websites world-wide and this number is growing daily. So how can you set yourself apart from a sea of competitors? The key is making your brand speak loud and clear. Branding not only comes down to your logo, design, fonts and colors but your businesses personality, the way you communicate, the approach you take, and the way you are seen and perceived in the marketplace. It’s a lot to take into consideration but it all shapes the direction of your business. Whatever industry you are in, building a solid and unique identity is vital to stand out and get seen.

 

4. Nail all branch touch points – website, social media, blog, shopfront (or e-commerce store) and advertising

Ensure your information and branding is consistent across the board – so that if a customer, influencer or journalist does check you out further, you’ve done everything you can to shape and leverage the message. If you work in a service-based industry like accounting or law, see what current issues you can lend your expertise to through blogs and case studies. On top of a quality website, other essential customer touch points and channels to align include social media, e-newsletters, e-commerce and a physical store.

Check out these valuable insights into touch points from Survey Monkey.


5. Get seen – take out advertising and get exposure through PR

Marketing and PR are both essentials in business, and work in tandem to achieve business goals. If you don’t have a cash budget for marketing or PR, use Bartercard trade dollars to land exposure without the cash bill. Bartercard has hundreds of media companies, including magazines and industry publications, where you can advertise your business and showcase your brand.
For extra tips, read how to get the word out when you don’t have a marketing or PR budget.

6. Copywriting

Effective copywriting inspires consumers to take action like subscribing to a newsletter, downloading an e-book or purchasing products.  Ensure your digital content is unique, high quality and optimized. Low-quality will cause your site to rate poorly in search engines. Incorporating SEO basics like keywords, links and mobile optimization will boost your site’s ranking. Read about SEO basics at Smack Bang Designs.

7. Make the most of SEO tech and tools

Various free online tools are available for measuring how your website is performing, which is critical in tracking and testing what works and what doesn’t.  Google Analytics allows you to analyze your website traffic – what parts of your campaigns are converting the most and at what points visitors leave your site – visit Google Analytics.  Google Search Console checks your site for search results, click-through rates and any errors like broken links, plus tests if Google can make sense of your content, which is essential for SEO. Click here to get started.

8. Mobile optimize your website

With the ever-increasing use of smart phones and other portable devices, it’s vital to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. If your website doesn’t render to mobile, it automatically loses credibility. Check your site here.

 

Plus, keep your established business thriving

Looking for inspiration to stay on track or take your business to the next level? Consider these tips to always keep your brand and business fresh.

  • Quality over quantity
    It’s a bit ironic that in this day of mass communication, people are showing a preference for personalized service and marketing. So focus on creating more customized experiences instead of a one-size-fits all approach. This may involve narrowing down your target audience and working on building rapport and stronger client relationships.
    4 ways you can make your business stand out.
  • Establishing partnerships
    Some businesses partner with others to deliver enhanced services and boost their brand – think Apple + IBM, McDonalds + Lego, and Uber + Spotify. To partner successfully, both parties should have similar target audiences and the arrangement should be mutually advantageous.
  • Focus on always evolving
    It’s a fast-paced world and no business can afford to rest on its laurels. Even large and established corporations have gone by the wayside from not adapting and remaining relevant. So stay on track in your business and strive to continuously learn and evolve.

Article adapted from Bartercard Australia Blogpost. Click here to read the original post.

How to get the word out when you don’t have a marketing or PR budget

September 13th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

You’ve invested all your dollars into your business, now how do you tell everyone you exist?

In this week’s blog, we’ve listed 8 tips to build up a market presence and really get seen – even when you don’t have marketing or PR dollars to outlay.

  1. Use Bartercard

    We’re cutting straight to the chase – if you don’t have a cash budget for marketing, use Bartercard trade dollars to land exposure without the cash bill. Bartercard has hundreds of media companies, including magazines and industry publications, where you can advertise your business and showcase your brand.Don’t have any print or digital assets?  Use graphic designers on Bartercard to create all your artwork and collateral, including a killer brand!  But take a step back – what’s your market positioning? Bartercard has digital marketing and PR agencies available too, so you can put your brand in the hands of experts to position and maximize its market reach.
  2. Research

    Get to know the journalists, influencers and publications (including newspapers, supplement lift-outs and magazines) in your industry.  Write a list including the journalist’s/influencer’s area of expertise/focus and add their contact details. Follow them on social media and like and comment on their posts before contacting them. Consider what valuable information and expertise you can contribute instead of focusing on yourself. At this stage you should also start positioning your brand and how you will pitch it.
  3. Tell a story

    Part of getting seen is knowing how to tell a great story that stands out from the throngs. What pain points are you tackling, in what creative way, and what led you to launch? Most critical, what’s your solution?Brands like Dollar Shave Club mail out competitively-priced grooming supplies straight to customers while Coca-Cola and Commonwealth Bank appeal through clever, emotive story telling. Others like Doughnut Time just know how to do their specialty – and market it – well.

    As part of your brand story, everything in your business should be conducive.  Are healthy deserts your specialty?  Serve them in environmentally-friendly packaging to stay consistent.

  4. What can you do differently to tell your story?

    Some brands have quirky personalities while others tackle the market through a stand-out identity, consumer-generated content or jumping on a trend really well. Put a narrative around your brand and weigh up how you can tell your story differently to make an impact in the market.
  5. Perfect all brand touch points – including website, social media, blog, shop-front (or e-commerce store) and advertising

    Ensure your information and branding is consistent across the board – so that if a journalist or influencer does check you out further, you’ve done everything you can to maximize the leverage and control the message.  If you work in a service-based industry like accounting or law, see what current issues you can lend your expertise to through blogs and case studies.
  6. Nail your pitch

    Once you’ve positioned your angle and approach, write the press release you’ll send to the journalists.  Just keep in mind they read hundreds of press releases each day – so ensure your pitch is clean and cuts to the chase.If you’re a retailer, send them a sample too, thinking of creative and stand-out ways to present it – like a customized Donutella Versace doughnut for World Chocolate Day.
  7. Send out your press release Customize your press release to make it relevant to the journalist and call them up to pitch it first. When you speak to them, keep it short and succinct.Tip: instead of attaching, paste your press release in the body of the email so the journalist can just scroll down to see it on their phone.
  8. Assess, rinse and repeat   Try to line up your PR with advertising to maximize your market impact.  See what worked and what didn’t, adjust and retry.

For other business tips and insight, visit Bartercard’s blog.

 

Article Written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia
You can read the original post here.

SME and start-up business tips

September 6th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Does your brand lack direction or need a fresh start? Packed inside this week’s blog are the business staples, tips and insight to laying down the business groundwork and staying ahead of the curve. Whether you’re a start-up or established business that needs to hit reset, this week’s blog can help pack more punch into your brand. 


The concept
When it comes to thinking of a killer business concept, many people will tell you to ‘do what you love’ or ‘follow your passion’. These are definitely formulas for success, but in reality a business involves so much more – from strategy, finance, research, sourcing, paying your suppliers, ticking off mundane tasks like paying bills down to sheer stamina. So don’t just consider what you love doing, but also your personality type, how you work, what skills and abilities you already have, whether you buckle under pressure, what makes you tick and whether you can handle the many hurdles and setbacks just part of business. It’s also vital to consider whether your business idea is marketable and will convert to sales.

Research the market
Research is critical to test the feasibility of your business idea, and see where similar concepts thrived or fell over. Standing out takes a point of difference, so thoroughly research your competitors to see where you stand apart.

Stick to your core values and beliefs
Running a business and spinning a profit is a challenge at any given moment – it’s certainly not glitz and glamour which most start-ups will tell you. To keep sustainable you should stay authentic and true to your core values. Consistency and congruence across every aspect of your business is critical, or the stress, pressure and work will outpace you.


Three tips for getting research right

  • Define your market – who are your customers, what do they like, what hurdles and setbacks do they face and what solutions can you offer?

  • Research the competition – investigate who your competitors are, what they do, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they price. Where are you different?

Map it out – pinpoint gaps in the market and do a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Determine your ‘why’ (the reason you’re in business) and fine-tune your market position or unique selling point (UPS).
You should be crystal clear of why you’re there, how you stand out and what you do differently.

 
business plan.jpg
Write a business plan
A business plan is like a blueprint for your business, detailing your vision, strategy, budget, finances, marketing, competitors and contingency. Some people will tell you that a business plan isn’t essential – but apart from a tool to attract investors and talent, it makes you plan, review, breakdown and map out the way your business is put together which is really crucial to success.
A typical business plan should include:
»»  A cover page with contact details
»»  An executive summary – describing what your business does and what it solves;
»»  A company overview
»»  An industry analysis
»»  A customer analysis
»»  A competitive analysis
»»  A marketing plan
»»  An operations plan
»»  A management section, outlining the key company personnel (and who you need to hire)
»»  A financial plan and;
»»  An appendix including income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.

A business plan also makes you accountable and keeps you on course, so start writing. 


Seek finances resourcefully
Even low-cost start-ups require financing to get started. Finance options include business loans, overdrafts, lines of credit, fully-drawn cash advances and many start-ups take the route of crowdfunding or private investors like venture capitalists.

Source easy finance through Bartercard
Sourcing finance isn’t always easy, but Bartercard members have access to an interest-free line of credit when they join. This can cover start-up, renovations, expansion or other business costs – visit bartercardusa.com and get started!

Tips from the experts
Speak to, follow and read about the successes and failures of entrepreneurs. Learning from their mistakes can save you from slipping up, while leveraging off their lessons and successes.

 

Written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia.
Click here to read the original post.

Branding – Online, Offline, and What Your Logo Says About You

August 16th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

In every single industry right now, the competition is increasing and improving continually. As an SME (small or medium enterprise), you lose significant ground if you stand still for even a moment. With this in mind, branding is more important than ever before. Across all platforms and on all products, branding allows the consumer to trust your brand both online and offline. Today, we’re going to provide some simple tips you can utilize while also looking into the impact of your logo.


Importance of a Logo – When we think of the color red in business, it isn’t long before you think of Coca Cola just as we think of Starbucks with green. Why is this? Above all else, it means these two companies have a very successful branding team. Whenever you see the name Coca Cola, it has always been accompanied by the color red whether it’s on the cans, company lorries, adverts, posters, online ads, website, billboards, and many other products they’ve offered through the years such as pencil cases and mini fridges.

Why do companies do this? Well, a recent study suggested that over 90% of all purchase judgements are made on visual perceptions; furthermore, 85% of people suggest color as their main reasoning behind buying a new product. Considering colors can also evoke different emotions in people, it’s fair to say this feature is important.

Along with the color, the logo plays an important role in the process because it should portray your message, what you’re trying to achieve, its context, and where you want to go in the world. If you look at FedEx, the negative space creates an arrow pointing forward; with Amazon, that smiley face you thought existed is actually an arrow from A to Z suggesting they cover every product imaginable.

 

Branding – If you’re attempting to improve your branding this year, we highly recommend making a list of all your products, documentation, and any other location where branding will be possible. From here, you can create one master copy of your logo before then applying it to your list. If you have different versions of your logo, we highly recommend working from just one because the smallest of differences between logos could see you lose trust and credibility.

Next, write a branding profile for your company including words that describe your service, colors, your logo, tone/voice you want to use, etc. If you choose a light blue color scheme, this needs to be applied across the board from company vehicles to your website. If you have a blue logo, there’s little point then making an orange website with employees driving around purple vans; you want your employees to drive past and everyone nearby to know the name of your brand within seconds.

 

Importance of Consistency – As a small or medium business, the goal is to grow as much as possible (we hope). Although it can be tough at times, you must remain consistent with everything written in your branding profile. As well as colors and logos, your voice needs to remain the same too. If you’ve always been a serious company, choosing to go fun/snarky all of a sudden will cause confusion and could be taken the wrong way. Every few weeks, take a step back to reassess your position to ensure consistency across the board.

If you follow this advice and introduce a clever, consistent branding strategy, give it a few years and people will be saying your name to a certain color. What’s more, the trust and credibility increase allows you to introduce a loyal customer base and join the path of business growth!

 


Need advice on your brand? We have many Bartercard members ready to help.  Talk to your Trade Broker today, or search MYBC for a list of businesses who can help you take your brand to the next level.

Take Control of Online Reviews

April 26th, 2017 Posted by Online Business No Comment yet

Online reviews can be a complicated puzzle to solve. Whether it’s Yelp, Google, or a social media platform, it is crucial for any successful business owner to stay on top of what customers are saying about your business.  Here are some steps you can use to take control of the online review process.

  1. READ AND RESPOND: 
    Although there are several online mechanisms for leaving a business review, it is important to read them all, and respond accordingly.  If a customer is dissatisfied, they are 20 times more likely to talk about your business than if they were satisfied.  Be prepared to read unfavorable reviews and react with a “solution”.  Carefully think your response through, be apologetic, and most importantly, welcome the customer back with an incentive if necessary. Never get caught up in an argumentative way.  Peaceful solutions and positive responses will also catch the attention of prospective customers who may read the review.  Let them see that you are attentive to even your most dissatisfied customers.
  2. SOLICIT REVIEWS: 
    When a customer has a good experience with your business, encourage them to leave a positive review.  You can also provide incentives for doing so, by way of discounts on future business.  Soliciting positive reviews from your most satisfied customers can help build an invaluable positive rating.  Always remember, prospective customers are more likely to give you their business if they see you providing good service.
  3. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO ENCOURAGE REVIEWS: 
    With the influx of social media as a forum for business promotion, it is possible to encourage positive reviews by offering online promotions.  When a customer takes advantage of one of these promotions, encourage the customer to leave a review on the page.  This creates a chain of dialogue directly with the customer so others can see first-hand how you handle customer opinions and reviews.  Keeping your social media dialogue positive is easy to do because you have more control over content on a social media page than say a Yelp or Google review platform.

So, put your best foot forward and take control of your online reviews.

Tips on promoting your business using social media

April 19th, 2017 Posted by Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

So you say you’re not a social media buff? Perhaps you just don’t know what all the hype is about.  It’s easier than you think to use social media for marketing to launch your business into cyber-success.  Here are just a few easy steps to get you started.

  1. FIND THE BEST FIT

There are several different platforms to choose from when using social media for marketing: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest just to name a few.  Figure out which ones your target audience is most likely to use and sign on up, but don’t shy away from unconventional social media platforms either!

  1. ALWAYS MAINTAIN BRAND CONSISTENCY

While you won’t use the different social media platforms for all the same purposes, you’ll want to maintain a consistent brand image. Make sure your username and logo are the same on every account. You want people to be able to recognize your brand easily; even the best message won’t do any good if it can’t be traced back to you. Remember, too, that visuals are important—an amateurish Facebook page will hurt your brand more than help it.  Any lack of attention to image will surely impact your credibility.

  1. USE VARIETY TO STAY INTERESTING

People join social media to be social! Your followers will start dropping rapidly if all they see are ads for your services. Diversify your posts with interesting or funny images, articles, videos, and links related to your industry to get people to click that, be careful to avoid posting anything that may serve to alienate customers.  In between all the hilarious and thought-provoking content, you can slip in posts about your services that won’t come across as pushy advertising.

  1. MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS 

When using social media for marketing, it’s easy to use tracking data to monitor your progress.  Google Analytics is a good place to start, and it’s easy to understand.  The ability to see which of your posts generated the most clicks to your website can be a huge help in determining what works and what doesn’t when using social media for marketing.  This is the feedback you need to continue a forward progression.

Be bold. Be creative. Take stock in knowing that you’re exposing your business to a customer base you could never have reached otherwise. Social media can be the difference between moderate and high business traffic, so get started!

 

Top photography tips and tricks to make your brand stand out

April 12th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Photographs are key to standing out in a digital world – whether on social media, a company website or in a marketing campaign. Did you know there are 60 million new photos uploaded to Instagram daily?

This week we list the top photography tips and tricks from Instagram superstars to give your brand cut-through – whether you’re snapping on a digital SLR or your smart phone.

(more…)