Little Red’s Top 5 Content Marketing Infographics for March 2014- Implement a Strategy TODAY!

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(Image courtesy of http://visual.ly/dos-and-donts-content-marketing?_from=homepage)

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(Image courtesy of http://betterdealsmarketing.com/infographic-content-marketing-traditional-advertisings-new-rival/)

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(Image courtesy of http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2013/11/6-top-infographics-to-understand-content-marketing-world.html)

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(Image courtesy of http://www.marketingtechblog.com/7-steps-optimized-content-strategy/)

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(image courtesy of http://www.womma.org/posts/2013/01/infographic-why-content-marketing-works)

Brochures- From Old World to New Age: 10 Top Tips from Little Red

Evening all,

I’ve been fiddling with my Little Red brochures for months: adjusting, simplifying, correcting, adding and subtracting. Now that I think I got it pretty much right, I want to share with you how I got there. Sometimes it takes a few drafts, sometimes not. Simple fact is, it’s gotta be damn good, a lot of people don’t read brochures. They collect them at expos or in the mail and then bin them. These are my tips on getting yours to work for you.

  1. CLEAN- focus on colour (3 maximum), font (2 maximum) and a simple, effective layout. If people wanted clutter, they could come and look in my Tupperware cupboard. Make your graphic designer work hard for their payment so working on your business brochure pays off for you.
  2. QUALITY PRINTING- Having a husband who works in printing, I know good and bad printing when I squint at it. Watch for irregular bleed, general fuzziness. Find a top-notch printing agency (stick with small business yeah?) who can produce high-resolution images on sleek pages. Now brochures can’t be sexy, but you get my drift. Make them look damn impressive.
  3. BRANDING- Is your brand easily identifiable? Make sure your brochure logos/images make all the other business material you are producing. Having your brand recognised by others is a difficult task to achieve but you can make it work when you work hard on your brand image.
  4. APPROPRIATE IMAGES- Do the images match your content? This isn’t a trick question. I completed a brochure for a client who asked for pictures of puppies on their brochure when they wanted to show off their jewellery range. Puppies don’t usually wear jewellery (in Melbourne they don’t anyway) so use images to support your content. Don’t just throw them in there because “every brochure needs pictures”.
  5. SAY NO TO CHUNKS- Make sure your brochure isn’t wordy. No huge paragraphs or people won’t read them, or take your brand seriously. Using more words can  often be misconstrued as not knowing what you are talking about. The layout won’t be as impressive if words take up all the useable space.
  6. KNOW ITS VALUE- Do you know how important brochures are? Do you know their purpose? Approximately 20% of people in the US have never searched for a business listing online (which means they’d need one of your brochures to get in contact with you again). The principle behind a brochure may seem old-school in this grand (new) digital age we reside in, but they never go out of style in business if they are created and used correctly.
  7. THINK STRATEGICALLY- Where are you going to send/hand out/ leave these brochures? This needs to be worked into your layout. You might not be with your brochure when people are seeing it for the first time. So it needs to be  targeted to the appropriate audience and easy to read.
  8. CONTACT INFO- Make sure your contact details are clearly defined and UP TO DATE. You are creating a brochure to turn readers into buyers so the readers are at some point going to want to know how to get a hold of you.
  9. CTA INCLUDED- Related to #8, include a call-to-action. Provide value and information which entices your readers to want to know more and to act on what they discover in your brilliant layout.
  10. MOST IMPORTANT!!!! Your HEADLINE will be the decider. Five times more people read the headline than the body of any article of text. If the headline doesn’t attract them to read on, the time you spent on your brochure will be useless. Don’t get cheesy, be concise and clever.

Do you have any more tips to add to my list? I’d love to see what kind of brochures your businesses are producing. Remember that less is more in this case.

Snippet of Tips- How To Brag About Products VS Services

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Products are harder to sell. You need to sell your products first, THEN you need to sell yourself. If your products are unique and handmade, you have a target group willing and more than able to purchase from you, you are set.

If your products are manufactured outside of your capable hands, you need to appropriately represent the manufacturer without selling yourself short at the same time.

Your marketing content should represent your business and to put it simply, should sell YOUR PRODUCTS or sell the reason why clients should by someone else’s products FROM YOU ONLY.

 

If your business is B2B, you’re selling your service/s to other savvy business owners. Be on the ball and get your bragging rights into gear. Think about why you are better at what you do than others in your industry. Think about how your experience and problem-solving expertise fills a widening gap in your market and how your quick-thinking, initiative, flexibility and availability makes you the EASIEST person to work with. Produce a stunning portfolio, show your personality and use your education and skills to tell both professional and personal stories about how you work together with business owners to SOLVE PROBLEMS. 

 

Stay tuned for the “How To Brag About Products VS Services” piece in its entirety. Won’t be long now!

 

 

Take Control of Social Media in 2014- A Little Red Investigation

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{image courtesy of bryandigital.wordpress.com}

After spending 2013 on all the big wig social media platforms {and truth be told, enjoying Pinterest and Facebook the most}, I’ve come across some trends that I hope will prevail this year {oh dear God it’s a new year already and I was only just getting used to writing 2-0-1-3……}

Social Storytelling is booming. We’ve all read the “I can check in on Foursquare, Post a Photo of it on Instragram, post an update on Facebook, Tweet my details” etc posts floating around in Google. We can share EVERYTHING we do ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. How cool is that?!

We all know how huge Facebook is. We spend the most time on it. We connect with friends more there than we do text and call friends in Australia {are text messages almost as obsolete as the old ICQ chat thing? I never used it but it must’ve been quite intriguing}. Mobile-friendly Facebook is quite awesome. It’s not much more difficult to navigate than Desktop Facebook, probably because all the top developers know that wherever we go, we want Facebook to be right there with us. We want to tell our friends and consumers {if you are a business owner and Facebook-savvy} what we’re up to, where we are checking in and so forth. In other words, read our online diary to our friends and followers.

Tailored content and mobile/video ads {of which YouTube are already the masters} have made website browsing, searching and shopping all the more simplified through the likes {pardon the pun?} of Facebook advertising. Your business is instantly mobile friendly with the short ads that are now, well practically everywhere. Sometimes you don’t even know you’ve clicked on a sponsored ad {if you don’t happen to spot the “SPONSORED” sign on some posts}. Also, search high and low through iTunes and PlayStore this year for business-related apps. Every year is the Year of the App, but with most sites being mobile-friendly, how better to pair a mobile site with a few handy apps to get your business motor running this New Year.

My advice to small business owners and community page owners this year re: Facebook? Stop spamming people’s walls and connect. Make new contacts that you’ll actually engage with. I’m over the “like for like” experience. Most of the people i “like” won’t come back to visit my page. And frankly, I don’t want to be spammed with another “try this miracle body wrap and lose 2000 inches of your childbearing hips” page {whinge over}.

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Are you already onboard the S.S #facebookhashtag? Wondering how much it will grow in 2014. All my friends hash-tag and to be honest, I find it entertaining and thought-provoking. Especially to think that you have to come up with some very poignant, individual words for some otherwise mindless pics or updates. But to me, they always work and the random conversations where every word is hashtagged always makes me giggle {is hashtagged a word in the dictionary yet?}

For those who went to Kindergarten and for those who remember it, we all used to participate in Show And Tell- where we’d share an important fact, object, detail of our life. This can now be loosely translated into how we see social media now. So much more of our content this year should be visual and image based. We want to like what we see, we want to focus on detail and we don’t always want to read thousands of words strung together. B-O-R-ing.

Marketing will go full circle and come back to basics this year. 91% of marketing gurus in Australia {roughly} used social media platforms in 2013. Small businesses are all about social media. Social media has become a solid investment and is no longer about communication only. Factor in networking/collaborating, planning, processing and researching and there you have it my friends, your focus for 2014 {SOCIAL MEDIA, in case you missed it}.

Google+. SEO’s best friend. Now here lies an interesting social media network. Have you noticed that to access good old YouTube, you now need a Google+ account? Sneaky hey?! Thumbs up Google, well played. Join a Google+ Hangout, TV for social media and comment and share information in real-time. I’ve tried it and I love it. In the past two years, I’ve been led to believe that Google+ has jumped above Twitter in the number-of-users game. But the big question is- will it jump above Facebook? We’ll know soon enough. Jump on Google+ in 2014 and network like crazy. It’s good fun and well worth your time. 

Instagram- the online photo album. #hash #tag #crazy. Take a photo of anything in good taste/good spirit and it’s out there for the Instagramers to “heart”. #idontliketalkinginhashtagsbecauseibelieveingoodgrammarandpunctuation but I do like seeing what celebrities are posting, it’s like a free version of NW Magazine. I expect that Instagram will only get bigger this year, especially with the new ads and “Flipagram”-style videos you can post. It was found to be the fastest growing social network in the world for 2013. {you probably should follow me on Instagram, really}. A friend told me on New Years Eve that over 70% of the top brands in the world now use Instagram. Now there goes the old catalogues in the mail that I used to read whilst having a hot cuppa. Everything goes out of style!

No matter which platform you’re on, you’ll always find those viral posts somehow. You know, the ones with a kazillion shares of that picture of a monkey riding greyhound in a cowboy suit or the “my girlfriend will marry me if this post gets a trillion likes”. Keep sharing them or even better still, use 2014 to create one of your own. You never know what will go viral! In my case, I always look at funny posts that will make me cry in hysterics. You’ll have my vote if you can make me laugh that hard.

My second favourite platform {well, favourite in my personal domain rather than professional} is Pinterest. Oh my Lord, the ideas that have come from this network are unbelievable. As a crafty person myself, Pinterest is like Heaven. Pinterest now has analytics and place and rich pins. Can’t go wrong this year with Pinterest, it’s as simple as pinning a pin.

Twitter is a digitally enhanced land I used to visit quite often but with my desperate need for human contact, I found it a little cold and uninviting in 2013. With tailored audiences, promoted accounts showing up in timelines and keyword targeting to hit the big{ger} time in 2014, don’t ignore Twitter any longer. Do what you can to get the hang of it. My business tip? You need to post a lot otherwise you won’t be seen. Simple.

If you want to network more and find more leads in 2014, head across to LinkedIn. It may not look as pretty as Facebook and as covered in beautifully filtered pics as Instagram but it’s worth it.

Social media advertising will become more complicated than ever in 2014. Just because I think there are so many outlets and new audiences to reach. Status updates can be “promoted”, you can DIY advertising packages now and it’s becoming easier for anyone to share their work and thoughts. I’d stay away from the “give me $5 and I’ll give your page 1000 new fans” packages this year. Let all those pages fizzle out. I’m sorry but if I pay more money, like $1000, and you’ll give me 100,000 new fans, do you actually have 100,000+ fans yourself and do you know these people? Are their pages reputable? Will they engage with me and my business? Nope. So no thank you, if you want to like my page in 2014, you need to be interested in what I do and who I am. Another Little Red tip: stop tricking your consumers this year, your SEO needs to be a brilliant display of online marketing.

2014 is all about pizzazz, personality. Guts and glory. Digital marketing is losing steam and people want to connect with real people. Not updates on autopilot. Recommendations from others drives up sales. I know I buy many things after being recommended them by friends and family. We want to know the truth from people we can trust and this is how we should want our consumers to see us and our products. They want to know about us and what we do. Not who we think we want to be and what we think we should be telling them to drive up our analytics figures {despite our society’s focus driven by performance}.

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This year, stop thinking about how Facebook and Twitter ads will earn you money. Question whether it is worth it and then think about how you can improve your social media profiles to offer more insight to your consumers. People want advice and information. People always seek out help. You need to know how to show people they need you without selling til the cows come home.

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Privacy and censorship has taken a back seat to the proliferation of social media in years of late. Do we care less? Why don’t we feel the need to restrict what strangers can and can’t do with our information? Because the more we share, the greater the reaction we get from people. We love being recognised and we love creating original and unique content. It’s free and we get a kick out of it.

My final thoughts? Pinterest will be amazingly helpful to personal and professional account holders {did you know you can have a business account on Pinterest now?} and survive huge growth spurts this year. Foursquare and Tumblr will be on the up but Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are where it’s at {again} this year.

Arm yourself with knowledge in 2014. It’s your greatest weapon and ally. Only 39% of Aussie have some type of social media strategy in place when it comes to small and online business operations. In a time where B2B connections are more important than ever, get yourself with a top-knotch diary, some longlasting pens and get writing. Plan the heck out of 2014 and you’ll see the light.

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Lauren @LittleRed

 

You’ll Have My Business IF…..

I’m sure all you small business owners out there post on your social media pages about why your product and services are IT and a BIT. You may do this regularly.

You’re cutting edge. You provide something you believe no one else is. You’re the only {insert cool business product here} seller in {insert small town or bustling metropolis here}. You know what your target market wants and why they need you RIGHT NOW.

You spend a lot of time marketing your service and your products in the hope that someone or a group of someones will engage with you. And we all know what engagement leads to. Number one? Strengthened relationships. Number two? Sales.

I like to be different and take a walk on the weird side every now and then. So this is what I’m proposing. Think about how much time you spend selling yourself and your products {which, as a rule in the social media scene, shouldn’t be all that much or often} and now spend half that time researching which businesses you WANT to engage with. Sales are sales, if you are that desperate.  Focusing on which businesses you can work with can strengthen your brand and build your business character. Think back to your target market. Does that need to change? Has it evolved with your business planning? Have your business goals changed? Of all the clients you have provided a service to or sold products to, which have you really remembered?

Whichever industry, field, market etc you’re in, there will be top business owners, mediocre business owners, rubbish business owners and THE GREATEST BUSINESS OWNERS {just to emphasise the point}. Choose the ones you want to engage with wisely. Make your relationships work for you. You do it in your personal lives- you have family and friends who support you and love you, are there for you when you need it. So do it in business. Find those awesome businesses that can give you EXACTLY what you are after. Don’t just settle.

Branding after all is building. Build your name, your business reputation, your service, your products and your research skills. Make communication, documentation and RELATIONSHIPS your number one priorities. Think about who you engage with. That might seem sensible and also a bit strange of me to say. But when you take the Facebook Networking “Like for Like” scenario of engagement between businesses, thinking about who you are engaging with doesn’t always come to mind. You like their page, they like yours.

Then what? You get their news feed items straight to yours and vice versa. But do you really need to know what is happening with those body wraps that claim to reduce your waistline in just a matter of days if you are an accountant? Do you need to know which baby hair accessories are on sale for Christmas if you are single, a male and running an online marketing page?

Be wise and be weary. Get the most out of your networking and marketing by choosing wisely who you will share your business time with and also those will be share in your business dealings. Your business is precious and a valuable asset in your life, whether you are making dream dollars or not. You have started your business for a reason and that reason is as important today as it was the day you started working on your vision. Business relationships are a two-way street, like any relationship.

Give and take. It’s not always about how your business can work to make sales for you, it’s also about how other businesses can help yours to flourish. How can you help someone else in their small business adventures? You will learn from other great business owners, it shouldn’t always be about what you can sell or what they can buy.

Make this a rule- You’ll have my business IF we will both grow from the experience. Appreciate each other’s experience, background and knowledge. Quick sales don’t help you grow. Well, maybe a few dozen or a few hundred do, over time. But just try it. Time and money will be saved and your brand will be strengthened.

Lauren @LittleRed

Captivating your Consumers with Clever Content- a Little Red How-To

Business Content Explained

(plus my two noisy dogs make a background appearance- don’t mind them, just doing their jobs fighting backyard canine crime!)

Little Red & Her Research- I’ll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours

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This weekend in particular, I am focusing on learning more about content marketing specific to small business and copy writing, copy writing with SEO in mind ( can never know enough about this, there are new scholarly articles out daily!), the chances of creating a viral post and B2B versus B2C. My short-term research goals are to:

  • learn at least 5 new words a day (which I’m achieving 5 times over each day)
  • spend 2 hours or more researching anything small business, copy writing and marketing EACH DAY (and yes, I am keeping copious notes to prove I am also achieving this goal)
    • I love a good researching session!
  • to get some responses from my readers about what they are keen to research and learn more about and where their best resources (that they are willing to make public knowledge) are hiding in the digi-sphere
  • to create a list of resources for small business on this blog, which we can all share and update as needed- what do you say to that?

 

Where are your great sources of rich, abundant streams of useful information?

I’d love to know where you go to find what you are looking for in terms of new information for your small business, your blog or your latest project at home. I use social media, scholarly articles and print media. As well as word from industry professionals and friends/family in business.

Comment on this post if you have anything research-related that you’d like to share. Let’s collaborate and elaborate!

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(Image courtesy of emergentbydesign.com)

LEJ