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Starting a Freelance Business is Not All Passion

Do you have a lot of passion to start and run a freelance business? Put that passion aside for a minute… as it can easily get in the way of success. Our how to start a freelance business – in Australia book will show you how tending to areas like budgeting, positioning, and writing useful content will put you on the right path.

Do you know what area you’re going to be in yet? It’s crucial, we’ve found, to put your best foot forward in a distinctive niche – rather than being yet another graphic designer.  Or are you further along and know what to go into… but haven’t yet attended to all the finer details of setting up a successful business? Details like voicemail message, website, business name, bookkeeping system, etc.

In the little book, How to Start a Freelance Business, you’ll get really simple advice on:

  • Choosing a Specialty
  • Your Positioning in the Marketplace
  • Business Setup and Costs (managing in the first year)
  • Finding Freelance Work, including the importance of referrals
  • Marketing your Services
  • Website Planning, and
  • Information Marketing (in your downtime).

 

A business book for those who dislike reading dense text

Because of the coloured headings, you’ll find it incredibly easy to scan. A glossary explains the modern marketing terms used, while a table on the Social Media types (9 or more) provides ideas for social media use.

As it is for those eager to start out with a simple service, this book is not longwinded. At only 97 pages long, it’s just enough to get you started on all the facets you need… particularly for Australians.

Guest freelancers also tell of their experience in freelancing, giving open and honest advice for new starters. Your own mindset is a big part of a winning formula!

Buy How to Start a Freelance Business: in Australia online ($22-30)… or buy it from the author here for $23 including shipping.

How to Start a Freelance Business in Australia

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Creating influence with Video!

This week, let’s delve into the advantages of creating video promotions for a channel. Whether it’s video trailers for books, short promos for a business, or video marketing for an online course, videos can be a great canvas for expressing ideas visually.

Good ones will interest new readers and great ones might prompt a click to a sales page.

There are several ways to build influence through Video Promotions. Here are some of the latest ideas:

  1. Share a personal tip with your LinkedIn or Facebook connections. Rough and raw is OK, but it’s better if there are key words as captions — since many watch with the sound off.
  2. Promote your book with several Text-over-Stock-photo videos – Lumen5 makes this super-easy and can even create the draft video straight from a blog post!
  3. Use reviews from your clients and ensure you highlight any 4 and 5-star reviews on it (See ibuildsocial for that service).
  4. Use a videographer and highlight how your work with people makes a big difference. This can be used in social media ads (e.g. Instagram ads) and on your website.

 

What Kinds of Videos do I Learn From?

While animations and novelty videos are popular, it’s better to represent my personal brand in a way that people learn something. It’s good to see natural faces, with clear ideas, for that. When I was interested in author marketing, I went to find authors who are doing valuable video education. The winner was the author of “Platform”, Michael Hyatt, who has 22,400 Youtube channel subscribers. Coming a close second, via blogging and videos about writing, was Joanna Penn.

It’s nice to see successful authors sharing what they’ve learnt, isn’t it?

 

Video Promotions for Small Business

When you’re thinking of making a video promotion for your business, it’s better to think from the audience side. So you want to consider what’s of interest to them at the awareness stage… What types of things (that you know about) do many of your customers search for?

If you go to the trouble of getting a videographer, then ensure that you also get quality video editing. It’s usually an inexpensive service and a good editor can make a routine shoot (raw footage) into something impactful. (If you want a local video production recommendation, please enquire for we certainly know one)

With your own video production, you’ll need to think about WHERE you will put the video. Better quality is needed for putting eternally on your website, the highest for television, and lesser quality for a Facebook post. Vimeo encourages higher resolution and shows only your video once embedded (in Vimeo Pro), while YouTube may show other videos at the end but is free and has a vaster general audience.

A TV commercial costs between $5,000 and $110,000 to make, according to media producers, Lokomotion. Then comes the booking fee, which ranges wildly in price. So anything you make for online is going to be a fraction of that. For a long-term video to promote an established business with a lot to gain, you could budget $2,000 for production and editing costs.
 

Video Promotions on Social Media

But for just getting short promo videos out there on social networks, you can use free-ranging shots (via your phone camera or good webcam) and a tool like Wistia, if you don’t have a video specialist to put it together for you. (Full Wistia is about $136 per month, or do 3 Wistia-branded vids a month, free). This is perfect for sharing 1-minute videos to your LinkedIn network.

Wistia Learn is a good avenue for learning more about video making. Wistia also have a tool called Soapbox, which lets you take boring Slide Presentations and put yourself (on your web cam) right alongside them. It’s almost like having you there, making a sales presentation. (For create + share online, it’s free, or for promos; Solo plan is $300 a year).

The format – 16:9 or 4:3 or 1:1? We think Wikipedia answers this the best, and 16:9 seems to be the most popular format for television and computer screens these days. Square or 1:1 is good for Facebook and Instagram (regular).

Short on ideas? You can also use a tool like Dreamstime to search for video stock photography, and it costs about 15 credits per video item.

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Case Study: Taking a Dud Website to a Lead Generating Machine

Today I’ll talk about taking a website that’s a branding eyesore or a postcard, in short a dud, to being: a Lead-Generating Machine! That’s leads, as in prospects… not lead as in metal. After many years of researching and working on website copy and content, I finally created a webinar with a live website case study (which I pick apart).


What I look at in a website content review goes quite deep. First, it looks at logical reader progression – does the website copy flow normally and easily down the page? Are the important parts hidden away or are they nice and clear?

We need to find out WHO you are talking to and what language to use. That’s how we choose the style of voice in the first place.

But we also look at brand tone of voice – does it align with the brand personality, values and the company story. Or is it just plain dull.

Next, we need to develop relevant content (pages or posts) to reach prospects where they already hang out. Research what they ask within keyword searches.

You then have the technical SEO elements to think about. So, any duplicate content, duplicate tags, missing images, errors from lost links to pages, no descriptions, etc.

Importantly, when consulting, I look at whether your marketing system (CRM) or sales people are capturing the leads and following up with them fast. And whether there is a website lead magnet offer, trial, etc and how visible that is.

Then there is the email marketing system and the blog-to-social-media system to look at. Is that all taken care of? Is the blog limping along…? Can better headlines mean much better reader attraction?

So, target market research and article marketing is also part of the picture.

 

If you want a Better Website and a Lead-Generating Machine

If this is all making your head spin, then please:

Join my live webinar on first Monday of every month… (7 pm). You can also ask questions about your own marketing:

https://events.genndi.com/channel/dudwebsite

Market a Business post

How to Market a Business in Professional Services

My oracle suggested that 110 Australians monthly want to know “How to Market a Business”. So I thought I’d outline the best ways to market a professional services business, because honestly it’s a lot different advice than for an online retail shop, a wholesaler, or a software product.

So – as I’ve seen in professional services, there are two main ways that people find out about them:

  • A street presence, including vehicle signage, office signage, etc.
  • Word of mouth, including all referrals

 

For accountants, lawyers, architects, quantity surveyors and the like, marketing must seem like a mystery akin to a magic genie. But really, it’s not venturing into the mystical – you can use logic in marketing any business.

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flickr. Top Rank Marketing. Creative Commons attribution 2.0 generic, 2013. (Cropped)

Create a Brand and Brand Proposition

So, a brand is:

a nice logo, sure, but it’s also great signage, professional appearance of staff, friendliness, signature touches (like you might just send a cheery Congratulations message whenever someone lodges their return), and a feeling one gets from interacting with the company or person.

 

A Brand proposition is:

Clarifying what your brand stands for (not just services you do) and the level of service you provide. Also see my explanation for ‘purpose-driven statement’.

 

KEY TAKEAWAY…

When you pre-plan what your brand represents and clarify what you stand for, how to put that across in your marketing becomes less mystical.

 

What is Business Marketing?

Many in the professional services think of marketing as advertising, but marketing a business is:

Putting the right MESSAGE in front of the right PEOPLE (target clients), in the right MEDIA

… and this activity can be paid or non-paid.

For example, you know paid advertising is SEM, radio, print ads, bus signs, etc. While free marketing is writing some targeted blog articles, being a podcast guest and highlighting what you do, speaking in public about your methods, etc.

So, say you talk at a Rotary club (retirees) about your latest software for compliance, you haven’t got the right PEOPLE or the right MESSAGE.  But if you gave a keynote at a Data conference about your latest software – and the attendees were all looking for software for medium businesses with this need – bingo, you have the triangle.

 

Common Mistakes with Marketing a Business… and their Solutions

Problem #1. They put the media first

Many business people put the Media first. So they say, I want an Instagram strategy, or I want to know how to do Facebook for business.

Instead, they (and you) should go back to your ideal client and brand positioning work and look for WHO it is you want to attract.

So for myself, my ideal client A is a business director of a professional service with one to three brands, a few staff, and $200,000 – $2 million in revenue. (For those above that level, others who have big teams are pitching that level).

 

Problem #2. The message is too broad

This ideal client is confused about what to write on their website (they have something, it’s just not that great) and what to put in blogs and in videos. What they have is usually bland, standard, corporate and broad. The message is too generic and offers no insight into the personality of the leaders, the ethos of the business, and the specific value they bring (through an education framework if its blogging).

They need guidance for that.

 

Problem #3.  The media type is wrong

The director level person is really busy and does not loiter on Facebook for long. Many of the lovely people I meet on Facebook are soloists and cannot afford my services. Rats tails.

So, to reach this ideal client A, I have to know the media they use. It is likely LinkedIn and the telephone for business relationship-building. They might even listen to top podcasts on a weekend.

Yes, the humble phone is often overlooked in marketing. Relationship building with the phone is a marketing tactic. Not pitching at this stage, just asking questions and noting the answers in a CRM and perhaps offering a free booklet or someone else’s seminar.

 

Problem #4.  Not digging into the real Client Persona

So I know their media, but now I need to create the right message. Spying (sorry, I mean researching) on people’s questions and business forum posts is getting to the real. I want to know the nitty-gritty struggles and concerns of Directors, not the shiny posts they are publicly putting out to impress their peers on LinkedIn. (Questions are put into Google and collated in online research tools).

After some research into their real struggles, I can put together CONVERSATIONAL copy for that ideal person to relate to. I might come up with some short video ads as well.

“Queensland Business” is one Facebook group which is useful for identifying business pains.  At the end of the day, even Directors of million-dollar businesses need someone to listen and say “honestly here is a better way than that, have you thought of this?”

 

What makes a Great Marketing Offer?

As a professional services provider, once you start talking about your niche, your amazing methods and your creative ideas, it’s only a matter of ending the speech (or video or book) with a simple offer in order to capture the interest already aroused. This free content or free trial can be placed on a landing page/capture form for ease of use.

The best offers in professional services really delve into their ‘ideal’ clients most wanted answers. They have problems, you have some answers, so you must, must talk about both. Speaking in conferences, keynotes, seminars, and podcasts can have a HUGE effect if you talk about both sides of the picture (the gritty side and the after, shiny side).

A great marketing offer also has a clear customer value benefit and a deadline for taking action.

 

Hinge Research Institute has done some research into high-growth professional services and found that having ‘visible experts’ talking about the business brings 66% more business development benefits, e.g. they generate more leads, demand 13x higher prices, and close more in sales. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

 

Have you Learned ‘How to Market a Business’?

Marketing a business in professional services is not a matter of posting to Facebook daily (a common tactic). It is getting really clear answers to your ideal clients’ struggles… defining your message and brand voice… and putting those messages into the right media channels.

It is having a website portal where you educate prospective clients and offer them relevant and original FREE reports (or even video tutorials).

So, begin thinking about what value-packed offer you could have at the end of the information download offered on your website. Get ’em while they’re amazed with your work!


If you’ve enjoyed this article, then please sign up for our awesome report on building a prospect list – or just go straight to Park Lane (Monopoly metaphor) and book a 30-minute discovery call with Jennifer.

 

 

 

 

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Integrated Marketing Strategy

When you have an integrated marketing strategy, you can drive your online marketing program with confidence. That means planning on paper, including mapping out a purpose statement, value statements, customer personas (or segmenting), calculating customer lifetime value, and defining ways to improve and narrowly target all marketing material.

Internally-directed marketing strategies, which many companies say they lack (46% in fact!*), means that you might be:

  • Driven by external marketing hot trends – that may not work for your audience
  • Confusing strategy with tactics, like posting on Facebook (which is a tactic)
  • Confused whether content and social media sharing is going to work or is working.

 

Starting with Value for the Client

It all starts with knowing your client and understanding the value you provide for them. And it’s not about years of experience, customer service, product quality, or anything else internal. If you read some of your testimonials, it might key you into some aspects that your clients love about what you deliver.
 
Write a Purpose-Driven Statement that you will keep internal. If the company has a purpose-driven statement written down, it can drive the larger marketing strategy.
 
Next, it has to come across in all marketing communications in its tone and personality. If you say your organisation will be: friendly and fully communicative, then does the website copy and brochure copy sound friendly? Do the account service people ensure full communication once a person comes on board?
 
We can brainstorm about these narratives by looking at the definite business value provided. The purpose-driven statement of Power of Words could be:

Listening to and empowering the business leader to impart their origin story and values, and letting these drive the language: Story-driven writing

What could your purpose-driven statement be?  Ensure you write it out once in full (4-5 sentences) then in one sentence, and simpler still, again in a short phrase.
 

Are you Selling them Functions, but Missing their Emotional Needs?

Anthony Robbins found that people have certain emotional needs that underly their actions:

  • Certainty/Comfort
  • Variety
  • Significance – e.g. social status, a high sense of worth
  • Connection/Love
  • Growth
  • Contribution

Which of these needs is most driving your users or clients?  When most makers and doers talk about what they do, they focus on form and function. But what the customer wants is usually stemming from an emotional need.
 
And that emotional benefit will be a more powerful motivator than a set of features. That’s why a lot of mass advertising concentrates on a tangible customer benefit or outcome. Rather than talk about the beans in the coffee, they share a good brew with family (connection/love)… or seem to become more attractive with a celebrity (significance)
 
Is there some hidden value in your offering that overrides any penny-pinching they might have?

 

Client Segmentation and Common Needs

Another aspect of Integrated Marketing is research into needs of your clients.  There will be various personalities that come to your site or presentations… and although each will have stronger need for say security, or new tech, or more status, a lot of these personas will have common needs.
 
This breaking up of customers into defined groups to allow for targeted marketing is called customer segmentation. This is kind of faceless stuff, like Marketing Mgrs & Directors, companies that have 20-50 employees, etc. It doesn’t get to the reasons for doing business with you.
 
But customer personas allows for a deeper kind of analysis.
 
Let’s look at the varied customer personas for an integrative marketing & finance cloud consultancy. I’ve added some invented motivations:

…. Small business consultants – who want affordable solutions that free up time

…. Marcomms Managers – who want to look good to their leaders and create better efficiency in their department

…. Financial Controllers – who want to have tech that works much better than currently (a focus on detail) – which will help them worry less about accuracy.
 
There are two crossovers here in the drive for better efficiency, but the emotional needs are going to be more important.
 
In a full customer persona though, you will look at roles/responsibilities, pain points, their problems, what options they have for solving the problem, and how it informs their behaviour.  This full analysis will drive us to develop a better marketing message that speaks to their emotional needs.
 
Another aspect of integrated marketing strategy is defining the lifetime value of clients.

 

Client/Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

This is based on:

  • The last time they bought from you, how much? Work out the average value of a sale.
  • How many sales do you get per year?
  • How many years do they stay (on average)?

Multiply all these and then deduct the cost of doing a sale (acquisition cost) and direct overhead. This equals:  $….. for each client.
 
When you have the Client Lifetime Value, you can analyse various client segments and look at what is profitable. You’ll also know the value you can spend on marketing and understand why retention and loyalty is so important.
 
When you have CRM software that helps this along, such as Salesforce or Zoho, you can get a deeper understanding of CLV and multiple-time clients/buyers.
 
Then surveys (which test loyalty and assess advocates in an easy 1-10 scale) can indicate if your level of delivery is on target and if someone might promote your brand to others.
 
You might not even have a survey… but always have an option at the bottom of client induction forms to promote your service to their friends. This will indicate the percentage of people who feel confident enough to refer you or at least advocate your service. That’s why an online form is way better – it provides easy access to social sharing through share buttons.


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Clues to Your Clients: Finding Users Who Search

There are indications about what is most popular in your field that can be gathered from Google searches. This often shows up in Search Console data.

This does not mean the searchers are ready to buy – but an experienced marketer can understand what intent people will generally have by their keywords. Are they ready to hire or buy… or are they informing themselves with a longer question or general phrase?

So, keyword research is used here to find what part of the ‘customer journey’ they’re in when they come onto your blog or website pages. (Whereas other uses of these keywords come later on).

You can also use Google Trends for comparing 2-3 topics of competing trend searches that might be happening in your area. It can help with seeing the seasonal trends as well as what is growing in popularity over the past few years.


 

What Clever Integrated Marketing Strategy will you Form?

Now, you will need to gather all this data (keyword lists, Google Trends, and Search Console actual search keywords) into a clear and succinct marketing plan. This can then be used for:

  • planning website content, blogs, email content, event descriptions, etc
  • briefing external writers
  • your search engine marketing keywords and advertising

 

In the next step, you can plan a content calendar and associated images that meets the trends data, events in the world, and the needs of your defined client personas.
 


Thank you to Lynda.com ‘Building an Integrated Online Marketing Plan’ for the base theories in this article.
Please ask us for a free website content review or a personal briefing to better understand how content marketing can target key clients for you.
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10 Creative Service Marketing Ideas

Everyone in marketing is talking about customers, growth hacks, and selling more products. But if you’re a small service business, you have clients and services. Time is limited and that’s all you bill for.  Since the majority of blog talk these days is about product selling, you’ve just turned off from it.  What about new creative marketing ideas for your service…?  Here are some of the best.

 

Creative Service Marketing Ideas — Quick Wins

Marketing can be daunting these days. Do you start with posting images on social media?  Do you update your blog?

So many options… and yet there are amazingly skilled people who are not sharing their value with people of interest. Here are a few simpler methods, which can give you some quick wins:

    • Connect with educated people of interest on LinkedIn – and if appropriate, send them your free white paper (or any lead magnet) or event invite to your event. Also click Like on what they share.

 

    • Run a webinar on popular business issues from a slide show and notes – invite all your connections and Tweet about it 20 times over two weeks. Because webinars can be accessed from anywhere, you might get visitors from all over the world. Also post the final slides onto Slideshare, for higher visibility.

 

    • Create some audios (MP3s). Just record it to share with your blog readers and get it transcribed and edited (that’s a two step process). Editors in Australia can be found at the ipEd Directory or see our copy editors.

 

  • Referrals and word-of-mouth is gold. Remember at the end of all non-urgent business conversations to add “we rely on referrals and reviews to continue being of help”. Everybody likes to help, so it’s not a big ask.

While some of these ideas are content marketing, they were all selected because of the resounding success I have heard about from small business entrepreneurs, or experienced myself.

 

Five Longer Term, Brand-Building and Service Marketing Methods

creative marketing ideas
Writing a business-focussed book can be a good lead-in strategy as well, but since you have to write it first, it is less accessible.  When I wrote ‘Power Marketing’ from some experiences and lessons we had in business, some people asked me if I consulted in marketing. (I didn’t at the time).

Podcasting is another area of interest for the professionals. It seems lots of people have started one but those that keep going and market their podcast as well really seem to hit on a leveraged way to attract already warmed-up clients. Their voice is doing the work for them rather than them having that first conversation each time. Ensure that episodes are structured – then pay someone to design Podcast art and deliver it to iTunes and Soundcloud.

Speaking or having a stand at local business expos – if your target clientele will be there. If not too high an expense for you, this is a great opportunity to get in front of B2B people willing to grow and network. Those that aren’t wont be there! Remember to collect cards for a prize draw and if consented to on the form, these names can be put into your automated email system.

Publishing videos that highlight key problems or give valuable insights to users in that industry. Remember to make it broader than your business. Of course, add a link to your website in the description unless loading straight into Facebook.

Building long-term partnerships with other businesses who target the niche market you do. Especially if your time in this business has not been very long, but you have expertise, a partnership with an association, a visible blogger in your industry, or a media group will help you get more traction – while they get some key industry insights and give value to their readers. (More in the clever partnerships article by LittleBlackBook Marketing).

Do generous / crazy / amazing stuff and put out a press release each time. The press release should sound ‘real’ and be targeted to the readership of the paper, web portal or station. See ‘the Happiness Ninja’ for a great example of media promotion – see video.

 

Conclusion:

This list of creative marketing ideas is just the start! You can see there are many ways to create a strong brand presence in your own market. Publishing helpful and relevant content… plus building partnerships for leveraging your content… are the main ways suggested to aid brand visibility and get real leads.

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Fixing Follow-up Problems

When you’re busy, instigating proper follow-up marketing is often overlooked, unless you have a sales team. Many articles draw you into the lure of “sexier” marketing tactics and new ways to approach social media. Meanwhile that person who emailed you recently ‘just wondering’ is not receiving any further information after that initial response.

If you focus a lot of time and money driving new leads and prospects, but don’t follow up on the 80% or 90% of leads who are not yet ready to buy, your system has a lot of holes. And I hate waste! By fixing this follow-up marketing failure, your business can turn any type of leads into more workshop attendees, more clients, or reader fans.

Perhaps you’re better than most; maybe your business stays in touch with customers through a regular newsletter and various offer emails. That’s great, but you can still do better! For the marketer/author who desires to get their book or product to a bigger target market, it’s important to use strategic follow-up methods (often helped by email marketing software and attractive sign up forms).

This is much like a bricks and mortar business who uses personalised follow-ups to differentiate their business from others, often delighting prospects with how they approach and educate. When your marketing system is automated and streamlined, the fact is, you can promote with less money, but end up with more ready-to-buy people. That’s more people who would have slipped through your response system’s holes.

We advise to have autoresponders set up from your contact forms and have the email marketing system (with branded templates) send regular and thrilling content that is created by your content manager/copywriter.

Fixing Follow-up and qualifying is covered in Step 7 of The Differentiator Program by Power of Words. Get a preview of this in person (Redcliffe Qld), or coming soon, here online.

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The Introvert’s Guide to Content Marketing

In this golden age of the personal publisher, introverts must play to their strengths within content marketing. If you’ve ever read the book ‘Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’, then you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying. We introverts need to speak up, but in our own quiet way.

Are you good at asking questions, but self-conscious about making personal video? Then try Podcasting.

podcast content marketing

Podcast Your Way to a Larger Presence

Podcasting is the ‘slow burn’ way to attract a fan base. You own the podcast, so you also own the advertising that can be inserted in a short grab inside the show.

Keep in mind that shows seem better with two people, so invite multiple guest specialists to talk about a topic within your new genre range. It doesn’t matter if you only just cottoned on to the guru’s mantra, however, you will attract more top people if you really know your niche and can talk about it too.

To determine which category your tribe might seek, see Blogtalkradio.com (the talk radio and podcast platform) and iTunes for popular category ideas.
 

How do you Start Podcasting?

If you have a WordPress or Blogger site, then it’s a six-step process to get your RSS feed (linking the files) to connect to Apple iTunes. First, you’ll need to find a place to host your podcasts and apply post tags, categories, etc. Apple Podcasts Connect has a podcasting guide and best practices.

You’ll also need a good quality USB microphone (e.g. Nessie Blue), come up with a Podcast logo – which you could make on Canva for free – and plan how often you’ll produce an episode. It’s best to plan ahead a few podcast shows.

See ‘Amplify’ author’s podcast show, Bond Appetit, for a runaway success example — Ronsley Vaz is from Australia.
 

Video Killed the Radio Star

I know you won’t believe me, but video promotion is also for you, quiet one. Why? Well, there is no need to be outrageous on video. You can use your creativity, instead of speaking-to-camera-with-terror-in-your-eyes.

With Apple Keynote, you can put bullet-point presentations together with narration. It takes time though, so there is a faster way.

We use a tool that takes key points of a written blog post and through using a wizard, converts this text into video for marketing purposes. This will make a 1- or 2-minute image-plus-text-and-music video. Limitations are on the free version of these, but with a paid upgrade you can have full flexibility of timing, sound and ‘outros’ (little promos at the end).

Perhaps film in your local area in order to tell a story relevant to your target market. Of course, most modern smartphones have very good cameras built-in, but for some shots you might need a tripod and a digital camera. Try not to walk while filming, as this creates a lot of shake.

When you’ve perfected your video, it’s time to export it as a .mp4 (at 30 frames per second) and upload it to Youtube or Vimeo and add shorter ones to Facebook. You can boost your video post if you would like more views (that is, paying $7+).  For introverts, Facebook Live is a bit scary; it plays on our nervousness of impromptu public speaking.

Webinars that use your voiceover presentation are also a good idea because you can rehearse the critical points in your special presentation. You can do live webinars or ‘fake live’ ones with a webinar program called Everwebinar. Don’t you love the modern tools that let you sleep.

 

Blogging

Still a great way to attract a massive niche audience, blogging is not only for the confident confessor. There are all types of blogs for all kinds of people.

One quiet local computer repairer blogged a tip every time he learnt something new, which over the years brought thousands to his website.

While my own JenniferLancaster.com.au blog tells of the lessons I learned in publishing, branding, and book marketing, I also write on other diverse topics. So it’s best that these other articles are placed on another blog — because the audience is completely different. And Google search appreciates clarity.
 

What topics will attract your target audience?

For a successful strategy, you need to consider what information would attract those you can service or sell to. Are they looking to save money — or time? What language will you use? You might have a technical expertise… but need to write in analogies and everyday terms to help general small business owners understand the topic.

A further thing to consider is the concept of bias and social proof. If you can bring in an expert’s opinions, guest reviews or informal client stories, then you will begin to overcome your audience’s critical viewpoint and at the same time, give your blog more credibility.

Don’t forget to offer something relevant as a freebie (lead magnet) to invite those folk onto your email list.
 

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Stop those Money Leaks!

There are many, many things that cause money leaks in your financial affairs. Uncover some of the hidden things that can rob your savings, and find out what you can do about it through these tips.

Superannuation Leaks

If you’ve got multiple Super accounts, you’re in fine company; millions of us do.  The trouble is, each fund charges admin fees – and it’s hard to keep track of more than one fund and what each happens to be invested in. So little leaks occur each year, leading to a smaller savings pot for you.

Fees make a huge difference over time, so ensure that you’re not paying more than the average of 1% in administration fees in your super. If you already have life insurance, just check that automatic life insurance premiums are not also coming out of these other accounts. (My hubby was paying an extra $700 a year in insurance premiums – automatically elected!)

One-third of us have a rolled over account with Australian’s MySuper – as this is the government-regulated, default super account. Now, the Government is ensuring that accounts in Australian Super with less than $6,000 will be tracked and ‘looked after’ by the ATO, and you might find it through MyGov if you have a lost fund.

Performance is another strong factor to consider — look at this super comparison chart, which maps the performance of a $50,000 super account in an industry fund, a retail fund, or Australian Super. Look back at your annual super statements — how much did yours grow?  The asset allocation can make a huge difference — while my little fund grew by a total $20,000 over 5 years (only $2750 was voluntary), my spouse’s little fund hardly grew at all — with the insurance premiums and fees offsetting any value growth.

It’s all your money people — look after it! 

A big problem is the laissezfaire attitude of workers, as found during the Productivity Commission:

“There are many people who don’t even bother to check their fund balance when the statement arrives (or who don’t read the details). They don’t understand that the money they put aside till later is an investment that will grow.”  — InDaily

 

What to do about Multiple Super Accounts

Don’t let that be you. Register for and manage your super by creating a myGov account and link it to the ATO (it’s a simple step). You can then:

  • See details of all your super accounts, including any you have lost track of
  • Find lost super held by super funds that you can roll over into a super account of your choice
  • Find ATO-held super – if the government, your super fund or your employer can’t find an account to transfer your super into, the ATO hold it on your behalf
  • Combine multiple super accounts by transferring your super into your preferred super account, with a rollover form.

 

How to Select your Own Super Fund

The recent Productivity Commission found that many young workers were signed to the default fund for their award, and a non-performing Superfund at that. Look around and ensure you select a low fee-paying Superfund, an industry fund, to keep for the long term. Canstar is one place where a consumer can get reports.  With Canstar’s comparison chart, look for a fund with 5 stars – meaning it has been reviewed across all features and fees and rated among the better ones.

Australian Super came out on top for my age & fund amount, with my actual super fund (Hesta) down in 13th position. I noticed though, that my statement does NOT show investment fees, only administration fees and contributions tax. I wonder where that’s hiding?

In the future, when younger people sign on for a new job, they should get the choice of going online into MyGov account and selecting their own Super fund for this new employer. Too easy!

______ Read my eBook How to Control Your Financial Destiny to gain a solid knowledge of investing and saving principles. It has good ROI 🙂 _______

Lost Bank Accounts. Lost Inheritances. Bonza!

About $1.3 billion in unclaimed funds is still available from old bank accounts, shares, investments and life insurance policies now matured, say ASIC MoneySmart. There are leaks all over the place – quick, grab me a money bucket!

Different types of funds are governed by different rules. Bank accounts become unclaimed (by ASIC) after 7 years if the account is inactive and over $500 (no deposits or withdrawals). So if you are looking for old account money, lost shares or lost life insurance funds, you will need to do an Unclaimed Money Search. Some figures below $500 will be held by the actual bank or another financial service. 

To claim, you will need to supply some credentials, such as a TFN, and your date of birth, and details of your search result (the OTN). Don’t forget to also type in your previous full name, if you changed your name by marriage or deed poll. State Revenue services also keep share dividends, funds from unclaimed wins, and life insurance payouts. See Unclaimed Money at ASIC Moneysmart.

Search State Revenue of NSW for unclaimed share dividends and managed funds, if you have lived there: http://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/ucm/search

If you’re struggling with it – just contact me and I’ll help you get started.


Unclaimed Estates

Lots of people have died and left their assets behind, having lost touch with relatives. If there was no will and no probate granted and you’re a relative, you might have a shot at claiming the estate assets. You’ll need to provide ASIC with certain information about your personal details and relationships.

Since 2009, first cousins can also apply to unclaimed estates, but they wait behind brothers, sisters, parents, children, spouses, and grandparents.

See ASIC instructions for claiming intestate estates: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/find-unclaimed-money/claim-money-from-shares-and-investments

Deceased members’ superannuation also becomes unclaimed by other parties when “the superannuation provider, after reasonable efforts and time, cannot ensure the benefit is received by the person entitled to receive it.” (NSW Office of State Revenue)

It’s a good idea to nominate your next of kin on your Superannuation fund, so benefits can be shared to them without delay upon your untimely demise.

Don’t Pay Interest & Fees on Credit Cards

ASIC say that we owe nearly $32 billion and an average of $4,200 per card holder (interest $692 p.a.).

So a key savings tip is to work out your card Annual Fee/s + average interest paid + any other fees (it could be say, $800 p.a.). That’s a high price to pay for the convenience of short-­term lending, plus a few points… perhaps a free magazine.

Business Leaks

Finally, if you’re in any kind of business – from direct sales/party plan to a larger company, you can find money leaks too. They may be in the form of unused online subscriptions. Look at all your online subscriptions and see which ones are not needed or are too high a level. I found that Adobe Spark premium is free with my InDesign and replaces Canva in its capability. That saves me $15 per month.

For companies, it may be about over-charged accounting fees. Rely on your accountant for advice, but don’t pay crazy fees. e.g. You can transfer from a sole trader to a company for around $800 online at an ASIC-registered incorporation provider, and just pay for the structure advice separately beforehand with your normal accountant. Save yourself there.

If you have been talked into a Trust but only run a micro business that is low-ish risk, then look at why you are paying out trust accounting fees and admin per year. Essentially, that is eating into your profits.

 

This article was written by Jennifer Lancaster (c) Copyright 2018. Please support her writing by buying the money and mindset book for Aussies which interests you the most.

Shortcuts to content marketing

Shortcuts to Content Marketing

Over the past six weeks, I’ve been learning different ways to improve business. Not just mine, but every client business that I help as well. I went to the business improvement conference ‘52 Ways’ put on by Business Blueprint. Dale talked a lot about systems and clever online apps, i.e. shortcuts to success.

Apps for creating great content are helpful time-savers and shortcuts also keep the cost of content creation down, if we are judicious.

Yet you don’t want to be shortcutting your way to low quality and inconsistency. Those posting inconsistently and offshoring a lot of content creation/writing will find that the outcome of content marketing is poor…

Indeed, according to Content Marketing Institute, the professional B2B marketers feeling most successful have clarity on what success in content marketing looks like. The top two contributing factors of those who felt their marketing was more successful this year (2017) were:

  • Doing a better job with content creation and
  • Developing or adjusting the content strategy.

Documenting their content marketing strategy is also one of the markers of success.

 

Small Business Content Marketing

If you can’t afford an agency though, where do you go to get promotional images or written content? What shortcuts can you use? Do you know your brand voice? What about story? What persona am I selling to?

Why are we even creating the content? Is it to be a leader in the niche? Or is it more defined and your team wants to highlight a new offering in a subtle and persuasive way?

It is for all these reasons that an external freelance marketer can help your business soar. Rather than a hefty set-up and monthly agency fee, the freelancer can charge per hour, per project (for campaigns or static pages), or for amped up results, as an equity share (plus expenses).

Many stable small businesses have nobody with a background in permission-based marketing. So they go at content marketing with an advertising framework, expecting instant results. Traditional advertising is usually two simple steps:  advertise to attract customers, the advert begs them to contact the business or (if a larger business) sets the branding tone.

While content marketing and advertising online can go hand-in-hand very successfully, a planned content strategy in a longer-term tool that is best viewed as a four-step process.

 

One:   Advertise content (landing page) OR develop content that attracts web visitors.

Two:   Get permission to give relevant content to wonderful person in exchange for email.

Three:  Email with informative material (or perhaps call for a free appointment) to wonderful person to convince of your value.

Four:  Finally, pitch for a trial of your service or sell a related product. (Product related to all your lead magnets and emails)

 

So, you can see that there is more to this system – and there are a lot of little online steps to be set up too. At no point do you want pages (thank-you page, download page) and downloadables going up online, with no idea of whether they work.

 

Other Benefits of Using a Freelance/Contracted Marketer

If contracted over a longer period, the Freelance Marketer can build ideas through briefing, Brainstorming and content arcs. (Content arcs are monthly or quarterly themes that you can write about).

They can also bring their constant learning and knowledge of better apps to your business – rather than having a staff member struggle through learning a complex and expensive program.

So always get the best quality content and use the best person that you can find to do your content marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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