Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Key Learnings from my Four Favourite Business Books

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One of the main problems with reading a constant stream of business books is that each comes multitude of different ideas and strategies.

Obviously, it is impossible to take every idea and implement them into your business – no small business owner has the time or capacity to do so.

Instead, I have experimented with various strategies over time to see what will work for me (and what doesn’t). Through this experimentation, I’ve found that each of my favourite books has a key learning that I use in my everyday business life. In this blog, I’ll share those learnings with you…

Books to Read

“The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy

The main premise of Hardy’s book is common sense when you stop and think about it. Each day, we constantly make small, inconspicuous decisions that shape the outcomes that we achieve in our lives. By making incremental changes to these decisions, we can achieve any goal that we set for ourselves – in health, family or business.

For example, if we consciously plan to add one extra social media marketing post into our daily business routine, we will reap the benefits down the track as our online footprint will be much larger than it is today – all because of the compounding effect of that small change we made.

“18 Minutes” by Peter Bregman

The key take-away point that I found in “18 Minutes” is to devote a small amount of time each day ensuring that the focus of your daily tasks is aligned with your overall objectives.

The “18 minutes” is used when you devote:

  • Five minutes at the start of business to clarify that all planned work is aligned with your overall objectives.
  • One minute at the start of each business hour double-checking that focus is adhered to.
  • Five minutes at the close of business determining the following day’s outline and plan.

“The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber

Gerber, through an engaging narrative style, encourages his readers to establish their businesses in a franchise-style – just like McDonalds – regardless of their size or employee numbers. He believes that through the creation and use of Operations Manuals, a business can provide quality and consistent service at all times, regardless of the employee delivering that service.

One thing that makes this book stand out to me is the multitude of real-life examples that Gerber uses throughout to illustrate his ideas and teachings. The book is very easy to read (almost in one sitting) and it makes you want to “spring into action” after you close the final page.

“Getting Things Done” by David Allen

Known as GTD, the process outlined in this book is almost gospel to some people. Once implemented, GTD helps shape the way you organise and complete tasks, anywhere in your life. It is so popular in fact that several software apps have been specifically designed to cater for devotees of the GTD method.

However, the GTD process wasn’t the main take-away for me. I was engaged by the phrase – “Your mind is for having ideas – not storing them”. Every day, so many things pass through our brains, it is impossible to mentally store each one away for further contemplation or action later. Rather than lose any ideas, I now keep a constant supply of Post-It notes close by and record anything and everything. The notes are then stuck to my computer screen for later processing.

In conclusion, please remember that these books have far more to offer than just the learnings that I have outlined above and I heartily encourage all small business owners to read each book. Take notes as you do – on post-it notes of course.

If you do come away with something totally different from one of the above books, let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this Blog…

How to Revitalise a Boring Website for the New Year

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New Years ResolutionsThe New Year always feels the right time to make changes – either in our own personal lives or in what we do throughout the year.

Some people resolve to lose weight, others want to quit a bad habit and some might just want to be better with their finances. It’s a perfect time to hit the “reset” button and start over with whatever we want to achieve.

So why not put together a News Year’s Resolution for your weary small business website?

There’s no better time than the present to take that old, tired website and give it a little bit of “love and commitment”. It’s not hard to breathe new life into a dead website and give your target audience what they need – an easy way to find and engage with your business.

Commit the time to make it WORK

Contrary to the belief of some small business owners, a website is not a guaranteed magic bullet for business success. Too many people believe that once a site is online, everything else will happen by “natural” causes. Nothing could be further from the truth – your site may not even be noticed by Google if you don’t put some effort in to get some attention.

Set aside a small chunk of your time each day (or a larger chunk each week) and commit yourself to making your site a success. The amount of time is up to you but this time should be spent on creating new content for your visitors, optimising your site for search engines, gathering customer testimonials for display or any range of website-related tasks. Try something new every week.

Get Some Inbound Love

Inbound LoveIf your site is low on inbound traffic, use your existing industry connections to turn it around in 2017.

You can reach out to your connections in a variety of ways: – through your blog (as we do every couple of weeks), your social media promotions, viral videos (with your web address clearly displayed), email newsletters or even your local newspaper. Anywhere there is an opportunity to create a connection.

Whatever the method you choose – the end-goal is always to boost the online traffic heading into your website so be sure to provide an inbound link in each situation.

Add Value for your Visitors

Once you’ve got visitors coming to your site (inboard), the trick is to keep them satisfied and make them want to return again and again.

The key to this step is answering this simple question – “Why are they coming?”

Nine times out of ten your visitors will be looking to somehow engage with your business. They will be looking for help on using your services, or maybe some more information on your products or, our favourite, just wanting to make a purchase?

Once you have worked out why customers are coming to your site, the next bit is simple –
Give ‘em what they want!

Freshen up that tired old site.

Freshen up that tired old siteThe final step in giving your website a new lease on life in 2017 involves stepping back and taking a cold-hard look at the current state of your site.

Use these questions as a guide: –

  • Does my site look like it belongs to a previous decade (maybe the 90’s)?
  • Is the site “responsive” to viewing on tablets and smart phones?
  • Are my key offerings easy to access and immediately identifiable?
  • Does my business brand match my online presence?
  • Do I offer helpful content to my site visitors? Do I give them value?
  • Can people find my website?

Providing the solution to each of these questions and implementing them on your website will put your site in a prime position for online success in 2017.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!

If your small business website needs any help to make your New Year’s Resolution a reality, get in touch with us at Rusty Mango Design and let’s make 2017 the best year for your website yet!

Five Simple Ways to Make Money from your Website

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Boosting the bottom line of a small business should be the core principal behind any new web site development.

Rusty Mango Design - Small Business BlogWhether it be from service awareness, online bookings or product sales (as examples), a website must be utilised in such a way to help a business generate increased income. After all, an income is what allows business owners to further development their companies, pay their employees and live the life that they want with their families.

Making this income via your website is actually easier than you think.

To get you on the right track and grow a site into a “money-making” machine* – here’s five simple ways that your website can make money for your business:

* no guarantees here unfortunately….

#1 – An Online Store

If you have any kind of product to sell, the “no-brainer” way to make money is to establish your website as an eCommerce store. An eCommerce store, if set up correctly, basically does all the work for you – with the exception of purchasing stock and sending packages out the door. Your customer select products in the online store, pays online via a multitude of methods and then selects the preferred shipping to their address.

The current eCommerce program of choice for Rusty Mango Design is the excellent WooCommerce plugin for WordPress. WooCommerce is an affordable option for small business that is highly customisable to any individual store’s requirements.

#2 Google AdSense
Rusty Mango Design - Small Business Blog
For the uninitiated, Google AdSense is a system used by website owners to make money by displaying Google ads. Perfect for individuals and service operators, the ads that are displayed on your website usually compliment the services you provide so for example, Rusty Mango’s blog could display ads for web server companies such as Digital Pacific.

The system works by crediting your Google account each time a site visitor clicks on an Ad. Once the credit in the account reaches a certain amount. depending on where you are in the world, you receive a payment into your bank account from Google.

#3 Affiliate Links

Affiliate links work in much the same way as Google AdSense however they are generally set-up by individual companies. An advertisement is displayed on an affiliate business’ website and for every sale that is made through that advertisement (i.e. on your website), the business earns a small commission. It can be very effective – Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income made over $87,000 in October 2016 – all through his affiliate links.

#4 Online Courses

Many small business operators have a wealth of knowledge to be shared with their customers. Often this knowledge is given away for free in the form of advice and instructions.

The alternative to giving this information away is to structure it into an online course. The course can be delivered in video, audio, written, interactive or any combination of the four. Through the introduction of a simple payment gateway (monthly or overall course payments), participants can access the course material and use it at their own pace. The added advantage of this is that the information only has to be created / delivered once before being used many times over.

#5 Online Bookings
Rusty Mango Design - Small Business Blog
Perfect for service industries, a website with a booking system allows a business to “fill up” their time schedules without even picking up the phone. This model is used globally by hotels/motels, doctors, chiropractors, electricians and even plumbers. A simple calendar allows potential customers to see what timeslots are available and book their service to suit their own needs.

Some sites even take care of payments at the same time – removing the need for invoicing at a later date.

Conclusion

Please note that all the methods above need one important thing to get started – Site Traffic. Creating a steady flow of Site Traffic is a whole industry in itself but for the site manager, there are three simple keys to get right (and we’ll cover these in more detail in a future post): Effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), content that makes your site enticing and worthy of a visit and finally, good reasons for your target audience to return again in the future.

With quality offerings, effective site practices and a target audience wanting to buy, any website can start generating a passive income that can be re-invested into your small business and boost it to the next level.

Does your Small Business even need a Website?

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Does your Small Business even need a Website?Yes.

Simple answer, isn’t it?

Oh, you still need more convincing?

Alright then – here’s ten good reasons why your small business needs to get its act together and get an online presence:

#1– The World’s largest Consumer Base

Over 3.2 billion people use the internet in some form on a regular basis, and from that enormous number, it is estimated that at least 80% have purchased goods or services online. That’s roughly 2.6 billion potential customers for you!

Any small business without an effective website is missing out on their piece of the action.

#2 – The Digital Consumer

The internet is now 25 years old – some of your potential customers don’t know a world without it. Your business needs a web presence to engage with the modern digital consumer – they are unlikely to look for you anywhere else.

#3– You can be Available 24/7

Consumers expect to have information accessible to them around the clock from a variety of sources and this includes from your business. A website makes you available 24/7 (even while you are asleep) to provide information, product help and online sales.

#4 – Engage with your Customers

A website helps you connect with your customers on an almost social level. You can communicate through the comments of a Blog (like this one), a website forum that you moderate or via the many channels of Social Media that are available for use. A simple social connection can often be the key to a successful business relationship.

#5– Create a Hub for your Marketing

Got a new product that you want to shout about to the world? Unleash the marketing power of the internet and spread the word like wildfire using your website as the hub and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn as the tools to “hook” people in.

#6 – Customer Support

Reduce the number of customer support calls to your small business with the inclusion of “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” page on your website. For more sticky problems that need one-on-one attention, integrate a ticketing system on the site that can be answered promptly by your staff.

#7 – Match it with the “Big Guys”

With a solid online strategy and a well-built website that people can find easily, your business can take on the larger corporations at their own game. On face value, the internet is a great leveller of the playing field – you don’t need the large payroll or a skyscraper in a capital city to make an impact.

#8– Instant Credibility

A professional website with the right information allows your business to attain instant credibility in the eyes of both your potential customers and other businesses. A quick online search by these people could quite easily be the deal maker or breaker, depending on what they find online.

# 9 – Physical Phone Directories are DEAD

 If you need any proof of this, take note that both the Yellow Pages and Local Directories are now offering website services. This hasn’t stopped them still charging an absolute mint for listing in their telephone books however, by branching out, they have acknowledged that online is where the modern consumer is looking for goods and services.

#10 – Build an Audience for your Business

Even if your customers are not in the market right now, an online presence allows you to keep their attention so that when they do need something, your business will be “front of mind”. Social Media, email newsletters, podcasts and video tutorials are just some of the ways you can continue to engage with your customers until they need you again.

Put simply – if you want to grow your business in today’s digital age, it needs a website. Considering the continual evolution of our online population and the growth of businesses who are on the Internet, it could be expensive for your business NOT to have a website.

I’ll bet that your competitors do.

If this article has helped you make a decision about your business’ online presence, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design for a free website development quote.

Five Internet Strategies that could save your Small Business

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Let’s be clear from the very beginning – using the internet for small business is NOT the guaranteed golden bullet solution to all your problems. The addition of an online presence will not automatically turn your fortunes around. Running your own website, engaging customers on social media and selling products online takes effort and hard-work – as will all the strategies outlined in this post.

The internet definitely offers you more avenues to market your business than ever before. You can generate followers and advocates that will purchase from (and market) your business 24/7, sometimes without any one-on-one interaction from you.

Below, there are five online strategies outlined that your business can employ to help raise awareness of your business and its offerings and, most importantly, boost that bottom line.


#1. Boost your Facebook Posts

Facebook BOOSTEver seen the big BOOST button on your Facebook page?

This is the button you will see next to any posts you have made. With the power of a BOOST (and a minimum spend of $7/day), you can actually display your posts in the Facebook feeds of a very specific audience. These people are the prime candidates to which you want to market your products and services.

For example, our local dance shop is selling Fascinators for the upcoming races in town. With Facebook BOOST advertising, they can target:

Women, who like Fashion, and live within 50 miles* of the town, in the 18-50 age group

With targeted boosts, you get your message sent out exactly where you want it to go – much better than casting a broad net and hoping you catch something.

* Not a typo – Facebook, an American company, measures in miles regardless of your location.


#2. Build an eCommerce Store

eCommerce online storeCoupled with the low overheads associated in running an online store alongside your “bricks and mortar” business, there are two major advantages for building your own online store

Firstly, an eCommerce store can sell your products and services 24/7– your customers don’t have to wait for the doors to open or for you to even be available. A good online store is set up to run automatically with payment options and shipping processes integrated.

Secondly – your online store is capable of selling anywhere in the world. Your customer base is dramatically widened beyond the immediate geography of your shopfront. If someone on the other side of Australia (or the world) wants to buy your goods, they can access your online store and make the purchase whenever they want.


#3. Provide 24/7 Customer Service

Customer ServiceGood customer service can be time intensive, and sometimes very repetitive with no immediate remuneration for your time.

With a website, you can off-set some of the repetitive parts of your customer service through the use of frequently asked questions (FAQs), video tutorials and downloadable help sheets (Bunnings are the masters of this) to name just a few. 

Setting up your website’s customer service area properly would be time well spent as the support you provide online can save you hours either on the phone or answering emails.

 

 


#4. Plan and maintain a Content Marketing strategy

Content MarketingContent marketing is a must have on any small business website. To clarify, Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and producing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that attracts and retains your target audience. It is also a key element of the Google search algorithm, helping to determine your website’s placement in search results.

How do you create an effective Content Management Strategy?

  • Decide on your content mediums according to your strengths and your target audience (Blog, videos, podcasts, newsletters….)
  • Generate a plan in calendar format which includes the dates, topics and mediums for the creation of your content. This includes social media updates and blog posts.
  • Stick to the plan – consistency is the key to success!
  • Monitor your traffic to gauge the success of each item. This will give you valuable information in relation to what is working and what isn’t.

#5. Give Email Marketing a try

Email MarketingIf you are thinking of employing an email marketing approach to broadcast your small business, you can’t look past MailChimp (no affiliation with Rusty Mango). It has almost everything built-in to help you create great looking emails, distribute them and, most importantly, keep you within the law regarding SPAM.

Note: You cannot send emails from a business in Australia to anyone you like. You must have the recipient’s permission or an existing customer relationship with that person.  For more information, take a look at the Spam Act 2003.

Using MailChimp (and common sense), you can create an email campaign that drives business to your website and your physical store:

  • Use a pop-up plugin on your website to acquire email addresses from your site visitors. Some of these can be set up to send collected addresses directly to MailChimp.
  • Create list of your existing customer’s emails. Excel is a good way to do this as you can import spreadsheets to MailChimp.
  • Using one of the many templates, create your first email newsletter. Re-purpose some of the content that you have created for your site – blog entries are perfect for this!

MailChimp has a built-in unsubscribe option. Recipients of the email simply have click Unsubscribe in the footer of the email and MailChimp will automatically remove them from the list, satisfying another condition of the Spam Act.


Conclusion

The real secret to a successful and productive online presence for your small business is summed in one word – consistency. Your website cannot be a stagnant brochure for your business, it needs to be dynamic, helpful and must reinforce your position as an expert in your field with quality service and/or products. Make an effort to set aside 15 minutes a day and develop each of the strategies into a workable system for you – the rewards for your business will become clear in no time at all.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? If your business needs help developing any of the strategies above, please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design – we love to help small business!

The power of a #Hashtag

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The Power of a HashtagTwitter, the 140 word social media platform, has been with us since 2006 and one could excused for thinking that the #hashtag has been with us just as long. However the first tweets that featured a #hashtag actually appeared a year later when user Chris Messina decided to create a method of grouping like-minded tweets into the same clusters.

Nowadays, the #hashtag is an integral part of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and even Facebook. It can be used as a powerful tool for online marketing and any business owner who wants to drive their social media marketing on to success need to master their usage.

Choosing the right #hashtag to engage with your target audience needs some thought and practice. They are very similar to the keywords that are used in conjunction with search engines to find a website, if the wrong words are chosen then the results won’t point towards your business and you risk missing out on potential engagements.

Thankfully, it is not too hard to select #hashtags that will work for you. Here’s some simple items to consider when using #hashtags on your Social Media marketing:

  • Ensure that the #hashtag is relevant to the topic. Don’t be obtuse.
  • Take a look around the web and use #hashtags that are already in circulation. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own but commonly used tags have already got a “readership”.
  • When creating unique #hashtags, use words that will directly link back to your business. For example, if I were tagging marketing memes, I could start a “trend” with #rustysmarketingmemes. Watch that you don’t be too broad, as tags can be hijacked, leading to detrimental effects for your business.

The perfect mix for #hashtags in any single Social Media commentary is between one and two. Any more and research has shown there is a 17% drop in engagement. That said, #hashtags in your tweets, posts and pins increase the chances of your message being passed along to others. You’ll also be surprised as to how many followers you will attain – people monitor for hashtags rather than tweets.

At the end of the day, as with any Social Media, there is an inherent risk involved. Don’t share anything in your posts (along with those hashtags) that may have a negative effect on your business or personal life. Think before you post/tweet.

As already stated, the #hashtag is a powerful tool and can be made to work for your business. Smart companies like Black Milk Clothing have built themselves successfully through smart Social Media marketing and there is no reason other businesses can’t follow in their footsteps. Integrate a Social Media plan featuring the use of clever #hashtags with your regular business website and help your online traffic grow.

 

In 2015, every Small Business NEEDS to get online!

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Every Small Business needs a siteCompared to traditional marketing methods, it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to kick into action. And, if you want you can pass it all over to someone else to build and maintain it for you. Yet more than 35% of all Australian small businesses still don’t have a website. With statistics revealing that 92% of people in 2014 were searching online for products and services, there are a lot of small businesses that are missing out on potential customers.

Small business owners who don’t have sites generally believe that a website won’t do anything for them, they think it will cost them too much or claim that they just don’t have the time for one. However those who have moved their businesses online can easily show naysayers that by including websites in their marketing plans, they have improved their bottom line, saved on marketing costs and, importantly, exposed their business to a wider audience.

Take a look at the three examples below. These are not your traditional online types but each can still take advantage of a customised online presence:

Office Supplies

A small stationery supplier in a regional town can still grab a chunk of the online market away from the big boys – without breaking the bank. Now, they may not be able to compete with stores such as Officeworks on price, due to the sheer bulk purchasing of the chain stores, however they can exploit and utilise one huge advantage – simple convenience.

Imagine that you require stationery supplies delivered to your door and – you want them now! There is no way you will receive next day delivery of any of these supplies in a small town – even if you pay for the premium postage. What if you could log into your local store’s website, make and pay for an online order and the goods were delivered within the hour (free of charge) to your business door?

That would certainly level the playing field in the local store’s favour. Cost vs convenience – I know which one I choose when I need something fast.

Bed and Breakfasts

A small B&B in regional Queensland has one small cabin for bookings, overlooking the beautiful Goldsborough Valley. With only one cabin on offer, traditional advertising makes it very hard for potential guests to call up and find available dates. With a website however, all bookings can be moved online.

Site visitors can view a calendar integrated into the site that displays available dates, potentially booked dates (that have not been confirmed) and dates that are booked-out. The site owner can easily keep track of upcoming bookings and contact new bookings for confirmation.

Plus, these bookings can be made 24/7 – no need to answer a phone.

Example: http://cairnsgwaybb.com/

Agricultural Services

Up here in beautiful North Queensland, we have a multitude farms with all varieties of produce year round – tomatoes, bananas, coffee, pawpaw and, of course, sugar cane to name just a few. Whilst most of these farms can benefit from getting online, like Liverpool River Bananas and Madella Coffee have, it’s the support agencies that work alongside these farmers that could really improve their services with an digital presence.

Growers Associations such as Burdekin Productivity Services supply their members with the latest information, weather and crop reports as well as industry news via a well-maintained website. No more group emails, phone calls, costly printed reports or newspaper articles – the association can update their sites daily at no cost (other than employee time) to ensure that their members are completely up-to-date with their industries information. For even more interaction, Association sites could incorporate forums and blogs allowing its members to converse and share their own information.

http://bps.net.au/

Regardless of the type of small business, more consumers than ever before are searching for services and products online using smart phones, tablets and computers. This upward trend in usage is increasing each day and small businesses without a site may be missing out on their own slice of the online pie. Even those who have a site may be missing out if their current setup is not utilising all the various options available to it.

Is your small business taking full advantage of online possibilities?

 

 

 

Creating your own email campaign

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Rusty Mango Design recently sent out the very first issue of our e-newsletter (issue #2 is currently under production) and the response to it has been very positive. Some customers have asked how mailing lists and e-newsletters all work, so in this post, I will detail how you can build a mailing list of your own and export it before switching to MailChimp and creating your newsletter campaign.

Spam Laws

Before we look at how to create a mailing list and use it to promote your business, let’s take a quick look at the Australian SPAM act.

It is vitally important to know that the SPAM Act of 2003 explicitly defines SPAM as any commercial electronic information (emails, SMS, etc.) that are sent to individuals without their consent. If you fail to comply with the Acts stringent rules, there are very hefty fines and penalties. Your business must only send messages to people that have given you their expressed or inferred consent.

Expressed consent means that you have clearly explained to the owner of an email address why you are collecting it before they give it to you. This can be done quite simply as shown in the example below. People who sign up for Rusty Mango’s free e-book are also made aware they are signing for the RMD newsletter as well.

Create your own email campaign

Inferred consent revolves around having an ongoing business relationship with a person who has previously provided their contact details.

For more information about the SPAM ACT 2003, visit http://bit.ly/1AzSCB5

Collect Email Addresses

Create your own email campaignAs shown above, collecting email addresses can be as simple as creating a sign-up form on your website (for Rusty Mango websites, the CONTACT FORM plugin is built into your CMS). On your sign-up form, be sure to also explain how often the emails will be received. Make sure it is enticing without being overloading. Advice – don’t send out an email newsletter every single day – you will scare off your prospects before they even sign up.

As the email addresses come in, collect them with your email program of choice – The procedure for Outlook 365 is shown below – but most programs are fairly similar. 

Click on the PEOPLE tab (in older versions, this was called CONTACTS).

Right-click on the side panel and create a new folder for your Mailing List contacts.

Add all emails for your mailing list to this folder.

Create a mailing list from your contacts

To create a mailing list to export to MailChimp, you must gather all those email addresses into a CSV file (CSV – comma separated values).

Outlook Instructions:

Click on the FILE menu button at the top of screen.

From the next screen, choose OPEN & EXPORT

Select Import / Export

In the pop-up window, choose EXPORT TO A FILE. Click NEXT.

Choose Comma Separated Values. Click NEXT.

In the next screen you will need to look through and find the Mailing List Contacts folder that you created to collect all your addresses. Click NEXT.

Choose the location where you want to save these files. Click NEXT.

Click NEXT again and FINISH.

Create your own email campaign Create your own email campaign Create your own email campaign

Sign up for Mail Chimp

MailChimpFinally, to create and send out your newsletter to your mailing list, I can highly recommend MailChimp (with no bias or commission).

MailChimp is completely free for list with less than 2000 subscribers, it uses a very simple wizard to guide you through the whole process and it also has dozens of templates that you can use to make your newsletter look professional. Every email that is sent has a small clickable link to let viewers see the email in plain text too.

When planning my email newsletter, I draft it out on Microsoft Word first then copy and paste it across to the MailChimp template.

An email newsletter is a great way to send out special offers, news and information to your customer base. For prospective customers, it can really help to establish the sender as an industry leader who is worthy of their business.

If you would like to become part of the Rusty Mango Design mailing list and receive our free e-book and bi-monthly newsletter, visit the home page of our website and sign-up.

 

Week 10 of 52 – Email Marketing and the Spam Act 2003

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Watch out for the Spam ActWhilst getting myself organised to release the very first issue of the Rusty Mango e-newsletter (currently about six months in the making now), I thought it would be perfect timing take a quick refresh on the basics of the  Spam Act of 2003. This Act outlines how commercial electronic messages (emails and texts) should be sent out to recipients by businesses and various organisations across Australia. There are some pretty serious fines involved if these laws are not adhered to so it’s important to have a firm grip on what’s involved before sending anything out at all.

By definition in the Spam Act, a commercial electronic message is a message that:

  • offers, advertises or promotes the supply of goods, services, land or business or investment opportunities.
  • advertises or promotes a supplier of goods, services, land or a provider of business or investment opportunities.
  • helps a person dishonestly obtain property, commercial advantage or other gain from another person.

The Act works out the commercial nature of a message by checking out the content, the way the message is presented and any links, phone numbers or contact information that may lead to content with a commercial intent.

When sending a commercial electronic message, there are three key areas that you must carefully consider: Consent, Identify and Unsubscribe.

Do you have the consent of the recipient?

You must only send commercial electronic messages to people if they have provided you with their expressed or inferred consent.

Inferred consent regards those customers that you maintain an ongoing relationship with and they have previously provided contact details.
As a guide, one-off purchases are not regarded as a basis for inferring consent.

Expressed consent is the permission you have received directly from the recipient where they have asked that you send them further information. This is found on most websites in the form of a subscription button but ensure that you make it very clear what will be received in returned and how often.

Does the message clearly identify how it is from?

All commercial electronic messages must contain accurate contact information that clearly identifies the business (or person) who is sending the message. This information must remain accurate for a minimum of 30 days after the message has been sent.

Can the recipient easily unsubscribe from the email messages?

All messages must have clear options to unsubscribe regardless of how long (or short) they are. This allows the recipients the ability to “opt out” of receiving further communications. Once someone has taken this option, it must be honoured within five working days or penalties may be applied. Just like the information identifying the business, the unsubscribe link must be valid for thirty days after the message has been received.

There it is in a nutshell. If a business sticks to these fairly simple guidelines, it should be fine to send out its electronic messages without a problem. But please take note that this information has been provided as a guide only. The team at Rusty Mango Design does its utmost to make sure that the information on our web site and blog is accurate and helpful at all times. But, we can’t ultimately warrant the accuracy of all information and will not be held responsible or liable for how you use it with your business or organisation. Check out the Spam Act for yourself at ACMA’s Spam Act and Codes of Practice page for more detailed information and to make your own judgements.

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Week 5 of 52 – Fresh Content: The Secret Ingredient to your online marketing success

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Fresh Content = SuccessA small amount of research into promoting your site with the search engines will always uncover the same simple fact: fresh content on a website = more chance of success with those search engines. Even with Google frequent updates of their search algorithm (the “secret sauce” they use to rank web pages), site content has always a vital factor in determining the way that a site appears in search rankings.

But in addition to this search ranking, the actual content of a website determines its success in the long run for a number of factors. Without the content being of some value to those visiting the site, a web page will quickly lose potential customers and fade into obscurity.

Fresh site content encourages your visitors to return

If the first impressions of your website are positive and the visitor immediately feels that there is benefit in doing so, they may “bookmark” your site for future reference. But what happens when they return in a couple of months and find that the content of the site has not changed and has not been updated? There goes that bookmark!

Adding a Blog to your site allows you to sit down (once a week or once a month) and add fresh information for your site visitors. Adding a Social media (or two) such as Facebook or Twitter can also be of benefit as whenever you post a status update or a tweet, these will be “beamed” straight to your website. Viola – instant content!

But you can’t just post any old information and this leads us to the next point…

Fresh content provides value to your Site Visitors (for free!)

Your fresh content could be in the form of a Blog (originally known as web-log). In a blog, businesses could easily discuss industry relevant news such as the latest technologies being implemented. Alternatively, the Blog could the form of problem solving advice and tips (just like this one!). Or it could simply outline the movers and shakers in the company that month. Whatever the Blog’s theme, the most important factor is to provide the site visitor with information that they will value and return for more in the future.

Browsing through business websites, it’s clear that many have chosen this option however it is also apparent that most blogs are drastically out of date. I must admit that I was also guilty of an outdated blog. This neglect has been the impetus for the 52 week blog challenge I have given myself and, although it is only week five, seems to be giving me the motivation to sit down each week and share some “love” with my site’s visitors.

Valued Content = More Site Visitors = More Chance of Conversion

Fresh Content helps builds your personal brand as a KPI in your industry

Although the acronym KPI stands for “Key Performance Indicator”, it has also evolved to represent “Key Person of Influence” in business circles, both here and abroad. In order to become a “real” KPI, a business person must position their personal brand as a leader in their particular industry, a person for others to look to when they need advice or services.

To do this, a KPI must project their knowledge on the masses. What better place to do that than on your own website? With an adequate Social Media plan, any aspiring KPI’s could Blog, tweet and Facebook their way into the minds of their peers and prospective customers. Once again, the content of the site must be relevant, professional and project authority in the information that it presents.

This is a long-term strategy, not something that can be done overnight. But the entire process, whether KPI or not, will lead to higher quality content on the website and this can only be good for the online marketing of your business.

Conclusion

When a business fails to keep their website content current, they are diminishing the entire point of having a site in the first place. Admittedly, Bob’s Mowing Services probably isn’t going to have a lot of content to put online in the first place, let alone keep it fresh. But Bob’s search engine position isn’t as important as he probably has a fixed geographical range. On the other hand, a business that sells products or professional services online is automatically in competition with potentially thousands of other companies around the world. In this situation, it is paramount that their content be kept fresh and relevant to those potential clients who seek their services or products. Not only does fresh content make a business easier to find in the search engines but it increases the chances of a sales conversion.

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