Rusty Mango Design
FacebookLinkedInYouTube
Let's get your business online  Call Now  0488 406 050

Key Learnings from my Four Favourite Business Books

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.

Key Learnings from my Four Favourite Business Books

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…

 

“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…

Five Internet Strategies that could save your Small Business

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!

Make Twitter work for your business

Make Twitter work for your businessA huge chunk of the Social Media focus, especially in business terms, is given to either Facebook or LinkedIn. Poor little Twitter is often seen as the outsider. However, if you are looking to build your credibility and influence in the online world, there can be quite a bit of power in those 140 characters. The trick is to wield that power in such a way that you can build a following that works for you.

Below are a selection of tips that the small business owner can use with (and around) Twitter to create a following that will drive customers inbound to your website and ultimately, your business.

Tip #1 – Become a Tweeter worth following:

  • Whenever you are tweeting, be sure to post a variety of information that is relevant to your target audience. Create a mix of links, quotes, latest news, blog titles and retweets so that your followers can expect something a little different each time.
  • If someone follows you on Twitter, repeat the favour. As soon as they hook with up your Twitter, check out their profile and click their FOLLOW button. You may need to jettison them sometime in the future but, who knows, they might have an audience that you can reach into.
  • Always use hashtags to help your followers and potential audience find what they are looking for. With over 6000 tweets being sent out every second, hashtags allow followers to keep their Twitter viewing relevant.

Tip #2 – Get Visible

  • As detailed in the previous tip, searching is a great way to find other Twitter users in your industry’s area. Use this to seek out KPI’s (Key People of Influence) and industry commentators that you can follow. Two upsides for this trick: you’ll often find great content to retweet or repurpose for your own followers and, you may just score a “celebrity” follower – giving your own tweets more exposure (“Hey, guess who follows me now?”).
  • Don’t pretend to be the only source of information on Twitter – retweet the posts from others that you have found useful. The original poster will notice this action and may follow.  Plus your audience will benefit from someone else’s experience that you share.
  • For maximum exposure of your Twitter efforts, be sure to publish your Twitter tag everywhere (@RustyMango). Put it on your business cards, banners, signage, web sites and any traditional advertising so that you can get the Twitter conversation started.

Tip #3 – Act Strategically

  • Make sure your site has a Twitter FOLLOW button. If your site is built on WordPress, there are many excellent plugins that can help (https://wordpress.org/plugins/twitter-tweets-button/) or, alternatively, manually code the button into your site https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons ). Your site designer can help with this.
  • Offer value to your Twitter followers with the occasional voucher or coupon – exclusive just to them. Roscoes Piazza in Innisfail does this on some slow nights (“Guess how many boxes are stacked in the store tonight. Closest number wins a free family pizza!”)
  • Twitter only allows a maximum of 2000 people that you can follow at any one time. That is quite a hefty number however, if you find yourself going close, make sure that you unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you in return. Of course, make an exception for those on Twitter who provide you with worthwhile industry-specific tweets that you can pass on.

To keep a handle on all this Twitter action, use browser add-ons like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. These two “programs” will allow you to tweet, monitor your account, view retweets of your content and provide an easy way to regularly work on your Twitter campaign.

Make it a habit to tweet/retweet every day – it will keep you abreast of worthwhile content and information from around the web and help to establish yourself as an industry leader in the eyes of your followers.  

Creating your own email campaign

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.

 

Google’s “Mobilegeddon”

MobilegeddonSome small business owners may have noticed a change but the majority would not. Maybe the GoogleBot hasn’t swept by your site just yet. Even if it has, and your search ranking have taken a step backwards, it’s not the end of the world.

An unbelievable number of marketing bloggers have been all “doom and gloom” about the changes on April 21st to Google’s search ranking algorithm but it’s not the first time that changes have been made (it most probably won’t be the last either). Why are so many people excited about this one?

Let’s take a look at what is “Mobilegeddon”?

As of April 21st, 2015, Google will start using mobile friendliness as an integral part of their ranking calculations to determine search results. This means, in layman’s terms, that mobile-friendly sites will get a rewarded with a higher position in those results, while sites that aren’t responsive on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, will “significantly” drop in ranking.

Just how much that drop will be is still up for debate.

Is your website mobile-friendly?

Google, being the very helpful “big brother” that it is, has conveniently created a mobile-friendly test that will quickly determine whether your site makes the cut or not. The test also generates a breakdown of the various mobile elements of your site so that you can see where improvements need to be made. To examine your site for mobile friendliness, click here to visit the Google Mobile-Friendly Test page.

What if your site is not mobile friendly?

First of all – don’t panic. You won’t be removed from results altogether but there are things you need to do.

To be regarded as “mobile-friendly”, Google looks at the following:

  • On a mobile device, is the text readable without zooming?
  • Does the content of the site resize automatically to fit the screen?
  • Does the site use Flash? (Flash is not available on most mobile devices)
  • Can a user click links and buttons with a fingertip or stylus? How do they navigate around the site?

If you answer NO to any of the above questions then you may have a non-responsive site.

What are the options with a non-responsive site?

Achieving the parameters above is quite simple if your site is built on the WordPress framework.

Option #1:

You can download a free plugin called WP-Touch and configure it to display your site as a mobile theme. WP-Touch has a number of built themes that you can select to display your website. With some tweaking, you can achieve a decent variation of your main site.

Downside: Unless you are skilled in PHP and CSS (web coding languages), this option changes the on-screen appearance of your site and it will no longer match your branding from the desktop version.

Option #2:

Enlist the help of a web designer to alter your website at a foundation level to become a fully responsive website. A responsive site automatically detects the size of the screen and changes everything accordingly. A mobile menu appears, text and imagery resize and non-mobile necessary content can be removed to increase page loading speed.

Please note that this should not mean a complete site re-build. There are actions a web designer can take, at grass roots level, to improve the appearance of a site on a mobile screen.

Conclusion

As you can see from the options above, if you have found that your site has taken a tumble with the changes to Google, it is not a serious problem that can’t be rectified. Once action has been taken, you simply need to wait for the GoogleBot to sweep past your site again, detect your changes and you will be back in business.

Some internet marketing commentators are noticing the mobile changes SINCE 21st April are being detected by Google very quickly. You may be back in your desired rankings before you know it.

Why IS your business on Facebook?

Why IS your business on Facebook?Facebook is a powerful force in the online marketing world, easily second only to Google. You won’t find a member of Gen Y who isn’t using it and, over the past couple of years, Facebook’s “mature” user base has grown considerably. This growth is continuing with the increasing use of the platform by businesses around the world. The general attitude towards FB is becoming “if you are in business, you must be on Facebook.”

But why? If your business is only doing Facebook because “that’s what the others are doing”, then you might just be wasting your time.

But a small business owner doesn’t have any time to waste!

You should only get into Facebook if you have established a real goal for doing so. Your particular business’ goal for entering the world of Facebook could be to:

Humanise your business and brand in the eyes of your customer.

Genuine interactions and their associated connections are integral to any form of Social Media and Facebook is no different. It allows a business to put a human face to a brand that people can actually relate to. Through Facebook, your business can engage in one on one conversation with customers, share tricks and tips about your industry or display your latest wares after a customer has bought them, encouraging others to do the same. These types of “relationships” with your customers, draws them closer to you and much more likely to use your services or purchase your products.

Get people talking about your business.

The average user has, on average, 130 Facebook friends to share with. Imagine what could happen if you could get in front of those 130. If your brand is compatible with these people and engages with them, they might just LIKE you as well!

If only ten from that number decide to LIKE you, pure mathematics shows that the growth of your exposure would be exponential (10 x 10 x 10 x 10…..). There is no other (free) marketing method that can match this. Facebook also has paid options that can expose your brand to even more around the globe.

Directly target your ideal demographic.

Facebook knows everything about you. In your profile, you have entered your location, age, hobbies, even your favourite brands in some cases. A user would be naive to think that Mark Zuckerberg only wanted this information to help you share with your friends. Zuckerberg wants this information so that his company can sell targeted advertising.

As a business with a little advertising cash to spend, this is a golden opportunity. With such detailed information on hand and using Facebook’s paid advertising, a business can market more directly than ever before. For example, if you wanted to target expectants mothers, aged between 20 and 25 who live on the Sunshine Coast, you can. Your business information, once you set up an advertising account with Facebook, will appear on the pages of your exact target audience.

Put your business in front of your customers every day.

Even if you don’t opt to pay for advertising on Facebook, once a (potential) customer has liked you, any posts that you make on your Facebook business page will automatically appear on their feed. Don’t abuse this by posting multiple items a day (which will lose your following) and you have a “friend” for life.

Continue to offer conversation and social interaction, build that relationship up and you have a client who won’t look elsewhere for your goods and services.  A branded Facebook page is a very powerful way to expand your audience and increase the overall awareness of your business online.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design