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5 Inexpensive Visual Tools For Design-Challenged Businesses

5 Inexpensive Visual Tools For Design-Challenged Businesses

Professional looking visuals to illustrate content are a no-brainer when it comes to standing out from the crowd. But the problem with great design is that it’s traditionally come at a hefty price. Now, thanks to improving technology, there are plenty of online design tools. You can create professional visuals inexpensively or free, from infographics to cartoons and video – and often with only a few minutes work! DIY visual tools for businesses and individuals have really taken off in the last year or two, not only because they’re affordable, but because most are very easy to use. Graphic design skills not required – if you can point a mouse and click, you’re good to go! Here are five of our favourite (inexpensive) design tools. 1. Venngage   Infographics are huge at the moment and they’re a fantastic way to present complicated information in an easy to understand, visually appealing format. An infographic can help you grow your social media shares, boost your website visitors and give you a content asset you can use time and time again. Venngage is a handy platform that lets you create infographics on just about any topic you like, for minimal or no cost. How it works Venngage is about as easy as it gets. Sign up for an account and choose your template from the hundreds on offer. Next, input the information you want to display to generate your infographic. Customise with images and icons, and add any extra charts and text needed. Adapt the fonts and colours to match your branding or personal preference, and you’re ready to publish. The Venngage...
10 Free Marketing Tools Small Business Owners Can Use

10 Free Marketing Tools Small Business Owners Can Use

There’s now a plethora of online tools out there that can make running your business and your content marketing and promotion efforts so much easier. Best of all, many of these offer free versions, or free trials on their paid options. They can be very handy for businesses with a small budget for marketing, content writing and related services. In pre-internet days, content marketing was often an expensive exercise, involving printed brochures and catalogues, direct selling, or TV, radio and print advertising. It was also largely hard to measure, which meant it could be very hit-and-miss. American department store pioneer John Wanamaker, who is credited with printing the first copyright store advertisement in 1874, is famously quoted as saying that half of his advertising spend was wasted, but he wasn’t sure which half! Some of the tools we’ve singled out not only make content marketing easier and cheaper, but infinitely more measurable, so you can avoid wasting time, money and effort on content strategies that aren’t working. Read on to find out more about 10 free tools you should consider using in your business. GoSpaces – free e-commerce website building Shopify’s GoSpaces app enables fledgling e-commerce businesses to build an online store for free. Once you join up, you are provided with a generic website template which you can alter to suit your business by adding your own content, images, and products. The platform also comes with multilingual (up to 20 languages) and multi-currency support, and a shopping cart support service. It is free to set up and use until you reach sales of $50 per month, after which...
Engaging All the Senses With Content Marketing Video

Engaging All the Senses With Content Marketing Video

Since moving pictures were first created they have been a very popular medium, and have also often been used as a highly effective form of communication. It’s also safe to say that more than any other medium, film and video have the capacity to reflect ‘real life’. They engage several of the senses at once, and when done well have the ability to deeply engage human emotions. MORE: Choosing the Best Channels for Promoting Business Content These days, of course, just about any of us can be our own film-maker, editor, director and scriptwriter without the need for a giant film studio, and video content can be used in a myriad of ways. Your videos can also be posted on your website or blog posts, used in webinars and SlideShares, hosted through YouTube, or shared by email or on a variety of social media channels. Whichever way your video content is utilised, the most important thing is that it supports your content marketing goals and delivers results – especially since this medium can often be a costlier form of content marketing than blogging, podcasts, or social media. Ideas for video content You can use your video content to: Present yourself as the ‘face’ of your business, and allow your audience to get to know you better. Tell a story about your brand, in turn increasing brand awareness. Promote and demonstrate your products. Provide tutorials or how-to instructions on products. Share case studies or success stories. Film and share interviews you have held with influential people. Raise awareness of an important issue. Respond promptly to trending topics. Invite people to a...
11 Tips to Run a Successful Webinar

11 Tips to Run a Successful Webinar

About six weeks ago, I held my first webinar, and I have run two more since then with another on the way. So far, the feedback has been excellent –attendees often ask if I will be running it again so they can invite others. I’ve never run any other marketing strategy where those involved actively do the marketing for me. Why do they do this? Because I’m not giving a marketing pitch. I provide useful, valuable information they can take away and apply in their businesses. Yes, I have a special offer at the end. But I think most people think that’s a fair deal. They appreciate the free content and understand it’s only fair that I make a special offer. A few people drop off when the pitch comes, and that’s totally fine. I trust they get great value out of the webinar and walk away with enough information to take their businesses further. So what’s involved in running a successful webinar? Here are a few key tips. 1. Answer burning questions My webinar is about search engine optimisation and is titled Cracking the SEO Code. It’s an area with lots of misinformation, bad advice and horror stories. That’s why I put this webinar together. It answers the burning questions I hear all the time when meeting small business owners and entrepreneurs. Running the webinar gives me the chance to answer these questions, one-to-many rather than one-to-one, so it’s saving me hour upon hour each week. I show attendees exactly what happens in the SEO world, and what strategies to apply and avoid so they don’t get their website...
7 Steps to a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

7 Steps to a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

According to Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, 2014 saw a slight drop in the number of Australian marketers who consider their company effective at content marketing – down to 29% from 33% last year. However, companies with a documented content marketing strategy in place fare better, with 44% of marketers saying they are effective at content marketing. For those going it along rather than engaging a content marketing service, here are seven basic steps to creating a winning content marketing strategy for your business. Step 1 – Determine your audience Create a fictitious persona of the type of person you’d like to engage with. Who are they, what are their interests, what challenges do they face, what are their goals in life? Step 2 – Set your goals Determine what you want to achieve from your content. Perhaps you’re looking to create awareness around a certain product or increase the number of leads from your website. Your strategy will be based around these goals. Step 3 – Determine what type of content to share Based on your buyer persona, what type of content will address their pain points? Perhaps your customers are after an e-book on effective time management. If your goals are to increase leads to your website, you may decide to publish this e-book offer on your social media channels, so your customers have to click through to your website to download it. Remember to share knowledge generously in order to build trust and your reputation for expertise. Step 4 – Identify your brand voice Determine the voice you will use throughout your content. This...

8 Ways to Use Your Content to Drive Organic Traffic

You might have a goal to drive organic traffic to your blog or website, but do you know exactly what methods you’re going to use to achieve it? Are your article writers creating the right type of content to achieve your goals? Here are eight ways that you can use your content to drive organic traffic. Have a content marketing strategy Before you start on any content marketing, you need to have a content marketing strategy in place. This plan should include information on who your target market is, what activities you will undertake to engage with them, when you will implement these activities, as well as KPIs and metrics so you can measure your progress. Create a buyer persona You can’t expect to drive traffic when you don’t know who you are creating content for. Your ideal buyer persona might include information on their: Background – education, hobbies, employment type, family. Demographics – gender, age, income. Goals and challenges – employing a new staff member, or poor cash flow for example. Once you have determined your buyer persona, you can more easily create content suited to your target audience. Optimise for keywords Optimising for keywords doesn’t mean keyword stuffing or writing a post based around a single keyword. It means writing content that is relevant to your audience, so that keywords fall naturally into the text. With Google moving into semantic search, longtail keywords are becoming very important. These are longer keyword phrases rather than single or typical two word keyword phrases. An example is the keyword ‘Android’. This keyword is much too broad even though it’s likely...