Creating a guerrilla marketing juggernaut – LinkedIn for Teams

You asked for it and now we are going to deliver. Our LinkedIn for Teams workshop has been in high demand throughout the last six months of the Digital Enterprise Program and now we will be offering this workshop for delivery at your small business, corporate, local government organisation or even at your not-for-profit. Finally the chance to understand how your team can maximise the marketing opportunities offered by LinkedIn.

We will tailor the workshop to your team and industry to give you the highest benefit.

Topics covered:

  • Refining your LinkedIn Company Page
  • Orchestrating a LinkedIn for Teams organic campaign
  • Using LinkedIn advertising
  • Going Pro or no?
  • Benefits of LinkedIn Talent Solutions

If you would like to register your interest in the LinkedIn for Teams for your organisation in 2015 sign up for our advance notice list.

 

4 must haves to improve your content marketing

Content Marketing has been around for a few years now as a buzz word in the online marketing space, but how do you do it and what do you need to know about it? Here are 4 must haves to help you on your path to content marketing success.

    1. Education: Urszula from onlineiq.biz has created this great set of slides to accompany her workshop being held on May 13th. There are a host of great tips in the workshop as well as some practical tools to help improve your content marketing.
    2. Content Plan: Urszula will cover how to create a content plan in the workshop but if you can’t make the workshop, or you are looking to download the pdf post workshop, you can find the content marketing plan printable PDF here. This content plan will help you improve your content marketing and allow you to really focus on the words and topics in your overall strategy.
    3. Content Schedule: Knowing when and how the content is going to be pushed out is obviously critical to help improve your content marketing strategy. The folks at Hubspot want to help you improve your content marketing and have provided this calendar template for that purpose. “Check out this free Excel template that can help you with your blogging calendar (you may need to sign up to get this free template). The template is designed to keep you on track as you develop awesome content that your prospects, customers and readers will love.”
    4. Skills: The most important thing though is the content itself and for many, this is the major sticking point. Knowing what roles are needed to the jobs required is a good starting point and this blog post at Hootsuite gives a nice overview of those roles. Urszula looks at the motivational aspects of creating quality content in her workshop but in order to get the ball rolling, or if you feel your skills in this area are not up to scratch, you could always look into buying the skills in. Content strategists are starting to pop up around Adelaide and a local business in our network, “Pepper Content“, has been doing some great stuff for other businesses in the area.

So get along to our free Digital Enterprise Program workshop to help improve your content marketing and start getting quality traffic to your site.

Photo credit, Flickr CCBY https://www.flickr.com/photos/mkhmarketing/8468788107 http://mkhmarketing.wordpress.com/

Slides for “Creating and managing a WordPress business website”

Thanks to Allison Miller for facilitating the recent workshop “Creating and managing a WordPress business website”. For those that missed the workshop, we will be holding it again in the coming months so keep your eye on our events page. Remember, if you want to take a more focused look at your own WordPress business website, book in to see me. Through the Digital Enterprise Program mentoring, we can look at your specific WordPress business website issues.

The workshop gives a great overview of WordPress and common implementation strategies. Is there something else specific you might want added in the next workshop? If so, add your comments below.
WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes and search engine optimisation are among the most common things we talk about in the mentoring sessions. As every WordPress business website is slightly different, it is best to get a close look at your site by working face to face with someone who is independent and experienced.

3 signs that you don’t have as much control over your WordPress website as you thought you would.

You want control of your WordPress website. You paid a lot of money for it and when you ask for things to be done you want them done quickly. The trouble is, your web developer is very busy and sometimes it takes a while for the work to get done. Sometimes it doesn’t get done at all. It’s frustrating the hell out of you because you hear all your business colleagues telling you how easy WordPress is to work with. Why can they make the changes and you can’t? While we are at it, why is everyone talking about blogging but your blog is nowhere to be found? Here are 3 signs that you don’t have as much control over your WordPress website as you thought you would:

  1. You don’t see the “Plugins” or “Appearance” button on your side menu bar when logged in to WordPress.
    Wordpress was designed to be user friendly and flexible. You can change themes, add plugins and direct content wherever you want to. The reason is Roles and Capabilities. “WordPress uses a concept of Roles, designed to give the site owner the ability to control what users can and cannot do within the site.”
    Undoubtedly there are risks with adding plugins willy-nilly or changing themes at the drop of a hat, but if you want to be able to change the look and feel of your own site and add functionality then you need to have full administration access to your site.
    If you can’t see the “Appearance” or “Plugins” button then your access level is probably not set to Administrator. Ask your web developer to change your role to Administrator because you want the capabilities of an administrator.Wordpress appearance - plugins
  2. You have Administrator access but you still can’t install or switch themes or install new plugins.
    The Capabilities of any role can actually be changed. This means that a web designer setting up a site for you could add you as an administrator but manually change the database or use a plugin to set your user’s Capabilities to disable certain functionality. The potential issue here is that Plugins and Themes can provide potential backdoor access to hackers. If your Plugins aren’t being updated on a regular basis then your site at a higher risk of being hacked. If you want to gain this control back, again you will have to talk to the web developer and ask for those capabilities.
  3. You can’t find your WordPress blog.
    Perhaps you didn’t know this, but WordPress was first and foremost a self-publishing tool. We’re talking about blogging. Getting your head around Posts versus Pages is one of the first steps to realising that your WordPress is more than just a website.  Google loves blogs and getting indexed quickly is one of the reasons for the rise of content marketing and the renaissance of blogging in general.
    If you don’t know where your blog is located you are potentially missing out on one of the best reasons for using WordPress in the first place. To find your blog, go into Settings, Reading and see what “Page” your “Posts” are being sent to and see how many Posts you have set to display.
    Once your Blog is found and you are starting to get some content up, go and learn about Taxonomies. (maybe I’ll talk about Taxonomies next time)
    reading settings screen capture

reading settings screen capture

Your web developer will have his or her own reasons for controlling this access. This is commonly to do with past clients making changes that were fatal to the website, but maybe you never told them that you wanted a blog, maybe you indicated you were worried about breaking the website. Sometimes circumstances change. I’m not saying the reasons are good or bad and I am not taking sides of either web developer or business owner.

In the interests of good communication, and a good and lasting relationship between web developer and business owner, the levels of control and access should be clearly addressed by both parties before commissioning the site build. Flexibility and understanding should be exercised afterwards.

As the website and business owner, you should have knowledge and control over this crucial aspect of your business. If you are uncomfortable with having access and control over your WordPress website, nurture the relationship with your web developer and keep the lines of communication open.

If you want to get a review of your website, don’t forget about our Digital Enterprise Program Mentoring. To learn more about WordPress, make sure you book into one of our free upcoming WordPress workshops.

Is the black dog biting your business?

It’s the same old story. We see it time and again. “Bob’s” business is struggling. Clients are leaving.  His client, “Fran”, likes him but things have now gone too far. Fran is moving her business to another provider.  They are not the first to get frustrated with him.  Things have been tough for Bob for a while now, the government is taxing him, and his family life is getting the better of him. Bob has been bitten by the black dog and now it’s biting his business.

My colleagues and I at the Polaris Centre have seen the effects caused by depression in several of the businesses that we have worked with over the last few years, both from the sufferer of depression and the business owners that have gone and moved their business away from the sufferer. No one is ever happy about the situation.

When I owned my own business the pressure of bills, life and responsibilities got too much. The jobs were rolling in but cash flow was tight. I was depressed. I got a job and my main pressure was alleviated. Feeding the family was suddenly a lot easier. But bridges were undoubtedly burnt and trust was absolutely lost. For a while I felt like a “failed business owner”. Four years down the track I am happier than ever in my job role and life in general.

Being a small business owner is often a lot less glamorous than it appeared when the idea started to become reality. The expectations you place upon yourself are high, sometimes higher even than those of your clients. Everybody keeps telling you that you have to: “learn new software, create online marketing campaigns, do your own books, manage your own databases, update your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest……..” arrrrgggggggh.

On top of those jobs you never knew you would have to do there’s the reality that you need money to feed your family, pay your employees, put fuel in your car …..  the list is endless.

There is no doubt that owning and running your own business is hard work. The problems really start to mount and seem insurmountable when the pressure becomes depression. Fortunately it is never too late to get help and there is plenty of help out there:

  • Beyondblue particularly through tools like their Business in Mind program.
  • Mental health national help lines
    • beyondblue support line – 1300 22 4636
    • SANE Australia Helpline – 1800 187 263
    • Mensline Australia – 1300 789 978
    • Relationships Australia – 1300 364 277
    • Carers Australia – 1800 242 636
    • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
    • Your business mentor
    • Colleagues and friends

If you are a client of a business owner suffering with depression, here are some tips to get you through the rough patch:

  • Be understanding perhaps even empathetic; if you have been through it you know it’s hard
  • Business is business but people are people; separate the business decision of moving away from the relationship with the person
  • Bridges can be burnt but they can also be rebuilt
  • Take the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience

If the black dog has bitten your business, share your experience in the comments below.

Photo Credit  Alex E. Proimos on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/5907150131/sizes/l/

Social Media Strategy for Business Workshop Slides

Thanks so much to Allison Miller from Vanguard Visions for filling in to deliver the Social Media Strategy for Business workshop yesterday. The workshop was very well received with some great feedback on Facebook from some of the participants.

Here are links to some of the participants Facebook pages who shared them last night. Please share the love by going to their pages and liking them.

If you have participated in the Digital Enterprise Program or you are a local business that needs a facebook lg up, please add your business Facebook page in the comments below.

Allison published the Social Media Strategy for Business workshop slides on Slideshare so if you missed the session or would like to review the slides see below or go to http://www.slideshare.net/vanguardvisions/social-media-strategies-for-business-v210114

A year of digital enterprise successes

With the last of our workshops and group training sessions done for the year and only a few mentoring sessions to roll out before Christmas, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on some of the great digital enterprise successes that the Salisbury and Modbury Digital Enterprise Program has been part of this year. Since July 1st, we have worked with over 200 businesses. Here’s a snapshot of six of the digital business success stories for 2013. Please check these businesses out and add other digital success stories in the comment section below. 

Website redevelopments

Website redevelopments are always a testing time for businesses. Here are some examples of digital enterprise successes that have gone through a redevelopment recently.

Marvey Tech

John from Marvey Tech has been installing high end systems in cars for a number of years. After working with us, John decided to redevelop his website through local company Newport Digital.

Dance SA

DanceSa have been growing rapidly since 2010 and with more staff and dance studios coming on board Emma knew it was time to redo the website. With a bit of guidance from us, the new DanceSA site is looking slicker than ever.

HandyCamSA

After building her husband’s site in Wix with an embedded blog on Blogger, Merricc decided it was time to consolidate into one WordPress site.

 

Startups

When you are starting in business, a website should be close to the top of the list for the marketing and communications to do list. Check out these startups who’ve been involved in the program.

David Whiting Energy Solutions

David’s business is all about making people and businesses understand their energy consumption better to save money. He decided to get local business Smeek Media to build a website and incorporate some interactive surveys and Paypal buttons.

Ozlinksocial

Connecting people face to face comes naturally to Michael but he wanted to get more involved in the online side of social and start using social media with his business Ozlinksocial.

The Fabulous Scavenger

Sam (whose picture heads up this blog post) has been picking up stuff from junk shops, garage sales and sometimes hard rubbish then turning it into all sorts of awesomeness, then blogging about it. Now Sam will start selling The Fabulous Scavenger up-cycled products and original photographic artworks at the “Pop Up in Prospect market is on Dec 14 from 9am-2pm in #VineSt Plaza #Prospectpic.twitter.com/0fmkcAvJD0” . We helped move her blog to her own domain and soon she plans to sell online.

 

 

Online retail, the Executive Accessories way

Over the coming year we will be sharing a series of local business stories. This first in the series takes a look at Executive Accessories from the eyes of the owner Wendy Gomersall. Wendy, who is a regular at our Digital Enterprise Program workshops and a recent graduate of our Coaching for Success program, recently moved her online retail store and began using Shopify as her service provider. I asked her to put together this blog post and explain what was involved in her online website move.

Please add your experiences in the comment section below.

Online retail story, by Wendy Gomersall of Executive Accessories

Like many people affected by a serious health issue my hubby Neil and I reassessed our lifestyle and decided that we would like to enjoy life more and have less stress. So we started our own e-commerce business!!!

And that’s when the fun began. Having the website built, finding suppliers who were willing to sell to an online business, sourcing quality products, working out the logistics involved.

www.executiveaccessories.com.au was launched in September 2009 specialising in executive fashion accessories and leather goods. It was November before we got our first order – for a black bow tie – and we both did a happy dance around the house. It was another month before the second order came!

Unfortunately the saying from the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams “if you build it he will come” does not apply to websites. We quickly become obsessed with SEO, crawl rates, backlinks and more – all things that we hadn’t heard of just a short time ago. Thankfully our efforts paid off and sales began to build, we were happy to have repeat customers and also some nice corporate orders.

However e-commerce businesses stand and fall by their position (or lack of) in the search engine results. And when Google changes its rules (algorithms) your website can disappear from sight. And when your website is your “store front” that is a disaster.

Earlier this year Google did just that and our visitor numbers and subsequent sales fell by over 50% overnight.

This was made worse by the fact that while we had control of our content management system – we could upload products and information and photos – we had no control or access to the ‘bones’ of our website. What had been more than adequate when we launched was now out-dated and every little change came at a cost.

So after several frustrating communications with our web developer we decided to stop pouring money in to the site and to part company. We made the decision to completely rebuild the site ourselves using what is basically a pay as you go e‑commerce platform. And once again the fun began!

Once we had made the decision – which was not taken lightly as we knew the situation would get worse before it got better – we jumped right in and within 3 weeks we had launched the new look www.executiveaccessories.com.au

What it took:

  • Choosing an e-commerce platform that gave us the features we needed (and which savvy online shoppers expect) but which was easy to use.
  • Selecting a theme for the site that would look great on a desktop but would also be mobile friendly and responsive.
  • Migrating all our products to the new site.
  • Re-focusing our SEO efforts and re-writing much of the content.
  • Re-photographing many of our products to achieve a consistent feel across what was a very different looking site.
  • Setting up new payment gateways and systems.

The “pros”:

  • No set up cost (our original site cost approximately $11k and we have spent at least that amount again since it was launched).
  • 24/7 support.
  • Easy to use.
  • Complete control over every part of our site – with the added benefit of access to a pool of experts if we don’t want to (or can’t) do the work ourselves.
  • A site that will not be left behind as technology changes – the platform will keep up with new technology.
  • Built in SEO.
  • Lots of mobile friendly themes to select from.
  • The ability to add whatever features we like to the store, by either writing the code ourselves, installing apps or a having a developer do the work for us (we have more features we are planning on adding, such as customer reviews, live chat etc)
  • Integration with Mailchimp. Google Shopping etc.
  • Easy to manage redirects from the old site.
  • Downloadable customer/order information, reports and stats.

The “cons”:

  • An ongoing monthly fee which includes webhosting (but depending on how you look at it, this could also be a “pro”)
  • Fluctuating exchange rates – most e-commerce platforms of this type are North American.

We had a seamless relaunch on 6 September – with no down time – and so far so good. We are more than happy with the new site and although there is a still lot to do we know we can do most of it ourselves.

And happily Google and Bing seem to like it too!

 

 

3 Businesses using Instagram in northern Adelaide

In case you weren’t aware, Instagram is a photo-sharing social media that was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for US $1 billion in cash and stock.

As part of the Digital Enterprise Program Mentoring I have often discussed Instagram as a potentially valuable channel for business social media communications. I have personally used Instagram for a couple of years and see it as fantastic creative and social outlet. It has only been in the last few months that I have started to see local businesses coming up with interesting ways to engage their  customers using Instagram. This Slideshare offers some great advice on how to use Instagram in your business:

There are several businesses using Instagram within our network in the Polaris Centre, to promote their business and communicate with their customers. Below is a few that have been doing some interesting things:

Crossfit Northern Adelaide

Sam and Wade, the guys at Crossfit Northern Adelaide, are pretty innovative and have been pushing themselves in the gym but are now building up their online muscles by using Instagram and other social media to engage their users. They will be making even better use in the weeks and months to come with plans to encourage some competitive customer generated content.

Autotransformers

Andrew and the team at Autotransformers have fitted in well with their niche online for a few years now but have revved things to new levels with their use of Instagram and are getting a great level of engagement.

byGabrielle

 byGabrielle have designed their way into a large following on Instagram and recently ran a great hashtag campaign with a load of awesome customer generated content.

Do you know any others?

If you are a business using Instagram in northern Adelaide (or know of one) we’d love to hear about it. Please add a comment below with a link.

 

SA Business Events iPhone App

SA Business Events iPhone AppOver the last few months the guys at Custom Business Apps have been pulling together a really neat mobile app, SA Business Events, to make booking and attending the free Digital Enterprise Program events even easier. If you have an iPhone or an iPad you can download the app on The App Store now.

The SA Business Events app was put together to help businesses booked into Digital Enterprise Program workshops make bookings from their mobile devices and aid them to find and keep their bookings using their mobile device’s reminders with push notifications.

Custom Business Apps are an Adelaide based business (formerly based here in Mawson Lakes) and Digital Enterprise Program participant who have proven to be a great business to work with. Their innovative, can-do attitude has made the development process a breeze.Fellow Digital Enterprise Program participant and local business owner Peter Mathew from The Silencer, also recently built a mobile application with Custom Business Apps and has said “The Silencer iPhone application allows you to test for noisy conditions by placing your iPhone 5 meters from the source of the noise.”
If you are considering building a mobile application, launching a new site or just tweaking your current website a little, don’t forget to take advantage of the free mentoring available as part of the Digital Enterprise Program. We can help by looking over your plans, connecting you to local web developers or just being an independent adviser. Contact us now for your appointment.
For more information you can download our press release SA Business Events DEP APP Release.