For businesses in Sydney, how much did you spend for your accounting services? Do accountants charge per hour or per task?
Sheridan James, Community Manager at Savvy SME
Hi Mary Grace, it depends who you use. I know of accountants who charge per task as they have a set price such as tax returns or BAS. Others charge hourly for trust set up. They all vary.As a guide, hourly I would allow $80 - $120, and for something like a tax return $200 - $350.
Sheridan James, Community Manager at Savvy SME
The short answer is no, Facebook ads and boosted posts have no negative effect on your organic reach.There are two scenarios in which an ad can come into play; either you have a post you’re promoting, or you’re creating a post in the ads manager to promote.In the first option, you already have a post and it’s already being shared. Turning it into an ad doesn’t diminish that, because it’s already happened. The only thing it does is expand the number of people who see your posts. Thus, promoting an existing post cannot possibly decrease your reach, only increase it. The absolute worst case would be no one seeing your ad, for whatever reason, so your reach stays the same.When you’re creating a post to use for a promoted ad, that post didn’t exist before the ad went live. That means its organic reach is 0.When you post the ad, it gets hits, and it gets exposure. This gives you reach you didn’t have before. Therefore, every view you get from an ad is a bit of reach you didn’t have before.
When advertising via social media like Instagram, do you find it better to have a set of hashtags to use, or to pay for promotions? Are influencers really worth the price? For background, the company in mind would be a quality coffee/bookstore.
I think you'd benefit from some stratigec advice for your exact situation, which isn't really possible with the amount of detail in your post. So to answer your two specific questions:With hashtags it's best to mix them up, and use a combination of large volme tags and smaller ones so you have a chance of getting noticed.Paying to have your posts seen can be very effective, but if you're interrupting people's feed with a sponsored post you best have something worth butting in for! In my experience using Instagram as a placement for promotions run via Facebook Ads Manager are more effective than the boosting options available in the Instagram app.Influencers can be worth the price if their followers are your target market and highly engaged, but it can be complicated to find the right ones if you don't know what you're looking for. There's also a lot of people who have a lot of followers and virtually no actual real world influence, but you could try using one of the influencer platforms like Tribe where you can ask for a specific type of content you'd like to see and influencers can put forward a submission. You're not obliged to use any of them if you don't think they're a fit for your brand.
There are two elements to this. One is actual paid advertising and the other is organic posting. For organic posting, choosing your hashtags and timing is the two key areas. I spend time finding relevant hashtags in the industry I'm operating in as well as hashtags that my target audience focusses on and create content that resonates with them. It's a pretty simple process and Instagram makes it super easy these days with their suggested hashtag feature. There's also some great resources out there to help this process. I use Hashtagify and All Hashtag to give me some inspiration.Timing is another key part on Instagram. You can use trial and error and post at different times and check Instagram's analytics tool to find out the best times for engagement. I use Iconosquare myself because I've been on Instagram for years now and that gives it plenty of data to filter through and give me a better understanding. One thing I don't see a lot of businesses doing is actually engaging with other content. The best way to get noticed is to use those same hashtags, find the content that's already been posted by your potential customers and make meaningful comments on them. Over time, this really adds up.What's better out of paid advertising and organic posting? Honestly, it comes down to what you have more of - time or money. If you have loads of time but no money then spend the time creating great content and finding other content to engage on. If you have loads of money, invest it in creating great content and promoting that to your target audience. In the end, most businesses have a mix of time and money so I'd do both and weight it towards whatever you're able to prioritize. Another element is to consider the long-term effects. Posting organically and engaging in the communities you're trying to build is always going to be a better long-term strategy. It's not going to give you super quick wins but over the span of a few months and years, it'll provide much better value. If you can combine that with paid advertising you're doing more than 99% of other brands out there.
If you do outsource, which task do you outsource and what's the cost? If you're not, why did you choose not to? Any help will be much appreciated.
Unless you're skilled or passionate to learn about Social Media Marketing it can be more cost effective and save you time to have a professional provide Social Media Management as a service.
My team manages and monitors our social media accounts. We leverage the latest social media management platforms and automation tools to make things easier for us. We also plan a content calendar several months in advance to give us time for client work.
I am obsessed with passive solar designed houses I see it as an important part of dealing with climate change But the building industry is very reluctant to change. So it is still very much of a niche product even though it is a vastly better product than regular housing. In the last hundred years, there have been a number of marketing campaigns that changed the culture. Pepsodent normalizing toothbrushing, the DeBeers diamond engagement ring. The Harvard alcohol project's designated driver campaign. Just today I learned the sliced bread was also a marketing campaign. So marketing geniuses, how would you set about to change the way that Australians see houses so that consumers begin to demand houses that are comfortable throughout the year without additional heating and cooling.
I've noticed these sites promoting strongly these days.For a cash-strapped individuals aiming to establish a startup, would they be better off using a template from one of those websites like Wix or should they invest in a professional developer and have a custom website built?
Great question the short answer is no.That is because your website is too valuable a business asset for you not to own and control fully. That's why in most cases I'd recommended Wordpress on your own decent quality web hosting.There are tons of themes and visual builders you can access that make creating a nice looking site pretty easy for anyone with decent computer skills.
I have recently finished redesigning 2 websites for clients who were using Squarespace and weren't happy with it. Both of them chose the platform because of the low entry cost and ability to DIY. But they quickly found the lack of flexibility in the framework and the constant "add on" costs whenever they wanted something simple integrated into their site very frustrating. If your budget is incredibly low and you're happy with a basic template, then by all means these DIY sites might be right for you. But the fact of the matter is, they look like a template and this can reflect on how your business is perceived. Your website is one of the biggest marketing tools you have and often the first place a person will be introduced to your brand. So if you are serious about running a successful business, how can you not set aside $3000-5000 to get a custom website built that resonates with your target market?
Tabitha Naylor Twitter, Owner at TabithaNaylor.com
The single most important piece of your marketing strategy is, without a doubt, thedata you collect. Without analyzing regular sets of data, you can't properly:
I've found that marketing is a learning process, no matter how often you've done it. Every business is different, and times are constantly changing - along with the needs of your customers. You should collect data through a multitude of platforms and media styles, including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Other digital powerhouses, when used correctly, include blog posts and email campaigns. The vast majority of these marketing methods come with simple and affordable data collection services.In addition to digital applications, dabble in physical mailings, local posters and business cards, television advertisements, and billboards. While digital marketing is essential to modern success, the best way to reach a local audience is to confront them in a slew of places and formats. Make your business unforgettable. Then, once you understand your data and your audience, make your content valuable. That's how you earn lifelong customers.
Hoping this isn't overkill but I'm a HUGE believer in having a really strong marketing strategy. I've been working on one for clients that generally works really well. It can take a bit of time but it's well worth the effort I think. While it’s important to have an overall marketing strategy chances are if you’re a small to medium sized business you’ll be focussed primarily around digital channels. They can be much more cost effective and easier to implement than other marketing avenues.Define your goals and objectivesThis should include your business goals and objectives as well as your marketing goals and objectives. The marketing goals should ladder up to you business objectives and can include things like website traffic, time on website, social media engagement, shares, lead generation and brand awareness.These goals should stick to the tried and true S.M.A.R.T formula - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Avoid ‘vanity’ metrics like Facebook or Instagram followers which don’t specifically lead to business objectives and are having less of an impact as organic reach declines.This is a great time to solidify your business missions statement and values so you know with all of your marketing moving forward, they align to these and stay consistent. Do a digital auditWithout knowing where you are you can’t know where you’re going. This is the stage you can identify opportunities for cost-savings and performance improvement. Redoing this every year provides great insight into what’s worked the previous year, what hasn’t, what’s changed in the industry and your business and what you need to change to adapt. Some of the things you should cover off:What digital marketing channels are you on? What’s your current marketing tech stack?What content worked previously? To find out, check your engagement on social channels using the insights and analytics features or if you need a deeper understanding you can invest in platforms like Hootsuite or Iconosquare. Google Analytics will give you an understanding of website traffic, where it came from, the time spent on your site and much more. What advertising has been done previously, what worked, what didn’t? Why? If you’re putting money into your content marketing and running paid campaigns you want to have a clear understanding of what’s working. Dig deeper into these campaigns so you have a benchmark moving forward to measure your future success. Audit your website - What’s your website speed? Is it mobile responsive/friendly? Do you have high bounce rates? Do your visitors drop off before purchase, do they abandon cart? To find out the speed of your website we like to use the Pingdom Website Speed Tester. Not only will this give you an idea of site speed, it’ll also recommend ways to fix some of the issues. I spent the last week getting my website down from 9 seconds to less than 3 and it's worth the effort. Google Analytics can give you a lot of insights about your business and how users are interacting with it. Not only can you see what content or pages are getting the most traffic, it can also show you how long they’re spending on each page, bounce rates etc.Is your tracking in place? If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it or see if it’s working. The two main pieces of tracking you’ll want to include in your website is Facebook’s Tracking Pixel and Google’s Analytics code. The Facebook pixel allows you to track users who click from Facebook and end up on your website. You can then see what they do when they get there with Google’s Analytics platform. They give you much more than simply tracking as well as Facebook’s pixel allows you to target people who have visited your site (retargeting) and begin to build a pool of people that are obviously interested in your business. Google’s Analytics platform gives you insight into where your readers come from, how long they spend on your site, which pages they visit and much more. The sooner you get these setup and on your website the sooner you can glean insights into your website traffic. Are your channels set up correctly? Make sure you have all your digital channels set up correctly so you get the best bang for your buck on each one. Raven Tools explains how to set up each platform on their blog. Who is your customer?With your auditing out of the way, you can now focus on the marketing. You should have some high quality data to look at and you can spend some time seeing if that matches up with who you thought your audience actually was. You should combine your social media insights, Google Analytics data and any sales data to match who is actually purchasing your product. Sometimes these results may surprise you.There are times when businesses find the people purchasing their products or services are actually different to who they thought or who they initially intended. This can have a big impact on the content you create and your marketing moving forward. Build out a set of customer personas and refer to them as you create your content and begin to market. You want to create solutions for these personas and they’ll help to align your messaging. Initially, focus on some key areas like: Age, sex, occupation, location, marital status. Add any other information that’s key to purchasing behaviors of your products or services but only include anything you can likely find out with research or data, not based on things you can’t know or easily find out. Based on this information, you should be able to workout which platforms will work best for those demographics. You can Google ‘Social Media Platform Demographics’ and you’ll get a bunch of resources that explain exactly who uses each platform. For example, Spredfast has this great list of the 2018 Social Audience Guide. Use that to decide which platforms are best suited to your audience. For most small to medium businesses, you want to focus your efforts on one or two platforms at first. Spreading yourself too thin will only mean you won’t get results from any of them.I think one marketing avenue that's never focussed on is what I call proactive social. This is where you find the communities your audiences are in and beginning to interact with them there. This isn’t about promoting your business as such, it’s a way for you to give back to communities already established and providing value to them. The idea here is to continue to provide value over time and you’ll come to be seen as a valuable member of the community and build trust so people will want to use your product or service. Platforms like Quora, Instagram, Facebook groups, forums etc. are fantastic for this.Remember, with all of this, it’s about contributing value and becoming part of the communities. It’s not about marketing your business. You can do that with your content and advertising. What’s great with proactive social, you’ll get an idea of what your competitors are doing online and what your target audience thinks about them.Speaking of competitors, this is also a good time to get a list of your competitors so you can see what content they’re producing, what their customers are saying about them and what problems they’re solving. Come up with a list of 5-10 competitors so you can reference these when needed. Now you know who you’re trying to reach and what platforms they’re on, it’s time to figure out what content will resonate. Come up with a series of pain points customers might have that your products or services help fix and build your content from there. An AMAZING platform to help with that is answerthepublic.com. Essentially you put in some keywords and it spits out a ton of questions people are currently searching for on Google. You can then use that as the basis of your content.It may take a little time to get right and implement but it's totally worth it in my opinion!
I just had the most depressing conversation with a neighbour who is a senior leader in a big 4 management consultancy. He ran me through the stats. The Iconic still isn't making money, Surfstitch are barely breaking even and e-commerce has the highest churn/ failure rate of any Australian sector. He thinks that the segment is inherently flawed. He advised me to take the brand we have patent worthy products under, pull it offline as we're time poor and focus on retail supply/ international expansion and to sell the other e-commerce business as if it's making money it's an anomaly and to get out now whilst we still can. What do you guys think? I'm rattled.
Considering e-commerce as an industry in itself is an interesting thought. E-commerce is an alternative sales generation tool for a business; however, a lot of smart businesses understand that it is a lot more than that and are also exploring the side benefit of e-commerce, being the ability to gather and analyse personal data. But can we define e-commerce as an industry? Perhaps we could say that this “industry” is constructed of those businesses that solely rely upon their e-commerce capabilities as their sales platform – or that exist solely in the digital world. And do solely digital businesses have a higher failure rate than more traditional businesses? If this is the case, perhaps it is because the digital space typically has a lower cost to entry than traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses. Ease of entry may also mean that the business venture is entered into more quickly, potentially delaying the consideration of external advice and or implementing established business protocols such as plans and budgets. My belief is that far too often a business starting with an idea and a laptop may be undercapitalised and therefore not adequately equipped to deal with all the requirements of its operations, such as statutory costs and legislative compliance. Does this mean that e-commerce (as an industry or tool) is not relevant or useful? The answer is yes and no, depending on the business. Certainly, e-commerce like any other tool has both its advantages and disadvantages as a sales strategy. Businesses need to consider their product, target market, logistics and set up costs as well as their marketing strategy. Businesses need to consider the scalability of their e-commerce platform, the ability to meet demand, the banking and payment platform relationships and their online terms and conditions, as well as whether or not to collect and retain data. In short, business leaders need to consider e-commerce as part of the overall business strategy and make a considered decision on whether resources are best committed to e-commerce as opposed to another sales option, such as international trade. If in doubt, potential options should be discussed with a trusted independent business advisor. And if you don’t have one, the question is - why not?
Jennifer Lancaster, Owner at Power of Words
The big players will keep on. Look at Shark Tank, episode 17 July. Snap Social. The solo tech founder is selling try on-snap-and-buy-later for real retail shops - charging $1500 a month - and is doing well. The hybrid of social media and retail is definitely a gap in the market if you have great tech and a sales team.
If the online business can be run from home, should we have an office for it? Is office a trust factor for an online business?
Hi Ananda, it really depends on your business, but I don't think you need a physical office to build "trust" online. Your trust is built with your "online office" i.e. your website, social media, blogs and marketing etc.These days a lot of appointments can be done online i.e. I am based in Geelong but I saw a client in Sydney. In that instance, it doesn't matter if I have a physical office, co-working space, home office or a kitchen table, as long as the back wall looks good and I can prove that I know what I am talking about then I will get the business.CheersChris CarlinDirector - Master Your Money Now
Chelsea Creamer, Community Manager at SavvySME
Not really. It depends on your business type. In any case, the street address (Especially a good one) would finalize your company's professional image. Still, it's not obligatory. Just have a properly working e-mail address.
I am looking for a specs for advertising. Any suggestions?
Hi Ramit! Advertising is broad, and I'm not sure which type you are looking for: online, print, tv or radio. Can you clarify?Otherwise, your best bet would be to contact an advertising agency. They would be able to cater for all types of ads. Even a small agency will be able to do loads for you, and help you with specs for specific advertising you're looking for. You can try putting in a quote on this site, and you'll get agencies to get in touch. https://www.savvysme.com.au/find-service-professionals Good luck!