Is your business at threat, or on the edge of a glorious opportunity?

Have you ever completed a SWOT Analysis for your business?

Have you ever applied it specifically to your marketing output?

 

For those of you that completed a commerce or marketing degree are possibly squirming at the memory of conducting a SWOT Analysis as part of your business plan assignments  (ah, the sweet memories!).

 

A SWOT is a powerful tool for businesses and isolated projects. When I conducted a SWOT on my own business, I was so surprised by what opportunities were presented, and how I was able to analyse my weaknesses to find ways to convert them into strengths. This process always blows participants in my workshops away, and for some it is often one of the most eye-opening activities we do.swot

 

 

So, what on earth is a SWOT and how can I conduct this for my own business?

 

Let me explain.

 

Firstly SWOT stands for:

-      Strengths

-      Weaknesses

-      Opportunities

-      Threats

 

A SWOT is an opportunity to take a step back from your business – to see the trees from the wood. It allows a satellite perspective of what you are doing well, what you need to improve upon or outsource, and allows a birds-eye-view evaluation that invites analysis and informed strategy.

 

By observing where your business and your offerings sit within these environments allows a critical observation on the sustainability of your business, and acknowledges those factors that are either helpful or harmful to achieving your businesses objectives.  The degree to which the internal environment of your business pairs with the external environment is expressed by the concept of strategic fit.

 

Put simply, it is:

 

  • Strengths: characteristics of the business that give it an advantage over others.
  • Weaknesses: characteristics that place the business at a disadvantage relative to others.
  • Opportunities: elements that the business could exploit to its advantage.
  • Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business.

Give the process a go for your own business. Download the free SWOT Analysis spreadsheet (below) that I work through with my clients and in my workshops and note the key observations that could alter what you’re currently doing, to your advantage.

flyingfoxmarketing_SWOT_Template

 

Why I had to sack my agent.

If you’ve been cruising the information superhighway of late, then you’ve most likely come across some websites (other than the usual social distractions) that you immediately engage with, or instantly bounce right away from. So, what makes a website sticky? What is it that turns window-shoppers into browsers, and browsers into engaged and curious people who may become a part of your extended community?2_138---Version-2-triangles

 

Websites are your agent. Authors of ‘Trust Agents’, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith stated that, “The web is like your Hollywood agent: it speaks for you when you’re not around to comment”.

 

How is your website currently speaking for your service or product?

 

I had to sack my agent. My website wasn’t sticky, it wasn’t representing who I was or what I was about. It didn’t support my brand. It wasn’t me.

 

You see, when I first started freelancing to festivals and collaborating on small business gigs, like many people starting out with gusto and enthusiasm I quickly applied for my ABN, registered my business name, and away I went. Being a brand new business, I had no budget. So, with the help of someone that was more tech-inclined than myself, I pulled together a very two-dimensional website as a go-to for info on Flying Fox Marketing.2_45

 

As my business steadily grew, and as I was taking my clients through website overhauls, crafting brands and advising them on how to best build relationships with prospective customers, it became glaringly obvious that I wasn’t walking my talk. I was the landscape gardener with a mound of dirt and weeds in the front yard, the unfit personal trainer, and the carpenter with no tools. I was finding myself saying to clients “but, don’t look at my site as an example of this”.

 

Essentially, my website was damaging my brand. It was time for my rebrand and website overhaul. Lordy, was it fun! Hands down, a rebrand is my most favorite project to work on. Like all solo-flying businesses, I had spent some time building my own community of like-minded experts who I could partner with for my own work, and for the work of my clients. So without further ado, my ahhh-mazing graphic designer and web designer (also known as web-dude) and I got to work on re-establishing my brand and online agent.

 

The branding process is incredibly important, and establishing who you are and what you stand for, who you are conversing with and which platforms to do so on (has been discussed here) and is a powerful process and important step when establishing your brand. Ensuring that your website then communicates this to your online visitors to encourage them to stay for a cup of tea, is paramount.2_460 - Version 2

 

Personally, I love a website that is clean, easy to navigate, makes sense, tells me what the brand stands for, allows me to stalk their products and service, has some pretty pictures, allows me to read praise about the offering, and adds value by giving me information.

 

Are you in the market for a new agent?

 

If so, here are my top ten tips for establishing the most effective web presence for your business:

1. Ensure your content communicates WHAT you do (your product or service), WHO you are, WHY you do what you do, and HOW you can service other people’s needs.

2. Have images that explain the above… As we know, A Picture Tells a Thousand Words!

3. Don’t send prospects on a treasure hunt – ensure your site is easy to navigate.

4. Keep it sticky! Remove social media icons from the top of the page and relocate them elsewhere – these seemingly insignificant little buttons are your one-way ticket to a high-bounce rate! You don’t want to send people AWAY from your page to those social distraction meccas.

5. Include second party praise – I want to read about your product or service from someone else’s perspective. Include those testimonials of trust.

6. Make sure the content is skimmable. People are time poor, and have super-short attention spans.

7. Want your site to rank higher in the eyes of Lord Google? Include keywords and searchable phrases in your content so that Google ranks you as a ‘trustworthy’ site. Yoast.com has sage advice on SEO.

8. Free stuff – that is actually helpful! Hell yes, I sign up to databases that give me free recipes, free templates and resources that can help me / my family / my business!

9. Kudos – Why is your product or your service superior? What experience do you have? Tell me a little bit about you.

10. The overarching element that floats my boat is that your site is friendly and warm (makes me want to settle in for an online meander with a cuppa) and boasts consistency and good grammar.

 

Remember that your website should primarily be your representation that helps to build trust, a rapport and a relationship that the real human on the other side of the computer screen can actually feel.

 

 

We go into great detail of how to structure your website and what your website goals are in the Master Your Marketing workshop, coming up soon on October 2. Check it out. 

What are people saying about you?

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” (Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon).

 

What are people saying about you and your business when you’re not in the room?
Some of you reading this will know that I spoke about the importance of understanding your brand last week at a businesswomen’s event. I shared the stage with the ever inspiring author and public speaking goddess, Kath Essing from Integrated Heart, and the content marketing Queen, Belinda Langler from The Inkling Effect (look these lasses up!). The theme for the evening was ‘Communicating your message’, and I spoke about how your personal brand and your business brand are interconnected; they are one and the same.

 

‘Brand’ is essentially the total experience of working with you.

pyramidSatellite

Brand is understanding and having absolute clarity on what you stand for. Your values, your essence, the benefits of engaging with you. All these must then flow through all elements of your business – your visual brand, your website, your voice online, your social media, your advertising, how you deal with customers and colleagues – they are all each a piece of your brand puzzle. How cohesive is the picture of your brand once these are all in place?

When I spoke last week to a room of amazing businesswomen walking their talk, and doing their do, I looked around and commented that we could run the world with the inspiring women that were present. However, the message that I really wanted to express that evening was that clarifying the essence and value of your brand would help you formulate who your audience is and how you will most effectively engage and communicate with your audience.

 

So, do you know what you stand for?

Do you have clarity on the essence and value of your brand?

When you consider the following influential people – you immediately identify with the essence of who they are and the power of their personal brand.

  • Steve jobs  = innovation – ‘think differently’
  • Oprah = educating and empowering women
  • Lorna Jane = move nourish believe
  • Ghandi = whether or not he understood that he had a personal brand, he reflected non violence and equality.

 

Now, consider other influential brands – Richard Branson, Lady Gaga, Madonna, The Geelong Mayor (#giddyup!), Ellen – they all have strong personal brands. They know what they stand for, and indeed, global reach has increased the net value of these brands.

When you consider what you stand for you may think, you’re about ‘empowering women’, ‘creating beautiful spaces’, ‘inspiring healthy choices’, ‘getting people moving’, ‘creating stunning products’, ‘educating’… but what do you stand for?

I know what I stand for: I inspire and educate businesses with the knowledge and strategy to boost their brand and master their marketing.2_454---Version-2-pattern

 

Simon Sinek was famously quoted in his TED talk -

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

So, why do you do, what you do?  This is an important element of your brand. You cannot expect to build a relationship with people unless you understand the essence and values of your brand.

Secondly, you cannot expect to be able to connect with your audience if you don’t first understand what problem you are solving for them.

Thirdly, if these two elements are not in place, then how can you elicit how you will effectively communicate your message (that is, your essence and values) to your audience?

 

So, my business fellows, can you tell me,

  1. Do you have clarity on the essence of your brand?
  2. Who are you communicating your brand to?
  3. How will you connect with your audience?

Understanding this will help you craft a brand and a message that is meaningful for your audience (or tribe, or avatar, or target market, or community, or whatever you want to call your people). It must always come back to why you’re doing it, and what you stand for.

 

// genevieve .

ps…If you want to delve deeper into why you do what you do, what you stand for, what your values are, who you are connecting with, and how you can then best communicate your message, then join me at an intimate workshop for small businesses that is happening soon. Details here.

Photo credit – Ferne Millen Photography.

 

Does a picture tell a thousand words..?

Perhaps not a thousand, but when accompanied by relevant text, it can reinforce your message in a very powerful way.

 

If you’re reading this, you are likely to be aware of the power of social – and, indeed the growth of Instagram. In fact, the microblogging image site currently boasts 200 million active monthly users and an average of 55 million images uploaded each day. (Source: Instagram and Mashable). Although we all know that CONTENT IS KING (and the new black, the ants pants, the bees knees and the cats pyjamas), IMAGES can be highly persuasive, and result in higher conversions and deeper levels of trust. Indeed, recent studies have shown that there is positive reinforcement of the message when an image that is related and relevant is presented.

satellite-marketing-services

 

Here’s the nerd-burger bit… 90% of information transmitted to our brain is visual. Plus we can process images 60,000 times faster than plain text.  (Source: Ernesto Olivares)

 

Images on Facebook generate 53% more likes and 104% more comments than the average post (Source: MikeGingerich). Similarly, image powerhouse online pin-board, Pinterest, is now the fourth largest driver of traffic worldwide (Source:TechCrunch), and Tweets with images get 89% more favourite clicks and 150% more retweets than those without. (Source: Buffer)

 

When I was Marketing Manager for The Falls Festival, our web hits sky-rocketed when we posted the images from the festival itself (obviously the hits weren’t as INSANE as when tickets went on sale or the line-up was announced – in fact one year it actually crashed from all the web-loving hits of punters vying for coveted tickets – whoops!), but for those that attended (and for those that could not) the festival photo album was a way to feel connected to what was 3 magical days in the rainforest with some of the worlds premium musicians, and re-live the event, one picture at a time.

 

So, how are you utilising images to connect with your audience, support and reinforce your message, and tap into the emotional heart of the problem you are solving for your target market?

 

Here’s a handy list of Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts.

 

genevieve-claringbold-satellite-marketingYour best option, however, is to get snap-happy yourself, create your own content, and share it. You can fancy-up your images with your website URL, a watermark, quoted text or a call-to-action by using apps such as Canva, Layout, Snapseed, Over, PicLab or A Beautiful Mess.

 

If you are sourcing an image online, check its royalty status (and whether or not you need to pay the owner to utilise it), and always credit the source of the image, if you’re not 100% sure.

 

For more information on the power of using Pinterest to spread your message and content, you can read my cheat sheet on how it can drive traffic to your website, HERE.

 

Stay tuned for ‘Website essentials – tools to boost your trade’ in the next round from the Satellite.

 

// genevieve