Original post featured in Irish Tech News
Check out these 5 ways to prepare your business for the New Year. You have to take on board all the lessons learnt during the year. What have you gleaned as useful tools or platforms during the year that could build up and make better use of promoting your business? How about reaching the right audience?
This year we have lost and gained some tools for business, like Blab for instance. They were in their own bubble and more down to poor user experience failed. However Facebook Live were standing by and took over and is now morphing more and more into the preferred method for many businesses to reach their audiences. It's ease of use and access have made it the go-to Live streaming tool at the moment.
Every business will have a brand identity and visuals they want to put out. Pic Monkey and Canva have been leading the way for some time now although they can tweak things in slightly different ways. I know some businesses use both platforms for the one image to really improve it. I personally find Canva faster and easier but the lack of fonts can be frustrating. The range of flexibility on Pic Monkey can put off a beginner though, so I would normally recommend starting on Canva and working up to Pic Monkey.
The launch of Adobe Spark got many marketers excited in May this year. It's blog and social media templates and video features are extremely easy to work with and the huge image database is well crafted and attractive.All of the above tools are either completely free or have a nominal charge which means small businesses can generate professional looking content at a price that they can afford, which of course is also a massive draw to each of these platforms.
This is still a vital part of all businesses to include in their marketing and strategy. I know as a social media trainer I should be saying "keep everything virtual!" but it's just not the case. You have to be prepared to reach your whole audience, where ever they are. Some people prefer to browse online, others in word. Not every business will be providing an online shop and if they have a bricks and mortar location setting aside a budget for your printing will be one of the best ways to reach your target audience.One thing I have noticed over time when it comes to printing is it really is worth shopping around. Look in networks that you are a part of, check out your local businesses and even check overseas. The euro against sterling at the moment is favourable so you might even get a better deal from the UK, depending on what you are looking for.
I only ask this as I ended up having to rebrand myself only this year (2016). I polled my fans on Facebook last year in a survey and found that most of them thought my previous business name was a little misleading. I was previously called STOMP Marketing and PR and when my business started back in 2013 I had a whole business plan which included social media, press and media. Over time however, I found that the social media aspect took off and eventually become more a part of my brand identity.
You need to listen to your audience and don't be afraid to ask these types of questions. This particular exercise has raised my profile, made me easier to find (SEO wise) and I feel I have developed a more loyal customer base as I have listened to them.
I only add the exclamation mark as I know a lot of people hate them, me too to be honest but needs must. Many startups hide behind their branding, (I know I did) and when you are a big business that is OK to a certain extent but the Irish population is an entrepreneurial bunch and the smaller business need to be putting a face to a name. Your audience needs to see someone and relate to you in order to buy from you. A faceless business will always find it harder. This being said there are brands that no longer need that type of branding image, for instance like Nike and Coke. Their branding now speaks for itself.Having professional head shots done at least once every couple of years is essential. After a while your audience stop seeing them as they have seen them before and no longer connect you with fresh content. Also if you change your hairstyle, lose or put own weight you need to be honest about it - so that people know who you are when you meet them!
Make sure you get new images at least once a year of your stock (unless you have a lot of stock of course!). Change the backgrounds and the foregrounds, look at them at different angles or up or down at them. Don't always centre your images either, be different!
Now is the time to think about what you would like to prepare for the new year, source contacts and get quotes and really maximise your budget to help reach your audience in 2017.