Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Press Release Flop! Do Yours The Right Way

Every day businesses are trying to get the message out about how good they are and trying to entice us to take an interest in or notice them. Content marketing is the new way to present information as part of an overall strategy and to work well, needs to be the right message for the appropriate people you want to see it, the context a good fit for bringing your information together with the people who will value it and showcase your expertise and ability to solve a problem your target group wants fixed. 

Today I opened this email. I don't have any idea who this person is who sent it but their business is not remotely a product I would have any need or potential to buy.


 I am contacting you to let you know about the very latest press release published by my company. 

Please click on the link below to access it. 

 Do not hesitate to contact me if you require further information. 

Thank you very much."

What's up with that? 

Now this is wrong in so many ways I barely know where to start but let me check them off on a list for you.
  1. This was sent by someone I don't know and would never have signed on to get notices from which means it was not something I opted in to receive. This is precisely the definition of spam.
  2. The business sells products that I not only have no need for, but have no possible use for as they are specific industry products that don't apply to me in any form, in any way.  This is an indication of a poor understanding of marketing principles. Not all activity is good activity.
  3. An email to tell me about a press release is not in my interests, it is only about them. No WIIFM.
  4. Something they want me to know about could be in the email but this not only was an email of no possible interest or use to me, but required me to take action to go to another site to see it!
  5. There was no framing of the purpose of the email to lead me into having an interest, no consideration of benefit the reader would get from it and no targeting to get it into the hands where it could be of some practical use
  6.  This was sent via a "PR App" which demonstrates once again, the technology alone is no substitute for a good well considered strategy and an understanding of the marketplace that uses technology.
  7. While sending me this email had no possible upside, the capacity to harm the reputation of the company by using poor practices in their marketing is a real and present risk for the company.

What's a better way to approach sending press releases?

Firstly the notion of a press release needs to be reviewed.

A press release should from the outset, follow some guidelines for any well crafted communication. It should contain information that is relevant to the audience, clearly state the important elements to them and form part of an overall communication strategy.

Your audience that you want to reach, largely finds their information online. That's where they put their attention, so that's where you need to be putting your attention.  Many and heading to most people now are accessing the internet using  mobile phones or tablets. Your information needs to be presented in a way they can view it.

Business need to understand the new marketplace and what the expectations are for those accessing information. Google and other search engines are getting better at finding quality and relevant information for those searching, and penalising sites that post junk.

We are inundated with a ton of information every minute of the day in email and other advertising and marketing messages that are in our face online and offline. Getting cut-through means grabbing the attention of those who have some interest in your niche and having a message that will attract their eye.  Press releases, by their very nature are self-serving so they should provide something for the reader, not just suck up time that the reader will resent when having read it, realise their time was spent for utterly no purpose or advantage to them. Nobody will thank you for that.

So, what to do?

  • Review your current activities in marketing and getting your business known in the marketplace
  • Audit the success or otherwise of your efforts to date
  • Develop a strategy for your business that includes marketing and operational aspects to promote the business energetically and across the departments
  • Ensure your marketing plan has a detailed Content and Context strategy and program
  • Create a good template for your press releases as part of your content production and schedule at appropriate intervals. 
  • Segment your data base to ensure that your messages are getting to the people who can use them
  • Put steps in place to be able to monitor and usefully analyse the results of your efforts.
  • Take care not to confuse the technology with the strategic purpose. Promoting the cause of your business comes under the umbrella of marketing broadly, but it essentially always, always, a business issue. 


Remember to claim your free business listing on Google 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Many Hands Make Social Marketing A Time Saver

Business owners are time poor. That's just how it mostly seems to be.

Well, they may not need be, but that's a different issue. On the face of it there is just too much to do and no time it seems to do anything quite the way they might want to do them. As well as they might want to do them.

That is doubly so for making good use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and blogging to get their business found online and stake their claim to good position on Google Search.

Why is getting found online given little priority? Perhaps because they are also too busy to spend the time and money to get good training in using technology and new media to market their business.

Social Media Fake "Gurus" Poisoning The Well For Business Owners

It is not really a wonder. For many who are not familiar with the online world, it can be confusing and changeable and frankly can be overwhelming.  The online world is also awash with people who have no experience themselves online suddenly promoting their services to others on how to use social media. They are following 5 people on Twitter, or have paid for "10,000" Likes or Follows, and have no tweets to speak of.  These are pretenders. Training sessions are generic and not specific and out of date in the information they are "teaching" small business.

Not only that but now whole franchises can spring up to take money off the unsuspecting with dollars to spend who think this is an opportunity and fall for it when told they can use their lack of knowledge of social media to pay up thousands of dollars to buy in to a franchise, so they can 'build a business' to take money off other business people - who don't know any better and have no way to know they are being hoodwinked.

Here's a tip: If your social media trainer has no content of theirs online, easy to find ... they are scamming you. And don't be fooled by the poor quality blogs and articles they buy from some third world sweatshop to pretend is their work! Social media needs authentic people working to genuinely represent their products and values. You can't fake that and expect to have any credibility.

No wonder business owners are reluctant to believe there is any way they can use inbound marketing and social media to get any kind of return to the business, or make it worth the time spent.

But it's not all bad with social media for business

Local businesses have a lot to gain by good use of social media platforms.  These should be secondary to the business's website, and finding ways to do more with less time spent, but with good oversight, then it can be very productive.

Networking is an area that is promoted heavily offline but is often not returning good value to the business. Many networking events are just another social gathering with the same old people and really just take up time.

This can be changed if your social marketing begins with a good strategy.

Your business network is a valuable resource, if it is used correctly. Richard Branson talks about 'not doing it alone', and yet finding good people who will work with you is not always easy.  It could be that there is a reason for this lack of good collaboration... Nobody is driving the process. Too busy, you know?

A productive business network

If you have a business network, it is possible to find the key to making this work for you online - and work for your network partners too. More people putting a small amount of energy into something produces more momentum than just one person alone trying to push that rock up a hill.

There are many things you can do once you have assembled a good core of business friends to leverage the time that each of you spend on social media to open the door to new business and a wider audience for your updates.

Training for this group together can help you to bond and can with the right direction, become your mastermind group to help each of you to more success in your business, both online and offline. Your business network core group could be colleagues from BNI or the business chamber, or even invited from your client base.

Social and inbound marketing training also opens the door for offline activities for example workshops - where each can bring along another person who could benefit by learning the topic, and introduce more people to the group, which in turn, opens the potential for a wider audience online.

This too, is a facet of a well-considered online and business development strategy.

And that's something worth finding some time to make happen.


It's your business on Google and it is free! Claim your listing before someone else does! 
Here's how to save time and get good content for your business online
Inbound marketing the new old fashioned way to do business
Financial planners: Social Marketing the key to keeping business on the books
Business writing not just on the social media wall
What every business should know about social media

 Like to know how you can do this for your business?
 Lindy Asimus 0403 365 855
  Lindy Asimus Business Coaching

  Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Manage Your Management Effectiveness With Coaching

Managers Do It Better With Coaching! 

Good Managers Make Good Businesses

Good managers. We all want to work for a good manager. We all want to hire a good manager. And yet the statistics tell us that many business owners and front line managers - regard their sales performance as poor. But it's not just in sales performance that managers are failing to perform well.

A recent survey by Australian Institute of Management revealed:

"The survey of almost 2000 people including chief executives, senior executives, middle managers and aspiring managers revealed the scale of underinvestment in middle management skills.

But while their leadership qualities were poor, many middle managers were at least self-aware of this shortcoming, with 63% also saying their own leadership skills were average or below.
However, when it came to communication skills, middle managers thought they had it down pat, when in reality their colleagues disagreed.
More than 50% of their colleagues believed the communication skills of middle managers were subpar."
Quite a condemnation. 

But communication skills are not the only thing lacking in managers core talents. In the same survey, this was also clear...

"According to AIM, survey participants said middle managers in their organisations were falling short in a number of key areas including leadership skills, communication and people management. The last of which is considered the most important job function of middle management."

All of which can leave managers feeling "neglected" as outlined in the survey.

Managers with poor skills of this kind though, can also report to managers and directors who themselves have poor skills in these areas.  Seniority doesn't necessarily mean good management skills either. So where does that leave the manager whose skills need improving? (And all skills can be improved.)

Taking initiative and responsibility for your own skills development is a great sign that you have the makings and potential of an excellence in managing and working on your leadership skills. Those who just sit around complaining about the company not doing anything for you are missing the opportunity. Blame and pushing responsibility for our limitations on to others is a poor approach.

While it would be sensible for companies to devote resources and implement coaching programs for managers the reality is that we want to develop these skills anyway. So taking the steps to invest in our development is a healthy mindset. For those who do show this initiative, the chances are that they may grow out of a company that does not pay sufficient attention to these important aspects of professional development over time. This preparation could mean you are a perfect fit in future to work with companies who do value these skills and recognise overall ability and hire for quality.

Soft Skills important to managers

In managing a team, the culture that you encourage to develop will have big implications in the results that your team can generate. This can be in performance and lead to a measurable dollar figure in benefit, as well as morale, which can be measured in time taken on jobs, absenteeism, mistakes or lack of mistakes, and the health of the working environment.

While managers have a range of duties that it is their responsibilities to achieve positive results in, there can be other areas that are not shown but go to the essence of what makes a manager excellent, and not just 'adequate'.

Understanding the mechanics of how everything works in your area of responsibility is a good start.

A common example... You want to know what it costs to do the work your department provides. When you know your exact costs to provide what you provide, you can then price your services correctly. You can quote effectively, you can avoid the business you win costing you money instead of making your company money.  This may seem like a thing every manager would know. They don't.

Performance management

While many companies have some kind of process for measuring employee performance, these can be formulaic and more a thing to just go through the process, belt someone if they are not showing well and feel reluctant for everyone in the process to go through.  Done well, it can be an ongoing part of your relationship with employees to track their progress, recognise their accomplishments, notice where they are struggling and provide some remedial assistance as it is needed, and encourage the best performance from those who report to you. This is a fabulous opportunity to develop a winning and supportive culture that generates excellent results.

Customers And Suppliers Need Love Too

We can get stuck in our little bubble and forget that the organisation is a co-operative of different departments and each has their value and brings something vital to the organisation overall. There is no admin section without sales. There are not sales without marketing. There is nothing to market without production. Each part of the business needs all parts of the business to function well. Just as you can create an unhealthy work environment for employees, or one that cultivates wellness, willingness to go the extra mile, and excellence, so too it is with customers, and those other businesses we rely on to support our own.

Why do we do it this way?

Look at any workplace and there will be things that get done a certain way that nobody knows why it is done that way,  just that it happens to be how it gets done. Many workplaces put people into a job without a real job description and no properly documented (or well thought out) procedure to follow. In these cases, people come into the job, fumble their way through and develop a way to do something that may be good or may not. but it works, no matter how ugly it might be. They leave, someone else comes in and keep doing it the same way and several generations later this thing for no good reason is still getting done the same way. Which may be why some businesses are still using faxes!

A good manager will ensure that all the processes that are carried out in the business are done the best way they can to deliver the purpose intended. That might be to keep some jobs the way they are because it works well and  it might be to review and test things  to make sure that that the purpose now is being served, and there are no unnecessary or time consuming tasks being done a poor way that could be done more effectively and in less time by using a new method.

Self promoting 

Sometimes the employees can be our best advocates. When the culture is good and the values are admirable then we love to tell others about the pride we feel in our employer. Of course the converse is also true. We can't force people to promote the business, but if you create the right culture, it will happen. We attract like minded people to what we create.  New customers, new hires, new opportunities can come from the networks of the people who work with us and help us achieve. Keep this in mind as you are managing because this little understood effect can have big results and feed back into the good culture and you the good manager.

Empowering others is a blessing that a good manager can bestow.

Empowering ourselves in the first instance, is part of learning new skills and accepting responsibility to be the best whatever-we-aspire-to-be that we can, and taking action to make it happen.


Quick and dirty business review
Step up in your business and manage better
Control quality in your business

Like to discuss coaching?
Call Lindy on 0403 365 855
 Lindy Asimus Business Coaching
Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Inbound Marketing The New Old Fashioned Service

In the olden days a small business would open a shop or a factory and put a sign out the front and get ready to do business with the passing customers. Some entrepreneurial businesses would go to the customer and deliver goods to their door to aid in convenience for the customer, and improve the chances of making regular sales to those customers who might go somewhere else to get their goods. 

In the old days the shopkeeper or maker might put an advertisement in the newspaper and advertise their specials. In these olden days, men went to work and women stayed at home and did the laundry and kept house and raised the children, cooked and baked and made pies or bread for the family. 

In the old days, customers would go to the store and see what was on offer and the salesman would inform the customer about the product features and benefits and the customer would make a decisions about what to buy. 

Now the way people make purchase decisions has changed. A recent study by Google shows that in practice the ways that people move from considering a purchase to making the decision to purchase happens in a whole new way. Now they do their research, learn about the benefits and features, know what the price is and what the other products that compare to that product is like and move from consideration to decision before they leave home

Be the business of choice when customers are ready to buy

Small businesses that want to be involved in that decision process, or be the place that the customer chooses to buy from depends on the activities of the small business or large business (it doesn't matter online how big or small you are), to win the attention of the customer and show that you have what they want and are easy to do business with. 

Get your website in order first

You website is the first place to start with ensuring you get found online. Your website should carry the important details about where you are how to find you, how to contact you, what you sell, what's special about your business and be appealing to visitors as your shop or factory would be.

Connected to your online shopfront, are your social platforms where you can engage with customers and their friends and new people who  have not yet visited your business but would like to. Facebook, Twitter, many platforms could be used, some would be more of a fit than others, depending on your business, but also the profile of the clients you serve and their habits and where they get  together online to chat and hang out.

Activate inbound marketing strategies and develop relationships online 

Understanding the right social media platforms for you takes some research and some testing. What we do ourselves is no indicator of what our customers' habits online are like. The only way to know is to ask, and to test.

Test not just one approach, but test many and keep testing, not just where but the type of content we are posting. Just like in your business, 'rotating your stock and facing up your shelves' is as important online as it is in Main Street in your business. Customers want you to take notice of the things they want when buying.

Stay positive! 

It can seem daunting for small businesses to attempt to begin online marketing. The rules change all the time but a well thought out strategy is the key to keeping focus and your business afloat in this new environment.

Basically, to customers, if you are not online - you don't exist. If you are online and demonstrating you have no clue - they will assume you don't know your market very well and are out of touch with your customers.

Learn new skills for the sake of your business

But your expertise is in running your business the way you have always done it and has worked for you. Now you need to learn new skills and that's not a problem, you learned everything you already know, but you can't afford to learn this stuff as you go along.

Get help, get the right help and save yourself from wasting time that could be building business, and putting yourself into situations that are bad for business. This is the time to invest in your business and you own education and reap the benefits in future sales and improved placement online.
Five levels of 'being online' for business.

Not everything has changed

In learning about the changes in the marketplace it is worth remembering that some things don't change. Some things you do well now will be part of what you do with your online marketing.

Caring about customers doesn't change.
Providing good service, doesn't change.
Taking care of all the sections of your business that need to be managed, doesn't change.

Your expenses can change ... and bring more value

Some things you can do very effectively now for very little money.

Some things that once cost your business a lot of money - like Yellow Pages advertising, you don't need to pay now at all.

You can now do more with less and do things to promote your business that only a big business once could do.

The range of customers who can now buy from you has expanded way beyond just the people who once walked past your door on a whim.

We live busy lives now. Families are juggling jobs and commitments now and have different constraints on their time.  We are not at home with the kids and baking pies, we are working and trying to pay that mortgage and every spare moment of time is precious.

But we still like to support local business and while the milkman may not call, we are doing a lot of shopping from home and seeing the delivery man or woman with our purchases is just part of our day now. Inbound marketing for business, is conventient and easy to shop for customers.

Will those parcels be coming from your business?

Related posts:
Many hands make lighter work of social media for local businesses
Here's how to save time and get good content for your business online
Inbound marketing the new old fashioned way to do business
Financial planners: Social Marketing the key to keeping business on the books
Business writing not just on the social media wall
What every business should know about social media

Like to discuss your business?
Call Lindy on 0403 365 855
Website Lindy Asimus Business Coaching

  Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Showcase Your Building Company With Social Marketing

Many businesses struggle to identify ways that they can make good quality content to post online to promote their industry and company specialties.

These videos are a fantastic way to showcase a building company or general construction company. They are good ways to promote the skills of the photographer or video producer too. And while they show what those in the industry may be accustomed to seeing, these can be a real mystery to customers and those not associated with the ins and outs of that industry and how work is done.

This video showing construction of a retirement village is a splendid example of the work that goes into developing a site from an idea to a new home and community for the residents and those who will work there.  That's a fantastic memento of the project and the diligence that goes into a large development - a good thing for those contemplating a development in the future to be able to see. 

This video showcases the build for a substantial family home. My guess is this would be a great memento for anyone who builds a new home. You can bet the house on the fact that the owners would be showing this video off to everyone in their social circle, and that's promotion for the company you just can't buy - but you can use to promote your business. By sharing with the new owners, and with you own social networks. This kind of content is evergreen and can be reposted from time to time.

Content To Showcase Your Business

Every business needs to develop ways to make their products interesting to potential customers. This is one example of how technology can help to showcase your business. This could be used in many different ways to promote your business over a long period, but there are many others. 

It's no longer enough to just do good work, you need to be able to demonstrate your good work - to customers and for new business opportunities.  

Related posts:
Many hands make lighter work of social media for local businesses
Here's how to save time and get good content for your business online
Inbound marketing the new old fashioned way to do business
Financial planners: Social Marketing the key to keeping business on the books
Business writing not just on the social media wall
What every business should know about social media

Like to discuss your business?
Call 0403 365 855
Lindy Asimus Business Coaching

Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Business Succession For Not For Profit Boards

Many Not For Profit and charities have a need now and again to make changes to the board. This could also be a good idea for a company generally. The success of any organisation depends on good working systems and ensuring good governance by a board is just one of the important elements to ensure the health of the organisation for the long term. Building a successful team requires consideration of longevity and ensuring that everyone can be replaced if needed. Learn how to train your team for duplication or succession into roles.

When is change necessary?

From time to time changes to a board may become necessary. This may be through a change in circumstances or it could be that dynamics inside the organisation are such that the board is operating less well than it should and needs refreshing.  The answer may be finding new members, additional training and coaching of existing members or it may be an issue with the planning and vision of the organisation.

Whatever the reason, a review can be a healthy way forward, and in revitalising the board it is important to act effectively to bring together all the skills sets needed to accomplish what you wish to achieve as your organisation’s overall objectives.

How to identify the need to revitalise a Board

Indicators that might suggest the need for change include:
Membership is stale and people are leaving
Nothing is getting done and the energy of the board is low
Some board members are carrying too much of the workload
There is misalignment between the board and the rest of the organisation
Old ways of doing things that suit the board are hampering the organisation
Fundraising activities are no longer working as they used to, or as they should.
Scope of the organisation has changed so it needs new skills added to the mix
Infighting and poor morale
Retirement pending
Membership  has changed and board no longer reflects members
Fundraisers have abandoned the organisation

Do you need a change?

Long standing members of the board can lend continuity to an organisation and help to keep the culture strong. While this can be a blessing, it can also work against the organisation if the objectives or the make-up of the organisation change.
Fixed terms and regulations about length of tenure can remove the problem of people overstaying their useful length of term, where members are not adding value to the board.

Why and how?

Should change be desired then it is important to have a well defined strategy for what will happen as the changeover routine.

Change for the sake of change is not likely to be productive and replacing members is more effective when you have a clear reason for the change and a defined result that the change is to achieve.  Know what you want, and why.

What led to the need for change?
Is it something that is likely to affect new members?
If the board is stale, why is it stale?
Is the organisation fulfilling its original purpose?
If funds are drying up, what’s the reason?
Is the organisation being managed well?
Are systems in place to ensure efficient duties and reporting?
Has the business plan been written, and adhered to?
Are there clear lines of communication, procedures and position descriptions?
Are members unhappy with decisions at the top?
        If you know why, now consider what has to happen to affect this change.
Is the problem structural within the organisation – or is it a people issue?
Does the system need to be tweaked, or do you need new people in place?
Is there a need to improve recruiting practices to get people who are a better fit?
Is communication poor?
Is there a lack of proper processes in place to ensure training is given where needed, and                         responsibilities matched with the appropriate level of authority necessary to accomplish.
What will making changes do to the way that meetings are held? Should schedules change too?             Should duration/ location/format of meetings change?

Changes mean finding someone to fill the role.  Recruiting, selection and inducting new members needs a process to follow for that purpose.

Have you reviewed the operation of the existing board?
Know what skills your board needs
Consider what changes are in the strategic plan that will call for special skills in the future
Profile the kind of member that your organisation needs now based on members diversity
Set up guidelines for recruiting for the future

How will you find your new members? 
Look within the networks of existing members
Look to past members and people on other boards, committees and volunteers
People with an interest in your purpose
Businesses allied with your group’s  aims, service clubs, local community figures
Professionals with special skills that you need
Members of other boards


  1. Create a checklist for how you can spread the word about your search for new board members. 
  2. Build a ‘Suspect’ and a ‘Prospect’ list to begin
  3. Select a criteria to use upon which you will decide who to appoint. 
  4. Screen candidates against your criteria

Think about your approach to prospective board members
Follow your organisation’s guidelines for selection and remember to follow up with a welcome.

Inducting New Members

It is important to start your Board's relationship with a new member on a positive note. Some Boards make the mistake of signing up a new member, handing them a manual and then largely forgetting about them, assuming they will just get on with the job. While many new Board members may well do just that, you can help to make the settling-in process a little less daunting by having procedures in place to welcome and introduce new members to their role.

Develop an effective induction process
Cover off on these areas

Then ensure that processes are in place to transition through these areas:

1. Initial Contact

2. Make the Introductions

3. The Board Manual

4. Roles and Responsibilities

5. Briefing

6. Familiarise them with the environment

7. Invite feedback

NOTE: While this is stated as for a board, it is very similar for employees or other members too. They too should have processes documented, clear roles and responsibilities laid out and an effective process for managing their performance so they can achieve great outcomes together with the organisation.

Your five year plan: Life goals and Business Vision - Here's how to make it work

Like to discuss your business?
Call 0403 365 855
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