Think Global, Act Locally

Think global, act locally.

It’s not a new catch-cry, but it is definitely one that is gaining momentum as the squeeze on businesses gets tighter. The need to encourage buying local is very real when everything is but a mouse click away.

Defining locally

My “local” consists of two distinct areas – the local area where I am physically located – currently Bribie Island in Queensland, Australia.

Then there is my “local” online community.

My “local” online community consists of my clients and other businesses I use regularly.

They are  “local” to me because we have a relationship built over time.  So even though we are not physically in the same location, they are my go-to people for certain services.

We support the community and environment for a number of reasons. Some of the main ones being that the community grows stronger.  Local businesses support local initiatives in a wide variety of ways including offering pro-bono services, donating to fundraisers, sponsoring events and much more.

The flip side of this is that as a business owner we need to remember that alternatives are just a mouse-click away, delivery is often overnight and prices are often cheaper.

Service makes a difference

There are those who will always go for a cheaper price, and there is not a lot you can do about that.

BUT, there are many who are happy to pay a little more for excellent service and to keep their funds local.

Price Points

It all comes down to educating our community and taking that educative approach to our business.

I’ll give you an example. I recently needed to make an expensive purchase for my office and a local business had mentioned to me last year that when I was in the market to please come to them first as they would, likely as not, be able to price match.

I contacted them earlier this year, only to receive the very terse answer that I’d better go buy from the multinational.

No explanation. Nothing.

Lost Opportunity

Here’s the thing…if the answer I received had spelt out that sadly on this occasion they could not price match, or something along the lines of that by buying local they were readily available to help troubleshoot etc, I would have very willingly paid the extra $100.

Instead, I received a short, unenthusiastic answer that did not inspire me to part with my extra $100.

The damage done is actually worse than the loss of this one sale from me; not only does it not inspire me to ever go back again, it has also meant I have shared my negative experience with my business network here in the local area.

By contrast, I never question the prices that the local electrical store quotes. I know they are sometimes a bit more expensive, but their service is stellar so it’s a no brainer to go there for all my electrical needs.

Recommendations & Referrals

Similarly, when it comes to the butcher, pharmacy, bottle shop, restaurants and more, I enthusiastically recommend the businesses I love.

I encourage everyone to act locally and support local businesses in the community that I know provide a wonderful service.

If there isn’t a business that is physically close, then I refer to my online “local” community.

Act Locally

When it comes down to acting locally, there are 3 key points that business owners need to keep in mind in order to maintain and build a client base.

1) No one can afford to be complacent.

Just because a business is a local one does not mean that people will automatically patronise it.

Customers are savvy. It must be meeting all their needs.

The businesses that thrive and grow are always those which are prepared to go the extra mile.

2) Genuine service and courtesy go a very long way.

Taking a genuine interest, active listening and being courteous and honest play a large role in converting a prospect into a sale.

3) Maintain a database and utilise it to stay in touch 

When you’re local it’s all about building a relationship. A buyer has many choices.

By maintaining regular communication (and there are lots of different ways to do this) you stay front of mind.

Avoiding complacency, being on the lookout for opportunities to value add. Offering good old fashioned service with a smile (even if it’s on the phone, smiling is important!) is what keeps customers coming back, more importantly, it’s what gets referrals for your business.

At the end of the day, referrals are frequently the deciding factor for customers on whether they will shop locally.

Fly like a dragonFly like a Dragon

Michelle

PS – Love you to share your views in the comments on what are the deciding factors for you to act locally or go further afield.

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Getting Results from your social media

Getting results from your social media is crucial when you’re in business and if you are bootstrapping, it is even more important to harness what is available at no cost.

In addition to the 5 key steps outlined in my article on understanding the basics, it is really important to understand just how busy social media is.

When you realise that Facebook now has more active users than China’s entire population you start to get an idea of how vast it is. More precisely how much traffic is out there!

It’s hard to be heard and seen. BUT… it is still a massive tool for FREE exposure if you are using the right strategies.

Getting Results

Three simple steps to implement to help you get results from your social media

1) Be authentic

Do not imitate.

By all means like and share, but…

Do not try to copy the style and tone of someone else.

Allowing your own brand personality to shine through is what helps build relationships.

Here’s the thing…

Buying a high ticket course or paying a “guru” lots of money does not mean you are going to achieve amazing results…

At least, not overnight.

More than likely you’ll need to do a whole load of hard work behind the scenes.

Remember, the results touted in case studies and testimonials to get you to buy are not typical. If you look carefully, you’ll see there are disclaimers saying exactly that.

2) Have a Plan

Getting results from anything comes down to having a strategy.

This means spending time thinking about the direction that you are taking and whether it is aligning with where you want to take your business.

Write down what it is you are aiming to achieve and then work out the strategy to get you there.

3) Build your mailing list

This is crucial because if Facebook shuts you down you will have lost that audience.

It is not as frightening or as complex as it sounds.

You can bootstrap by using MailChimp which is free up to 2000 subscribers.

Next Step

Try out the three simple tips above and you’ll soon be seeing a difference. Make sure you track what’s happening so you can really measure your results.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have a plan, or if you need help formulating one.

Fly like a dragon!Fly like a dragon

Michelle

 

 

 

CREATING BUSINESS GROWTH

Creating business growth is essential to the survival and success of your business.

If you’re one of those lucky ones who always has more than enough – well done! You don’t need to read any further…unless you’re just curious.

Creating business growth is something that has to be something you consciously work on. Not an afterthought. A regular part of your business life.

It all starts with developing a specific mindset. A smarketing mindset.

The smarketing mindset encompasses sales, strategy and marketing rolled into a system that becomes a part of how you work, and everything that you do.

Smarketing = Business Growth

Smarketing is all about knowing how to recognise, create and maximise opportunities that present themselves to you each and every day.

Problem is, more often than not, you may not recognise the opportunity.

You are not alone!

Smarketing is a mindset that is all about creating business growth.

The good news is that developing a smarketing mindset is not hard…if you really want to learn. And if you need help – consider this online 8-week course.

The starting point

It all starts with knowing exactly WHO your audience is.

If you want to grow your business you need to know who you are serving.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1. “Who is my message important to?”
2. “How will it add value to their lives?”
3. “Will it help solve a problem they are facing?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you’ll be able to more effectively communicate to the right audience for your business.

A targetted approach is far more effective than a random splatter of information.

Why? Because it is deliberately aimed at a particular group.

Ongoing learning

Smarketers are always open to feedback, have a willingness to keep digging deep, to tweaking and measuring results. When you’re smarketing you are always learning.

This can be challenging but it’s also very rewarding because once you nail it, the results speak volumes.

Measuring ROI, lead generation, industry, countries, client feedback, sources and a whole bunch more is all a part of smarketing.

Not only is gaining feedback an interesting exercise from an information perspective, but it’s essential to the survival and growth of your business.

Smarketing, is a combination of strategy, sales and marketing – it is part of the formula to famine proofing your business.

Not sure where to start?

It can be daunting when there are so many balls to juggle. The list of things to do is never ending but…STOP.

MAKE time…take time out and INVEST in learning how to move forward and grow your business with purpose.

Fly like a dragon

Michelle




SOCIAL MEDIA – IS IT CONFUSING YOU?

If you’re confused by social media and how it applies to your business you are not alone.

Yes, it’s been around for over 10 years but that does not mean it’s gotten any easier to understand. In fact, it’s got more complex and confusing.

There are so many different channels to choose from – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,  Instagram to name just a few.

If you did not grow up in the digital world with a smartphone attached to your fingertips, it can get a tad hard to understand at times.

It can also be a massive time-waster as you dash down the rabbit hole trying to figure it all out and listen to every expert that there is all telling you different things.

I’m not a digital native but I’ve been using social media for just over 10 years now. I’ve learnt a few things along the way.

My 5 Social Media Top Tips

1) Consistency is key – turning up consistently is essential.

You can’t just pop in and out as the fancy takes you or when you decide you want to “sell” something.

You need to consistently work on your social media.

2) Set goals and stick to them – decide what your goals are for social media and make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Is it to create engagement? To make sales? To get referrals? Each of these requires a different approach.

Once you know what your goals are it is much easier to pursue them.

3) You don’t need to be everywhere – being “everywhere” is not necessarily the right thing for your business.

Be strategic. Identify where your target audience hangs out.

4) Focus on 2-3 key platforms – once you know where your audience is you are better able to focus on interacting and gaining their attention.

5) Make sure you are offering quality content – this keeps your readers and fans engaged.

My Channels

I tend to stick to Facebook for my business and personal connections and I also use LinkedIn. The bulk of my posting is done on Facebook.

I do have accounts on Twitter and Instagram but I am not altogether comfortable with them. More importantly, that is not where my audience hangs out so I have not invested time in learning how to effectively “work” them.

LinkedIn keeps me in touch with my professional networks, and Facebook helps maintain a presence that is on a more ‘friendly’ level.

Monitoring

The landscape is ever changing when it comes down to social media. This means it’s really important that you continue to be monitoring what you are doing and where you are getting the best results.

It’s not a case of set and forget it.

Algorithms are rapidly changing and I make sure I keep abreast on my channels and I usually share my discoveries with my email list subscribers. Sometimes they are already aware of the changes but other times it’s a new discovery – it’s all about paying it forward and helping each other out.

Every Wednesday – direct to your Inbox – FREE Smarketing tips to help you connect, convert and sell!




 

What channels are you using? Let me know in the comments below.

Fly like a dragon!Fly like a dragon

Michelle

 

 




You need to KISS to unlock your opportunities

KISS is my favourite acronym.

You probably know that it stands for Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Now you think I’m being insulting.

I’m not.

It’s my favourite reminder to myself. Because I can tend to over think, over complicate, over analyse, and generally get over myself being over the top.

Keep It Simple Stupid

The only other person I voice KISS to is Michelle. This is because there aren’t many people who wouldn’t take this as gratuitous rudeness.

At least ones that won’t bop me upside the head for it.

Michelle’s too short to reach. Though I suppose she could bite my ankles like an enraged chihuahua. But she doesn’t. She uses KISS too. It’s become a bit of an ace acronym for us.

There’s nothing like a say-it-how-it-is sibling to bring you down to earth.

We may like to soar like dragons, shoot for the moon, blah blah blah, and we love all that. Love doing that.

But sometimes you’ve just got to get grounded. Get back to basics, if you like.

It’s a bit politer than telling Stupid to keep things simple. Or Simple not to be so stupid. Before I get into a rude roll, here’s the polite version:

Back to Basics

*An adjective – definitions:

1) Stressing simplicity and adherence to fundamental principles:

The movement suggests a back-to-basics approach to living for those whose lives have become complicated.

2) Emphasizing or based upon the teaching of such basic subjects as reading, arithmetic, grammar, or history in a traditional way.

Stressing simplicity and adherence to fundamental principles is essentially KISS.

Point 2 emphasizing or based upon the teaching of such basic subjects … I reckon, applies to any subject. We share and coach a lot on sales and marketing subjects.

The fundamentals never change. It’s not rocket science.

Putting the cart before the horse

We do many different things at Dragon Sisters.

Sometimes it can seem that we spear off on radical tangents from our core business.

People hire us for varied projects and for a variety of reasons.

Yet essentially, we’re contracted to do one thing for them: to communicate.

This might come with bolt-on requirements like research, analysis, strategy, coaching, consulting, content creation, whatever. Often, these sorts of requirements come first as the request for help.

Kind of like putting the cart before the horse.

The cart being what needs rolling out for their business or project, and the horse being the conveyance to get it to where they want it to be.

That conveyance boils down to communication.

Every time. It comes first.

Otherwise, nothing gets moved forward.

Some of the most talented people get nowhere near their potential, simply because they lack the expertise or experience to communicate effectively enough (even to themselves) to get results.

So, guess what – we use the KISS test on just about everything.

Especially when we get caught up in the enthusiasm of new concepts and are bursting with ideas. Or when we get stumped by something. Or when we get too fancy pants about something.

If you find yourself in any of those situations – stumped, wearing your fancy pants; carried away with your cart – or whatever, give it a try. Go back to basics. Get KISSing!

Then, you can

Fly like a dragon!

Yvonne

*Source: Dictionary.com Unabridged           Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.

Why you need to be ACTIVE on social media.

Being active on social media offers a great business advantage which is still overlooked by many small business owners.

It’s a cheap and effective way to keep in touch on a personal and business level. Yet it is often misunderstood and I regularly get this question….

Why am I missing posts? 

You’ve liked a page, but you’ve not seen anything from them for a while.

So you hop on over to pay a visit and guess what? There’s a heap of posts you have not seen!

You’ve liked the page, you clicked follow, you’ve set your settings up correctly and yet, you’re still missing out!

How is that possible?

The most likely cause is that you’ve not been engaging.

Think of it like this…

You know what’s happening in the lives of the friends that you see often. You share news, celebrations and commiserations together. You are interested and active in one another’s lives so are front of mind with each other.

When it comes to friends who you rarely see the situation is different.

You’re not up to date on their news. Sure social media is a way to connect, BUT….

Here’s the biggie…..

UNLESS you are actively interacting, you may not be fully in the picture.

You will miss things ….sometimes important stuff!

On a personal level, I missed out on news that someone I knew had a baby and that another had passed away.  I had not been active on their particular page for a while – even though we were Facebook friends.

At the business level, a few people have been telling me they missed out on the Dragon Sisters birthday promo. They had not seen it in their Facebook feed because even though they liked our page, they had not been interacting.

The key is to take an ACTIVE interest.

We all have a group of people we reach out to and make time for. As a result, we’re up to date on what’s happening in their lives.

On social media, it’s pretty much the same.  You can’t just pop up once in a while and expect magic to happen. Life doesn’t work like that and neither does social media.

The key word here is SOCIAL.

When you are social, you have a business advantage over those who are not actively harnessing the free tools readily available.

In a nutshell – if you’re not active, if you don’t interact then you’re likely to miss out on news.

When it comes down to Facebook, their algorithms are going to think you’re not interested and will stop showing you posts from those you do not interact with.

That’s what happened with the two friends I mentioned above….so

How to fix this?

By showing interest. You do this by liking and commenting on a regular basis.  Do this with your friends and with your business.

It’s like your real-time friendships…the more you look after them, the more you know what’s happening in their lives. It’s the same on social media.

Don’t have time?

Think of it like this….keeping up on social media needs a disciplined approach. For a couple of reasons, namely that it can become a big time waster… you can disappear down a rabbit hole and emerge to find 2 or 3 hours have gone past!

The second reason is if you’re posting without a strategy, you’re wasting your time.

Not what you want to happen!

Set aside a fixed time each day to work your channels.  Remember, you do not have to cover all the channels. Choose the ones that work best for you.

You only need 30 minutes per day to do a quick flick through, drop a few comments and likes.

When you are doing this as a business, or in business, it serves a two-fold purpose…

1) It signals to Facebook that you are interested so you’re more likely to be fed the posts.

2) YOU remain front of mind with those you are interacting with…so when they are looking for a service, you are more likely to pop into their heads as someone to contact.

Posting or Interacting?

Both!

It’s important to post on your business page so your fans know you are there, and it’s equally important (and sometimes more important) to interact.

Think of this time spent as an investment in your business…take it from me, the returns are definitely there.

If you are not interacting your name is not staying front of mind.

When you are in business – you need to interact!

Don’t think it would suit your business?

In this day and age, you have to really keep your finger on the pulse. Things move so fast and attention spans are short.

Fortunately,  technology makes it easy to do so. You may not like it much, but it’s the reality and it’s not going away.

More and more businesses are branching out to social media and you should too.  It can really raise your business profile.

Note I said raise your profile. This is very different from making sales.

Key Benefits

It’s cheap – in fact, it’s FREE unless you want to use advertising.

You get real-time feedback – if someone is unhappy, you know about it straight away.

Any reviews are there for the whole world to see and, as the page owner, you cannot delete them unless you delete ALL your reviews.

Similarly, if they are thrilled with a service their reviews are gold!

It’s authentic because you can click on the profiles and see who is commenting/interacting.

Bottom line….if you’re not maximising the free parts of social media, then you’re missing out on opportunities.

Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS We do offer a short course on Understanding Facebook for Your Business – get in touch if you’d like to know more about it.

The next big thing in marketing?

The next big thing in marketing may just be happening on LinkedIn.

In the digital age, everything happens super fast.

Why Video Marketing?

The demands on our time are excessive and often, immediate.

Which is understandable. In the digital age, everything happens super fast.

Could this be why video and live feeds rate so highly on social media
and are given preferential (at the moment) positioning by those platforms?

That means that e.g. the way Facebook sets its algorithms determines what you see on your newsfeed.

But we do our best to flag what’s going on to our networks.

Marketing via LinkedIn Video

For instance, did you know that LinkedIn is rolling out their video offering?

I got the heads up from a connection on that platform.

Another good example of how we can all help one another ?.

Different Ponds for different marketing

It immediately occurred to me that I know of at least two SMEs who have fabulously successful businesses with business to consumer markets, and who, are positioning themselves to sell their businesses.

There’s another business ready to move to the next level and needs investors.

Suddenly, they need to be in a different pond to attract the right buyer/investor.

The business to business pond.

They’re more likely to find good leverage for their new goal from the LinkedIn network, than from Facebook business pages.

A lot of us are saying that LinkedIn has been slow coming to the visual party. Way behind Facebook for instance.

We all know how phenomenal Facebook Live has been for reaching and engaging target markets. But, hey LinkedIn, better late than never, right?

So far as Michelle and I are concerned, we strongly recommend that no one dismisses such new offerings.

You may not need it now. But like the businesses I’ve referred to, neither did they 12 months ago.

Now, it’s a whole new ball game.

You never know what the next opportunity might be! Or where, or from which platform.

So, it’s a really good idea, to maintain a presence across two or so key ones, and keep an eye on the others.

Here’s a great piece that explains what the LinkedIn offering will mean for businesses and for marketing those businesses:

LinkedIn’s new feature has the potential to be a game changer in B2B.

Fly like a dragon!

Yvonne

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Writing

Do you love to write?

If you do, then you’re just like me!

If you don’t…. you’re not alone.

Whichever category you fall into, these 5 simple tips will help.

Before you take to writing that next piece of yours, whether it be a blog post or a business report, here are some quick tips to help you shine.

1) The Daily Habit

Get in the habit of writing each and every day; start a journal or a diary, write to a pen pal, just get yourself in the habit of writing.

It might seem like a lot of work but it isn’t.

*A really good way to practise this is to write 2 pages in a notebook each morning. Even though I am a writer,  I’ve just started utilising this tip that I learnt from a LinkedIn post and it is working wonders for me.

If you’re in business, chances are you’re already writing every day. You might not think of it as writing, but no doubt you send off countless emails each day?

2) Broadening your vocabulary

Get a word calendar or download an app on your phone like Dictionary.com.

Putting new words into your vocabulary is a great way to make your writing more powerful.

Often, when expanding your vocabulary you’ll also improve your knowledge on spelling and the correct use of words already in your vocabulary.

*I personally love learning new words and use them often to improve my personal writing.

3) Keep using those tough words.

Everyone has words they struggle to spell.  Don’t let that stop you.

I recently found a recipe book and I’d written one of the simplest words wrong.

I was mortified, but you know what? That’s just proof of how reliant we’re getting on the computer spell checking for us.

If you struggle with certain words keep pushing yourself to use them. Eventually, you’ll spell them so often that you’ll learn to spell them correctly.

*Whenever I misspell something on my computer before looking for the correct spelling I go back and try to spell it again. Nine times out of ten I’ll spell it right on the second try.

4) Don’t always listen to the computer

Microsoft Word is great, don’t get me wrong.

I’m always looking out for those red and green squiggly lines, but it isn’t always right.

Sometimes computers don’t understand the context of how a particular sentence should work, so it’ll underline the whole thing with a green line. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the sentence.

Before taking on board the computer’s recommended changes always give it a second or third read over.

See if it flows.

If it flows and you don’t detect anything wrong there probably isn’t an issue.

Also, bear in mind that not every word is registered in the Microsoft Word dictionary. If a word is really old or comes from another language Word will just keep on telling you it’s spelt wrong, even when it isn’t.

5) Write it ALL down first.

I used to always edit as I went, so if I misspelt a word I would immediately change it and if a sentence didn’t flow I’d spend ages re-writing it.

However, that isn’t the most efficient way to write and edit.

The most efficient process is to write everything out and then do a re-read for editing.

Trust me it saves time.

A helping hand

If you need a helping hand with any aspects of writing or editing…

Simple emails, sales funnels, website content reviews through to book manuscripts, blogs and ghost writing are all in a days work for us at Dragon Sisters.

Need some help…..reach out to us.

To your success,

Sasha

Sasha Hanton – a graduate of Bond University with a Bachelor in Journalism. Sasha possesses high caliber skills across a wide genre of writing, editing and multi-media content creation. Sasha’s achievements include the Sally A White Award for Investigative Journalism 2013.

 

So You Want To Sell Online?

To sell online is the dream of many. After all, it’s a vast global marketplace and you can work from the comfort of your own home.

Making money while you sleep.  Sounds fabulous!

The Reality

All too often we start out all fired up only to discover that reality is not quite as simple as we initially envisaged.

Sure, there are a zillion guru’s who’ll tell you how they made their fortunes, that they’ll teach you their secrets and exact methods they used. For a fee.

BUT, the reality is this – it’s hard work.

There is no such thing as overnight success.

Yes, it is possible to be very successful online. It all comes down to strategy.

Regardless of whether you are an Etsy store, an author, a business coach…Before you do anything at all there 5 key areas that you need to pay close attention.

5 steps to successfully selling online

Step 1 – Identifying your target audience.  You need to be really specific because you cannot be all things to all people.

If you are too generic, you miss the mark because people do not realise you are talking to them. When you are niching down you have a much better chance of succeeding.

Step 2 – Start building your email list. This is absolutely essential. It means being able to speak directly to your target audience.

If they join your email list, you know they are interested in what you have to offer.

Step 3 – Get really clear & familiar with what you will need to deliver.

So many people start to plan an online course or product, but then, partway down the path, realise they have no idea on what is needed to deliver the finished product.

In other words HOW all the moving parts need to fit together. If the building blocks don’t fit then there is no way that sales happen. It’s definitely not a case of build it and they will come.

Step 4 – Know the costs involved in getting started.

This can be a very nasty shock and lack of funds can end up stalling your progress.

Step 5 – Create your initial campaign designed to educate rather than to sell. Your audience needs to get to know you. After all, would you buy from a perfect stranger online?

Once you have these five steps in place you are ready to start thinking about marketing your product.

The five steps outlines above are way more important than having a fancy logo or branded collateral. They are the icing on the cake that only come AFTER you have baked the cake. In other words – the solid base needs to be in place before you cn start the decorating.

As business strategists, we all too often see people make the mistake of investing far too much in the ”trimmings.”  This can be a costly mistake.

Selling online is great, but it’s a journey that you need to be approaching strategically if you want to be successful.

Understanding and developing a marketing mindset goes a long way to ensuring a successful online business. It’s not always easy, but it’s most definitely worth the effort.

Dragon Sisters runs a FREE 7 Day Marketing Challenge to help you gain a different perspective on the marketing mindset.

To enrol in the next challenge just subscribe below.



Got an opinion or question on selling online? I’d love you to share it in the comments.

Fly Like A Dragon

Michelle

 

The future viability of LinkedIn and how it affects us all

Instead of writing a new post, this week I want to re-share a brilliant write by Samantha Bailey . The article is an excellent explanation of the future viability of LinkedIn and how it affects us all.

I’d urge you to follow the link and check out this very indepth and informative article.

Samantha Bailey is a highly experienced Data Analyst with an impressive range of related specialist skills, including Research, Forensic Analysis, Data Analysis and Analytics.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the article.

Yvonne

Struggling to network on LinkedIn? Grab your FREE copy of our 8 Top Tips