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All Posts by Mell Millgate

Seeing opportunities in an upside-down world

Seeing opportunities in an upside-down world

COVID-19 has turned the world upside-down. With change happening daily, it can be hard to keep on top of things, let alone see opportunities or look at the positives. So here’s a list of things we’ve put together to help you.

Improve your digital presence

  • Review your website. Make sure it’s user friendly. Is your information up to date. If you have a shop, how easy is it for people to purchase from you.
  • Ramp up your social media. Just because we have to be socially distant doesn’t mean we can’t be social.
  • If you’re not digital – get online. Set up a website. It doesn't have to be complex. If you need help, contact a local web developer. Let's support as many small, local businesses as we can.
  • And get on social media. Everyone is at home on line. You need to join them there.  

Create deeper connections with your customers

  • Now is the time to communicate. You cannot over communicate right now.
  • Keep your customers up to date. Tell them what you are doing, what changes you are making to be able to continue to service them.
  • Provide information of value that can help your customers through this situation.
  • Communicate using all your platforms. Put your messages out there, wherever your customers are: in store, on website, social media.

Collaboration not competition

  • We can get through this together.
  • Support each other online – tag on the socials.
  • Think about who can you collaborate with eg food places, promote a three course takeaway/home delivery meal deal from three different businesses.
  • There are ways we can work together to keep our businesses afloat, to keep our connections, to get through this challenging situation.

Involve your team

  • IMPORTANTLY, be open and honest with your team.  Let them know the situation AND have a discussion together about what you can do.
  • Do you have Standard Operating Procedures? Get your team involved in developing them, or reviewing or updating them.
  • What was always on the to do list that never got done? Do it now. Or get your team to work on it.
  • What can your team do differently?

Learn to think differently

  • If the world we live in now became the norm, how would you operate?
  • What do people need, how can you fill that need in a different way?
  • Can your business pivot?

A couple of other things

  • It’s okay to use humour. Sometimes we need to have a laugh. Just make sure you’re not over using it and your timing is right.
  • Make the most of being awake at 3am.  I invented a word last night to use when you feel like swearing without actually swearing - fuster cluck. Feel free to use it if you’re having a fuster cluck moment or day. Because we will have bad days and sometimes you just need to let off some steam and swear…or pretend to swear.

At the end of the day we’re all in this together. Let’s think of ways we can all support each other and come through this, stronger together. 

And fuster cluck to COVID-19.

communication tips

Communications tips to help you manage COVID-19

Communication tips to help you manage COVID-19

With the worldwide coverage on COVID-19 impacting people everywhere, and responses being varied, from panic buying of loo paper and other essentials like cup-a-soups, to "there's nothing to worry about", we wanted to share some communicate tips to help you keep your customers up-to-date during this ever-changing situation. 

What to do

We suggest putting a communication plan into place to keep everyone updated with what you are able to provide them, and what services or products may become limited.

Everyone includes:

  • your people
  • your customers
  • your stakeholders
  • basically anyone who has contact with your business

Given the rapidly changing environment, we suggest keeping your plan pretty simple so that you can be flexible with it. In fact, your plan can be as simple as a calendar for the next few weeks with a reminder to send your COVID-19 Update daily/weekly/fortnightly.

Think about how often you might have to adjust your service/product delivery and plan your updates around that.

Your plan should also include where you're going to share your updates, as well as key points that you want to get across.

Where to communicate

Think about how and where people reach or come into contact with your business:

  • website
  • social media
  • business premises - your team and your customers
  • advertising (digital and traditional)
  • email
  • snail mail
  • etc

Wherever people have a touch-point with you and your business, this is where you want to be keeping people updated.

Your key points

Your messages should be tailored to your business and individual situation.

However, key points to include could be:

  • that the safety and health of your community is important
  • what actions your are taking, eg limiting face-to-face contact, implementing remote working, cancelling events, temporarily closing your shopfront and focusing online
  • how this may impact on your customers and how you plan to minimise that impact
  • how often you plan to keep your custmoers updated with any changes
  • how people can get in touch with you
  • thank them for their understanding
  • stay safe, take care of each other

Know your customers

​Understanding how sensitive your customers are to the situation can also influence how often to send and what to send.

For example, if you have customers who like lots of detail, then you could plan to send a daily update. And, if there's no change in the situation daily, simple send a short reassuring email saying no change to your product/service delivery from the last update. In this instance you cannot over communicate enough. 

If you have customers who prefer an overview of things, then your initial communication should be an outline what you're doing and/or going to do. Then communicating only when there's a change would be more appropriate. 

You may have a mix of both, so know your customers, what they prefer, and tailor your communications accordingly.

What's happening at starfish marketing


We are committed to providing you with the best support possible at all times.

We have worked remotely from day dot, so the COVID-19 situation should not impact our services.

If anything occurs that changes our ability to deliver our services we will keep you updated. Otherwise, it's business as usual for us.

If you need to get in touch with us you can do so
here.

In the meantime don't panic, stay safe, be kind, and look after each other.

Who is your Social Media Target Market

Who is your social media target market

In other words, who is your ideal customer or client?

We’ve been talking about all things social media lately. Summarising the topics we’ll be covering at our upcoming workshop 

How to Plan, Create, & Schedule Your Social Media Like a Pro

If you’re interested in drilling down into the process of planning, creating and scheduling your content to maximise your social media, book into our upcoming workshop.

Otherwise, follow along here for the next few weeks.

Last week we covered why host a social media party, ie having social media goals, . This week we look at who are your social media party goers. 

Your social media party goers (your target market)

Put simply, your social media target market should be your ideal customers who are active on social media.

These are the people who see the value in the services or products you are providing them.

And, we’re going to say it again, your target market is NOT everyone. While, absolutely, there are some who do want your product. Every person out there is not interested in or wants your product!

The people who want your product or service - they are the people you need to get in front of. So you can connect with them in a way they like, earn their trust so they will buy from you.

But it’s not everyone!!!

People who see value in you


The people who want your product or service, who see value in you, and who are prepared to pay you – they are your ideal clients – your target market. And when it comes to social media, they need to be active on social media as well as being all those other things.

If you understand who your social media target market is then you can more easily create content that is going to connect, appeal, engage with them.

To do this you need to understand:

  • who they are
  • what is important to them
  • where they prefer to find information about you (eg where they play on social media)
  • why they buy (or would buy) from you

This stuff is called psychographics.

It’s also valuable to know the demographics of your target market. The where they’re located, age, etc.

BUT, and it’s a big BUT. But, when it comes to content creation, the psychographic information is waaaaaay more important than the demographics.

This is because the psychographic information gives you insight into how to connect with your target market. And that will drive your content creation.

Next week we’ll cover another section of our upcoming social media workshop.

Where do your social media party goers play?

If you’re interested in drilling down into who your ideal customer is, and how to find where they are on social media, so you can then create engaging and relevant content, then book into our upcoming workshop.

Join our party

Book into our half-day workshop specifically on this topic. 

You'll learn how to plan, create and schedule your social media content like a pro! 

There are less than 15 places available!

Social Media Goals

Social media goals

Have you ever thought to yourself “why am I on social media”?

It’s time consuming. I have no idea if it’s helping my business. I don’t have a strategy, let alone even know if I’m doing it right.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone!

Why you should be on social media and social media goals are topics we are covering at our upcoming workshop,

How to Plan, Create, & Schedule Your Social Media Like a Pro

Here’s a little snippet of what we will cover when discussing social media goals. 

Start with Why

As Simon Sinek fans, we always start with Why.

Knowing why you’re on social media is important. Otherwise, well really, what are you doing playing there?

For starfish it’s what we do so we need to be demonstrating our skill and knowledge, as well as our values and why. For us, it’s one way of reaching businesses who need our help – because we know they’re on social media.

When you know why you’re on social media, then it’s time to set some goals.

Setting social media goals

You may have heard lots of marketers say “start with the end in mind”.

There’s a reason we do this.

It’s all about knowing what you want to achieve with your marketing. Or more specifically, your social media marketing.

We set goals because otherwise how will you know if your social media is successful without them?

And your goals need to be measureable. Not just “get more followers”.

“Get more followers” can be part of a social media goal but not your entire goal.

A better social media goal might be “Increase the number of my target market followers from 9,000 to 10,000 by 31 December 2020.” It’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related.

By having smart goals in place, you can measure how you’re tracking towards achieving your goal. And, you can then change or adjust your social media if you find you’re not on track.

So, ask yourself, what do you want to achieve with your social media.

But wait there's more...

Next week we’ll cover another section of our upcoming social media workshop.

Who are your party goers?

In other words, who is your target market? Who is your ideal customer of client?

If you’re interested in drilling down into the process of planning, creating and scheduling your content to maximise your social media, book into our upcoming workshop. 

Join our party

Book into our half-day workshop specifically on this topic. 

You'll learn how to plan, create and schedule your social media content like a pro! 

There are less than 15 places available!

Planning your social media

Planning your social media

We’ve been getting a few questions about planning your social media. Specifically around how to work out what types of posts to share on social media and how to plan them and schedule them out.

So, we’re going to run a workshop on it. More details on that to come.

In the meantime these key steps in planning your social media party might be of assistance. We’re calling it a party because, as with all marketing, it should be fun.

Key steps in planning your social media 'party'

1. Know why your need to host a social media party, ie be on social media

2. What do you want your party to achieve

3. Who are your party goers and where do they play

4. What party themes do you want to use

5. Planning your party

6. Party on

7. The recovery

1. Hosting your social media party

Do you understand why on social media is an important part of your marketing?

If not, check out some stat’s from one of our earlier blogs, Why Is Social Media So Important

2. What do you want out of your party?

As always, start with the end in mind. The most successful social media is social media that has a strategy behind it.

In other words, know your goals. What do you want your social media to achieve?

3. Who are your party goers and where do they play?

Who is your target market? And a reminder, it’s not everyone!

Where is your target market active on social media. Chances are it’s not on every social media platform, because trust me there’s a bucket load of social media platforms out there, and staying active on just two or three is time consuming enough!!!

Knowing your target market and where they play important, because that will influence which social media platforms you should be active on.

You don’t want to be on Tik Tok if your target market is on Instagram!

4. What party themes should you have?

Understanding your target market will also influence the type of content you want share on social media.

Does your target market want informational type content or do they want to see more personal stuff from you.

This is stuff that you need to know.

For example, there’s no point putting inspirational quotes up if your audience just wants facts and figures information. You just won’t get the engagement and that will influence the number of people you reach. And you’ll probably be reaching people who actually aren’t interested in your products or services – just in the quotes you put up.

5. Planning your party

Having a documented plan for your social will save you time and therefore money.

It will also mean you have a more strategic approach to your social media and be more likely to achieve your social media goals.

6. Party on

When you know your social media content plan, it makes creating your content a lot easier.

We recommend blocking out time on a regular basis to sit down, create and schedule. 

Put this time as a recurring event in your calendar and commit to it! Otherwise you’ll just end up back on the random “oh shit, I’ve got to create a post today”.

And that means your social media won’t be strategic. Which means your content won’t connect with your target market.

And that means you’re less likely to achieve your social media goals.

7. The recovery

Reporting is important.

Pretty much all social media platforms give you AWESOME stats and results about your posts. 

So, check out what your social media platforms are telling you.

Why?

Because these insights helps you understand your target market’s behaviour and that means you can adjust your content to connect better with them.

And remember those goals?

The better you connect with your target market, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.

Join our party

As mentioned at the beginning, we’re going to be hosting a half-day workshop specifically on this topic.

You'll learn how to plan, create and schedule your social media content like a pro! 

There are only 15 places available!

Is traditional marketing still effective?

Is traditional marketing still effective?

This is a question we get asked a bit.

The short answer is – it can be.

Expanding on that…

Traditional marketing can still be effective, but it depends on who your target market is.

Let’s start with what is traditional marketing.

Basically, it’s considered as marketing via TV, radio, print, mail and outdoor advertising. Pretty much your marketing activities that aren’t digital. So you might include networking and sponsorship in there too. 

How can traditional marketing be effective?

Knowing your target market is key!

Yep, we’re going to bang on AGAIN about how important understanding your target market is.

And a reminder – your target market is NOT everyone.

I’m going to say it…

While, absolutely, there are some who do want your product. Every person out there is not interested in or wants your product!

The people who want your product or service - they are the people you need to get in front of. So you can connect with them in a way they like, earn their trust so they will buy from you. 

But it’s not everyone!!!

The people who want your product are your target market. So, you need to understand who they are, what is important to them, where they prefer to find the information about you, and why they buy from you. This stuff is called psychographics. More on psychographics in a coming blog.

It’s also valuable to know the demographics of your target market – but the psychographic information is waaaaaay more important.

Back to traditional marketing

​So, back to “is traditional marketing still effective”.

You’ve done your research and discovered that your target market is not online. This is when traditional marketing can be effective.

Find out where your target market likes to find stuff out.

If you don’t know where your target market likes to find stuff out, ask your existing customers. Chances are they’re similar to your target market.

Do they like mail? Do they read the local paper? Listen to the local radio station (and find out which one)? Watch TV (which channel/s)?

You can use this information to put together a traditional marketing plan to connect with your market.

Traditional marketing can also be effective in reaching your target market who live locally, ie near your business.

That’s because your marketing plan would include placing your ads in the area where people will see them. Or attending local events. Or sponsoring local organisations or events.

An example of using traditional marketing

Let’s say a retirement village is holding an Open Day.

The target market demographics are 55+ age group who live within 50kms of the village.

The psychographics are - they want:

  • to feel part of a community
  • a sense of security
  • to take time to make a decision – this is a big decision
  • information they can refer to a number of times
  • details about the what, where, when
  • to stay local

Also, they access the internet to double check information and, while they are online it’s not a priority. They prefer to read the paper or listen to the radio.

A traditional marketing approach would include:

  • a 12-month print advertising campaign promoting community and different aspects of the village
  • additional print ads promoting open day for two months prior
  • permanent directional signage to the village
  • temporary Open Day signage on key roads leading up to and on the day
  • informational flyers/brochures placed at key locations locally where the market frequents, eg Doctors, or Pharmacy
  • short-term radio advertising promoting the open day

And because this target market is also online sometimes, the traditional marketing may be supported by putting information regarding the open day on the village website.

So, there you go. By focusing on the psychographics you can build a traditional marketing campaign that’s going to reach your target market effectively.

Old school can still be cool

Yes, marketing has evolved. But, at the end of the day, old-school can still be cool AND effective. It’s all about understanding your target market and building your marketing effectively.


If you need help with your marketing for 2020, book a free, no-obligation catch up with us. We'll have a chat, get to know you and see how we can help you make your marketing happen.


How to be awesome on Instagram

How to be awesome on Instagram

Instagram is awesome. Instagram is cool when you’re part of a team. Instagram is awesome, when you’re living the dream!

Apologies in advance for the earworm that now occupies your head! But Instagram is awesome.
Let’s get serious though.

Are you making the most out of your awesomeness on your Instagram page?

To make you page the awesomest it can be involves more than just popping up an image on regular basis.

Here are 3 tips to help you be truly awesome on Instagram in 2020.

  1. 1
    Understand and work with the algorithm
  2. 2
    Know your audience
  3. 3
    Mix up your posts
  4. 4
    Bonus tip

1. Understand and work with the Instagram algorithm

I hear people all the time talking about ‘beating the algorithm’! It’s something I simply don’t get.

Why go into battle with the giants of social media when you can work with them?

In other words, understand the algorithm and work with it rather than trying to figure out ways around it.

Later have written a great blog on how the Instagram algorithm works in 2020

Check it out and have a go at working with the algorithm.

And yes, in the blog there is a reference to “beating the algorithm” but in reality, they’re additional tips on working with the algorithm.

2. Know your audience

When you know your audience, you can create your content to really appeal to them and engage them.

Use the insights data. Understand what content connects better with your followers and creates engagement. Which of your posts outperformed other?

Are there particular hashtags that are attracting new followers.

What days and times are your followers most active?

Which posts gave you the best click throughs or sales.

And what stories gave you the best reach, replies, shares etc

Get into Insta-stalking. Follow your followers and see what they like and engage with the most.

Unless Insta-stalking makes you feel icky. We always say “if it feels icky, don’t do it.”

3. Mix up your posts

If you post the same thing, as in the same type of post, time after time after time your followers and audience are going to get bored. 😴😴😴

Now, we’re talking mixing it up in the type of post you do - not mixing up your strategy.

For example, rather than have all product posts, have a product post, then a behind the scenes image, then a video post, then a competition, then ask a question or do a poll using stories and send people to your stories.

Important note: Each post should be aligned to your strategy. Did we mention have a strategy. That should probably be the number one thing you need to have in place.

4. Bonus tip - get social

It may sound obvious, and you have probably heard it before. Social media is called social media for a reason.

It’s all about being social.

And that means:

  • responding to comments in your feed 
  • responding to direct messages (DMs) - unless the messages are icky.  Report and block those icky people. 
  • following your audience and commenting on their posts - not just waiting for them to comment on yours

It means frocking up, putting on your dance shoes, cranking up the music and heading out into the big wide Instagram world getting social!

And let the Instagram world know how awesome you are!



If you need help managing your Instagram account, book a free, no-obligation catch up with us. We'd love to help


Using Instagram story polls

Using Instagram story polls

We all love Instagram right! It’s easy to use, it lets you customise your feed so it reflects your brand, and there are 1 billion people using it every month.

One of our favourite things about Instagram is how easy it is to use story polls.

Let’s start with why you should use story polls.

Why you should use Instagram story polls

  1. It’s a really easy way to get people to engage with your brand.
  2. You can ask just about anything to see what your customers think about your products or services
  3. You get to better understand what your customers want
  4. You can show that you actually listen to your customers. Note, this means sharing the results of your polls and taking action based on the poll results

So now you know why you should use story polls. What next?

Well, you really want to create story polls that people want to participate in. So, here are some examples of the types of story polls you can do. 

Types of Instagram story polls

Compare two of your products or services

Find out if one of your products or services liked more.

Put two of them in a story poll to find out your customers prefer one over the other. ​

You can create more engagement and get more insights by asking for more feedback based on the responses you receive. For example, share the story poll results and ask people why they prefer A over B.  

Get help with decision making

This kind of story poll helps build more engagement for your brand and gives your audience a sense of significance that their views are being heard.

You can ask for opinions for things like:

  • what content people want to see 
  • the type of freebies or giveaways people like
  • how often people prefer to receive your newsletter
  • what time everyone would prefer to tune in to your podcast
  • how your leads would like to be contacted like by email or SMS
Create a contest

You can use story polls to run contests. For example, post a contest question as a poll, and reward the right answers.

This will create positive engagement with people and build brand recognition and recall.

Remember though, you may get some people who answer just for the freebie, and they may not be fully engaged with your business, products or services. Using relevant #hashtags can help alleviate this as well as helping you get discovered on Instagram.. 

Use your #hashtags

One of the key features that make posts and Stories discoverable are hashtags. 

You want people who aren’t following you already to discover your stories and your poll. And the best way to that is use hashtags. 

Hashtags can help people search for a catchphrase, theme, brand name, or a trend. It’s worth the time to do some Insta-stalking and find the popular hashtags that your followers, customers and target market use. And then use them in your Instagram Stories.

For instance, if you’re posting a poll asking people which shoe they prefer, you can add #shoeaddict to your Poll, before launching it.

The hashtag will be auto-populated. That means when people search Instagram using #shoeaddict that your story (if your profile is set to public) will be available for them to see. Note, people will also see posts and stories from all over the world that are using the same hashtag. 

By the way, #shoeaddict has 2.4M posts – there are lots of shoe lovers out there for you to reach.

Saving your story polls

Polls, like any other stories, can be saved and used in the highlight reel on your profile.

This is a great way for people to see the kind of content your profile has, even after the story expires.

What are you waiting for. Go forth and poll and see what your customers and target market tell you. 


If you need help managing your Instagram account, book a free, no-obligation catch up with us. We'd love to help


The difference between your Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories

The difference between your Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories

Last week we talked about why you should be on Instagram.

And, we’re guessing, if you weren’t already on Insta (as it’s affectionately called) you’ve jumped on and joined in the Instagram party to see what all the hype is about.

If you’re right at the very beginning of your Instagram journey, you might be wondering “what is the difference between your Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories.

In really, really basic terms, your feed is what you see on your main screen when you open Instagram and when you scroll down on your screen. It’s your main Instagram profile page.

Your Stories are found in those circles at the top of your screen. The circles are the profile pics of the people you follow. Click on those and then your Stories will appear. They tend to be vertical photos or videos and you usually scroll sideways to see different Stories.

Easy, right?

However the differences are more than that. There are at least three key differences.

1. Length of time

2. Appearance

3. Hashtags

4. Sound

Length of time

Stories are live for just 24 hours. After that they disappear. You might save them to your highlights,  but within the "stories" space they are only there for 24 hours. 

Feed posts are there forever (unless you choose to delete them). 

Appearance

Stories tend to be more behind the scenes, real life, in the moment content.

Feed posts can be planned out and have a strategy behind them. You can make the appearance of your feed, what we call, curated. In other words, you can plan your posts with a visual and strategic approach.

Have a look at our feed, @starfishmarketing1, as an example.  

Example Instagram Feed

Those boxes appear in a pattern.

Image, text, image

Text, image, text

Image, text, image

Text, image, text

and so on...

Plus, we use the same filter on the images to achieve similarity of tone. 

And we have templates for our text posts. 

All this creates continuity of brand.

Hashtags

While you can use hashtags in Stories, they are much more limited than in your Feed – especially as your Story only lasts 24 hours.

Hashtags and your Feed go hand-in-hand. Hashtags are a great way to get your Feed posts discovered. Insta users search for hashtags on topics they are interested in. Using hashtags on your Feed posts helps you get discovered – because (as mentioned previously) your Feed posts are there forever.

Bonus fourth difference - Sound

According to Animoto, https://animoto.com/blog/video-marketing/instagram-feed-vs-stories, 60% of stories are viewed with the sound on. In contrast, most Instagram Feed views “are scrolling with the sound off”.

So there you go, the key differences between your Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories.

Remember, those differences two should be taken into consideration when developing your Instagram content strategy.

Go back to your goals.

What are you trying to achieve with being on Instagram? Create your content accordingly.


If you need help creating your content, or if you need someone to look after your Instagram account for you, book a free, no-obligation catch up with us. We'd love to help


Why should you join Instagram?

Why should you join Instagram?

One, because Instagram is a pretty big deal these days. 


According to
Hootsuite 1 billion people use Instagram every month and 500 million are using Instagram Stories every day. That’s a pretty good reason to join Instagram. 

Now you might be thinking “yeah, but they’re following people, not businesses”. Well here’s the kicker – 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.

So, if you’re a business, that’s a very good reason to be in Instagram.

There are other reasons as well. We talk about them on a post, Have You Joined the Instagram Party, from a few years ago when we first joined Instagram. 

However…for some businesses, Instagram may not be the best platform for you, for a number of reasons.

It's about choosing the best platforms for your business. Check out our experience with joining (and leaving) the Instagram party a couple of years ago, Finding Your Right Marketing Platforms.

Note: we have recently rejoined the Instagram party because,  in 2019/20, our audience (small businesses) has become much more active there.

How to use Instagram for business

why should you be on Instagram 1

If Instagram is for you and your business, then where do you start?

Well Hootsuite provide a great article of what to do, How to Use Instagram for Business. Check it out. 

Note: we don’t have an affiliation with Hootsuite, we just think this article explains how to use Instagram really well.

Once you’ve set up on Instagram, as Hootsuite says, you need to “commit to a regular posting schedule”.

There are a number of platforms you can use for this, Hootsuite being one of them. We use Later,  (no affiliation, we simply find it easy to use). There’s also Buffer, Planoly, Sked Social, the list goes on…

How often should you post on Instagram?

General consensus (and some research) indicates that you should post at least once a day. And that can make coming up with content quite challenging. 

So, to help you plan your posts and stories, here are 20 Instagram ideas you can try.

why should you be on Instagram 2
  1. 1
    Your morning routine or what you had for breakfast
  2. 2
    Sneak peek
  3. 3
    Ask a question
  4. 4
    Your cute pets (always a scroll stopper!!! 😊)
  5. 5
    A tutorial on how to use one of your products
  6. 6
    Hold an impromptu giveaway!
  7. 7
    Sunrise or sunset – link to heading to or from work
  8. 8
    Share something you’ve learned recently
  9. 9
    An inspirational quote
  10. 10
    A time management tip (or some other type of tip)
  11. 11
    A photo of your team at work
  12. 12
    Your product. Could you create a daily feature product?
  13. 13
    Any books you’d recommend
  14. 14
    Make an announcement, eg New on the blog!
  15. 15
    User-generated content (source and share content from your customers)
  16. 16
    Celebrate an International Day of “something”
  17. 17
    Make a meme
  18. 18
    Show behind the scenes
  19. 19
    Share some stats
  20. 20
    Customer testimonials

If you post once a day on weekdays – that’s a month’s worth of posts! You’re welcome 😊

Remember, when creating your content, make sure you’re being strategic about it and make your posts and Stories aligned to your goals.

Next week, we’ll talk about the difference between your Instagram feed (posts) and Instagram Stories.


If you need help creating your content, or if you need someone to look after your Instagram account for you, book a free, no-obligation catch up with us. We'd love to help


one marketing thing - 5 Ps

If you do one marketing thing before the end of the year do this!

If you do one marketing thing before the end of the year do this!

Yes, the end of the year and decade is here. It’s a time where we look back and share lessons learned.

It’s also a time to look forward and plan your marketing for your business. Yes, I can hear you groan, but having a plan, even a really, really simple marketing plan will make a difference for the coming year.

Here are four reasons you need to plan your marketing for 2020

  1. 1
    A clear vision
  2. 2
    Staying on track
  3. 3
    Marketing Ps (not the one's you're thinking of)
  4. 4
    Knowing your marketing is working

one marketing thing - clear vision

1. You will have a clear vision of what you want to achieve

Your marketing plan should start with setting your marketing goals. Some people call this your marketing strategy. We call them goals – look forward and identify where you want to be, what you want to achieve.

Putting it simply (and bluntly): setting goals keeps you focused on your business.

That means you are less likely to get distracted by shiny new things that aren’t aligned to achieving your goals.

And, all your marketing activities are aligned to your goals, that means they are more likely to pay off.

one marketing thing - tracking

2. A plan will help you stay on track throughout the year

Your marketing is more likely to get done if you have documented what you are going to do when.
Your plan doesn’t have to be complex. A good marketing plan will work for you. You just need to include:

  • what you want to do
  • when you want to do it
  • how much you need to invest (time & $)

Oh, and be realistic about your time. Things always take longer than you think, especially if it’s not your thing.

And we know that small business owners wear the hat of everything. That means the chances are marketing isn’t your thing, so it will take you longer than you think. We suggest doubling the time you think it will take you. If you end up with spare time then you can spend that on other areas of your business!

Use our really really simple marketing plan to help you get your marketing set for 2020. And use these 4 questions to help you start your marketing

Of course, you should understand your target market and your brand and all that other stuff. It’s important (actually really important). But, if you do one thing before the end of the year to market your business, then put together a really really simple marketing plan.

one marketing thing - 5 Ps

3. The five marketing Ps (not the ones you’re thinking of

Yes, it takes time to put your marketing plan together (even a really, really, simple one). However, have you heard of the marketing Ps? No, not product, price, promotion and place (and all the others). We mean Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Having these five ps in place will help your marketing get delivered. And that means your marketing performance will improve. (Well it really has to if you’re moving from no marketing to planned marketing actually happening).

Once your plan includes your marketing activities, we recommend allocating time every day/week/month dedicated to actioning your marketing. We say day/week/month because it’s whatever works for you. We do recommend daily though – we are marketers after all 😊.

​Use a calendar or project management system to allocate your time.

Some people use a wall calendar. Others like Outlook or an online calendar. We use a project management app where we allocated our tasks and it sends us reminders to work on them. By planning ahead and allocating your time, you know when you’ll be working on your marketing and you can make your marketing happen.

one marketing thing - results

4. You’ll know how you well your marketing is working

Finally, by having a marketing plan, you can check in regularly to see how you’re going and if you’re going to achieve your marketing goals.

It’s important to be flexible. If you see that some of your marketing isn’t working, try to work out why and then adjust what you’re doing.

Some examples of reasons your marketing might not work could be:

  • Is it because the language you’re using isn’t appealing to your customers? Perhaps your customers are perhaps older and expect a more formal approach, and you’re using casual language of slang?
  • If you reduced your pricing, is your pricing now too low, creating a perception that your product or service is lesser quality? And your customers expect a premium product.
  • Are you advertising on television and your customers are watching YouTube?  


So, there you go – four reasons you need to plan your marketing for 2020.

As we said at the start, if you do only one marketing thing before the end of the year, make sure it’s to plan your marketing.


If you need help planning your marketing for 2020, book a free, no-obligation catch up with us.


23 marketing freebies

23 marketing freebies!

Over the last year we have shared a number of marketing freebies that we use.

As it’s the festive season and a time of giving, we thought we’d end the year with a bang and revisit them all of them. We've also included a few freebies we haven’t previously mentioned. 

Most of these 23 marketing freebies have an upgrade and pay option. We have chosen to upgrade with some of them, but for the most we find the free version is adequate. 

Oh, and when we say ‘freebie’ we mean financially free. Your time, of course, isn’t free. Also, some of the free versions mean you end up with their branding included in your end product, and there will most likely be some limitations or restrictions around frequency or level of use. But hey, they’re free!

So here you go, 23 marketing freebies to use in your marketing (in no particular order).

Note: we don't have an association with any of these businesses/tools/platforms apart from the last two. We just think they're pretty cool, especially as they offer freebies.

1.     GoogleMyBusiness
2.     Google Analytics
3.     Yoast
4.     MailChimp
5.     All the socials
6.     Facebook pixel
7.     Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, Negative Space
8.     Free directory listings
9.     Bitly
10.   Missinglettr
11.   Canva
12.   Stencil
13.   Later
14.   Planoly
15.   Ripl
16.   Easil
17.   Imgflip
18.   Lumen5
19.   Clipchamp
20.   SurveyMonkey
21.   Eventbrite
22.   Zoom
23.   Us (Starfish Marketing and Everyday Marketing)

23 marketing freebies - GoogleMyBusiness

1. GoogleMyBusiness (GMB)

This is a free Google service that helps you manage how your business information appears across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. The image above is an example of how your GoogleMyBusiness profile can appear (if you maximise it).

2. Google Analytics

If you’ve got a website then Google Analytics is a must. Google Analytics gives you great information about your website and the website visitor experience. And with that information you can adjust your website to be more appealing, better engage your audience, make more sales, the list goes on.

23 marketing freebies - all the socials

3. Yoast

If you have a wordpress website, there's a plugin called Yoast. It is the best thing ever to help you with your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO – otherwise known as where you range on a Google search). The free version is great and there's an upgraded paid version. I can't tell you much about the paid version because we only use the free one. Gotta love free stuff!

4. MailChimp

A free email marketing platform (up to a point). If you have less than 2000 contacts then you can use MailChimp for free. It’s easy to use and is a great way of staying in touch with your clients, stakeholders, target market etc on a regular basis. You can also create landing pages and automated campaigns (although there are limitations with the free version).

5. All the socials

Social media is BIG!!!
Most platforms are free and millions of people are using them. The most popular are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • SnapChat
  • Twitter
  • TikTok

6. Facebook pixel

23 marketing freebies - all the socials

In really simple terms, a Facebook pixel is a piece of code (that Facebook gives you) that you can install on your website or landing pages. The pixels can track who visits your website. You can then create very targeted campaigns based on the information collected to improve your sales or conversions. Of course your campaigns aren’t free, but the pixel is free.

7. Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, Negative Space

These four sites all provide a wide range of free stock images. There are probably more sites out there. You can also use Canva for access to free stock images too.

8. Free directory listings

The more directory listings you can join, the more it will help your SEO (refer point 3.). Some of the free directories we have found include:

  • True Local
  • Yelp for Business
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Show Me Local
  • Hotfrog
  • Local Search
  • Sensis Yellow Pages

When you sign up for any of these free directories, chances are you will be contacted to upgrade to a paid version. We haven't found it necessary to upgrade, however the choice is yours.

9.Bitly

Bit.ly is such a cool little tool. It turns those ugly, long, chunky url links into something short and funky. And it gives you information on how many people click on the link, where your traffic comes from and when people clicked.

10.Missinglettr 

A tool that turns your blog content into 12 months of social media posts. Good for sharing your content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

11.Canva

23 marketing freebies - Canva

Canva helps you create beautiful, fun, standout images for your social media posts. You can create Facebook posts, Instagram posts, blog banners, social media page banners, infographics and more. The reason it’s one of our favourites is because there are so many templates, photos, icons and more all set up for you to use.

12.Stencil

In their words “Easy-to-use graphic design tool for bloggers, business owners, and social media marketers”. It has templates, images, quotes, fonts and more. The free version allows you to create 10 images per month.

13.Later

Later is a scheduling tool. It saves us a bucketload of time. While predominantly an Instagram scheduling tool, you can also use it for Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Note, we use the paid version as we use it for more than one platform and more than 1 user.

14.Planoly

Another scheduling tool for Instagram and Pinterest. You can load your images, schedule content and draft captions to post. The free version is limited to 30 uploads per month, but if you’re only posting once a day it should suffice.

15.Ripl

23 marketing freebies 4

Ripl seems to be one of the easiest ways you can make videos for your social media channels. There are heaps and heaps of layouts that you can customise with your own photos, logo and message.

16.Easil

Another platform you can use to design your posts. It has modern templates you can use or you can building your own style. Great for creating content for Instagram (especially stories), Facebook and more.

17.Imgflip

A simple and fast website for creating and sharing memes. You can use a range of images, see trending meme images or upload your own.

18.Lumen5

Lumen 5 is a platform where you can easily create videos from still images. And bonus points – you can even access free images within Lumen5. Or you can load up your own images. The free version has their branding at the end of your video.

19.Clipchamp

23 marketing freebies

A free video editor. Similar to Lumen5 where you can load images and turn them into a video. We use this one to create Facebook banners as it has a Cinematic dimension option (21:9) that works better for banners than the standard Widescreen (16:9) dimension. Again, there are limitations with the free version.

20.SurveyMonkey

An online platform where you can produce online surveys and polls. You can use it for market research, competitive analysis, customer or the employee feedback, and more. The free version does have limitations, however if you aren’t doing anything complex it’s pretty good.

21.Eventbrite

An online event registration platform where you can create, organise and manage events. If your event is free, then Eventbrite is free to use. If you charge for tickets to your event, then you’ll pay a fee.

22.Zoom

A web-based video conferencing tool that you can use to hold meetings online, with or without video. We use it for our weekly team meetings (Kaitlyn’s in Canberra and I’m in Albury or Rutherglen). There’s a time restriction of the free version if you have more than two users, but overall we find it easy to use and haven’t needed to move to the paid version (yet).

23.Us (starfish marketing)

23 marketing freebies starfish marketing

At the end of the day, we believe that marketing can make a difference for your business. And we know the more successful businesses there are, the positive impact flows onto our communities.
So, while we would love to help you with your marketing, we also understand that this is not always an option. This is why we share a stack of templates and marketing information
here on our website. Feel free to access them - you won't need to provide your email address, just download them (located at the bottom of the page). 

And then there’s our sister brand Everyday Marketing. While not necessarily free, Everyday Marketing provides you with a $1-a-day marketing option. And that's nearly free!

How does Everyday Marketing work? 

It's simple. You do the marketing, we provide you with the information, instruction and inspiration, daily. You can find out more here, or sign up for the FREE 7-day trial here.


Note: we don't have an association with any of these businesses/tools/platforms (apart from Starfish Marketing and Everyday Marketing). We just think they're pretty cool, especially as they offer freebies.


We hope these 23 freebies help you make your marketing happen. If you would like help with your marketing, feel free to book a catch up.


Five more awesome Facebook posts you can do

Five more awesome Facebook posts you can do.

Following on from last week’s blog, Five awesome Facebook posts to help you create engagement, here are five more awesome Facebook posts you can do.

1. UGC (you'll have to read below to find out what it is)

2. Pets

3. Reviews and testimonials

4. Polls

5. Video


1. UGC (User-Generated Content)

Have you heard of User-Generated Content?

Otherwise known as UGC, it’s where you share content from other people.

It’s not copying their content and using as your own, it’s sharing their content. (Using the Share button on their post).

The important thing is to make sure the UGC you are sharing is relatable to you and your audience (target market), and you should tag the person or business that you are sharing.

It’s also a good idea to ask their permission first – especially if you don’t have an existing relationship with them.

2. Pets

Who doesn’t love a cute pet!!! Nobody, that’s who.

There’s a reason pet videos and photos are so pupular (did you see what we did there???). Because everyone loves a cute pet.

Facebook Pet Post

Tap into what people love and share your favourite pet moments. They can be cute, funny, daggy, etc.

Showcase your pet’s personality too. And ask people to share photos of their pets or their pet stories.

3. Reviews and testimonials

Share your customer love.

When someone gives you a great review, share it in a post. You can either turn it into a styled post or share it directly from the review in Facebook.

And always thank people for their feedback.

FB Testimonial Post
FB Review Post

4. Polls

Everyone has an opinion and posting a poll is a great way to engage your followers.

Not only does it give the ability to express their opinion, it gives you insights into your target market.

Play it safe though and avoid any really polarising and controversial topics. Think of it like a dinner party, avoid politics, sex and religion!!

FB Poll example

5. Video

Facebook loves video’s and the almighty algorithm will reward you for posting videos.

You can do live video’s or pre-record them.

They don’t have to be too long (we’re not talking movies here) and if they’re done well you can expect better engagement than a standard post.

Lot’s of people shy away from being in front of the camera. So, if it really, really, really puts you waaaaaaay outside your comfort zone, do a behind the scenes video of your manufacturing process. Or video opening a package that’s been delivered. Or find someone in your team who is happy to do videos. Or, or, or…this list goes on for the variety of videos you can do.

And if you can afford professional videos then do it. It will be worth the investment. 

Finally, remember the best type of Facebook marketing is marketing that will engage your audience. And to do that you need to understand them. 

So, make sure you’re really, really clear on your audience is. 

If you don’t know, try using this ideal client worksheet to figure out who they are. And then create your Facebook content to engage them. 


If you need help with your Facebook marketing, get in touch. We'd love to help you.


Five awesome Facebook posts to help create engagement

Five awesome Facebook posts to help you create engagement.

We all know that you need to be active on Facebook to build a following and connect with your audience (your customers target market). After all, it’s not the number 1 social media platform for nothing. 

And Facebook considers engagement as really, really important.

So, what is engagement? 

Well, it's more than just likes. It's people commenting on your post. And it's people sharing your post. Oh, and if they're sharing directly to other people through messenger, that's considered really awesome engagement. And Facebook loves engagement.

The more engagement your posts get, the further your reach is and the more people get to connect with your business. 

But coming up with engaging content can be challenging.

Never fear! We are here with five awesome Facebook posts to help you create engagement. 

1. Ask a question

2. Share some news

3. Behind the scenes

4. A scroll-stopping image

5. Share a link

1. Ask a question

The trick here is to be direct. That means not asking open ended questions. If you give people an easy choice then it makes it easy for them to answer, and that will create more comments and engagement.

For example, ask Yes or No? Do you schedule your Facebook posts regularly?

If you can't think of any questions to ask, then think about what your customers ask you all the time. Can you turn those questions into a Yes or No question? Or a Thumbs up or Thumbs down question? Perhaps a Do you or Don’t you question?

2. Share some news

Do you have an announcement about new products? Or perhaps you have an event coming up. Have you received some awesome feedback recently?

Share news about your business and what you’re doing.

For example, we shared an announcement about sponsoring a business awards category. People connected and then commented and shared the post. Engagement +++!

Sharing an announcement is a great way to keep your followers and customers informed. And, at the same time, it deepens their connection with your business.

3. Behind the scenes

Part of the beauty of social media is that it allows you to let people see and feel like they are part of your behind-the-scenes activities.

Share a video of you making your product. Or a photo of your team in action on a project. If you (and your team are camera shy, perhaps a post listing what you have accomplished during the day (like the example below).

People love to connect on a personal level with businesses, so show the people involved in your business.

Share what happens in your day-to-day business life. You’ll be surprised how many people will connect with it.

4. A scroll-stopping image

We’ve all been there. Scrolling through the feed and then we see an image that just brings us to a screaming halt.

Often, that image will have nothing to do with the actual content of the post. But it got you to stop and read the content. The trick here is that you need to make the content engaging too. Because you want people to not only stop scrolling, you want them to comment and share your post as well.

For example, we usually use cute puppies to stop the scroll. In the instance below the content is actually relevant to the image. But remember, it doesn’t have to be.

Hint: green and red stand out on Facebook. Avoid blue toned images if you can as they blend in.

5. Share a link

If you're asking people to do something, then make sure you include a link in your post, where you want them to go. It could be to your website. Or someone elses website. It could be to an app.

Make sure you give a reason to click on the link. This will usually be that you are providing something of value. For example, you might share your latest blog.

Make your thing of value, your offer, your call-to-action, enticing so that people will click on the link. 

At the end of the day, the best way to improve your Facebook marketing is to understand your audience.

When you’re really struggling what to post, ask yourself who you’re trying to reach. Who is your audience?

When you know who your audience is, who you’re targeting, it will help you know what sort of posts to share.


If you need help with your Facebook marketing, then let us know. We'd love to help you.


meme marketing 1

What is meme marketing?

What is meme marketing?

Did you know that meme marketing is a thing? Yep. Businesses are using memes strategically in their marketing.

So, what makes memes special? 

When we’re told that the average person spends nearly 2 hours on social media EVERY DAY, you can see why creating content that cuts through the scroll is important.

And people (apparently) love memes.

According to Google Trends, “memes” are becoming a more popular search term than "Jesus", although they are not yet as popular as “chocolate”. 

Surely there’s a meme in that!!!
meme marketing 1

Basically, it’s the way they are able to quickly communicate attitudes, feelings and situations. And usually in a funny way. And we all know humour is an extremely effective way of cutting though all the promotional activity that is out there. 

If you’re on social media for your business, and are posting organically, you are most likely getting low engagement. Especially when compared to a few years ago. This low engagement is usually due due to the never-ending changes of the dreaded algorithms And, let’s be honest, very few of us have time to keep up with the changes, and make the required changes to keep your engagement up. (That’s why you need people like starfish marketing – we do it for you. Please excuse the shameless self-plug.). Anyway, I digress.

Memes can cut through and “stop the scroll”, engaging people (your audience) so they comment or share your posts.

meme marketing 2

If your meme marketing is effective (engaging) it can help spread the word about your business because your customers and audience will comment and share on social media.

What is meme marketing

Meme marketing is more than sharing memes on your business page. Meme marketing should provide value for your audience through entertainment.

Good meme marketing isn’t overly promotional either. You can use memes to create a laugh whicl including a casual reference to your brand.

When done correctly, meme marketing can be very successful. They can engage your target market and help to build authenticity and the identity of your business and brand.

Good memes won’t feel like an ad or a promotion. And while they can engage your audience by being funny, or clever, or irreverent, the trick with meme marketing is to make sure you are not attracting an audience that aren’t actually interested in your business or products. This is why knowing who your target market is, is very important. It’s also why you shouldn’t make every social media post a meme!

Did you know that meme’s can trend? How many memes of “Brace Yourselves. Winter is Coming” have you seen? It’s certainly a long trending meme.

How do you create a meme?

Well there’s a stack of platforms out there to help you create your memes. We use, Imgfip.com. (note, we don’t have an association with them, we just find the platform easy to use).

When you’ve chosen your platform, there’s usually two types of memes you can create. Use an existing meme (perhaps a trending one) or create your own.

When using an existing meme you need to make sure that your content is funny and original. OH, and make sure you fully understand a meme before using it. It’s sort of like emoji’s. You don’t want to be posting eggplants everywhere.

You should also make sure the meme’s are aligned to your brand, both from a visual and language (tone) point of view.

Creating your own memes is more challenging, but they can be more reflective of your business and brand. The important thing to remember is, like using an existing meme, your image and language need to be ‘on brand’.

So make sure your meme is going to be appealing to your target market. There’s no point putting meme’s out there to engage people who are not your ideal customer.

Meme Marketing

How do you do meme marketing

Start with a sense of humour! 😊

Actually, as with all marketing, you should start with a strategy. Understand if meme marketing is going to work for you.

Yep, it’s time to ask yourself some meme marketing questions:

  • Will meme marketing appeal to your target market? If not, then perhaps don’t do it.
  • If it does, what are you looking to achieve?
  • How will you use memes to engage your audience?
  • What platforms will you use?
  • Will you use existing memes or create your own?

As always, have a strategy behind your approach. And a plan and budget for how you will carry out your meme marketing.

So, there you go. Meme marketing is a thing. Go forth and meme market (if it's appropriate for engaging your customers and target market). 


If you need help with making your marketing, then let us know. We'd love to help you.


marketing your business on a budget 2

Marketing your business on a budget

Marketing your business on a budget

When you think about marketing your business, do you think you need to spend large amounts of money?

Contrary to popular belief, marketing your business on a budget can deliver great results. It’s simply means making the most of what you’ve got by being creative and focusing on one or two things that will give you your best return on investment.

We recently shared Three Things You Can Do To Market Your Small Business. Following on from that, here are five things you can do to market your business on a budget. 

  1. 1
    Target, target, target
  2. 2
    Email is da bomb!
  3. 3
    Social, social, social
  4. 4
    Real life social
  5. 5
    Freebies
marketing your business on a budget 1

1. Target, target, target

As a small business, making sure you know your target market is crucial.

Do your research and get the best results for your budget. While it might take some time initially to understand who your target market is, that time will be totally worth it.

And remember, your target market isn’t Everyone. Why, because not everyone is going to be interested in your product or service.

Being specific about who your target market is means you will attract people who are happy to pay for your products or services because they see the value in what you are providing.

It can be scary reducing the number of potential customers you are targeting, however, if you are marketing to the right people, then they become your customers more easily and are more likely to spend more with you, more often.

So, think about who your potential customers are. Put some time into finding out what drives their decision making, where are they located, what influences them to buy and where they hang out. For example, what social media platforms they are on?

Then, invest your marketing by focusing on engaging with your target market through the appropriate marketing mediums or platforms.

There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. If you know what works, tweak it for this year and roll it out again. 

marketing your business on a budget 2

2. Email is da bomb!

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools out there.

It’s a great way to let people know about your products and services, get your brand out there, and stay front of mind with your customers and target market. 

You can use email marketing to send:

  • Regular newsletters to stay front of mind
  • Product offers to generate sales
  • Surveys and competitions to create engagement and get insights
  • Big announcements to build a sense of ownership and connection with your business
  • And more....

There are various email platforms out there that are simple and easy to use (and some are “free”).

These platforms allow you to segment your database so you can send emails to specific target markets. For example, you might send an exclusive special offer only to your best customers as a thank you for their business.

The email platforms will give you information on how many of your database opened your email, clicked on any links, etc. So you know what emails give you the best return on investment.

Still need convincing? Check out Three Reasons To Use Email Marketing

Bonus Tip: Be creative, keep your email content simple and catchy
marketing your business on a budget 3

3. Social, social, social

Yes, we know we’ve mentioned social media in lots of previous blogs, but really – it is a great way to promote your business.

You can use most social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram for free (that’s $ free not time free). So social media really is a no brainer.

You can read about Why Social Media Is So Important here.

And you can share information in different ways. From creating posts, to sharing photos, to video, to stories, to creating polls, and more. 

And if you want to spend money on your social media, you can be very targeted with who your ads get in front of. Plus, you don’t have to spend extraordinary amounts of money to see results.

While social media can be used effectively without spending your hard-earned marketing $$$, it isn’t time free. However,there are stacks of scheduling platforms out there that you can use.

That way you can plan and schedule all your social media posts for the week or longer.

Check out our Five Favourite “Free” Social Media Tools

marketing your business on a budget 4

4. Real life social

Is your local area a great place for local networking events for local businesses?

Albury Wodonga certainly is, with the Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce and Business Wodonga, regularly holding networking events.

Getting social and attending events is a great way to connect with your local market on a personal basis. A lot of local networking events are free or not a huge financial investment. They do need your time though. And you need to network regularly. We recommend at least one event per month.

Bonus tip - Don’t go to a networking event with the goal of handing out as many business cards or meeting as many people as you can. And don’t go just to sell your product or services. Go to make genuine connections. 

People will buy from those they know, like and trust – particularly in the local market. And it takes time for people to know, like and trust you.

Create a connection. The more someone has a genuine connection with you, and develop an ongoing connection with you (over time), the more likely the are to either purchase or refer you. 

marketing your business on a budget 5

5. Freebies

Make the most of your marketing by using the free marketing tools that are available. There are stacks out there.

Check out Nine Free Things To Help You With Your Marketing

Just remember, try not to be distracted by the shiny thing. Make sure you have a marketing plan to guide your marketing activities and help you focus on those couple of things that will give you your best bang for your buck (your return on investment).

Make the most of your marketing - regardless of the size of your budget. 


If you need help with making your marketing, then let us know. We'd love to help you.


three things to market your small business 1

Three things you can do to market your small business

Three things you can do to market your small business

With so many options and ways to market your small business, it can be hard to know what to focus on.

If you’re not sure which marketing activities to choose, here are three tips.

  1. 1
    Make sure your website sings
  2. 2
    Make the most of social media
  3. 3
    Have a plan
three things to market your small business 1

1. Make sure your website sings

To create trust with your potential customers, you need more than a social media presence. If you’re not sure why, check out our blog on ‘Why you need more than a Facebook page’. 

Having a website site that is mobile friendly (priority number 1), ridiculously good looking (attractive to your market), and KISSable (simple and is easy-to-use) is a must when you market your small business.

You should also make it easy for people to know why they need to purchase your products or services by having calls to action (CTAs) throughout your site.

Above all, it should be easy to find your products or services, fast to load, and it should be very easy for people to contact you – whether it be by email, phone, messenger and (especially if you have a shopfront) providing an address so they can visit you.

If you know how to update and change your website yourself, great. Otherwise, you don’t have to be a website techie expert (not us) or website editor (us) to make your website sing.​

Put yourself in your customers shoes and do a website audit. Make a note of the changes you need and then get a quote from the website techie experts or web editors on getting you website updated.

What’s the difference between a website techie expert and a web editor. Well a web editor can usually make changes to the content and appearance of your site if there’s no coding involved. In other words if your website has been set up using a template format. If your website has been set up using CSS coding (or other techie stuff) then it’s time to bring in the website techie experts. 

three things to market your small business 2

2. Make the most of social media

Just like you need more than a Facebook page. You also need more than just a website to market your small business.

Whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, SnapChat or Twitter (or some other social platform), social media is BIG!!!

Remember, it’s not called social media for nothing 😊. So, the important thing about social media is to make sure you are social.

Connect with your audience rather than talking at them. Create conversations, respond to comments and be active. Take the time to listen, engage and respond.

And have a plan about how you’re going to do that.

We talk in more about why social media is important here

three things to market your small business 3

3. Have a plan

Have you ever thought “I actually don’t know what I need to do to market my small business”?

Well, having a plan (and it doesn’t need to be a detailed plan) means you know what you’re going to do with your marketing and when.

Your plan can be as simple as a calendar that outlines what you’re going to do in which month of the year.

Download our Really Really Simple Marketing Plan Template here and read our blog on 4 questions to help you start your marketing (build your marketing plan) here

Having a plan makes marketing your small business much easier. And, according to Coschedule, you are 313% more likely to report success if your strategy (plan) is documented.

Now if that isn’t a reason to plan your marketing then I don’t know what is. 

With the silly season just around the corner, now's the time to market your small business.


If you need help marketing your small business, then let us know. It's what we do best and we'd love to help you.


ready for silly season customer love

Five tips to help you get ready for the silly season

Five tips to help get you ready for the silly season

Are you ready for the silly season?

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The shops have pulled out the Christmas decorations, there’s Christmas countdown messages hitting your inbox every day and you’ve already received several party invites.

The silly season has officially begun. Are you ready for it?

To make the most of your silly season you really need to start getting ready now. Actually, ideally you will already have some marketing plans in place.

If not, here are five tips to get your marketing sorted for the silly season. 

  1. 1
    Time travel
  2. 2
    Make people feel special
  3. 3
    Make your existing customers feel even more special
  4. 4
    Share your stories
  5. 5
    Make things easy
  6. 6
    Bonus tip - get scheduling
ready for silly season time travel

1. Time travel

Go back to 2018 (doesn’t that sound like a long time ago) and look at what delivered you the best results.

  • What were your most popular and highest selling products?
  • What were your most profitable products?
  • What campaigns delivered the highest sales

There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. If you know what works, tweak it for this year and roll it out again. 

ready for silly season customer love

2. Make people feel special

Increase your average sale value by creating an incentive for multiple sales.
For example, a free gift valued at $X with purchase valued at over $Y. Or offer free gift wrapping – very appealing for those who don’t enjoy wrapping things themselves. Or, buy three and get free freight.
Value add rather than discount. 

3. Existing customer love

Having loyal customers is a real bonus these days.

Make sure you look after them by acknowledging their loyalty and making them feel special.

Because they are special.

Hold a customer event, like a lunch, or send them a little gift. Or simply send a handwritten card to say thank you for their custom throughout the year. 

Everyone loves a thank you. 

ready for silly season story telling

4. Story telling

People love connecting with people.

They love knowing what’s happening behind the scenes, seeing snippets of real life (as opposed to the curated life often seen on social media).

Create a festive connection with your market by sharing your stories.

For example, go live when you’re unpacking new stock. Share your incentives, like showing a customer getting their gifts wrapped for free. Or take photos of your team putting up the Christmas decorations. 

5. Make things easy

If you sell online then make go and review your shopping/checkout process.

Better still, get someone else, someone outside your business, to review it.

Take the feedback and update your site to make the purchase process as seamless as possible.

 And do this before you start your silly season promotions.

If your sales are predominantly in-store, make it easy for people to find things. Group similar items together, have signage guiding customers to specific areas, and make sure you have enough staff on. 

ready for silly season make things easy

6. bonus tip

Make scheduling your best friend. Plan your social media right through to and beyond the new year. Book time in your calendar and get creative.

Taking a few hours out of your day now, before the silly season gets too crazy, will save you not only time down the track, but you’ll sleep at night not having to worry about what you need to post tomorrow or the next day. 

Start Now

The most important thing is to start now. Plan what you’re going to do so you are ready for the silly season. And then action your plan early.

Plan. Plan. Plan.

Create. Create. Create.

Schedule. Schedule. Schedule.

Implement. Implement. Implement.

And make the most of your silly season. 


If you need help with making your planning your silly season marketing, then let us know. We'd love to help you.


Brand gap-fix action plan 1

Building your brand gap-fix action plan

Building your brand gap-fix action plan

So, you’ve conducted Step 1 of your brand audit and identified the brand gaps in your business.

What next?

Next are steps 2-6 of your brand audit

Starting with building an action plan to fix your brand gaps

Building your brand gap-fix action plan

Your brand fix action plan will have eight parts to it: 

  1. 1
    The brand gap description (pull this from step 1 of your brand audit)
  2. 2
    The relevant area of your business where you have identified a brand gap
  3. 3
    The actions to be carried out to close/fix the brand gap
  4. 4
    Who will be responsible for driving the action and who needs to be involved
  5. 5
    The time frame implementing the brand gap-fix will take
  6. 6
    Your KPIs – the anticipated brand gap-fix result
  7. 7
    A budget
  8. 8
    The actual outcome

What do you need to actually do?

For each brand gap you identify, list the actions needed to fix that gap.

For example:

The gap might be that the way the team answers phone varys greatly. Some are formal, some are casual, some include their name, others don’t. Some don’t even say the business name when they answer the call.

This affects all areas of your business because everyone answers the phone.

You identify your action as implementing a phone protocol into you business.

This could involve:

  • holding a staff meeting to explain why the way the phone is answered is important
  • getting everyone to workshop the new script
  • (the added benefit here is that staff will feel a sense of ownership and engagement and be more likely to commit to the change)
  • workshop to include an implementation plan for the new protocol
  • approve new phone protocol
  • share the new protocol and implement with the team
  • add phone protocol to new staff onboarding process
  • review outcomes after one month, six months and then annually

So your action plan might look like this:

As you can see, you don't need to complete your outcome until you've completed all the actions and conducted your reviews. 

Prioritising

Remember, you don’t need to do everything at once.

When working out your time frames for delivering your brand gap-fix, think about what’s impacting your business the most.

And priortise those actions.

You might like to add a priority area to your action plan, and prioritise in an A, B, C or High, Medium, Low format.

Make sure you budget for each gap-fix. Including a time budget.

You and your team have a value. If there isn’t a dollar spend to action the item, but you and your team are spending time on the action, then work out how long you think it will take and put a value on that time.

The reason for doing this, is that sometimes you may be able to outsource the brand-fix action and it may be a financially better option to do so.

Also, sometimes you might be tempted to delay a brand gap-fix if it’s a big-ticket item.

However, if that big-ticket item is going to have a positive financial outcome for you, consider postponing some of the easier and/or cheaper things instead.

I find using a simple calendar or table to highlight what you’re going to work on then helps prioritise. I can immediately see if I’ve put too many actions into one month, so can go and adjust the action plan.

You can plug in the dollars needed to help keep track of your budget and impact on your cashflow. 

Reviewing

Finally, brands are not set and forget things. You really do need to do an annual review as a minimum.

The first time you do a brand audit, yes it can take some time. But once you get your branding humming across every aspect of your business:

a) you notice a lot more quickly when a brand gap appears and that means you can fix it more quickly

b) your annual brand review takes less and less time

So, what are you waiting for? Your brand audit awaits. 


If you need help with making your brand consistent let us know. We'd love to help you.


How do you do a brand audit?

How do you do a brand audit?

Yes, we know, the word “audit” can be scary. But doing a brand audit is an important part of creating consistency all through your business.

And really, it’s not that hard.

There are six steps involved:

  1. 1
    Identify gaps
  2. 2
    Develop an action plan
  3. 3
    Budget
  4. 4
    Prioritise
  5. 5
    Implement
  6. 6
    Annual review

The first step in creating brand consistency is to identify any branding gaps across your business.

Identifying your brand gaps

Okay, let’s do this. Block out some time in your calendar to commit to doing step one of your brand audit.

If there are lots of aspects to your business, if you have a variety of branded products (for example), then you may like to block out an hour a week (or month) dedicated to this task.

Now, take the time an look at every aspect of your business. I mean really look.

This is more than making sure your logo is on all the important things. It involves thinking about (or in some cases physically checking) every aspect of your business and asking yourself “does that say want I want my brand to say?” or “does that generate the emotion I want my business/my brand to generate?”

If the answer is no for some parts of your business, then simply make a note of where your branding is not aligned, and move onto the next part.

You can use this simple checklist to help identify the different parts of your business and note where your brand gaps are. 

Examples of brand gaps

Pricing

Where is your brand priced? Premium? Ultra-premium? Middle of the road? Value for money? Cheap?

For example, if your brand creates a perception of an average product or service, eg Holden or Ford, but its priced at the premium end, eg Mercedes Benz or Tesla, then you have a gap.

You need to figure out can you reduce your pricing (never a good option) or re-position your brand as a premium brand.

Uniforms

Do you have uniforms? Do you replace them regularly or are they a bit tatty?

How would you feel if you rocked into McDonalds and the staff were grimy and grotty in mis-matched uniforms?

And if you don't have uniforms, do you have a dress code to ensure consistency of appearance and an appearance that reflects your brand?

Website

Does the look and feel of your website reflect all your other visual brands, as well as your brand essence.

For example, if you are a builder and your website show’s images taken on your phone, information is hard to find, what does that say to people about the quality of your build?

Bricks and mortar

What does your building or office look like? Inside and out? 

For example, if you have a retail shop that sells premium products and your front windows are dirty, what does that say to your potential customers?

Stationery

Does anyone even use stationery any more? Just kidding! We know there are lot's of businesses out there where paper-based communication is still important.

But, if you're in the digital space, think about whether your electronic letterhead looks the same as your paper version? Or are you using the same electronic format for "letters" all across your business?

What does your stationery say about you? For example, if you’re a high-end business but are presenting people with a flimsy business card, what question does that raise with your market?

Social media

Are your posts instantly recognisable in someone’s feed as your business and brand?

And are they consistent with your brand? For example, posting silly cat meme’s isn't really aligned with your brand if you are trying to portray a corporate professional image. 

Tip: having a professional style guide will help you and your team create consistency across the visual aspects of your brand, including social media.

Language or tone of voice

What level of formality do you use and is this reflective of your brand?

For example, starfish marketing used quite informal language that is simple and fun. This is reflective of the brand being approachable and fun and making life easier for clients.

As you can see, your brand is definitely more than your logo. And this list won't cover every aspect of your business.

Use this simple checklist to work through the different areas of your business, noting where your branding isn’t aligned. 

When your audit is complete, develop an action plan, budget and timetable to address your gaps. We’ll take you through how to do this next week. 


If you need help with making your brand consistent let us know. We'd love to help you.


Defining your brand

Defining your brand

Defining your brand

When defining your brand, it’s important to have an understanding of why your brand is important.

Why is understanding your brand important

Understanding your brand is important because, as mentioned in "Four reasons your brand is important"...

..."Brand is the emotional connection people have with your business."

Defining your brand

Defining your brand

Your brand should be a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived.

How do you define your brand?

Well, we’re going to take you through a simple exercise to help you define your brand.

Starting with identifying the five key elements of your brand.

They are:

1. Personality
2. Values of User
3. Emotional rewards
4. Functional benefits
5. Attributes

Once you know your key brand elements, creating a summary of these key elements will give you your brand definition or description.

So, lets work through each element. 

Defining your brand

Personality

Imagine your brand as a person.

How would you describe that person?

Are they fun, dynamic, conservative, sincere? Extroverted or responsible? Self-assured or optimistic?

Strong brands have distinct personalities.

For example, we describe Starfish Marketing personality as friendly, approachable, practical, fun, and a little bit quirky. 

Values of User

These are the values that your customers and clients have.

Think about them being the principles or standards your customers have. Their judgement of what is valuable or important in their life.

Different people have different values.

For example, we describe Starfish Marketing User Values as strong ethics, people centric, keep their promise, and enjoy life. 

Emotional Rewards. 

The emotional rewards recognise how you want your customers/clients to feel as a result of dealing with you and your business.

To build brand loyalty, people must have an emotional connection to your brand.

Do they feel proud; smart; valued; confident? The important thing here is to focus on how your customer will feel. What emotion(s) will your brand deliver. 

For example, we describe Starfish Marketing Emotional Rewards as valued, confident, hugged (supported), happy, and relieved.

Functional Benefits 

These are the deliverable benefits that your customers and clients receive from your product or service.

For example, we describe Starfish Marketing Functional Benefits as saving time, consistency, supported, rescued, actually making a difference, simple and practical advice that’s easy to understand, actions are delivered, partnership

Attributes 

If you are a product-based business, your attributes are the tangible aspects of your brand that you can see or touch. If you are a service-based business, your attributes are the actual services that you provide. 

For example, we describe Starfish Marketing Attributes as all things marketing: communications, newsletters, blogs, websites (editing and content, not the techie stuff), content creation, copy writing, image sourcing, simple design, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), brand consistency, strategic and operational marketing, referrals and introductions.

Defining your brand

Describing your brand 

The summary of the key elements of your brand is how you describe your brand.

Take those five elements and turn them into a brief story that describes who you are and what you do.

People should be able to read or hear that summary and know why you do what you do. Your brand description should generate an emotion – one that your customers, clients and market will connect with and remember. 

For example, the summary of Starfish Marketing’ brand elements is the starfish story. It’s the starfish story because we believe marketing can make a real difference for business (especially small businesses); that we have a responsibility to contribute to our communities; and that we can have some fun along the way. 

To put it another way:

The starfish story drives everything we do. We make a difference together by doing things a bit differently, making your marketing happen and having fun along the way. We love helping small businesses with simple and practical marketing advice and actions that makes your life easier. 

Defining your brand

What does your brand say

To help you define your brand, answer these five question:

1.What is your brand personality?
2.What are your customers/clients values?
3.What is the outcome you hope every customer/client feels?
4.What are the functional benefits that your brand delivers?
5.What tangibles does your brand deliver?

Now look at your answers and put together a summary of what those five questions say. That is your brand.

The important thing after defining your brand is to make sure your brand is consistent across every aspect of your business.

How do you do that?

Well next week, we’ll start with sharing how to do a brand audit. In the meantime, if you have any branding questions, feel free to contact us


If you need help with making your brand consistent let us know. We'd love to help you.


creating a consistent brand (2)

Four reasons brand is important

Four reasons your brand is important

Your brand is more than a logo.

There are a number of reasons your brand is important. And having brand consistency throughout every aspect of your business is vital.

⁠Over the next few weeks we are going to take you through the steps to create brand consistency throughout your business.

Starting with four reasons your brand is important.

1. Recognition and Trust

creating a consistent brand (1)

The more people that know about you the more legitimate you appear. The more places your brand appears (consistently), the more legitimate you appear. 

What do you think if you can't find a website for a business, or a social media presence? Or even contact details. 

The more people know about you and your brand, the more legitimate you appear and therefore the more trustworthy you appear. 

Think of those instantly recognisable brands – Mercedes, Nike, Tiffany, McDonalds...

Even as a small business your name can be recognisable - particularly if you service a local market.

Let's not forget - people buy from businesses and people that they trust. So, your customers and target market need to trust your brand.

2. Easier marketing

creating a consistent brand (2)

Consistent branding means your marketing activities are less challenging. This is because it’s easy to know who you are targeting – who your ideal client is. And you can then replicate your marketing across various platforms (tailored as required).

3. Team building

People want to work for something they believe in – it’s not all about the dollars. Your brand can (and should) reflect your values and mission and inspire your employees to work towards achieving that.

4. ETON

This takes us back to recognition and trust.

The more your market recognises you and trusts you, the more you can create a memorable experience (positive) and you are present at ETON.

No, not the college.

ETON is the Exclusive Time Of Need. 

When your market wants or needs what you have to offer, a strong brand means you are front of mind at that moment - at the moment of ETON.

When you are recognised and you have a strong brand that people connect with, then you are more likely to generate new customers than a business that doesn’t have a strong brand.

Defining Brand

There’s a lot of different definitions of brand out there. However, here is my take on it:

"Brand is the emotional connection people have with your business."


creating a consistent brand (3)

We know people buy on emotion and justify it with logic afterwards.

So, understanding your business brand and what emotion it creates for your market is important.

Because when you understand that, you can tailor your marketing to connect with your customers and clients, and your market on an emotional level. And when you connect on an emotional level people are more likely to remember you, trust you and then choose you. 

So how do you understand or identify your brand?

That’s where defining your brand comes in. And we’ll go into this in-depth next week. In the meantime, if you have any branding questions, feel free to contact us


If you need help with making your brand consistent let us know. We'd love to help you.


The difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts

What's the difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts?

Warning – this blog comes with a rant!⁠

Do you boost your Facebook posts?⁠

If so, please, please, please stop it. And stop it now. ⁠

If you're going to spend money on Facebook, spend it on proper ad campaigns that will actually deliver you some results. 

What's the difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts?

⁠Put simply, Facebook advertising offers you a lot more than boosting. Better goal setting, better targeting, better flexibility, better reporting.

Overall advertising offers you a waaaaaaay better spend of your advertising dollars than boosting ever will.

Advertising offers you three stages of a campaign – Campaign Objective Ad Set and Ad

Stage 1 – starting with goal setting

Any ad campaign, regardless of the format or platform should be set up with a clear goal. With Facebook advertising this is your Campaign Objective.

Advertising offers you three key goal areas and a range of goal choices under those areas. This gives you 11 options with your goals.

And while boosting has recently introduced setting up a goal, you only have two choices.

Additionally, with advertising, you can set your whole campaign budget here, which is handy if you are running more than one ad set or ad within your campaign. It means you apply your budget to all your ads within the campaign rather than having to set a budget for each ad.

Boosting doesn’t give you the option of running more than one ad set or one ad within a campaign. And that means your budget applies just to your boosted post.

The difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts score: Facebook Advertising 1, Boosting 0

Stage 2 – audience, duration and more

So, with both an ad campaign and boosting you can be very targeted with who you appear in front of and how long you want your ad.

However, the Ad Set stage of your Facebook advertising campaign gives you greater choice with your targeting.

This means you can be really specific about who your ad gets in front of. And I mean really, really specific.

You can create multiple audiences for one single ad campaign and see how they perform against each other. You can switch off an audience that isn’t working, you can do A/B testing. The list goes on.

For example. If you’re a skin care and beauty salon you might create a target audience of 25-40 year old females, who live in Albury, who are interested in skin care. You can create a second target audience for the same campaign and change the interest to beauty, (you don’t have to set up a second campaign or a second post). You can run the same ad for both audiences and see which one performs better. If your skin care audience actions your original goal, and the beauty audience doesn’t that gives you information about what/who/where your market is.

Boosting offers you a target audience choice, and that’s it.

And while you can choose both interests in the example above in your boosted audience you cannot set them up separately to compare them. No comparisons, no multiple audiences.

The difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts score: Advertising 2, Boosting 0

Stage 3 – your ad 

Did you know that, with Facebook advertising campaigns, you can create your ad specifically to achieve your campaign goals?

Facebook advertising gives you a range of options to create your ad content. Yes, you can use an existing post. But, it’s so much more powerful to create an ad specifically designed to achieve your advertising goal.

And, there’s this really cool feature where you can preview the different formats of where your ad will appear, eg desktop, mobile, stories etc. Plus, there are options to change the backgrounds in some of the different formats to really make your ad pop and stand out.

A really, really, really important difference between advertising and a boost though, is that you have much better choices for where you can direct links for achieving your goal.

That’s probably because you have so many more choices of goals in the first place with Facebook advertising.

Boosting is simply sharing an existing post. You can’t change the content like you can with setting up an ad campaign. 

The difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts score: Advertising 3, Boosting 0

Monitoring and reporting

Finally, and importantly, (and I can't stress this enough), you can monitor your Facebook ad campaign and change your ad set and/or ad content if your ad is not achieving the goal you set.

Facebook even monitors it for you and gives you a rating on how your ad is performing compared to goal averages. HOW COOL IS THAT!

That means, if your campaign isn’t performing how you want it to, that you can make changes mid-campaign. To both your ad set’s and your ad content.

Or you can switch your campaign off entirely if it's still not working – and save some marketing dollars.

Once you boost your post, it’s set and forget. You can’t do anything but wait until the boost period finishes. And that puts you at risk of wasting your marketing dollars if your boosted post doesn’t perform.

The difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts score: Advertising 4, Boosting 0

Also very cool, is that you can choose wht you want Facebook to report on for your ad campaign.There are standard reporting formats that you can choose (dependent on your goal) or you can customise your reporting to see the information you want.Again, boosting does not give you this option.

The difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts score: Advertising 5, Boosting 0

Facebook advertising is worth it!

When we look at the score (5-0), you can see, there is a big difference between Facebook advertising and boosting posts.

You can do all sorts of things with a Facebook Ad Campaign that you cannot do with boosting a post.

I am known for telling people boosting their Facebook posts is flushing money down the toilet. This is why!

While it may take a little more time to set up your Ad Campaign, IT IS WORTH EVERY CENT!!! ⁠

Can you tell we feel really strongly about this?

So, please, please, please, if you're boosting your Facebook posts, stop it. Stop flushing your money down the toilet.

Make a promise to yourself that you will stop it from today onwards.⁠ And that you will spend your hard-earned marketing dollars on Facebook ads NOT Facebook boosts.

DIY 

If you want to do your Facebook advertising yourself, our friend Jenn Donovan, of Social Media and Marketing has a great Ultimate Beginners Guide to Facebook Ads. It’s free and you can sign up to download it here.

Of course, if you need help with setting up and running Facebook ad campaigns, we can help you. 

If you need help with your social media let us know. We'd love to help you.

What do emojis mean?

We said farewell to Justine last week as she moved on to an exciting new adventure. Justine left us with a fabulous parting gift: her take on What do emojis mean?. 

Thank you Justine for bringing 😍😂❤️ into our lives. 

What do emojis mean?

Did you know that this emoji ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionary in 2015? 

I did not know this, nor did I know that its text translated meaning was “Face with Tears of Joy’. I thought it was crying with laughter.

However, my interpretation and its official interpretation are different in themselves. Makes you wonder how people interpret the emoji messages we send them! Are they intended to be funny or cruel, helpful or sarcastic?

I hadn’t really thought much about the exact meanings of the emojis when I began using them. I have always used them in a fun, light-hearted and creative way.

For example, can anyone guess what this translation could mean?? I promise it was all good! But I can see perhaps it could have been interpreted the wrong way…

In the message above it may appear that I possibly blew up someones mailbox in the nighttime! 

Rest assured, I didn't. I merely decorated it full of festive joy and Christmas cheer!

Or, perhaps you have done your shopping list this way?

I could even give you a brief history of where the emoji came from:

But would anyway care and would anyone be able to understand my interpretation of its history?

Emojis have developed significantly since their beginning. Initially aiding traffic and weather communication in Japan to eventually growing worldwide and making cultural impact. This has been achieved by the adaption and inclusiveness of cultural differences. For example the introduction of skin colour option emojis and the introduction of the family emoji with same sex adults. 

Then there's all the technical material that lives behind how an emoji is built, created, made, joined, coded or blocked. However, I simply like the idea that it creates an opportunity for the sender to use their creativity when choosing to include them in a message. 

My messages almost always include my favourite emojis:

Two of my favourites also happen to be in the top three most used emojis. Can you guess which ones?

Just goes to show love and happiness makes the world go around! 😉 one small message at a time!

Oh, and according to emojiepedia - love heart eyes 😍, tears of joy 😂, and red heart ❤️ are the top three most used emojis.

👓

Justine


If you need help with your social media let us know. We'd love to help you.


Our favourite “free” social media tools

Our five favourite "free" social media tools

We love social media and all the opportunities (and fun) it brings. And because we love to share the love, and our mission is to make a difference, here are our five favourite social media tools.

Freebie Alert!

Most of these tools have both free and paid versions, so you can start with the free option and see how it works for you Then upgrade if you think it’s necessary. It’s sort of like trying a cupcake before buying the whole cake.

Hint, if you’re a small business, a lot of the time you won’t need to upgrade.

Disclaimer: we are not affiliated with these tools, we just love them.

Cupcake #1: Canva

We’ve mentioned Canva before, in Nine free things to help you with your marketing, so hopefully you have already discovered it.

Canva helps you create beautiful, fun, standout images for your social media posts. You can create Facebook posts, Instagram posts, blog banners, social media page banners, infographics and more. The reason it’s one of our favourites is because there are so many templates, photos, icons and more all set up for you to use.

The copy this design option means you can create posts etc that are consistent with your branding,

Recently Canva has introduced animated social media templates. How cool is that!!!

As with most tools, there’s a free version and a paid version. We use the paid version, but for most small businesses the free version should be all you need.

Cupcake #2: Bit.ly

Bit.ly is such a cool little tool. It turns those ugly, long, chunky url links into something short and funky. And it gives you information on how many people click on the link, where your traffic comes from and when people clicked.

So you might have something like https://starfishm.com.au/three-reasons-to-use-email-marketing/ and turn it into http://bit.ly/emailisdabomb.

Again, Bit.ly has a free version and a paid version. We think you'll only need the free version (we do). 

Cupcake #3: Later

Later is a scheduling tool. It saves us a bucketload of time. While predominantly an Instagram scheduling tool, you can also use it for Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

We love it because there’s a visual content calendar, so you can see how your posts will look like on your Instagram feed. And you can schedule to stories as well as your feed. And, with scheduling to your feed there’s no manual approval required at the time of posting (although there still is with stories).

Later also gives you some good analytics to help you find the best time to post and understand how your content is performing. And finally, it has Linkin.bio (although you need the paid plan to access it). Linkin.bio lets you link individual Instagram posts to websites, and you can add multiple links in one Instagram post. Pretty cool, huh.

Cupcake #4: Facebook Scheduling

While we’re on scheduling, if Facebook is the only social media platform you are using for your business then you really can’t go past their scheduling tool.

It’s easy peasy to use and means you can save time by creating all your business page posts for the week (or month) and scheduling them rather than having to post them individually at the time you want them to appear.

Cupcake #5: Ripl

A new tool that we have recently signed up for is Ripl. While we re still experimenting with this one I have a feeling this is definitely going to be a favourite.

Ripl seems to be one of the easiest ways you can make videos for your social media channels. There are heaps and heaps of layouts that you can customise with your own photos, logo and message.

We’ve all heard that video get’s the most attention in the socials and you don’t have to be a video expert to use Ripl. We figure it’s worth a shot.

Another reason we already love Ripl is that (with the paid version) you can post your straight away or schedule it to a number of social platforms. And then you get to track how successful they are. Can you tell we’re a little bit excited about this one. We have immediately opted for the paid version as the free version is a bit limited. But you can start with the free option and see if that works.

Bonus cupcakes

And just because we love to share the love and the cupcakes, here’s some of the other social media tools we use:

Missinglettr. A tool that turns your blog content into 12 months of social media posts. Good for sharing your content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Easil. Another platform you can use to design your posts. It has modern templates you can use or you can building your own style. Great for creating content for Instagram (especially stories), Facebook and more.

All the free stock image sites. Refer to number 8 of our Nine free things to help you with your marketing.

So there you go. Our five favourite social media tools – ones that allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

We’d love to know what your favourite social media tools are. Do you use any of these five? Are there others that you prefer?


If you need help with your social media let us know. We'd love to help you.


The basics of setting up a Facebook Ad

The basics of setting up a Facebook ad

The most important thing in setting up a Facebook ad  is to identify the goal. What do you want to achieve? If you don’t know what you want to achieve, then how will you know if your ad is successful or not.

You should also know your ideal client. Their age, gender, location, interests, profession etc. This helps with setting up who your ads appear in front of and creating your ad itself (think about what you want to say).

Setting your Campaign Goal

When you commence creating your Facebook ad, the first part of setting up your campaign is to set your marketing objectives. In other words, that goal that you have identified before you started building your campaign.

Facebook gives you a number of goal options that are broken into three categories:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

If it’s the first time you’ve run an ad, chances are your goal is to increase awareness of your business, so you would choose one of the options in the awareness category.

If you’ve been running awareness ads for a while then you would look at one of the consideration options, for example you might want to increase the number of followers on your Facebook business page. In this instance you would choose The Engagement option in the Consideration category and select Page Likes.

You can set your budget for the campaign now (in this section) or you can do it in the next stage of setting up your ad.

Watch how to set up your Campaign Goal below.

Setting your Adset

Setting your Ad Set is where you identify who you want your ad to appear in front of. Facebook can give you very targeted options here, which is why you need to know who your ideal client is.

Name your Ad Set something that will identify who you are targeting. Define your audience using the location, age, gender and interests/behaviours etc parameters that Facebook offers. Be specific. Save your audience details so you can use this audience again in the future (without having to recreate it).

Choose Automatic Placements (remember this is the basics of a Facebook Ad).

Set your budget. You can set a daily budget or a Lifetime budget. Don’t forget to set a start and end date for your ad to run.

Watch how to set up your Ad Set and Budget below.

Creating your Ad

This is where the fun begins and you can be creative…sort of.

Why do we say sort of creative? Because your ad should follow a formula of sorts. The best ad’s have a strategy behind their content and what content is used where.

Think about the following as an example of an Ad for the goal of achieving more likes on your Facebook business page.

Primary Text

Catch attention. What is in it for your target market? What do you know about your target market? What do you want your target market to do? What will happen when they click? Why should I click now?

For example, the Starfish Ad Campaign to attract more page likes might say:

Make your marketing happen.
Follow our page for free marketing tips and actions.
Starfish Marketing: helping your marketing not fall to the bottom of your to-do list.

Images

Red and green stand out on Facebook. Avoid blue if possible. Images don’t necessarily have to connect to the topic. The need to stand out and stop people scrolling.

If you can use a video – that’s even better.

Once you complete these three sections of your Facebook campaign you simply publish your ad. Facebook will review it, hopefully approve if you’re meeting their guidelines. Having too many words in your image space of the ad is one that can trip lots of people up. It should be 20% words MAXIMUM.

Once approved your ad will start running.

Watch how to set up your Ad creative below.

It's not set and forget

Now that you’ve created your Facebook ad, it’s important that you regularly check in on it to see how it is performing and if it’s achieving your goal.

Give it a couple of days for Facebook to complete it’s active learning. If you’re not achieving your goals, then you can change your ad or your ad set. We recommend only changing one thing at a time, give it a couple more days and check again. The reason being, if you change more than one thing at a time you won’t actually know what has been effective (or not).

I hope you have found this to be a useful basic guide for getting started with setting up Facebook Ads. I’d love to hear your experience and results too.


If you're not sure how to set up your Facebook Ad let us know. We'd love to help you.


What is a Facebook pixel

What is a Facebook pixel?

Have you heard of the Facebook Pixel, but always wondered what it is?

To quote Facebook, “The Facebook pixel is a piece of code for your website that lets you measure, optimise and build audiences for your advertising campaigns”.

In really simple terms, Facebook gives you pixels that you can install on your website or landing pages. The pixels can track who visits your website. You can then create very targeted campaigns based on the information collected to improve your sales or conversions.

Why is having a Facebook pixel important

Well, you can’t measure what you can’t track.

When you have facebook pixels installed you can track how many people visit your website and if they take an action (like buying something or signing up for your email list). It can even track how many people add your product to your shopping cart but don’t proceed to check out.

Being able to measure all this means you can see how well your marketing is performing. Plus, you get insights into your customers/clients and target market.

For example, how often do you find something online that you love, add it to your cart, and you don’t finish your purchase?

Apparently, you’re not alone if you do this.

According to Neil Patel, approximately 96% of visitors who go to a website are not ready to buy. And not being ready to buy means behaving like that – adding to the shopping cart but not purchasing.

Having a Facebook pixel means you know how many people who start to shop and don't finish.

And then you can retarget them.

What is retargeting?

Here’s the Wikipedia definition.

“Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions. Retargeting tags online users by including a pixel within the target webpage or email, which sets a cookie in the user's browser. Once the cookie is set, the advertiser is able to show display ads to that user elsewhere on the internet…”

The KISS (Keep It Simple & Straightforward) explanation is retargeting is putting your ads in front of people who’ve been to your website and acted a certain way. EG put something in the shopping cart but didn’t purchase.

So, if someone visits your website, adds a product to your shopping cart but doesn’t purchase, you can retarget them with an ad showing the product they were interested in. Or you might offer them the opportunity to subscribe to your email list so you can stay in touch until they are ready to purchase.

Does that sound familiar?

Have you ever online window-shopped. And then all of a sudden that product from that business appears everyone online?

In some instances the ad might even say something like “Did you forget something?” and have the image of the exact thing that’s sitting in the shopping cart waiting for you to come back and purchase it.

That’s retargeting.

Why is it important?

Retargeting means you have a much higher chance to convert your audience into buyers. Because you’re appearing in front of them when they get to the point that they are ready to buy. 

Retargeting increases the number of touchpoints you have with your market. You can read more about touchpoints here

And that is why having a facebook pixel is so important. Afterall – you really don’t want to lose 96% of potential customers do you?


If you're not sure how to set up your Facebook pixel let us know. We'd love to help you.


LinkedIn Vs Facebook

LinkedIn Vs Facebook

Two of the major players in the business world, social media wise, are Facebook and LinkedIn.

There are differences between the two that are important when it comes to using either (or both) platforms with your marketing.

Before we go into those differences though, it’s important to understand your target market, who they are, and where they are online.

Why? Because there’s no point spending your time and money marketing on LinkedIn if your market isn’t active there.

Spend your precious time and your hard-earned dollars where your market is.

Now, it could be that your market, your audience, is on both Facebook and LinkedIn. And given both platforms are major players in the social media world, chances are your market is on both.

If this is the case, it’s important to remember that the platforms themselves are different and therefore your approach should be different for each platform.

Having a basic understanding of the differences between Facebook and LinkedIn can help you work out your marketing approach.

What's the difference

Facebook and LinkedIn tend to be used for two very different reasons.

Think of LinkedIn as a professional networking platform and Facebook as a more relaxed, social environment.

LinkedIn is considered the leading professional platform globally. It’s a place where you can connect (online) with colleagues, clients and potential customers, and professionals across your industry and aligned industries. It’s a place where you can share information that positions you as the expert in your field.

Facebook is more like hanging out with workmates, friends and family. Where you can share information that positions you as the expert in your field, or as having the best products. And you can also share behind-the-scenes information, or personal information about you, your business, your team, that creates a connection and have a conversation with your audience, with your potential market.

Psychobabble

Now, just because the two platforms are different doesn’t mean you can’t use them both in your marketing – especially if your market is active on both platforms.

This means understanding the psychographics of your market are important.

Psychographics are sort of like demographics but are more focused on the why rather than the who. Psychographic information might include your customer's values, hobbies, and understanding what's important to them.  

Understanding your customer's psychographics is important because people buy on emotion and justify the decision later.

That means connecting emotionally with your market is important. And it's easier to do that when you understand the psychographics of your market.

Because Facebook is a more relaxed, social environment - it also tends to be easier to connect emotionally with your market.  

So, generally speaking, you could use Facebook to make the emotional connection with your market. And then use LinkedIn to share the more professional information that justifies the decision to purchase. This is, of course, if your market is active on both platforms. 

Same information - said differently

You do need to be conscious of the style of posting that you do and the content you share on each platform.

And that comes down to having a plan for each (yes, I can hear you groaning – yet another plan!!!).

Don’t stress too much. You don’t need to create vastly different content for each platform – it’s more about making some slight changes to your language or the images you use. And understanding what’s going to work better on Facebook than LinkedIn, or vice versa.

In the examples below we have changed the image and slightly changed the text. 

Facebook

One of our key beliefs at Starfish Marketing is that we should have fun. It's so important that it's even in our position descriptions! ⁠

This photo of our Director, Mell, with her partner, Josh, at the Albury Wodonga Business Awards, is a great example of living that belief!⁠

What’s one of the key beliefs you have in your business?

LinkedIn

One of our key beliefs at Starfish Marketing is that we should have fun.  ⁠

Our whole crew attended the Albury Wodonga Business Awards as sponsors of the Outstanding Small Business Award. We had such a fun night celebrating the amazing businesses in our region.

What’s one of the key beliefs you have in your business?

Can you see the difference between the two?

They are basically sharing the same message (having fun is a key belief of starfish marketing), but in a different way to better engage with the audience in the different platforms.

So, when you're building your social media content plan, you don't have to go into too much detail. Focus more on the message you want to convey. Then when you are creating your content, adjust slightly to suit the each platform. 

In our social media content plan we had simply identified having fun as the key message for the posts. 

It might take a little more time to differentiate between the two platforms, but it will be worth it, as you will better connect and engage with your market. 

Back to the beginning

Both Facebook and LinkedIn can be beneficial for your business. At the end of the day, it comes down to is which platform your audience interacts with more and what they prefer to use.

And that takes us back to the beginning.

Know where your customers spend their time on social media. Then you can develop your strategy and connect with them effectively.

If starting off on both platforms seems to much then choose the platform that your audience, your target market is most active on and focus there. You can read more about that here.


If you're not sure which social media platform your business should be on, let's have a no-obligation chat to see how you can get started building your digital presence and engaging your market (audience). 


Why you need more than a Facebook page

Why you need more than a Facebook page

When it comes to being online, are you wondering why you need more than a Facebook page?

Brace yourself - here come the stat's. But don't start yawning, there aren't many - they're just really big ones!

The stat's

Facebook has 80 million small and medium sized business pages on Facebook globally (Source: Hootsuite). And, according to Statista, there are 2.51 Billion monthly active users worldwide.

The big question is, how many of those businesses with a Facebook page also have a website? To be honest I don't know and can't find any stat's on it - so that that question will remain unanswered. 

Given creating a Facebook business page is free and provides access to a user base bigger than the population of China (1.4 Billion), it makes sense that many business owners would simply rely on their Facebook page for their digital presence.

Is having a Facebook business page really enough?

The short answer is, no – it’s not enough.

While there are lots of benefits of having a Facebook page, it really shouldn’t be your only online presence.

Why?

There are a few reasons.

1. Don’t have one egg in one basket

Firstly, it’s all about not putting a single egg in one basket. Because there is a risk if you do.

While you own the content and the information you post on Facebook, essentially you are renting digital property – even if that rent is free.

What do I mean by that? Well, consider Facebook as the digital property and you are the tenant. If you break their rules (even if accidentally) Facebook can shut down your page with absolutely no notice what-so-ever!

All your content disappears. Your ability to connect to all your followers and online customers disappears. You have no way of letting them know what’s happened because, well, you would normally do that by Facebook. Pretty scary, huh?

Plus, if your Facebook business page is shut down you are left without an online presence at all.

Your single egg was placed in the Facebook basket and it has disappeared from the online world. And now you have the added challenge of negotiating to get your page reinstated.

2. The rules can change

The other risk with renting digital property is that the rules can change. Again, without notice. What might start out as a free service may turn into a paid only service.

Or the dreaded algorithm change that usually occurs just as you have got your head around the last algorithm change and are really kicking some social media goals (that you have set as part of your social media strategy).

Staying across all the change in Facebook is important for maintaining your presence there. You really cant cross your fingers and hope for the best.

You need to change with the changing rules. By having a presence elsewhere, your online presence is still maintained while you make the changes necessary to your Facebook marketing. 

3. Having multiple eggs creates a better online presence

Having a number of digital platforms (multiple eggs) means if one platform goes down or is removed, you still have an online presence.

You can build a multi-platform online presence. Share information on other social media platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram. Remember though, these are also digital properties that you are renting.

The big egg here is to have a website. You pretty much own your website. Yes, you have to pay an IT techie organisation to host your site, but you still own the site and content. And you can change hosts if necessary and take your content (your whole website) with you – something you can’t do with social media platforms.

Having a website also makes you a more creditable business. If people can see you have a website as well as being on Facebook it gives them a sense of security that you are a legitimate business.

Your website allows you to store and share your content and business information easily. A dedicated website acts as the main place on the web that potential customers can access all the information they’re looking for.

And if you get your SEO right then it makes it easier for people to find you.

4. Better SEO

If you’re wondering what SEO is, it means Search Engine Optimisation. Basically, it’s where (what page and position) your business appears in a Google search (or Bing or other search engines). You can read five ways to improve your SEO here.

While a Facebook page can be found via a search engine like Google, it doesn’t provide the same SEO outcomes of a dedicated website.

Having a dedicated website helps with your SEO because you can tailor your content to include phrases and keywords your potential customers are searching for. And that helps get you on page one of a Google search. A Facebook page is limited in this aspect.

Have a Facebook page and more

In short, yes, you should have a Facebook page for your business. Yes, it’s free (for now) and it can still achieve free brand exposure (if you understand the algorithm and can get good engagement and reach).

Is it enough?

No.

To create a digital presence for a small business you need more than a Facebook page.

You need an digital presence that offers your customers and target market multiple ways to find you.

Yes, you need to put different eggs in different baskets. 

If this blog has inspired you to get a website - I implore you to bring in the experts to do it. There are so many aspects to building a website the right way (contrary to what you might see in online ads).

You can learn to maintain your website after it's built - but get it done right to start with.

We are not the web building experts here at starfish marketing but we can connect you with them. Just get in touch with us and we'll introduce you. 

Back to putting different eggs in different baskets. Next week I talk about Facebook Vs LinkedIn, focusing on the difference between the two social media platforms. 


If you have all your eggs in one basket and aren't sure how to share them around, let's have a no-obligation chat to see how you can improve your digital presence. 


Why is social media so important?

Why is social media so important?

Have you been wondering why is social media so important for business?

There’s a really simple answer.

Social media is so important because it’s extremely likely that your customers and target market are hanging out there.

The numbers don’t lie.

I know, I know… stat’s bore most people. But they do give you really good insight into your target market/s.

And the stat’s tell us that most people are using social media. Which means the chances are that your clients and target market are some of those ‘most people’.

I promise I’m not making this stuff up! Here’s a snapshot of how many people are using social media in Australia alone.

According to Social Media News, in July 2019, in Australia alone, there were:

  • 15 million active users on Facebook 
  • 15 million visitors to YouTube
  • 9 million active users on Instagram
  • 5.5 million active users on LinkedIn

And that is just in July 2019!!!

So, what do these numbers tell us?

They tell us that social media is part of almost everyone’s life. And that means there's a pretty good chance that your market is using it somewhere. Actually more than a pretty good chance - it's almost inevitable.  

So you know what that means! It means you should be using social media too if you want to be able to connect with your market effectively.

And that, my friends, is reason number one why social media is important.

But wait – there’s more! 

Creating credibility

Besides the numbers telling us that social media is important, having an online presence adds credibility to your business.

People now do their research online, whether it be for a product, a service or a particular brand. Social media makes it easy for people to find you, to check out what others say about you, and to connect directly with you (think Messenger in Facebook).  

What do you think it says to people if they can’t find you or your business online. They may become suspicious that you are not a credible business.

According to the Growth Gurus, 63% of consumers who search for businesses online are more likely to use ones with an informative social media presence.

So, even if your business is a bricks and mortar business, you still need an online presence to develop a level of trust with your target market. You don’t need to sell online, but it is important to have a presence.

Just quickly on that – you do need more than a Facebook page. We will be discussing this in next weeks blog. Stay tuned.

You can see the results

Social media offers significant measurability of your marketing activities. 

Whether it be  lead generation, brand awareness or communication - you can track and measure it all.

We all know that not every business can afford a huge marketing budget. And in the past, it has been hard to measure the results of your marketing.

With social media you can be very targeted about who you appear in front of, you can control how much or little you want to spend, and you can easily measure the results.

As an example, when building a Facebook ad campaign, you can set up what goal you want to achieve and be very specific about who the ad appears in front of. And you can track and measure your results and adjust your ad while its running if it's not achieving the initial results you are looking for.

The key to success

At the end of the day, having a digital presence is important for your business. More important, and the key to successful social media, is to have a marketing strategy in place.

Similar to developing your content strategy, your social media strategy has five aspects

Why – well we’ve pretty much covered your why here.

What – what are your goals? Do you want to build your brand awareness? Or increase customer loyalty? Or drive sales?

Who – who is your target market (or audience if we use marketing terminology)? This is really important to get right because it will impact on your targeting. There’s no point putting your business in front of people who don’t want what you have to offer.

Where – Where will you reach your who? What platforms is your audience using. Focus your activity there. Facebook is usually a good starting point because – well, just look at the numbers. However if your audience isn’t active there, then choose the platform your audience is active on. Read more about Finding your right marketing platforms here.

How – how much will you spend and how will you measure your results and how often? Social media has the ability to analyse your results to find out what works and what doesn’t. And you can adjust your strategy quickly if something is not working.

At the end of the day social media marketing has many advantages for all businesses.

By having a strategy in place, it will lead to increased traffic, improve credibility and brand loyalty, deliver measurable results and much more. 

The earlier you start, the faster you see the impact it can make for your business.


What does your social media strategy look like?


If you’re finding digital marketing challenging book in for a no-obligation chat to see if we can provide a solution that suits you. 


How to create your content

How to create your content 

If you love creating stuff, this is probably the funnest part of content marketing (yes, funnest isn’t technically a word but sometimes you just have to break the rules).

Before you get to the fun though, make sure you’ve got your content strategy and content plan in place. If you haven’t done that yet, check out our previous articles on Creating Your Content Strategically and Building Your Content Plan.

Now, let's get started

The most important thing

When it comes to how to create your content, the most important thing you need to do is allocate time and commit to it. Whether that be once a day, week or month, make sure you have the time blocked out in your calendar regularly. And commit to it.

Personally, I have Sunday afternoon’s blocked out – it works for me. A weekday might work for you. Monthly might work for you – or even daily. The key is to find out what works for you and set aside that time to create. Weekly works for me because I’ve planned the topics three months ahead. So, I know what content I’m going to create each week and I sit down and just do it.

I have a client who creates their content quarterly. They spend a weekend doing it. Then they’re set for the next quarter.

The point is, there is no hard and fast rule; work out what works for you and block that time out to get creating.   

Create a process

Yes, a process really doesn’t sound like the funnest thing in the world. However it certainly speeds up how much time you can spend creating your content – especially if you suffer from “ooh, shiny thing” syndrome (like me).

It’s the creating part that I find the funnest and shiniest when producing content.

Having a process means that my brain gets focused on the funnest and shiniest things and the creative juices flow.  

Here’s a process I follow to create a blog, that then get’s turned into social media posts and included in the Starfish Marketing monthly newsletter, Mission Starfish (sign up for it here).

Step 1 - "Write your blog"

  1. 1
    Refer to your content plan to see what topic/s you will be "writing" about.
  2. 2
    Think about the topic and write down three to six bullet points that you want to discuss in your content.
  3. 3
    Use a transcribing app and talk on each of those bullet points. I simply use the voice-to-text option on my phone and record onto notes.

    I’m assuming that you are comfortable talking about your chosen topics, so you won't really need a script. You know your stuff, so simply start talking about those topics. Hint: talk like you’re explaining the topic to a friend.

    You may be more comfortable simply writing and expanding on your bullet points. If this works for you, then get writing and create your content that way.

    It's even better if you feel comfortable videoing yourself talking on your topics. More and more people are watching and engaging with video online, refer to one of our early blogs on Five Reasons to Use Video In Your Marketing. Video is definitely the way to go if you can. 
  4. 4
    Finesse your final transcription. Add an introduction, headings, summary and call to action.
  5. 5
    Source images that align with the content of your blog and pepper them throughout your blog content.
  6. 6
    Then, when you’re happy with the content and the images, add it all to your website (I’m assuming you have a blog page). You should be able to publish immediately or schedule your blog to publish at a later date.

By recording – whether by voice, video or writing - you can have fun and let your creative juices flow. And it doesn’t matter if you stuff up, or get distracted by shiny things because you can finesse your content before you publish it.

Step 2 - Turn your blog into social media

  1. 1
    Refer back to your content plan to see what social media platforms you want to share your content on.
  2. 2
    Check what are your main ideas and main points you are highlighting in your blog. Your original bullet points should help with this, or the headings you have used in your blog.
  3. 3
    Turn those main ideas and points into stand-alone social media posts for your various platforms. Don’t forget you can use the images in your blog for your social media for consistency. Hint: For social media like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc Canva is a great resource.
  4. 4
    Schedule your posts for the next week, month etc. There are a number of great social media marketing management and analytics tools available out there. These can help you schedule your posts, track engagement and (importantly) measure your results. Examples include Hootsuite, Buffer, Later, and MeetEdgar.

    I use a mix of tools: MissingLettr to convert blog content into, up to, 12 months of social media posts across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Later for more tailored Instagram and Facebook posts. And simply Facebook scheduling for standalone, non-blog related posts.

    Remember – you don’t need to schedule a post for every day if your content is of value and engaging. If you’re unsure about how to maximise your social media, here’s seven steps that may help

Step 3 - Add your blog to your newsletter

The final step in my process is to add the blog to the Starfish Marketing monthly newsletter. We use MailChimp and set up an introduction to the topic in the newsletter and a link button through to website.

In the first week of each month, our newsletter goes out with all the previous month’s blog content.

Why include the blog content in our newsletter? Because not all of our audience checks our blog or sees our social media. So, this way, they're not missing out. 

Try it

So, that’s my three-step process to creating content. Give it a go and see if it works for you. You may find a different process that works for you. The important thing is to find out what works, commit and dedicate the time to that process and get creative. Oh, and make sure you’re having fun while you’re creating - sometimes those shiny things can be very inspiring!

Remember

When creating your content, remember that you don't really need to post content every day. If your content is of value, one blog a week, about three social media posts a week and a newsletter is enough for a month’s worth of content.

And, you could probably get away with one blog a month if it is jam packed full of valuable information that you can turn into a month’s worth of social media.

Maximise your time, get your week, month, quarter content created and scheduled. And then relax, knowing your marketing is happening.


Creating your content can be challenging.


If you are not comfortable creating your own content, there are plenty of marketers who do this every day of the week as a paid service

(shameless self-plug – Starfish Marketing for instance). 


Think about the time it takes you to create content. Would you be better spending your time on the core aspect of your business? Perhaps you might be better off outsourcing your social media content creation.

If this is the case, book in for a no-obligation chat to see if we can provide a solution that suits you. 


Building your content plan

Building your content plan

Building your content plan might seem overwhelming, but it can actually be pretty easy.  

First, make sure you’ve got your content strategy in place. If you haven’t done that yet, check out our previous articles on Great Content Can Help Grow Your Business and Creating Your Content Strategically

If you’ve already got your content strategy documented – snaps to you! You are 313% more likely to report success. Source: Coschedule

Having your strategy in place will provide you with guidance on your content planning and help make sure you’re on the right track.

When building your content plan, keep going back to your strategy to make sure that your content aligns.

  • Is your content going to help you achieve your goals?
  • Will your content appeal to your target market, customers and clients?
  • Are you sharing your content on the right platforms?
  •  Is your budget on track?
  • And can you measure your results?

Consistency is key

When building your content plan, take into account that your target market, your customers and clients should be looking forward to getting your content regularly.

And that means, you need to be consistent with sharing your content. Yes, I know - a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black here... but I'm getting better with the consistency. You know why? Because I'm following this process!

It's important to remember that when it comes to how often you need to share, there is no right or wrong. You need to do what is right for you and your market, your clients and customers.

Therefore, you may want to see which days and times get the best open rates on your email or when you get the most traffic to your blog. And the same with your socials (social media platforms). When are people most active on your pages? Look at that information and plan your consistent delivery of your content around that information. 

Planning

Building your content plan doesn’t mean writing all your content as you work out your topics. Although if that works for you then absolutely do it.

What works for me is having the topics identified three months in advance (quarterly). That way I know what I am writing on each week. And I make sure I have time booked in my calendar to write every week (actually it’s a recurring meeting with me, myself and the writing gods).

I think the writing gods like it when you have the time permanently blocked out to write. It’s amazing that when your brain knows that “at this time on this day I’m writing” the words just flow.

If you can plan and create your content at least a month or two in advance, it will take a heap of pressure off you. And it means you won’t have to panic trying to think of something interesting to publish.

Planning and scheduling will also help you feel more relaxed and in control.

How to identify your content topics

If you haven’t noticed, we try to have a theme for the month (eg this month is Content!). Having a theme each month helps come up with topics and allow you to really delve into that topic over a number of weeks.

Themes can also create a sense of continuation. You can create a sense of curiosity with your readers. Get them engaged and wanting to read/see/hear what you are going to share next - the next piece of the content puzzle.

I also conduct research. What are the biggest challenges our clients are facing? What questions do we get asked often? What are people searching for on the almighty Google (keyword searches)? The answers to these questions can provide great insights for your content creation.

Building your content plan

So, how do you build your content plan?

Well, it can be done in five simple steps:

  1. 1
    Block out time in your calendar to plan ahead and identify your future content topics
  2. 2
    Make a list of topics in your content plan
  3. 3
    Choose what platforms your content will be shared
  4. 4
    Identify when you will deliver your content
  5. 5
    Refer back to your strategy to make sure they will help achieve your goals
Voila! Your content plan is done.

To help you plan your content in advance, download our template below. Start planning content that your market will love, engage with, and share.

Bonus freebie! We’ve included an example in this download of our own content planned for July, August and September. Yes, you get a sneak peak at what’s coming over the next few months.

Next week we’ll delve into how to actually create your content. Now that's the fun stuff (if you love being creative). 


If you need help planning your content, feel free to pick our brains.  

Book in for a no-obligation chat about what you need help with and we'll see if we can provide a solution that suits you. 


Creating content strategically

Creating your content strategically

Are you creating your content strategically?

Last week we talked about three ways great content can help you grow your business. However, the trick is you need to have a strategy behind creating that great content!

Your content strategy is different to your content plan. Your content plan is more along the lines of what content you’re going to deliver and when.

In a nutshell, your content strategy focuses on the goals you’re trying to achieve through delivering great content.

Ideally, you build your content strategy in place before starting on your content plan.

Now your strategy can be quite complex, but, if you’re familiar with us here at Starfish Marketing, complex is not our thing. We like to keep things simple for you.

So, how do you build your content strategy?

Building a basic content strategy

Well, It’s all about the W’s. Five of them, Why, What, Who, Where, hoW!

Ask yourself the following questions and document your answers as you work through.

Why

Start with Why. Why do you need content marketing for your business and as part of your marketing strategy? Does content marketing align to your overarching business strategy?

What

Follow with a What.

What do you want to achieve with your content marketing? In other words, what are your goals?

Who

Then, channel your inner owl and think about Who.

Who is your market? Who are you trying to attract to your business with your great content? Or who are your existing clients/customers?

Where

Where will your reach your Who?

Think about the channels or platforms where your market hangs out. Where will you speak to them with your content?

Are they online? (If they're not online it's going to be pretty hard to reach them with a content strategy). Which social media platform are they using? Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, etc.

How

Yes, it starts with an H, but there’s a W in there.

How much do you have in your budget to spend on developing and sharing your great content?

And how will you measure your success? Hint - map this back to your goals.

What’s next?

Your answers to the W questions make up your basic content strategy. Document them. 

Here's a free basic content strategy template to help. 

Once you've built your basic content strategy you can start on your content plan (the what and when). You may notice we've included a simple plan in the basic content strategy template. 

Building your content plan is something we will go into next week. A sneak peak though - the key when you’re building your content plan is to head back to your strategy and make sure your plan is going to help achieve your goals.


If you need help building your content strategy feel free to book a catch up to see if we can help you. 

It's a no-obligation chat about what you are finding difficult and we'll see if we can provide a solution that suits you. 


Content is King

Content is King

Have you heard the expression “Content is King”?

It’s often used when referring to marketing activities – particularly in the digital marketing world.

(If you’re interested in an explanation of where the phrase came from check out this article from Textbroker.)

So, why is content king?

To put it simply, great content can help you grow your business.

And here are three ways content does just that.

1. It makes your email marketing even more valuable

You've got mail with envelope, heart and smiley face.

We talked about the importance of email marketing a couple of weeks ago. Email marketing helps you build an ongoing relationship with your market. And the more people know, like and trust you, the more likely they are to purchase from you (and purchase from you more often).

Therefore, the content of your email marketing needs to be something useful, interesting or inspiring to share. 

We all complain about the number of emails we get, but the reality is if we are getting emails that provide value we read them. If we don’t think they are of value, we simply unsubscribe.

Make your email marketing even more valuable by considering your markets needs and wants when creating and sharing your content.

Create content that your market actually looks forward to receiving and watch your sales grow.

2. It drives traffic to your website

If you read the article by Textbroker, “Unique, high-quality and current content is essential for good ranking in search engines…”

Basically, the better the content on your website the better the search engines, like Google, rate you. And that results in better search results (otherwise known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO).

At the end of the day for people to click through and visit your website, you need to on page one, (if not at number one). If you want to know why these ratings are so important, Smart Insights share data on the click through rate based on position of search listings.

Basically, if you're not in the top three listings the chances of someone visiting your website are very, very slim. So, making sure your content is relevant for your market is key. 

Remember though, it’s not a case of writing some great content, setting and forgetting. Fresh content on your website is important - even Google acknowledge this.

If you want some tips on improving your search ranking, read this blog from back in 2017, five things I did to get on page one and four of them are free.  It's still relevant for today (note, number five was Update Your Content Regularly).

3. It will make your social media more engaging

When it comes to social media, engagement is what gets the big thumbs up from the different social media platforms. If you're getting great engagement (comments, sharing, etc) it then increases the reach of your posts.

Social media engagement comes from providing content of value.

That means it’s essential to post content that is entertaining, helpful, inspiring, educating, or that creates a community connection.

This can be delivered through videos, podcasts, images, stories, and the like. The key is to make your content so interesting that people do more than just like your post. They comment, they share it to their page or even better, they share via messenger directly to someone.

You can make your posts more engaging by creating a two way conversation. Ask questions, respond to comments, ask opinions, post funny things, share personal stories. The list goes on.

If you can create engaging content, chances are the social media platform will reward you, and your post will appear in front of more people, creating increased awareness of you and your business.

At the end of the day, if you are creating content that is valuable and that is tailored to your market (your ideal clients) then it will help you:

  • build a stronger and ongoing relationship with your marketing
  • increase traffic to your website
  • make your social media more engaging and improve your reach

The flow on from that is increased visibility and credibility, and increased sales.

And that is why content is king.

Are you finding it challenging to create fresh, valuable and engaging content on a regular basis?

Let's catch up and see if we can help you. 

Book your free discovery session. We'll have a chat about what you find most challenging and see if we can provide a solution that suits you. 


questions to help you start your marketing

4 questions to help you start your marketing

4 questions to help you start your marketing

When it comes to marketing, one of the most common things we hear from small businesses is “I don’t know where to start”.

Yes, marketing can seem overwhelming, or hard, or scary. Particularly when there are sooooooo many options out there, or you are not a marketer.

And, it’s often said that taking the first step is the hardest, no matter what it is that you’re setting out to do.

That first step can be hard or scary or overwhelming.

BUT - it’s also the most important step.

The thing is, if you can make that start, make that first step to starting your marketing then the rest really doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

Especially if your first step is to put together a marketing plan.

Yep – start with a plan. Or is that start with planning your marketing plan?

Either way, if you don’t know where to start with your marketing, we always say

“start with a plan”.

Even if it’s a really, really, simple plan.

Getting started

If you’re wondering where to start, with building your marketing plan, here are four questions to ask yourself:

1. Where do I want to go? Or, what do I want to achieve? 

In other words, what are your goals?

Link this to your overarching business strategy. Do you want more people to:

  • be aware of your business name
  • know what you do or sell
  • increase the amount of money they spend with you (other wise known as average $ sale or share of wallet)
  • walk through your shop door or visit you online

Once you’ve identified your goals then ask yourself:

2. How do I get there? Or what do I need to do to achieve those goals?

This is where you work out all the marketing options available to you that can help you achieve your goals. The list can be long – just remember that you don’t have to do all of them – at this stage you are just listing all the possibilities.  Oh, and look into how much each of the things on your list will be, ie the dollars $$.

For example, you could say "I need to...

  • have a website
  • connect with my database
  • build a digital/social presence
  • advertise - digital or traditional
  • network more
  • hold events
  • update the signage of my store/office"
3.  What is my budget?

Set your total budget for the year. Work out what you can afford to spend. Break it down to monthly, so you know what your marketing commitments will be each month.

This makes it easier to answer question 4.

4. What can I do with my budget?

Choose your preferred marketing actions from the list you created from question 2.

If you can’t fit everything you want to do in your budget, then drop it off the list (for the time being).

Ideally, you’re choosing the actions that should give you the best bang for buck, ie the ones that will give you the most valuable results in achieving your marketing goals.

For example, if you are wanting to increase your database, a Facebook advertising campaign with a "sign up and get something for free" call to action can be a low investment, high return option. Just make sure you target the campaign in front of people who will see value in your product/service and not unsubscribe after they get their free thing. 

Building a really really simple marketing plan

Once you’ve answered those four questions, put the details into a one page spreadsheet.

Here’s an example. It doesn’t look too scary does it?

What next?

If you have a team, work out who will be responsible for what. And, as you can see in the plan, you can identify when will they action your plan.

If it’s just you, then you don’t need to put that part into the plan unless you want to.

Make sure you then book time in your calendar to:

a) ACTION YOUR PLAN. In fact you may simply want to build your plan directly into your work calendar (blocking out time on appropriate days) so you don't forget when you need to do what. 

B) check your plan progress – at least monthly. Look at the results you are achieving compared to your original goals. Track how you're going.

The important thing to remember when checking your progress is that there is no magic silver bullet.

Marketing takes time.

The impact of starting your marketing will not happen overnight, but it will happen… eventually.

Be patient and allow your marketing an absolute minimum of three months, preferably six before you expect to see results.

Finally, a really good reason to start with a plan is because, according to Coschedule, you are 313% more likely to report success if your strategy is documented.

So there you go, four questions to help you start your marketing. Sally forth, take that first step to starting your marketing. And good luck.

If you're still not sure where to start, let's catch up and find out how we can work together to get your marketing happening.  


Top two tips to stay competitive

Top two tips to stay competitive

Are you finding it challenging to stay competitive?

Have you noticed that over the last few years the digital world has become very crowded?

There is so much information, so many apps, an enormous number of platforms out there, its hard to get your head around and to know what to focus on to stay competitive.

So, to help you, here are our top two tips to help you stay competitive in a crowded marketplace.

Tip 1. Focus on your client and customer experience

The way you treat your clients and customers is crucial to any business’ ongoing success. You know what they used to say about a happy customer will tell one person, an unhappy customer will tell ten people.

Well, in today’s world that has absolutely been amplified. We all have access to an audience, not of hundreds, but of thousands upon thousands. So making sure that your clients and customers have a wonderful experience with you at every single touchpoint is crucial.

And that experience starts from the very first moment of their interaction with your business. This could be the moment that they find you online, when they land on your website or your social channels, when they walk past your shop, or when the meet you or an employee at a social function.

How wonderful is the experience your first-time customers have? If it’s not wonderful then there is a chance that person is going to jump online and say some not so wonderful stuff about your business. And then it’s not ten people they’ve told – it’s hundreds and thousands (and not the type you have on fairy bread).

So making sure the first experience people have with your business is wonderful is crucial. Big hint – make their experience personal. Focus on what is important to them and deliver (you should know what is important if you’ve identified your ideal client).

And, then you need to make sure their ongoing experience is just as wonderful and personal. Think about their experience when they subscribe to your emails, and especially your customer service.

At the end of the day, you want your clients and customers to be so happy with you, your products, your service, their whole ongoing experience with you, that they will not only keep buying from you, but they will also refer others to you

And we all know word of mouth is the cheapest and best form of advertising.  

Tip 2. Focus on your brand

As mentioned in Tip 1, the web is becoming more competitive. People will make decisions on whether to engage with your business based on their first impressions of your brand.

So, make sure you understand your brand. And then implement it across all aspects of your business.

Thank about your brand values, your unique selling position, why you are different. You don't need to be better/newer/cheaper, you just need to be different.

And own your difference. Be clear on how you are different and understand why that is important to your clients and customers.

Then sing from the rooftops and tell your brand story – over and over and over and over. Consistency is key when it comes to your brand.

Oh, and your brand should be present in your every step of customer experience too.

The starfish crew - figuratively singing from the rooftops

There you go:

  • get your client/customer experience right - from the start
  • understand your brand and own your difference
  • make sure your brand is consistent and aligned with your customer experience

Go forth and deliver wonderful things for your clients and customers and stay competitive. 

If you need help working out how to make sure your customer experience and brand are aligned and delivering wonderful things for your clients, book in a
your free discovery session with us. 

We'll have a chat to see how we can work together to achieve great marketing things for you. 


Three reasons to use email marketing

Three reasons to use email marketing

Email marketing is dead! You hear it all the time, but in reality, it’s not the case.

When done right, email is one of the most cost-effective ways to connect with your existing and potential clients and customers.

According to Campaign Monitor, “Email marketing is the king of the marketing kingdom with a 4400% ROI and $44 for every $1 spent.” How cool is that!!!

So, email marketing is well and truly alive. If you aren’t using email marketing in your business, here are three reason to start.

1. It’s low cost

If you’re on a budget (and let’s face it, as small businesses, most of us are), email marketing is very affordable.

Most email software platforms charge according to your email list size. So if your list isn’t big you shouldn’t have to pay much for it. And dependent on the size of your database, it could even be “free” (excluding your time of course).

If you’re delivering relevant and effective content, your sales and profits should grow alongside your email list.

Although, remember – there is no magic silver marketing bullet.

You still need to track and measure your results to make sure you’re hitting the mark with your emails and getting a return on investment (ROI).

The industry you’re in will also have an impact on how soon you might see an ROI.

2. It helps you build long-term relationships and trust

Contacting your email list often (but not too often) with high-quality content and engaging stories will help you build a long-term relationship with your audience. Essentially, having a regular emailing program adds another touchpoint.

The more touchpoints you have with your clients and/or market, the more the come to trust and connect with you. And the more trust they have in you. The more they feel a connection, then the more likely they are to purchase from you. Read more about touchpoints here.


3. It's easy to use

Writing an email is a really easy way to communicate with your market. We all write emails and most of us are doing it every day.

While an email with pretty graphics and/or videos may take more time, you don’t always have to have the bells and whistles in your email marketing. Especially if your content is of value.

You can set up a template in your email platform so you don’t have to start from scratch every time.

When setting up your template, remember to keep it simple. Use the language and tone that is consistent with your brand, and make it easy for your email list to read. We suggest using the following questions to guide you in writing your content:

  • What is email about?
  • What is in it for your client/customer/potential customer?
  • How can we help?

So, there you go. Three reasons to start using email marketing. Go forth and email.


Need help with your email marketing?

Email marketing can be daunting at first. Even identifying what you want to communicate to your market can seem overwhelming, let alone writing the content. 

We're here to help - as little or as much as you want.

If you want to do it yourself we can coach you on what to do. Or we can do the lot for you (writing, setting you up on the right email platform, building your templates, managing your email database and more). ​

It's your choice.

Book your free catch up to see how you can start your email marketing.


Three people, three years, three lessons learnt

Three people, three years, three lessons learnt

As I come up to our two-year anniversary of starfish marketing making the leap from just over 12 months of side-hustle to “going solo”, I’m reflecting on three lessons learnt.

We have grown from one person to three people in three years. Something that I didn’t project happening as quickly as it has. So why have we grown this quickly (apart from having the best clients who we love working with)?

I put it down to continually learning.

Marketing is a continually changing environment and we love seeing what is evolving in the business and marketing world.

Plus, it’s important for us to stay on top of the marketing world, especially in the digital environment, so we can make sure our clients are getting the best marketing advice and outcomes.

So, here are three things we have learned over the past three years.

Note: part of why we know #wehavethebestclients is because they do all these three things.

Three lessons learnt

1. Connect with your clients

Connecting with your clients and customers is more than simply being friendly, smiling and saying “have a nice day”.

It’s about having a genuine interest in your clients and customers. Get to know them. Build a relationship. Connect.

Remember that while a smile goes a long way, going that extra mile and really getting to know your clients and customers will wow them and create a genuine and real connection.

And that means you will understand their needs better, and be able to deliver the services and/or products they really want and need. And that’s a great outcome for everyone.  

2. Speak the right language

Sometimes we are so focused on our own business that we don't think about how to communicate with our market.

Knowing your clients and customers and your potential market is crucial to being able to communicate and connect with them in a manner they understand and can relate to.

We work with a range of clients to deliver newsletters, create website content, social media and more. And we tailor the style, tone and language of their varying communications to suit their clients, customers and target market.

And the results? 

Great open rates on newsletters.

Longer time spent on the websites.

Awesome engagement on social media.

All this means people are reading the content (and acting on it) because they are connecting with it.

3. Know your value

By knowing your value, own your worth and asking to be paid accordingly for it, means everyone wins. Your client, your business and you – you all win.

Why?

If you value yourself and your work, and price accordingly, it’s likely that you’re going to be able to focus on delivering the best quality work, product or services for your clients.

If you under value yourself, you will most likely be stressed. And that means you won’t be focused on the best outcomes for your clients and customers. And that means the quality of your work will go down.  It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.

By knowing your value, you can create raving fan clients, while following your vision and mission with integrity.Enter your text here...

So, there you go, three things learnt over three years. We hope they help you.   

Need help with your marketing?

If you need help with your marketing, book your free discovery session to find out how starfish marketing can help.


We'll shout you a coffee (or tea) and spend time getting to know you and your business. 


It's obligation free too.


Nine free things

Nine free things to help you with your marketing

Nine free things to help with your marketing

Recently I met with Jade, a local business owner, comedian, student (studying her MBA) and wearer of many hats.

Like a lot of us, Jade likes to do things herself. However she was feeling frustrated with her marketing. We had a catch up to see how starfish marketing might help, and we (both of us) discovered that Jade is not ready to outsource her marketing. (We don't call it a discovery session for nothing.)

That doesn't mean we couldn't help - Jade left our meeting with some tips and tools she could use - free marketing donuts (so to speak).  

As business owners we all know that marketing is important. Yet it always falls to the bottom of the very important to do list, and often falls off that list entirely.

Often its time restraints that means marketing doesn’t get done. Or its financial restrictions, whether that being fear of not getting a return on your investment (more on that in an upcoming blog), or cashflow issues.

At starfish marketing we know we deliver value for our clients. We know that what we are doing for our clients makes a difference for them and their business. After all, making a difference is one of the key drivers behind why we do what we do.

We also know that there are a lot of business owners out there who either want to do their own marketing or they are happy to outsource but are not currently in a position to do so.

So, in the interest of making a difference and helping more business owners with your marketing, here are your marketing donuts (nine free marketing tools) for you to use. 

Note: we have linked to each of the marketing tool websites where possible. 

1. Google My Business

If you do nothing else, get yourself set up on Google My Business.

This is a free Google service that helps you manage how your business information appears across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. See the image to the right for an example. 

Read more about it here or sign up for it here.

2 . Google Analytics

If you’ve got a website then Google Analytics is a must. There’s a pretty good article here on 10 good reasons why you should use Google Analytics.

If you don’t have a website, then you need to get one. There are a number of reasons you need a website and not just a Facebook page (a topic for a future blog – stay tuned).  As a minimum you can set up your Google My Business account website – it’s fairly basic but its better than nothing.

3. MailChimp

Staying in touch with your clients, stakeholders, target market etc on a regular basis is a great way to stay front of mind so people remember you when they need your product or service.

MailChimp is free email marketing platform (up to a point). If you have less than 2000 contacts then you can use MailChimp for free.

marketing platforms

4. Social Media

Being on social media is important.

“Social Media users in Australia are some of the most active in the world, with a total of around 60% of the country’s population an active user on Facebook, and 50% of the country logging onto Facebook at least once a day.”
Social Media News, January 2019.

Most social media platforms are free or, at least, have a free option. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn are three examples.

The important thing with social media is to choose and focus on the platform where your market is active. You can read more about that here.

5. Canva

Canva is an online graphic design platform. It’s got stacks and stacks of templates and images you can use and adjust. You can access a paid account, but the free version is pretty good and it’s easy to use. The tip here is to be consistent with the look and feel of the designs you create for your business so that you are strengthening and/or building your brand consistently.

6. Youtube

If you don’t know how to do something, like set up a Facebook advertising campaign, head on over to Youtube and do a search on what you need instruction on. There are instructional videos on almost everything there. Even on how to make a paper mache starfish!

7. Lumen5

Video is currently the marketing king. If you google “reasons to use video marketing” a plethora of articles come up, ranging from five to 25 reasons you should use video in your marketing. So using video in your marketing is becoming more and more important.

Lumen5 is free if you don’t mind having their branding at the end of your video. You can easily create videos from still images. And bonus points – you can even access free images within Lumen5. Or you can load up your own images.


You can pay to have some additional features and remove the Lumen5 branding.

8. Free stock images

Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, Negative Space

These four sites all provide a wide range of free stock images. There are probably more sites out there. You can also use Canva for access to free stock images too.

9. Us (starfish marketing)

At the end of the day, we believe that marketing can make a difference for your business. And we know the more successful businesses out there, the better it is for our community.

So, while we would love to help you with your marketing, we also understand that this is not always an option. So, we share a stack of templates and marketing information here on our website. Feel free to access them.

Basically, there are a stack of tools, templates and information out there to help you with your marketing. And a lot of them are free (dollars – not your time).

However, and you know this is coming if you read my blogs regularly, having a strategy behind your marketing is absolutely vital. Your marketing success depends on you knowing what you want to achieve and how you're going to get there - your marketing strategy

Finally, here's what Jade had to say after our catch up. (Shared with Jade's permission.)

I saw Mell the next day and now a week on I've got a neat little campaign happening, some videos, more templates, more spread sheets, more stuff to do and more confidence with promoting my brand. Meeting with Mell was like a having a psych session for my marketing strategy. Excellent stuff.

We hope these delicious free marketing donuts help you too.

Bonus freebie # 10

If you have a wordpress website, there's a plugin called Yoast. It is the best thing ever to help you with your SEO. The free version is great and there's an upgraded paid version. I can't tell you much about the paid version because we only use the free one. Gotta love free stuff! 

Let's catch up

If you decide you would prefer to outsource your marketing, then give us a call.


Let's catch up and find out how we can work together to get your marketing happening.  


planning and thinking differently concept using lemons and a pink grapefruit

Planning & thinking differently

Planning and thinking differently

Tomorrow the starfish marketing team will come together in our Albury office for a planning and thinking differently day.

This will be the first time the three of us will be in the same location at the same time.

(For those unaware we have three locations, Albury, Canberra and Rutherglen.)

All three of us are excited about the day ahead. 

It's going to be a planning day.

That means we will be looking at how we all work together and figuring out what is going to work best to deliver the best results for our clients (because #wehavethebestclients and we want to do what's best for them).

A big aspect of that will be thinking differently. What can we do differently that will be more efficient for our clients and deliver better results for them?

Personally, I'm so excited to see and hear the contributions Kaitlyn and Justine bring.

While we all think differently, yet we all live and breathe the starfish story. And that means we are all incredibly focused on making a positive difference for our clients. 

That is a big part of what I'm excited about - working out different ways to make a difference. 

Thinking differently

The benefit of working with people who have the same core values yet look at things from a different angle or approach things differently cannot be underestimated.

As an example, I’m a mindmap person not a checklist person (Kaitlyn identified this when I was trying to describe my concept of how the day will work). However, being a mindmap can make it more challenging for Kaitlyn and Justine to follow where my brain is going, and then be clear on their roles and how well they can look after our clients.

So, when I was describing how I thought the day might work, Justine suggested she put together an Agenda so we could stay on track and make sure we get through everything we needed to.

The benefits of planning

The agenda takes into account everything I was describing but means our planning day will be more focused, allowing us to all participate and be clearly focused on making a difference for our clients.

So while I’m a mindmap, I know that an agenda means our precious time together will be more efficient than that back-and-forth and all over the place that can occur when I don’t work to an agenda (otherwise known as “ooh shiny thing, let’s go down that path for a bit. Five to ten to twenty minutes later – Oh, where were we”).

And an agenda means we will get through everything we need to for the day, which will then mean we are delivering the best service and outcomes we can for our clients.

light bulb moment - planning and thinking differently

Plus, an agenda makes me think differently.

Thinking differently can be a challenge. But I find it is always rewarding and often delivers lightbulb moments. 

Often those lightbulb moments light the way for the future – the future for our clients and the future for the starfish team.

Having fun

And, I also know that having an agenda does not mean we won’t have fun. I anticipate having sore stomach muscles by the end of the day, because having fun is part of us, and a significant aspect of starfish marketing.

So, bring on the agenda, the thinking differently, the getting to know each other a bit more, the sharing a deeper understanding of our clients and ways we can better help them, and the having fun.


Think differently about your marketing. Let's catch up.

If you need help with your marketing, book your free discovery session to find out how you can think differently about your marketing.

We'll shout you a coffee (or tea) and spend some time getting to know you and your business. Then we'll see how starfish marketing can help you.

Bonus points - it's obligation free too.