Our Friends and their Hot Tips
Digital Ready has a growing community who have found benefit in the free online training and are keen to see other business owners succeed. To join our list of friends, simply complete one or more of our training modules, do the quiz at the end of the module(s), supply your details and we'll contact you with more info on how to not only be one of our friends but also receive other exciting benefits. Click here for more information.
One of the first and easiest things to do is get your business on the map. Ensure you set up Google My Business and create listings in prominent online business directories so your customers can find you when they search. Ensure the listings are consistent and up-to-date and include all the relevant information for your business including a link back to your website.
- Anna Johnson
Using social media has allowed us to grow organically, since much of healthcare awareness is via word-of-mouth. Social media allows positive word-of-mouth promotion to spread - vocally as well as via engagement in the online conversation. It is important to manage your online presence, because if you don't you will still be mentioned, you just won't know it!
- Dr Frank Farrelly
Local newspapers are always looking for news, so businesses can get free publicity with a good local story, such as an event, workshop or business milestone. Make the story more appealing with a great photo and if you’re lucky the paper will run it. Local journalists are pressed for time and need to fill a whole paper each week. If you can provide a relevant, newsworthy story you’ll be making their life much easier and getting free publicity too.
- Sam Hassan
Knowing the right questions to ask and having a useful checklist will help you find the right Cloud Computing supplier for your business.
- Lyndall Guinery-Smith
If you're getting bogged down with administrative tasks in your small business and struggling to allocate time to vital growth activities, such as developing your online marketing or social media strategy, I highly recommend engaging a virtual assistant. There are great providers out there that are ready and waiting to help you with any part of your business. I recommend starting with aspects of your business that are straightforward, repeatable and easily documented, then once you feel more confident with the outsourcing process look to more complex/specialist areas.
- Nicolo Zappulla
Just because social media accounts are free, don’t fool yourself to think they do not need an investment. Worse than not having a social media presence, is having one that is never updated. Ensure you allocate a dedicated resource to content creation and keep your accounts active.
- Penny Reidy
Social media has empowered small business owners to create an inclusive sharing economy, where skills are swapped, opinions are provided and encouragement is plentiful - and the easiest way to get involved and connected is by participating in Facebook groups relevant to your niche. Contribute, get involved, and be helpful. Start doing this well before you start your business. And do this without expectation or conditions attached. This is not the place to do direct selling. What you contribute to online Facebook groups and forums, you'll receive 10-fold back.
- Annaliese Allen
After consulting in this space for over 10 years and teaching digital marketing at UTS my best tip for businesses is to start with a strategy first and be very clear on who you are targeting. In addition, while the platforms are free you will need to put aside money for social media advertising as the organic reach is now low. Be realistic about what you can achieve and follow a well defined road map.
- Jenni Beattie
When starting an online business, you need to embrace the essence of the ecommerce world. Don’t focus solely on revenue at the start. Work on the customer experience and build a long lasting relationship with your valued users, revenue will then naturally flow. Think about how you can bring offline aspects of a business online and make sure to measure your methods, analyse and adapt.
- Michael Tutek
Since backlinks play an important role in SEO (Reference: https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors), knowing where your competitors get links from is very valuable. For this research I use WebMeUp.com. It lets me check 3 competitors for free, then I can export a list to Excel. For a small competitor, it's easy to go through the list and note anything they're doing that you aren't. For a giant competitor like eBay or Bunnings, it will be futile (unless you're equally large).
- Daniel Brady
“Embrace social media as a 21st century communication tool. Whether your business uses it for social branding, managing your reputation or creating opportunities for your business, it is essential that you are using it. Post regularly, get to know your audience and share content that is interesting, uplifting as well as informational.”
- Anna Cairo
"It’s not about you, it’s about your customer: Most small businesses use their social media accounts only for promotional purposes. This is an unsuccessful strategy, as it provides no value to your followers. Instead, find and share information that your customers want to see and occasionally mix in your promoted content."
- Nerissa Chaux
"Build your web presence to feed into your wider business strategy. A website should never just be an end in itself: it's there to help you achieve goals for your business as a whole. Also remember that this is a communication tool, so think about what you need to say to your potential customers, and how they are going to get that message"
- James Mawson
"Unless you already have a huge following on your blog or Facebook, acquiring new customers online is often very expensive. The most important thing is to ensure your customers are satisfied, if not delighted with your product or service. This would help motivate them to come back again and again."
- Derek Sheen
"Have in place a Disaster Recovery Plan for when your internet connectivity crashes...that's right when Telstra's copper phone cables that weren't designed for ADSL fails, have a quick setup procedure to connect your business internet connection to a mobile device such as a smart phone. We prefer to use different internet providers to minimise risk if a telco's system crashes."
- Sal Bua, La Unica Salon
"The number one mistake people make with digital marketing is not tracking conversions. Conversion tracking should always be installed before every campaign so that return on investment can be calculated. Without conversion tracking you might as well be piling your money into a corner and lighting it on fire."
- Tom Sadler, Indago Digital
"As someone who's been working in digital since the 90s, my constant challenge is deciding what NOT to do rather than what to do. This comes from understanding your target audience and what their habits are. List the devices and channels that your audience uses, and prioritise them. Tackle the highest priority first, and make your brand experience there truly awesome before you move on to anything else."
- Caroline Halliday, YourTutor
"It's so important these days for your business to have an online presence and to use social media as a marketing tool to engage and build up your customer base. Understanding your target market and the different social media with help create an effective social media strategy."
- Ina Jalil
"Conducting business in the digital space is a natural for creative practitioners. We can connect to our potential clients and audiences easily, and digital marketing is cheaper than traditional methods like printed material. We can find our fans and our followers, and build our network even before we have a product or service to sell."
- Monica Davidson
"When it comes to online business all of the principles of offline business still apply. You still need to build strategic partnerships, referral networks and give customers a reason to visit your website. Online business is a long term game and as business owners, we need to mature our marketing strategies towards consistency and a long term focus. If you're operating online all forms of digital marketing such as SEO, Social, Paid Traffic and content should be configured to use conversion tracking so you can understand whether your investments are generating ROI. Know what works or more importantly what isn't working."
- Byron Trzeciak, Pixelrush
"Social media and digital marketing is not something to be afraid of, it is something to be embraced! We have found it can do wonders for your brand and is far more cost effective than traditional marketing mediums."
- Samantha Horton
"If you seek an agency to assist with your online strategy ensure two things, 1) you set realistic goals and 2) the person you hire provides ethical services only. We've found that #1 rankings are not a strong performance metric but measuring for increases in enquiries, and the quality of those enquiries, is a much better determining factor of success."
- Richard Thompson
"Social Media is a powerful tool and if you want to be seen among the thousands of other brands out there, using call to action phrases will help get your message out there and your fans interacting and helping you promote your products."
"Social media is an easy way to engage with your customers and show a different side to your business. Remember, it’s about being social, providing value and building rapport with your customers. Limit the number of ‘sales’ posts and instead, create posts which demonstrate you are grateful for the relationship."
- Geraldine Pierre
"Make sure you implement Google Analytics on your site. Understand how your site will deliver business objectives and how you're going to track them. This might be as simple as an online sale or form enquiry. Then create Goals within Google Analytics. This will enable you to make better decisions for your business."
- Quentin Aisbett, OnQ Marketing
"Website creators like Weebly, Wix or Squarespace are really easy to use and you don’t need to know any code. If you are feeling a bit more geeky then you can go for something like Joomla."
- Bradley Kalgovas, Jacobean Singers
"Consultants and professionals are often sitting on a gold mine of knowledge, skills and expertise they could easily be packaging into a sellable item - and if they follow my blog article '6 Simple Steps to Systemising and Selling your Expertise' (click link above) they'll be well on their way to getting started and monetising their knowledge bank!"
- Maria Doyle
"Social Media is fantastic for a busy work environment; simply create a series of relevant and informative posts and schedule them for times when your client base is generally online. No need to be online posting at all hours!"
- Spencer McGill, South West Arts Inc
"I have used social media to promote my business from day 1. Effective promotion of what you do can be easily achieved if you create quality content with which people genuinely like engaging. This works much better than anything contrived. Don’t be afraid to be yourself!"
- Sarah Carman, Sponge Education
"Google likes location based businesses so be sure to set yourself up on google maps. If someone searches for Party Store Sans Souci, yours truly will always appear."
- Dean Salakas, The Party People
"One of the best ways you can improve your SEO, in other words rank higher on Google, is to encourage customers to review your business on Google Maps. You've probably noticed Google are showing Maps listings on the main results page more often, particularly when you search for a local business. If your business has more reviews than your competitors, you can appear on page one even though your website may not appear until page three or four."
- Lachlan Wells, Optimising
"Online brand perception comes from how people connect with your company, from search engines to blogs and social media. With a high quality website that delivers a great user experience, and an interactive social media channel your brand gains great visibility, a positive presence and a greater market share."
- Karen Francis, Nous
"More people now access the Internet from their smartphone than their computer! Make sure your website is mobile-responsive which means it automatically adapts to look correctly on any screen size or device."
- Michael Ginsburg
"Consider registering your domain name for 2 years or longer as this will help Google's trust rank indicator. Longer reregistration periods demonstrates to Google that you are interested in building business and/or a brand and that you want to stay around for the long haul."
- Shah Bahpyu, Lil Spaces
"When it comes to social media, the best advice I can give is to sit down and make a plan! Determine who your audience is, what your message will be, then find the right platform based on these factors. Then sit down and plan your content for the next month, aiming to be consistent in when you post (scheduling tools like Hootsuite are great for this!). With this plan in place, you don't have to sit down everyday and think 'What will I post?"
- Jon Harris
"The digital space has been transformative for our business. A digital platform allowed us to remove any barriers to reaching our customers allowing us to go from reaching dozens of students to tens of thousands. The digital space is also crucial for marketing. It’s about thinking of where users are and reaching them effectively, digital marketing allows us to do that (especially reaching teenagers through social media)."
- Danielle Barakat, HSC Hub
"Be consistent, post regularly in a style that suits you. Find a voice that feels natural to you but also suits your industry. Don’t just share content that is about your business, recognise what your followers are interested in and share that content also. We share content about our venues, but also provide people with information about local community matters plus uplifting stories from communities around the world."
- Deborah Langley, Halls For Hire
"If you've not come across it, Flying Solo's small business podcast is a great show for those starting or growing a business. Expert guests share tips and strategies covering startup, marketing, productivity, wellbeing, financial management and more. Click the link above to access the podcast."
- Robert Gerrish, Flying Solo
"Online presence for your business should compliment your offline business activities to create a better Return on Investments for you. Online Marketing should make 'click work' easy for your customers and compelling enough to make them do the ' leg work' to attend your offline shop/event/activity."
"When using Social Media the language you use must be the same as you would use when talking to your clients face to face. Always check for spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure you are using appropriate language, after all those who are reading what you write will judge that as an indication of who you are and how you operate. Use inappropriate language and it will most certainly reflect badly on your business and on you as a Business Owner/Operator."
- Nathan Rogers, First Response
"Before buying tech equipment (or any major purchase), do the nightmare test to eliminate 'lemons'. This simply means Googling the make and model of the product you are considering and the word 'nightmare'. Try again with 'problem'."
- Cathy Ewald, Electronic Lighthouse
"Do your online research before launching a new business. Google has a keyword planner tool that allows businesses to see how many people search on Google for certain keywords. This can be invaluable for entrepreneurs looking to start an online business as you can see what demand already exists online for your products and services. Stay tuned for my article covering 12 other online tools that all business owners should know."
- Rhys, Chief Beard Officer