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Archive for November, 2009

Win 1 or 25 professionally designed twitter backgrounds

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

xmas twitter background competitionJust a very quick blog post to make you aware of our Christmas competition. Basically we’re giving away 25 twitter backgrounds designed by us to make your twitter page look exciting and professional for when people visit it.

To enter all you have to do is follow us and tweet a special message as many times as you can to all your followers and include the  special # code so we can track all the entrants. The winning tweet is:

I’d like to win a professionally designed twitter background from the lovely people at @creospace. Info here http://bit.ly/6sIvhm #cgadv09

Full details about the give-away can be found on our twitter background give-away page

We look forward to seeing your entry tweets!

How to Avoid Information Overload when Communicating

Friday, November 13th, 2009

communicationIn our last article we looked at the causes and symptoms of Information overload and in this article we’ll look at some of the ways we can avoid that so that people engage with what you’re saying.

Life is overwhelming enough as it is. Your business and its marketing machine shouldn’t be piling more on top of an already mounting problem, especially when people are looking for solutions that will make a difference. If you want to be a credible source for those solutions, here are ways you should be looking to help reduce that load.

Stick to the facts.
Don’t over-sell, over-explain or over-control. Just provide the information someone needs to self-sort and self-decide. People don’t need a page on the philosophy of each product, service, activity or event. They do need to know who it’s for, what it is, when it happens and how to get there or buy it.

Stick to the point.
Start with the end in mind before you’re about to do something. If you know the purpose behind your web page, letter, brochure, meeting, etc., it makes it easier for you to stay on track and focused. Otherwise, it’s hard to recognise your own excess wording. Do you want people to buy, show up or respond? What are you asking them to do? If you can’t answer that question easily, they won’t be able to either.

Consider the crowd.
Does your announcement (digital, printed or verbal) apply to everyone or just a handful of people? If it’s not affecting the masses, it’s just going to land like dead weight. Don’t punish the crowd to keep a few people happy (even if they are the most vocal). Find a way to deliver your product or news to the appropriate markets.

Don’t intrude.
Unless they’ve asked for it, people welcome unsolicited information as much as a door-to-door salesperson at dinner time. Put information in a place that is easy for people to find and as and when they want it. Pop up windows are a great example of this and now they are almost non existent or browsers have tools that block the pop ups so they are non effective.

So there you are. A few pointers to hopefully make your marketing communications more effective by avoiding the information overload syndrome.

Your comments are really welcome, please leave them below.

Information Overload – Causes and Symptoms

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

communicationA Sunday edition of the Times carries more information than the average nineteenth century citizen accessed his entire life. Information used to be as precious as diamonds. And now? Well it’s so plentiful that most of it ends up being overlooked, ignored or thrown away like rubbish.

As of February 2007, there were over 108 million distinct websites and increasing, as of October 2008 there were 183 million (I couldn’t find any stats for 2009). That’s a lot of information and it’s growing daily. This doesn’t really include real time social media data like facebook and twitter as well.

When and how does it happen?
Information overload occurs when we receive more info than our brain can process. Even if it is good information, too much of a good thing just is not good anymore. Doesn’t matter if you’re an info addict, information overload affects us all.

So what’s the effect of info overload?
This amount of data so which we are open to carries a cost. It’s physical, mental and financial.

There are 3 ways in which people respond: They become overwhelmed and shut down, they labour over whether they’re making the right decisions or they just ignore you and move on.  Is that what your readers, visitors and potential customers are doing right now, moving on?

People aren’t looking for more (information). It’s relief or escape from all the pressure of more is what they’re looking for. Are you causing pressure or giving relief?

What are the overload symptoms?

Productivity Loss. People can easily get lost in the details. We waste time focusing on unimportant information and lose sight of the goal and purpose.

Mind Clutter. The noise created by media and other sources of information clutters our minds and takes away from our inner peace.

Lack of Time. We all have the same limited amount of time in a day. Instead of wasting time filtering through information, We’d rather spend the time on bringing more enjoyment and fulfilment into our life.

Lack of Personal Reflection. We find that if we are constantly consuming information, then we forget to connect with ourselves (and others).

Stress & Anxiety. Information inflow makes us feel like we have more tasks to fill our lives than we have time for. Often, we might suddenly feel nervous without understanding why. Every piece of information demands our time. Even if we ignore it, a part of us saw that data and recorded it within our subconscious.

Here’s the crux. Too much info will lose you customers and affect your profits, I can’t put it any clearer that that can I?

So how to make sure we don’t overload?
Well in the next blog post we’ll look at just that so make sure you come back to find out. Don’t miss out and subscribe to our blog RSS feed or twitter feed to get notifications of our new blog posts.

Your comments are really welcome, please leave them below.

Social Networking and Business Success

Friday, November 6th, 2009

socialmediasIf you haven’t read our article ‘Social Networking and Business Image’ then it may be a good time to read it as we cover the first two ‘musts’ when you decide to embark on social networking. There are 100’s of sites to get involved in but you may eventually decide to stick to just one site because it suits your business and works for you so our guide covers them all in a general non-subjective way.

Business success can be achieved if you approach social networking in a certain way and following on from our last article we have written some further tested points to follow.

Cutting Costs Through Social Networking
We have already established that social networking can offer up more leads in return for our time and our willingness to appear less formal than perhaps we do in a face-to-face environment. Social networking sites have been established to connect us and they are free, plus you can receive instant feedback on your products.

You may eventually decide to stick to just one site because it suits your business and works for you so our guide covers them all in a general non-subjective way. However try a few sites and find that final one where there are good quantities of like-minded people, people that are passionate and want to socialise in your area of business and you will build a following that you can market to, for free.

Through all of this, remember to say who you are – anonymity is no longer a good idea, why would you hide your true identity if your business is a trustworthy one? Build trust and you will build loyalty.

No Direct Sell
The whole idea of getting into social networking is not to promote your business but to raise awareness in an indirect way, give it personality and ultimately build your business success. This is done by interaction, engagement and getting conversations going. The wrong idea would be to sign up to, say, Twitter and start hard selling your products. Firstly this does not say much for your business ethic so, as we mentioned in our last article, try to remain a little laid back that you would usually – people do expect less formality. Secondly it tells your followers that you have your blinkers on and perhaps are not interested in them and that’s a good way to turn people off.

Try a bit of humour, you are there to network not sell and there is a big difference. Once you have a good group of followers that are interested in you and your industry you can throw in some subtle messages regarding the product or service you are looking to sell. Again we are talking about trust and loyalty so interacting with people and engaging them in a quick bit of chat will tell them you are aware of them and are not simply connecting to sell them something, they will feel a little more comfortable with you and your business this way.

For most SME’s spending money on advertising campaigns will soon, if it hasn’t already, become a complete waste of money as 95% of people don’t take any notice of most advertising. We do believe that businesses are going to be very disadvantaged by not involving themselves in social networking and perhaps getting to know people that may well be their potential customers.

Social Networking and Your Business Image

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

socialmediasIn traditional terms business networking is about walking around a room full of business men and women, swapping business cards and other wares and talking about what one another’s business works. More recently a wider view of today’s business networking has become focussed more now on social networking (a part of social media) which helps us all to create a good range of business contacts throughout our local, regional, national or even international community. Your business image whilst participating in social networking is of course crucial though don’t discount the traditional methods of networking just yet, they are important too and give your business a face no matter how few people may be attending.

Networking Successfully Online
Social networking in a successful manner is now vital to any small business for many reasons. Conducting yourself properly at an official business event or on a social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, business forums etc can be easy with a little guidance if you are currently unsure of how to present your business in these situations. Essentially these three we’ve mentioned are only the few to be found in the 100’s of the social media phenomenon, being the current major sites we are basing our experience on those but our advice is applicable to most online media of their kind.

We have put together this article and one that follows to help you conduct social networking and promote your business image in a positive way, we hope you can use our advice for your business be it blogs, social media, websites or other resources.

Using Social Networking for Business Relationships
Social networking has given us many trusted business relationships, products and services and with the whole thing exploding at the moment it’s a great time to get involved, your business will thank you in time. So how many active users do you think Facebook has at any one time? Millions, in fact recent figures from whyfacebook.com tells us that there are over 300 million users. Relationships do matter and becoming involved has been proven to give businesses additional exposure, in turn of course bringing new leads and potential customers.

If you have a good social networking manner and compose yourself well on these networking sites, you also give yourself chance to play around with extra marketing projects using some of your contacts as leads. Eventually you may build up such a list of friends and followers that you can select a small section of these to experiment your marketing skills with, promote a new product or simply stay in touch with latest industry news. Should this fail then you can move on to another section of your contacts or try a different marketing approach.

Goals
The aim on these websites is to promote your business in a less polished and less formal way. In fact it’s not even promotion at all. Not everyone wants to learn about how you increased profit by selling frog legs or anything else (!) now people expect to see a more laid back approach and want to know more about you or the people that work for you, so bearing this in mind go and introduce yourself, what your office is up to right now, who kissed the boss at the Christmas disco – or maybe not THAT personal but I hope by now you get the point, mixing more relaxed messages with others about your news or interesting info about the industry can give you the perfect balance – and the perfect amount of followers.

We cover a few more ideas on the next article ‘Social Networking and Business Success’