Round 3 of Small Business Basics Grants

Round 3 of Small Business Basics Grants

Attention, Small Business owners! New opening dates have been announced for Business Basics Grants!

Round 3 opens for applications as follows:

Regional Queensland funding stream: 9 am, Monday 16 May 2022

South East Queensland funding stream: 9 am, Tuesday 17 May 2022

Grant information can be found on the QLD government website.

This grant is for START UPS and small business owners just getting back on their feet. It offers $5,000 cash upfront to go towards things like:

  1. Coaching and Training
  2. Creating or updating your website
  3. Business planning and advice
  4. Strategic marketing planning and advice
  5. Cyber Security tools and training

We are here to help your local small business succeed by understanding your goals and the essence of your brand. Please give us a call if we can help you with any of your digital marketing, I.T Support, and communication needs.

TikTok for small business

TikTok for small business

TikTok is more than just a dance and fast content app for teenagers. This Platform can be a great opportunity to expand your business. 

The app currently exceeds one billion users, mostly from Generation Z. This popularity has also spread to businesses. At the end of August, TikTok partnered with Shopify to allow the option to shop through the app. A month later, Square joined a similar association. Both integrations are still in beta testing but will allow businesses to link their products to TikTok videos. This will allow a purchase directly from the application. 

If your e-commerce on Shopify or Square, you can take advantage of marketing through TikTok. You simply request access through these two platforms, and you will be able to link your TikTok videos directly to your products. 

Don’t worry about filters, trends, and dances, we are going to help you with a few tips: 

Tips for small business in TikTok 

The key to selling on TikTok is to have an attractive channel, with visits and a lot of engagement. Is super important that you find your identity in this new platform, here are some tips that you can follow: 

1.Show don’t sell.  

Be as organic as possible. Don’t go overboard with sales pitches. Simply find an attractive or trendy way to display your products. 

Some ideas could be to show casual videos of your business, how to use your products or if you sell clothes creating looks for each week. Use the trends and adapt them to your brand. 

What makes this platform so attractive is that you don’t know what’s going to go viral or what’s going to take off. Trends are constantly changing with content designed for all types of audiences. TikTok has an efficient artificial intelligence system when it comes to displaying personalized content for each of its users. If your video has many reproductions or a high interaction, this will make the platform show more of your page. The more visits, the more probability of sale. 

You must stay on top of trends before they disappear. Knowing how to adapt content to what is fashionable will help you a lot. You can use the search for the most used hashtags, as well as the most viral content. Fortunately, TikTok allows you to easily explore its trends. 

2. Posting and posting  

Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok doesn’t just show you videos from people you already follow. The app’s home page, known as the “For You” page, is an endless stream of content mixed with a healthy dose of videos from people you don’t follow but the app thinks you might like. This will make your videos have a much larger reach and you can reach a much wider audience. 

TikTok wants to retain its users if possible, within its platform. That means that uploading videos periodically will help you to be able to enter their suggestions. In addition, the app rewards the videos that are most viewed, showing more content of the popular account or appearing in suggestions with related content. 

3. Participate in the #smallbusiness community 

TikTok has allowed many businesses to be known and have exponential sales. There’s even an in-app #smallbusiness community for entrepreneurs, who share and promote content with their trends, sounds, and hashtags. 

 If you do not have platforms like Shopify or Square, you can participate in the benefits of TikTok as well. You can link your website in your TikTok profile and add a Linkpop page, which allows you to curate your online store, featured products, and other types of content, using just one link. 

We hope that all these tips have been useful for you. TikTok is a completely free and easily accessible platform, so don’t be afraid to explore your possibilities. Have fun, try different ways of communicating and explore your most creative side.  
Is Your Website Accessible? (and what you can do if it isn’t)

Is Your Website Accessible? (and what you can do if it isn’t)

It’s often something that gets overlooked by small businesses launching their website on a budget. However it’s a box that needs checking. In the US, businesses whose sites are not accessible are liable for discrimination. This isn’t the case in Australia yet, but we’d recommend that if your services could possibly be used by someone with an impairment, make sure that you cater for them on your site.

To be honest, this is an ongoing effort, as maintaining accessibility requires thinking in ways we don’t usually have to. This can be technical, such as tab order, but also related to simple design choices.

We think accessibility is important because providing usability for people with a range of impairments is good for your business, as well as supporting those customers. It’s the right thing to do, and shouldn’t be treated as a nice-to-have, or an afterthought.

But what can you do about it? Here are things you need to be thinking about with regard to accessibility. We’ll start with the design-related things, which you can think of as low-hanging fruit in terms of achievability.

Content & design accessibility fixes

These are the things you can do something about without tearing your site to pieces, and without spending money (or not spending a lot, depending on your web publishing skillset).

Content structure

This is a big one as it also relates to your SEO. Both search engines and the visually impaired are observing your site without whatever visual aids you’ve implemented in your design. So using HTML to properly to structure your content is a must.

You need clearly and logically laid our headers and paragraphs in your content. For example, there should only be one Heading 1 (H1) on a page, and this would usually be the post/page title (or the site name/title on the homepage). H2 and H3s etc should be nested logically so your content can be divided into sections and subsections, according to the topic. If you look at this article, we’ve split it into two H2 sections (design and technical fixes) with several H3 subsections in each.

Accessible content structure is an ongoing effort – every time you publish you need to think about how your information is laid out.

Text contrast ratio

This is the contrast between the text and the background. If it’s too low, while people with good eyesight might be OK, people with even a slight visual impairment might have difficulty reading your words. And this isn’t a small number of people!

Text size

Likewise, you need to ensure that your text is big enough to read. We use Divi, which is great, but one of its accessibility problems is that by default, the text is far too small (and low contrast). This is easily fixed of course, but it goes to show that defaults often need tweaking to get better results.

Alt text on images

When you upload an image, most CMSs ask you to enter ‘alt text.’ This is text that will be used as an alternative to the image when the image won’t load or can’t be seen. When you’re in a hurry (the default state of a small business owner), it’s easy to overlook this, but including it is mandatory for accessibility.

Try entering a simple descriptive sentence at the very least, so those who can’t see the image will know what it’s about, and won’t feel they are missing out.

Technical accessibility fixes

The above are some low-hanging fruit for you to improve your website accessibility. The next things we’ll mention are more technical.

Skip to Content

Your website probably starts with a header that includes a navigation menu, which might have a lot of items in it. As visually impaired people often rely on screen readers to get to your content, the header is something they probably don’t want or need. Having a website header that supports skipping the header is essential. Many frameworks and the themes do, but many don’t. Divi, which we use, doesn’t have this by default, and we need to add it manually.

Tab order

Some folks are unable to use a mouse. Usually, these are people with visual or motor impairment. Tabbing between items is an essential method for navigating for them. You can see how this works by loading any web page and pressing tab repeatedly to see what happens. Ideally, a focus box will move from item to item, left to right, top to bottom, highlighting links.

There are two main potential issues that could interrupt this important usability:

The first relates to design. On many websites, it’s difficult to follow focus as elements aren’t properly outlined or differentiated when focussed on. Having clearly defined ‘active’ and ‘hover’ states on links and buttons can help with this.

The other possible problem is caused by the structure of the site. Tabbing follows the order of things in HTML, or the actual structure of your content before your site applies the design rules for displaying the content. These design rules could potentially change the visual order of the information on your site, making tabbing through the site difficult. This type of problem relates to the structure of the site itself, so is more difficult to solve.

What are we doing about accessibility?

We’ve picked up our accessibility game, and will be taking extra steps to ensure new client sites are up to scratch. For our website maintenance clients, revising them to include more accessibility best practices.

If you’re not sure whether your site is as accessible as it should be (it could be costing you business!), and you’d like us to have a look, we’d happily take a glance and make any recommendations. Use our contact form to hit us up.

Further resources

Colour of the year 2022

Colour of the year 2022

With PANTONE® 17-3938 Very Peri Pantone has taken a historic step in its annual colour designation. Created completely from scratch, Very Peri is the combination of a dynamic periwinkle blue mixed with a vibrant violet-red undertone. 

According to the institute, this new colour represents changes in the world today: worldwide isolation, and changes to everything that we previously took for granted; a blooming metaverse; bitcoins gains; and environmental crisis.  

Unlike its predecessors, Ultimate Gray and Summery Yellow Illuminating, Very Peri is harkening to a desire to overcome COVID 19 and the inconveniences of the pandemic. It’s a manifestation of the force to rewrite our lives and define a new perspective with which we can face the future without fear. 

Analysing Very Peri 

The colour of the year 2022 is a great combination of colours that represent different emotions. Blended blue, for example, is a colour associated with constancy and fidelity. This blue gets a little hit of the energy and excitement of red. 

“It’s unusual to refer to blue as ‘happy,’ but when you add that red element to it, that’s exactly what happened,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the institute. “We felt it was so important to put together a colour that encapsulated the feeling of newness.” 

Blue is associated with futurism or science fiction. Very Peri has been selected to represent that step towards a hybrid future in which de facto reality will coexist with virtual reality, embodies in the metaverse concept and technologies such as NTF.  

A colour that represents hope  

“We’re entering this different time where we’re reimagining our future, trying to rewrite our lives and acknowledging all the unknown before us,” Pressman says. “Looking at the world with different eyes has brought us—and will continue to bring us—new solutions.”  

Very Peri is the hope that many have that 2022 will be a new beginning, an overcoming of two very complicated years worldwide. It is also a break from old patterns and habits that no longer make sense in a world so different from what we expected.  

Need more inspiration? Press play on Very Peri inspired Spotify playlist 
Finding a Voice for Your Business  

Finding a Voice for Your Business  

Your larger competitors seem to have it all worked out, with their consistent, on-brand messages. How can you keep up? Where do you start?

If you haven’t defined a voice for your business, start right there.

A personality for your business is the foundation of a brand. Your voice is the primary signifier of what you stand for, what your culture is like and what impact you create for your customers.  

But hold up – those are all pretty abstract things. Why would your small business need all this? Don’t you just make X for people who need X?

Why develop a voice for your small business?

Well, sure, but most local businesses compete against larger enterprises in some way, and those companies have a brand out there in the world busy imprinting their name in the minds of your market. You can, and should, have the same. A voice amplifies your messages, shows people you’ve got it together, and helps them remember you. We talked a little about this in ‘Does your small business really need Branding’? 

We also mentioned in our recent post on Marketing Trends for 2022 that personalisation is going to be increasingly important – and having a unique voice for your business is perhaps the best way to achieve a personal fit for your customers.

The good news is you don’t need to find an expensive branding agency. Anyone can work out their own voice. With it you can confidently engage with marketing and social media, or pass that voice onto any marketing help you engage along the way.

And when you’re ready, you can use this voice as the blueprint for a more detailed brand. 

Your voice can inform all of your communications, including graphics and photos. Here’s Alistair and Ben outside KeyTech in Toowong.

Today we’re going to help you work out three things regarding your voice.

Elements of your businesses voice: 

  • When you speak, how do you sound?  
  • When you speak, how do you make people feel? 
  • How do you change your customer’s lives?  

The Brand Attributes Exercise

This exercise isn’t that complicated, but works better with the whole team in the room. Of course we’re happy to drop in and run through it with you, but we think you can handle this one. This exercise adapted from our brand strategy offering (bundled with web design) and we’re spilling the beans today.

How to create a voice for a small businesses:

  1. Get a few of the team around a table and caffeinate them sufficiently.  
  2. On a white board draw up three columns headed Voice, Feeling and Impact 
  3. In the Voice column, ask your team to list as many words describing your culture as you can. If your business was a person, how. would they sound when speaking?  They should be best-case-scenario words (how you want to be). 
  4. In the Feeling column, you’re looking for words that describe how your customers will feel when dealing with you. Of course these are likely to be the opposite of the feelings created by the problem you solve, but they might not be. There are no wrong answers, just see how many you can get down. 
  5. In the Impact column, you’re looking for words describing how you’ll change your customers life – this could be in small or big ways. See if you can get 20 – 30 in each column. There are no wrong answers, so don’t correct or discourage anyone. You’ll find that some suggestions build on others, some are more general and some are more specific. That’s fine at this stage! 
  6. Now that the columns are full, you’re looking to narrow the list in each column down to the top five. You’re looking for general consensus, but vote if you need to The first three will be easier, then there will be some discussion as to which are the next most.  
  7. Repeat that process for the top 3 words, 
  8. And then again, to find the single, most important word.  

You’ll notice some excitement building in the room as you get into this exercise. It’s as if your businesses suddenly has a soul. This exercise is always a honour to be a part of, and we think you’ll know why if you try. 

Now you have the words you’ll use to create your impact narrative: the guide for your voice. Here’s what ours looks like:   

These three triangles represent steps you take your customers on, which can be represented in your voice. You can use this in all your communications and design, calling on either the primary or secondary word to change things up when needed.

You can see from the above that for KeyTech, we want to sound helpful, make our customers feel valued, and ultimately, give them peace of mind, but we can also say that sometimes we sound human, make sure our customers are heard, and that we make their life simpler. 

It’s important to include impact in your voice because good marketing always includes a prompt to think positively and act proactively on the problem. When we interact with our customers we want them to be conscious of the better tomorrow we’ll help them get to. 

Now you have your voice!

The best part is you all had a part in creating it, so it’s 100% authentic and will feel real when people hear it across your social channels, advertising and emails.

If you go through this process, let us know how it went, and what voice you came up with! 

9 Small Business Marketing Trends to Follow in 2022

9 Small Business Marketing Trends to Follow in 2022

At KeyTech we believe small businesses need real-world Marketing plans that push them towards their ultimate objectives. So we had a look at growing trends, checked some expert opinions, and came up with some best practices for a business with perhaps a limited marketing budget.

1. Virtual events

2020 changed our lives. The unusual online meetings stopped being unusual, becoming an everyday thing. In 2021, finding opportunities in the restrictions, marketers have taken those changes and created new ways for businesses to reach the world. In 2022 marketing will only continue to evolve to match the needs of restricted real-world business, and the opportunities of online business.

This year we have seen big brands such as Channel and Apple present their new collections and products with online-only events. These kinds of virtual events have exploded in the last year. Although many of us are feeling virtual exhaustion right now, there will still be a place for these types of events, even after we resume the events in person because they are hugely more accessible – for example, they are inclusive to people regardless of location or ability.

You’ve probably come across at least a few in the last year: a virtual event can be as simple as a live stream, a webinar, or as complex as a thousand user conference. The reason for the new umbrella term ‘virtual event’ is most likely the fact that these technologies are replacing real-world events. Whatever you call them, they’re here to stay and will undoubtedly grow in our collective consciousness.

Virtual Event

Are virtual events right for you?

For many businesses, especially those that relied on physical-events pre-covid, virtual events are a no-brainer. But there’s also a rising opportunity for other businesses to get into the event space, seeing as virtual events represent the knocking down of the huge barriers to entry. So It is a good time to ask yourself if your customers might appreciate or enjoy seeing more of you, and of each other. What could you teach them as a group, and what could they learn from each other, or help each other with? Getting into the middle of this exchange might help position you more as an essential business partner to your customers.

Let’s say you want to try. How might you go about it? Fortunately, it’s not too hard.

Teams live events

If you want to try a virtual event for your business, here we can help with Microsoft Teams Live.

The first thing to think about is what type of experience you want to provide. Microsoft Teams’ Live Events is a solid platform to hold any type of event. However, if what you are looking for are participation and interaction, then unfortunately Teams isn’t your best shot.

Events that run through Microsoft Teams tend to be very formal. Attendees cannot verbally communicate with other attendees or even presenters. The good thing is that this platform does offer a question-and-answer panel so that attendees can submit comments and/or questions during the live event.

If you expect a maximum of 10,000 attendees for your event, and if it does not last more than four hours, Live Events is the platform for you! It’s also worth noting that up to 15 concurrent events can run on a single Microsoft 365 tenancy.

2. Personalized artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence has advanced over the years. Today it’s considered a great opportunity for businesses, companies, industries, and even nations.

AI ​ for marketing seeks to understand consumer behavior: search patterns and interactions. Examples of marketing AI are chatbots.

Mastercard created a Facebook Message bot that uses natural language processing software to decipher what the customer wants and respond as if it were a real person, automating the handling of even some complex queries.

Is a chatbot right for you?

If your business receives a lot of customer inquiries, you could start by expanding a simple FAQ page and. The next step would be integrating those questions into your messaging service, such as your Facebook page. A full-blown, AI-powered chatbot is understandably out of reach for many small businesses, but if you are constantly interacting with customers in predictable ways, it might be worth a look. These Australian companies can help create a fluid chatbot experience for your website.

3. Programmatic advertising

Do you spend a lot on advertising? The same kind of AI advances is helping people manage their ad spending.

One of the new things this year is using AI to automate ad buying so you can target more specific audiences. Real-time bidding, for example, is a type of programmatic ad buying. Automating through bots or specific programs will help you to be much more efficient and faster, which means higher conversions and lower customer acquisition costs.

4. Personalization

Although artificial intelligence and programming are a new Marketing trend going into 2022, the truth is that the personalization of a brand will always remain the key.

If you want to stand out in 2022, you need to personalize your marketing. This means personalized content, products, emails, and the rest.

Statistics show that 63% of consumers are very upset with generic advertising blasts. Customizing your content and offering a real experience will increase your sales.

An example of this super customization is EasyJet that launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to create personalized stories, which then suggest where they would like to travel next. Approximately 12.5 million unique emails have been sent, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalized emails.

Another successful example is Starbucks, which uses a gamified mobile app that relies on data like purchase history and location to be as personal as possible. The app allows customers to personalize their drinks and encourages further use with its rewards system, which skyrocketed its revenue to $ 2.56 billion.

Starbucks

Starbucks, which uses a gamified mobile app

5. Video Marketing

Video marketing is still exponentially increasing going into 2022. Forecasts say it will be even more important in 5 or 10 years. Businesses report higher conversion rates with video marketing.

Video is a key factor in decision-making. 52% of consumers say that watching product videos gives them more confidence in making buying decisions online. Video is the simplest and clearest way for customers to obtain information about a product or service.

If your site includes video, it is 50 times more likely (50 times!) To generate organic search results compared to text. Not only do people find video content super attractive, but Google also supercharges the SEO of pages that include videos.

The great thing about video content is that it makes it easy for your content to be reformatted for other platforms. For example, information from a video can be transcribed and used as content for a blog. Adapt and share that video on other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram TV or even cut out small bites for Instagram Reels or TikTok. Another idea is to use the audio from that video to have an episode of a podcast.

Lsd statistics show that the opening rates of an email campaign are higher if you include the word video in the subject, so consumers are drawn to it.

Live video is particularly popular with many companies who use it for interviews, product/service demos, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the brand, such as office life, how products are made, company events, etc.

But Should you bother with video in your own small business?

You might feel that it’s something only larger businesses would invest in. And you’re right, in a sense. But there are many ways to do video, and having a smaller marketing budget does not mean you have to miss out completely.

Have a look at your competitors, the ones you know are a similar size to you. If you see any video in their marketing, this is a big warning that you’ll need to start with video just to remain competitive. If they don’t have a video, great, this could be an opportunity for you.

Your first videos could be a topical discussion with an expert on your team, embedded in your blogs. You can do it with a phone – as long as you and your business look professional, consumers can forgive underproduced video as it’s becoming very normalized. In short, underproduced is better than no video.

They could be as simple as a walk-through of your premises, introducing yourselves and what you do. Especially for small businesses, whether b2b or b2c, customers appreciate realness and integrity.

This is unless part of what makes your business work is shine and polish, in which case you probably should invest in professional video production.

6. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is not a trend. A Mediakix study predicts that the ad spends for influencer marketing could reach $ 10 billion by next year:

The reason for the success of influencer marketing is due to trust, naturalness, and personalization. Consumers trust the opinion of an influencer on a brand or product much more than they trust brands themselves. The trend is clear and 58% of people have bought a new product in the last six months due to the recommendation of an influencer.

Influencer marketing will also be affected by artificial intelligence. Every year AI makes it easier to find the right influencers to partner with by identifying those with better engagement, fewer fake followers, and a higher likelihood of generating a positive return on investment (ROI).

You might consider working with an influencer if your market is an active consumer of influencer content on social media. You’ll still need to propose a campaign, with a defined period of collaboration, and whether you want to bet on micro or macro-influencers.

7. Messages through apps

Social messaging apps are not just for sending emojis to your friends: look at these numbers:

Companies are increasingly using social networks to interact with their customers. On Facebook Messenger alone, an average of 10 billion messages is recorded between people and companies per month.

These statistics show the popularity of social messaging applications. It makes sense to market your company’s products and services where your potential customers are.

Social apps allow you to send messages to your clients directly and in a personalized way. It will also allow your clients to have direct and natural contact with you in a medium they are already comfortable with.

63% of customers return to the website of a company that has live chat. The idea of this type of strategy is to cultivate contacts, deliver information efficiently, increase sales, find your potential customers, and provide real and immediate support and assistance.

8. Smart Speakers & voice search

In 2020, 50% of all searches carried out were by voice and this trend is growing. 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines.

Smart speaker purchases almost tripled between the first quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2019, from 9.36 million units to 26.1 million units.

Voice search plays a growing role in providing all the relevant information that people need. Many brands are already including voice search in their digital marketing strategies. This especially focuses on content strategies and actions applied to SEO. It is therefore about thinking about the passages that people will speak instead of writing. Remember to write in a conversational tone, focus on getting featured snippets on Google, and think of keywords people will be talking about instead of typing.

9. Sale on Social Networks

The integration of e-Commerce into social platforms is another Digital Marketing trend for 2022. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest are working to make it possible to buy from the publishers via tags, so the transaction can happen without having to leave the app.

It’s definitely a new twist on Social Networking, making them not only a place to find leads but to convert them as well.

Does this mean anything to your business? If you know your market is active on social media, and you offer products that can be sold online, you should probably start looking at your options here, so you can potentially cut out the middle man (advertising).