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Do customers value your service and products? Are they talking about you and returning?

During a recent business meeting, a speaker delivered an ‘eight minutes of value’ presentation. He spoke about the perception of value and value-add. These areas are often the point of difference and where a potential customer will make the purchase decision. Most businesses and busy people forget to check their target audience perception of value and value-adds regularly, which is counterproductive to increasing sales and profit, and building good professional relationships.

Let’s begin by explaining each area.

Perception of value is due primarily to psychological triggers. For example, people may be willing to pay more if the product is easier to buy, arrives more quickly, brings the buyer prestige, or is supported by excellent service. Consumers may also be willing to pay more if goods are from socially responsible companies. Also, consumers are reportedly attracted to prices with a nine in them, and quite often offering a bronze, silver and gold service (gold service being premium and mostly overpriced), the silver service will sell more than bronze and gold.

The following infographic illustrates the psychology of value perception:

Image source: Hubspot

Next, value-add. Adding value to your core service or product creates a reason for your customers to be talking about you, remembering you, and returning. There are numerous opportunities you can add value. Suggestions could include: how you confirm an appointment, what you add to a purchase, a little something extra the buyer wasn’t expecting, or a genuine follow-up call. You could send and share information for free or outsource services to offer your client a full-service solution.  Most importantly, it has to be useable, make the customer feel special, and it must be original.

When offering something extra, remember it needs to have relevance for your target market. Finally, never underestimate the value of free resources. Branded PDF’s, calendar’s, gifts or checklists showcase your expertise, encourage consumers to find out more, and increase brand awareness as your resources will feature your logo and details.

What methods do you use when demonstrating the value of your range of services and products to your prospective clients and customers? How can you create a more memorable experience for your target public? Please share in the comments.

Kirsty.

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How to post regular, engaging and shareable content.

As a business owner, a university student, parent, and lover of ‘me time’, I find it difficult to maintain the momentum required to post engaging content on all my online platforms regularly. I have many deadlines for my work and study life, and some were prioritised over posting. This, I have found, is counter-intuitive to my success; and the solution is an editorial calendar.

To create and publish a balance of messages to your target audience and community which educate, inform, entertain, inspire and problem solve requires a flexible and workable blog and social media networking calendar. This strategic tool will eliminate random posting, which does not convert to business, and focuses your activities on creating better ideas and better business and marketing practices.

Maintaining a rate of two to five engaging social media posts, and one blog post per week, will consistently and effectively promote your brand, product, service and build relationships. Furthermore, you can schedule posts ahead of time for specific topics and events. For example, national celebrations, awareness days, holidays, and seasonal issues.

Ten questions for you to consider when creating your calendar:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What interests them?
  3. What are other posts and blog topics in the same category or written for the same target audience?
  4. What are the trade publications writing about, and what’s on their editorial calendar?
  5. What industry news/posts are shared and retweeted the most?
  6. What is the competition writing about?
  7. What topics are trade shows covering in their workshops and roundtables?
  8. What trends are your managers or clients seeing?
  9. What types of articles interest your managers or clients?
  10. What publications do your managers or clients read, and what are the topics?

Your calendar can include posts for the social media platforms you use regularly and blog posts; as well as, including newsletters and other publications you may write for.

My top seven tips for scheduling posts and publications:

  1. Create a weekly post that highlights a cause you are inspired by, or a local business person who is making a difference.
  2. Schedule weekly or fortnightly posts that highlight testimonials or recommendations of you, your brand, your products or services.
  3. Schedule content to be shared at prime times of the day (take advantage of your page insights).
  4. What content can you use on various platforms and re-purpose?
  5. Post about awareness days that align with your key messages, public holidays, seasonal topics, current community and sporting events, and national special days.
  6. Connect with your audience by creating a personal post around shared public experience.
  7. Choose eye-catching images to compliment posts.

Finally, to generate top of mind brand awareness in your audience consider:

  • Problem-solving content
  • Business content
  • ‘Call to action’ posts
  • Personal content
  • Posting questions
  • Show you are regularly participating in community events
  • 1 – 3-minute video content
  • Inspiring and entertaining content
  • Sharing content from other industry or news sources that compliment your key messages

Monitor your results on a weekly or fortnightly basis, and make changes based on your evaluation each month, until you find the quality and reach of your content increases.

HubSpot offers a range of free content editorial calendars created for blogging, social media, and content campaigns. Instructions are provided, with some additional content management tips.

Please contact me if you require any professional support, strategy and content creation or team training.

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A quick guide to the most used social media platforms

Are you posting effectively? Do you know what the optimum characters to use in a post for each platform are?

Not every platform is for every business; however, choosing the right social media sites, and regularly engaging with your audience, is essential. Below I have outlined information on five social media sites to help you determine which platforms are a good fit for your marketing efforts.

Facebook allows brands to communicate with their current and potential audience directly, which is why marketers put a lot of effort into generating likes and fans. Approximately one in two Australians use Facebook daily, and it has 15 million monthly active Australian users. The most common age group of users is the 25 to 34-year-old age group at 29.7%. Therefore, if this age bracket is your target public, this could be the prime target demographic for marketing efforts and engagement.Ideal content length for Facebook post is 40 – 80 characters.

YouTube is reported to be the biggest online video platform worldwide, containing a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media content, and is a valuable advertising solution. Approximately one in two Australians use YouTube, and it has 15 million unique Australian visitors per month. Videos up to two minutes in length receive the most engagement and can increase conversions on a website by 80%, and many marketing professionals name video as the best return on investment. Ideal content length forYouTube is 70 characters for the title and up to 5000 characters for the video description.

Twitter allows users to send short 140-character messages, and currently ranks as one of the leading social networks worldwide. Millennials make up the biggest percentage of all generations using twitter. So, if they are your target audience you can reach them on this platform. More good news is 93% of people who follow a business or brand on Twitter plan to purchase from them. Ideal content length for Twitter posts is 71 – 100 characters, and hashtags linking to a broader issue or conversation are useful.

LinkedIn is for business professionals and is used to build relationships: connect with associates, colleagues and likely consumers. It is the second most popular business platform, after Facebook, utilised by 82% of large businesses, 41% of medium-sized businesses, and 35% of small businesses. This platform is chosen to increase authority and professional appeal amongst mining organisations and leaders. Ideal content length for LinkedIn posts is 16-25 words, and hashtags linking to a broader issue or conversation are useful.

As at June 2018, there were more than 1 billion monthly active users of the photo-sharing social networking app, Instagram. Instagram users are mostly below the age of 35, and the platform is one of the most popular social networks amongst teenagers. Instagram is the best social media platform for engagement, ease of use, target market penetration, and building brand awareness. Even so, University of Missouri-Columbia reported most users engage in social news and entertainment. However, this study also identified several strategies for increasing engagement, such as: news images that are aesthetically pleasing and empowering, simple clean images, images that are friendly to the eye, and posts with visible facial features.Ideal content length for Instagram is 138 – 150 characters and 5 – 6 hashtags.

Whatever platform you choose, it is important to create and select content which will receive high engagement, increase awareness of your brand, encourage website visits, and provide a return on investment. The goal is to engage the target audience, so I suggest identifying your key messages, set your online marketing goals, then choose which platforms to post regularly on.

Please contact me if you require any professional support, strategy and content creation or team training.

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Word to the Wise – Book Review

As a lover of words, my latest book review for Exisle Publishing was a treat. Word to the Wise is now included in my ‘go to’ word book resources.

Every day we engage in communication tasks that call for accurate wording, tone and formulation. These tasks include social media posts, emails, marketing materials, reports, and business and personal messages. The author, Mark Broatch, has created a book that suggests proper word use for all these situations, and more.

The examples, explanations and language used throughout Word to the Wiseassist readers to craft and create their own written messages with precision and confidence. I was delighted to find additional sections which included common social media abbreviations, often misspelt words and Mark’s bibliographical sources. Further, this book has an extensive A – Z list of confused and misused words, which I plan to choose a word from each week to use and share.

In an age of multiple channels of communication, Word to the Wiseoffer’s timely suggestions and reminders. For instance, clarify the purpose of what is about to be written, who the reader or audience is, have the right words been (used which are not misspelt, misused or could be misunderstood), and ‘the real writing is done in the rewriting’.

If you want to write clearly and persuasively, and you want your message to be received well and understood by the reader, and if you love words, I highly recommend this book for your work, study or home space.

Word to the Wise – available at Exisle Publishing– RRP $29.99

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FIFO Workers: Healthy Eating On-Site

The mining industry was number one on the list, at 78.2%, when Chris Jager from Lifehacker asked, “Are these the ten fattest professions in Australia?”

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A snapshot study of 35 men at a mine site in WA’s northwest found 83 percent were overweight or obese. Edith Cowan University lecturer, Gemma Quayle, documented the sample groups eating habits, and found they consumed excessive levels of sodium and saturated fat in their diet and had higher rates of obesity than the national average. Furthermore, over 80 percent had an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Quayle reported the workers ate less fruit, vegetables, dairy and grain foods than recommended while consuming lots of meat and unhealthy discretionary foods.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australasian Mine Safety Journal suggests poor health outcomes for on-site workers could be due to, “Work stress, fatigue and having easy access to high fat and high sugar foods when at camp can lead to poor eating habits.” Numerous factors within a mining site environment affect weight gain including shift work, camp food, high alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise. Subsequently, the strain put on the body from these factors become mental stress and can contribute to illness.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understand It is challenging to begin a complete revamp of your eating and lifestyle habits. Therefore, I suggest two areas you can act on today:

Get off junk food

Junk food has no nutritional value, other than satisfying an energy slump or covering up feelings of loneliness. Junk food decays teeth, lowers self-image and impacts heart health. The sugar in junk food does terrible things to the brain, such as impairing memory and learning skills and contributing to anxiety and depression.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drink more water.

Staying hydrated is a useful habit to improve your inner and skin health, energy and mood regulation.

A nutritionist explained what happens when you don’t drink enough water. “When dehydrated, your cells become more like sultanas than plump, healthy grapes and consequently that’s how you think and feel. Blood flow to your brain is reduced, which limits the amount of oxygen reaching your brain cells and slows it down. Therefore, you feel tired and lack energy. When our cells are like shrivelled-up sultanas, the process of nutrients flowing in and out of the cells is hugely decreased, and this has ramifications throughout our entire body – our health, our moods, our thoughts, our appearance, our vitality are all below par.”

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking enough water each day is easier when it’s readily on hand, so a must-have is a refillable environmentally-friendly water bottle, that many sites and workplaces provide in abundance.

A 2016 study found that mining employees are open to health-promoting programs and weight management assistance on-site. In my book Separated by Work I share various strategies to help FIFO workers and their families. I believe that with employer and family support, combined with the worker’s eating and exercise plan, the mining profession can be removed from the number one spot of ‘The ten fattest professions in Australian’ list.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think about the on-site health of workers? Please share your tips on how you and your family member stay healthy on-site and at home.

 

Posted in: Mindfulness, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Work-life balance reduces stress

Are you rushing from commitment to commitment? Are you searching for more hours in the day? Well, you are not alone.  Health Direct suggest that Australia is behind the rest of the developed world in creating work-life balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lack of work-life balance will lead to stress because there is an imbalance between your daily demands, responsibilities and commitments and the time, capabilities and energy you have to complete the workload and obligations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do to manage the stress and create a more balanced life? I concur with D J Lee’s article, 6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance, and have found my success in being aware of the suggested areas for many years. The six tips are:

  1. Let go of perfectionism – strive for excellence instead. Ask yourself, “have I done my best today with the resources I have available to me right now.”
  2. Unplug – Work screen free time into your day, every day.
  3. Exercise and meditate – There are so many recorded benefits to these activities. Move your body and practise deep breathing exercises every day, your muscles and mind will thank you for it.
  4. Limit time-wasting activities and people – Practise the 3 D’s: Do, Delegate, Dump. Stress will reduce, and results will increase.
  5. Change the structure of your life – Revisit your weekly timetable or planner and change a few things around and delegate some tasks to others. You may find that doing things the way you have always done it isn’t working anymore.
  6. Start small. Build from there – Change something every day, not everything all at once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What work-life balance means and looks like is different for each person and family. Sit down and define it for you first. Once you know that, decide what you want to stop, minimise, keep doing and do more of, then consistently implement new ways of doing and being in your day.

Please share your work-life balance suggestions.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Have our brains become desensitised?

Source: Pixabay Computer chat

My family heavily relies on technology to feel close and communicate as we are a FIFO family – Separated by Work. I often joke with others that I might get T-Shirts made with the slogan—“Even though we’re miles apart, a computer screen connects our hearts.”

So, I have an intimate understanding of the negatives and positives involved in ‘screen time’.

For many, life demands we use phones, mobile devices, and computers more than we would have a few years ago. We all have instantaneous methods at our fingertips to communicate, which I am personally grateful for, yet there is more to consider when navigating online communication and social media.

Technology itself is not a bad thing, however for people who spend too much time interacting with a screen, the neural pathways in your brain change, and different ones created.

Kaiser Family Foundation reported 8- to 18-year-olds on average spend 11½ hours a day using their technology, and a sample group of adolescents struggled with the ability to recognise another person’s emotions. Dr Gary Small posed the questions, “Have our brains become so desensitised by a 24/7, all-you-can-eat diet of lurid flickering images that we’ve lost all perspective on appropriateness and compassion when another human being apparently suffers a medical emergency? Have we become a society of detached voyeurs?”

Source: Pixabay Social media

Communicating via a screen can decrease empathy and negatively impact concentration and self-esteem, leading people to say things electronically they’d never speak directly to someone.

At times when speaking to others electronically, I have realised by their response the message wasn’t received as intended. When I take the time to discuss it further, they grasp that they had misread what I was saying due to us not being face to face. Has this happened to you too?

From my experience, here are my top eight tips for staying and feeling connected:

  1. Don’t type anything via a screen that you wouldn’t say in person.
  2. Use your words well, whether you are texting or messaging. Re-read it and attempt to avoid any misinterpretation before sending.
  3. Listen for tone of text/type/voice cues as to how the person is feeling and always check for understanding.
  4. Don’t delay responding to messages you would rather avoid. If you think you don’t completely understand, ask for more information rather than disregard, or ignore it.
  5. Remember emojis are not a real expression of feelings, nothing is better than hearing a laugh and seeing a smile on someone’s face – a gentle smile or a heartfelt hug has far more power than the cleverest emoticon.
  6. Aim for a balance of online and in-person contact.
  7. Think about what you are posting and how it affects others – double check that what you are writing represents you and your family in the best light.
  8. Be aware of the other person’s situation or needs if you are tagging or mentioning someone, or a company, or a site on social media groups. If in doubt, get their permission first, or wait 24 hours and see if you still want to type and send that message.

Mobile devices and computers are not just connecting tools for family and friends. The screen world expands to include a global network of people who have access to each letter you type and the technological footprint you are creating.

Source: Pixabay Skype

I enjoy the benefit of instantly sharing photos, quotes, memories, and activities on social media with my friends and family. I like that I can help others if they are struggling and respond to them in an online support group. However, in online groups,  some people use a screen and keyboard to confront others, and some share painful emotions that they would not do face-to-face. Therefore, I suggest that you use online communication and social media carefully and mindfully.

The Internet is a fantastic tool, and it is here to stay. To make technology serve you well requires sound judgment and educating yourself on how it works.

What are your top tips for screen time success?

Until next time, Kirsty 🙂

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Are you pushing your ambitions onto your children?

The idea that parents try to live out their dreams through their children goes back at least as far as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both of whom theorised about the phenomenon.

The psychologist Tanya Byron stated that when parents put too much pressure on children to succeed at a young age it will lead to a rise in levels of teenage stress and anxiety.

I was interviewed in 2012 by The Sydney Morning Herald for an article headlined, ‘Clone complex damages children, experts warn’. Unfortunately the dangers are just as real and happening today.

I believe, parents must recognise their children as individuals in their own right. Our children are not moulded in our image, they are not driven by our desires or fears, our likes and dislikes, and they do not necessarily have the same natural talents or interests we do. There may be similarities, however, our children are unencumbered by our experiences, life rules and limitations. This is to be embraced and explored – not exploited.

Susan Newman Ph.D said, “Parents work exceedingly hard to point their children in one direction or another to help them excel. In doing so, we have taken much of the fun out of being a parent and lost sight of what might make our children truly joyful.”

I suggest you can begin talking to your child today and find out what they like to do best. Once you know what is meaningful to your child arrange activities, conversations and tasks around this.

By listening, by being interested in their point of view, by taking time to understand their developmental needs – whilst keeping our feet firmly in the now – we are more able to achieve exactly what we are aiming for. And, what is it most parents aim for? The moment when we proudly reflect on being a part of the life of a happy, healthy, caring and satisfied adult. A person who has found success and comfort that is meaningful for them, that child you helped raise and nurture.

What are your thoughts? How do you support your child’s dreams?

Kirsty 🙂

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Performance Affects Productivity

The health epidemic of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organisation, is stress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year in 2010 and expert on mental health said we need to transform our workplaces into 21st Century Workplaces where leaders at all levels: promote mental health and prevent harm, recognise when people are struggling, are empowered to turn towards strugglers, rescue those who have already been swept away.

Employers and leaders are realising it is time to become more active in providing healthy workplaces and seeking out tools to develop resilient teams.

Why it matters?

Resilient teams are more creative, productive, resourceful and high performing teams.

Studies support that developing practical strategies will decrease the damage done to the individual and the business; reducing costs, increasing staff loyalty, improving morale, and avoiding fines, claims and disputes.

It is reported that:

  • 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health condition.
  • The typical age of onset for mental ill health is late teens to early 20s.
  • There are a large number of workers who are carers for friends or family with mental ill health. 

What does a resilient workplace look like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a resilient workplace all team members, from the top down, are actively involved in developing, supporting and actioning programs. The team members understand that their physical health affects their mental health and support each other to reach health goals.

Management is considerate of the mental wellbeing of staff and provides a safe environment for staff to be heard, acknowledged and recognised. Comprehensive training and support are offered during times of change and flexibility and autonomy are encouraged.

Team members are given access to resources that promote skills they can use as individuals to take care of themselves and manage stress. Skills such as goal setting, meditation, mindfulness, taking regular ‘me’ breaks, eating well and being kind to self.

Most importantly, communication in the workplace is effective and open, and social interaction with other employees is enjoyed. These positive relationships promote good mental health and problem-solving solutions among the team.

Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work offers good practice and practical information to this complex area of resilient workplaces and teams. This online resource acknowledges that resilient individuals are flexible, adaptive and optimistic, and a resilient team is one of support based on mutual trust and participation.

 Your plan 

Whether you are a solo-preneur, not for profit organisation or a large company, building a resilient workplace will have benefits for you, your workers and your business.

To begin to build your healthy, happy and productive workspace practical strategies can include:

  • Identify areas of concern and areas of improvement.
  • Gain involvement, acceptance, and commitment from all.
  • Provide clear expectations and goals, tools and support that promote resilience, individually and professionally.
  • Take an active role.
  • Have clear role descriptions, outlining all responsibilities and opportunities.
  • Have effective and regular communication methods in place.
  • Encourage social interaction and self-care check-ins.
  • Promote a fair, inclusive workplace.
  • Set up peer support and mentoring opportunities.

Now that you have considered how performance affects productivity, and how building a resilient workplace can benefit each one of your workers in a positive way, what would you consider the most important change or improvement you could make now?

Please share your strategies here.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

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Easy-Peasy Blog Post Template

My whole career has been a combination of corporate and small business hands on experience, and during the last decade I have watched on with interest, and attempted to participate, as the way businesses communicate their message to their customers has multiplied, technology driven mediums have increased, and consumer expectations of professional goods and services have soared.

After publishing my book, Separated by Work, I realised that to compete in today’s business world I had to immerse myself in learning the most up to date information available. Where was the best place to do that? University of course, where I am currently completing a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in PR and Social Media.

As I learn, I come across tools that make me recognise I have been mostly winging it for the last 10 years. Just hanging in there with passion and enthusiasm for my work, but ad-libbing my communication strategies it all the same. A couple of valuable templates I came across today are, what I believe to be, a business ‘must have’ and a ‘wish I could have had a long time ago’.

Content rules: how to create killer blogs, podcasts, videos, eBooks, webinars (and more) that engage customers and ignite your business is one of my social media subject’s texts. In the book, which I highly recommend you get a copy of, Handley and Chapman share a blog template and a content rules checklist. To get the links to their ‘secret insiders page’ you must buy the book, but I was so impressed with the book and the tools they share throughout and on their website I wanted to let all my business friends know.

I like to shout it out whenever I come across a wonderful piece of advice, a great product or upon receiving excellent service. So, to finish off I will borrow the final bit of advice from the end of the above recommended blog template:

Shout it! Spread the word! Tell your family! Your friends! Facebook! LinkedIn! Let your network know your post is live; generate excitement for the post and earn some well-deserved kudos.”

Have you read this book and used the tools? Do you have other tools that you find valuable in creating great content and getting your message to your customers? If so, please share them here, or your thoughts on the book.

Until next time, Kirsty 🙂

 

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