Author Archives: digital-marketing

Dealing with complaints via social media

Given the predominance of social media these days, many business owners will at some stage find they have to respond to an unhappy customer ‘going public’. When this happens it’s usually a last resort after they have been ignored on other channels (such as an unanswered email or a phone call not returned). There are usually two kinds: those who have a genuine complaint that can be addressed and resolved (because yes, small business owners are human and we all make mistakes sometimes) and then there are those who just come across as bullies who won’t ever be happy and don’t want to engage in any reasonable conversation. Complaints, whilst they can seem quite personal, are an opportunity for improvement. I believe ALL customer feedback is valid. If you have good processes in place so that your customers feel they can come to you directly to resolve any issues, it’s likely you won’t be in the situation of dealing with negative public feedback too often and your social accounts will instead be full of praise. If that’s not the case then it’s time for you to look at those processes for feedback which is critical to good business.

Jay Baer has some great advice that applies to all customer service situations not just complaints handling in the video linked below.

The Day I Met Gary Vaynerchuk in Brisbane – Part 2, Adam Hudson

Adam Hudson Success Squared Brisbane

Adam Hudson from Reliable Education was a cheeky entertainer up there on the stage at Success Squared in Brisbane.  He was straight talking the whole time and delivered value in terms of mindset and strategy for success.  His was the first of the three talks that had an ‘offer’ at the end.  My brief notes are below, but even more valuable than this was his live Instagrammed response to a couple of messages I’d sent him post event around the idea of the ‘hard sell’.  It was very cool to see that a) he responded to my message very quickly and b) he went even further with some extra detail in his live recording that day.  Value.  My head has been buzzing since the event trying to work it all out.  The experience vs the expectation made me feel a little uncomfortable.  However, there was a lot I didn’t know about the business model of speaking events, the costs, the reason for the structure.  He filled me in.  Like Tony Nash said, you have to ask the questions.  If I hadn’t messaged him he wouldn’t have made that live response.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who got value from that.

These are my notes from his talk about selling on Amazon:

  • Be smarter than the average seller – education.
  • The human piece matters.  Customer needs, unboxing etc.
  • Sell whats in demand, don’t be a pioneer.
  • Remember the GAS factor (sell things people give a shit about) – emotional investment.
  • Find a limited choice market that’s not served well.
  • Get drunk, have fun, don’t be in the middle. Be unique.  Have an opinion.
  • Visually differentiate.
  • Buy your competitors products and evaluate the entire experience to see where you can improve.
  • Be patient, build a fire.

And after the event:

Don’t be like everyone else regurgitating.  Know your audience, find your true voice and do what works for you because what works for Gary Vee works for Gary Vee.  It might not be right for you.

He unpacked the structure of the talk he gave in detail with examples.

And in summary he said if you’re not already successful doing whatever you do it’s because…

  • You’re not evolved enough yet or
  • Your product is shit or
  • Your marketing is shit.

Love it.  I can see those who signed up for his course are in for a some seriously good mentoring.


The Day I Met Gary Vaynerchuk in Brisbane – Part 1, Tony Nash

Tony Nash, CEO Booktopia

This week was a big one for me.  The highlight of which was meeting Gary Vaynerchuk at the Brisbane Convention Centre during Success Squared 2018.   You would have heard me say many times that knowledge is great but only if you can reflect and find some practical application for improvement.

Here is my recap of each talk and a little reflection where it’s relevant.  There was a lot to cover so I’m breaking it up,  culminating with a post about Gary Vee himself. I’ll no doubt be publishing fast and coming back to edit (I’m not a copywriter by any means) so hopefully you’re catching the final version here. I hope you stick with me along the way and find something to inspire action in your own business.

Tony Nash – CEO at Booktopia

Tony was a pleasure to listen too.  He came across as an approachable and grounded gentleman.  He told a story to demonstrate each point so it was always clear what he meant.  I bet he’s trained a few staff in his time so that might be why he was so easy to listen to. I loved how he opened with the comment that his goal was to impart so much knowledge during his talk that the ticket price would be more than paid for in value and every other talk would just be the icing on the cake. We were all there to see Gary of course so the idea was humourous, prompting a laugh from the audience.  Truth be told he DID deliver great value and for me it was true.  I was most interested in this talk because Tony has a background in recruitment, IT and digital marketing so I was hoping to have a quick chat around my ideas for growth and how I intend to recruit new team members as I go.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to him but he did make it clear he was willing to answer questions via LinkedIn or email.  This man was part of a team that managed to thrive when other booksellers were shutting up shop. I’m not the only one who thinks that’s incredible. These are my notes on what he had to say.

1. Your success often depends on the quality of the questions you ask.  This story related to the third best fishing spot (the fellow fisher wouldn’t divulge the number one spot) that turned out to be terrible because he hadn’t thought to also ask when to fish there, or which bait to use.

2. Understand what your customers want.  Even if you can’t deliver that right now, move towards it.  When faced with decisions, always ask which option is best for your customer.

I absolutely agree with this.  Customer value creation and delivery was my topic for a research report where I formed the opinion that the key to surviving disruption is to know your customers better than anyone.   Booktopia survived Amazon no doubt due in part to this.  Web design companies like mine have so far survived the likes of Squarespace and Wix but what will happen when they start to invest in better systems and move to improve the quality and effectiveness of their solutions?  If you remain close to your customers you’ll see there is usually  something you deliver that others just can’t do as well.  When you get to that realisation sometimes you also realise that who you thought were your competitors are not actually competitors at all.

3. If you fail, try a new tactic, if you fail again, try a new tactic, if you fail again, try a new … you get the idea.  Stay focussed on the outcome and ask ‘what do I have to do to achieve that?’.  Workshop it.  Marketing ideas? Partnership deals?  Stretch goals are good even if you fall short. Intensity of focus causes breakthroughs.  Cat, dogs and kittens story.

This was a common theme in some of the other talks.  If you have a goal, get specific with it.  Break it down. This year through the process of journalling I’ve learned to break it down.  Write it down, figure out the main steps, get started on the first one and check in often to see where I’m at.  My vision is now MUCH bigger than it used to be but I know I’m not stretching myself so that will be the takeaway for me on this point.  Move the bar higher and move a little faster and keep the laser focus strong.  Probably a good point to bring into product mix decisions too.

4. Positive conflict. Rowing vs sailing.  Vision tempered with reality.  All rowing together vs letting the spinnaker fly – you will still move forward.

5. Double win-win.  It’s only sustainable if everyone is winning.  Suppliers, customers and the business.

6. Build so you CAN sell, even if you don’t intend to sell. This is a Robert Kiyosaki idea (a few speakers referenced him). Policies and systems build value and build the business as an asset.

My take on process these days is that it’s part of your brand.  A focus on process delivers a consistent experience.  it is essential.

7. You are not your car.  If you’re driving a Fiat get out of it the same way you would a Maserati. You are not your boyfriend, your house, your business.  I am not my business. Disconnect from your business.  What does it need?  The definition of pride is knowing where you are going even when it’s pitch black.  Are you on-track?  Are you off-track?

The analogy Tony then used of a business as a baby crawling, then taking the first steps and eventually leaving home was great.  Creative Mode is currently sweet sixteen.  There have been some tough times (I will now look at that as puberty) so we’re currently heading to the part where the business leaves home and “parties on” right?  Cool.  I’m down with that.  It’ really is about time.

8. Signs. Road signs are not destinations. The road sign ‘Brisbane’ is not actually Brisbane.  It’s not about awards.

9. Break it up.  In-tuition. Dis-appointment.  Move on. Cap-ability.  Get a bigger cap.

10. Bring it on. Emotional rollercoasters are not good.  Remain calm and try not to stray too far from the base line.  It’s better for business.

And finally…

Run as fast as you can and always watch the end of the track.  This was one’s of Tony’s closing comments.  It’s probably my favourite.   I am constantly reminding new clients that focussing on competitors won’t make their business any better.  Focus on your customers. They are the one’s who count.  As Tony said, peripheral vision is for competitors.  I sometimes lose focus myself when I’m checking out my Google position and start comparing my website with others.  Thankfully I also understand that building value for my customers is the main goal and can bring my focus back to where it should be.

I think this last point resonated with me the most because it’s the exact advice I gave my daughter at her second primary school swimming carnival.  She had overestimated her ability when signing up for the 50 metre swim age 9 years (stretch goals),  resulting in a failed attempt in front of the entire school.  At 10 years with experience on her side she signed up for the 25 metre swim (tried a different tactic), swam with great conviction that she would finish this time (intensity of focus) and nailed a third place.  She did this with the support of many friends who remembered her pain the previous year and rallied to support her.  The place didn’t matter to her as much as the joy of actually finishing and having the support of her friends.  It was beautiful.

Nothing keeps Tony Nash up at night but ask him his greatest fear and he’ll say ‘who’s a lovely little boy’.  Ask him about that if you ever have the pleasure of meeting him.  It’s another good story.

Tony if you’re reading this thank you for making the early start completely worthwhile and for delivering on your promise at the start.

It’s easy to ignore marketing when the phone is still ringing but is is smart?

Not paying attention to digital is not ideal if you’re a small business owner but for whatever reason, it happens.  There are many owners of established service businesses in particular,  who have happily grown over time through word of mouth and newspaper or Yellow Page advertising (remember that!?), or, they have invested in a website many years ago and then done nothing since.  With a well established client base there is no immediate need to ‘go digital’ or put too much energy into your website because your business is well established.  It’s easy to let marketing fall to the side when your phone is still ringing.  We all know someone in this situation I’m sure.

But as a business owner you will increasingly face competition from newcomers who understand how to leverage digital to communicate.  Your competition is changing and before you know it, so are your customers requirements. Business will be getting a bit ‘quiet’.  Fairly common scenario even in 2018 to find a business that has not yet embraced ‘digital business’.

Marketing is key to growth.  It allows you to reach more people.  When you are out and about today I want you to look around and notice what everyone is doing.  You got it!  Looking down.  At their phones.  The moment anyone has downtime these days it’s straight to the phone.  All hours of the day you will reach people via their mobile phones.  This is the world and it’s not going to change.  If your business is not yet embracing digital then you might be missing some opportunities for growth or worse your business might be slowly declining.  If you rely purely on repeat business this does eventually diminish over time.

Food for thought.  What action will you take?

If you are considering a new website or a website redesign then we would love to talk to you or meet face-to-face to bring you up-to-speed with what’s possible.