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NewsFlash: $10,000 QLD Business grant available for short time from QLD Govt: https://t.co/qamkFIjIF6
9 days ago

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Queensland Government is assisting businesses to grow

Posted by Tracey Voyce
24
November 2016

$10,000 Queensland Business digital grants 

The Queensland Government has funded a program to help regional small businesses grow by expanding potential markets through an online presence with access to the latest digital technologies and services. Thus enabling them to work smarter, engage with the global economy and make the most of online business opportunities arising from digital disruption.  Note applications need to be in by 9th December

The objectives of the program are to:

  • assist small businesses to access the latest digital technologies to increase their productivity and competitiveness
  • enable small businesses to employ more staff and grow to medium-size businesses
  • provide access to training to allow small businesses to use new technologies more effectively
  • generate improved business confidence and increase business sustainability
  • enable regional small businesses to expand their market reach through an online presence
  • assist small businesses to work smarter, be more innovative and work fewer hours
  • create an environment that makes it easier to do business.

How much can you apply for and what can it be used for?

Matched funding of up to $10 000 (excluding GST) may be provided to eligible businesses for the purchase of software and services such as digital coaching. The business must show that the digital technology or service purchased and adopted will enhance the digital capabilities of their business and help them to be more competitive and employ more staff.

The digital technology or service must fall under one of five identified priority areas:

  • digital marketing and social media
  • digital content (web pages, mobile apps, media etc.)
  • receiving payments or selling online
  • specialised digital technology or software (business specific)
  • digital planning and advice / training.
  • What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible the business must:

  • have fewer than 20 employees at the time of applying for the grant
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST
  • have Queensland headquarters or significant Queensland-based operations
  • declare if any owners or directors of the business are an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.
  • The funds can only be used for new purchases -  meaning that the costs of maintaining existing technologies or web hosting costs can't be claimed and all purchases have to be made within three months of when the business receives the grant.
  • The participating business must provide OSB with a project report on completion of the project detailing how the funds were spent and the impact it has had on the business.

Businesses will be surveyed 12 months after the completion of the project.

Only one application will be accepted from an individual ABN or business address.

Application timeframes

Applications open: 8 November 2016

Applications close: 9 December 2016 (midnight)

How do I apply?

Planning

For us to help you with this, we need to gain more of an understanding of your business, goals and challenges to identify what will be the best strategies forward for you, for your online presence (including if applicable, websites, database marketing, CRM, Internet market etc) 

Apply

Once we have a plan we can then assist you with your grant application. Applicants can expect to receive a decision within two months of application.

Contact your local Bloomtools Consultant, if you are interested in growing your business online and be reimbursed via a Qld Government grant for half the project costs.*

*Subject to OSB terms and conditions.

For more information, go to https://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/support-tools-grants/grants/digital-grants

Posted in: News   Comments

How your business will benefit from having a blog

Posted by Tracey Voyce
22
November 2016
How your business will benefit from having a blog

We all start off with the best intentions when it comes to having a business blog. We will commit to updating it regularly, posting interesting content, but soon life happens and the blog is left behind. We understand that it can be tough to make the time to keep your blog updated, especially while running a small business. But having a blog, and keeping it updated is an essential part of your businesses online marketing strategy, and here's why...

Blogs can increase your website traffic by:

  • Producing high quality, interesting and relevant content for your target market will bring visitors back for more
  • Linking your blog in your social media posts, email marketing etc will bring visitors back to the website
  • Others will share your blog link with their contacts, bringing new visitors
  • Boosting your SEO ranking, making it easier for new visitors to find the information they are looking for on your blog


Blogs can increase website engagement by:

  • Enabling you to create trust among your target market and gain authority as the expert in your field
  • Producing high quality, interesting content creates a reason for your visitors to return
  • Longer and more frequent visits on your website builds conversion and sales
  • Boosting client referrals by giving current clients content to share with their contacts
  • Allowing for more information than on social media - this can help you educate and teach your visitors something new


Blogs provide content you can share:

  • Cross share your content on all your social media outlets and in your email marketing campaigns
  • Improves brand recognition, promoting visitors to share which improves brand visibility
  • Drives traffic to your website, providing you link your blog post back to your website


Blogs give personality to your business:

  • Blogs give you the opportunity to inject some personality into your business
  • Helps build trust and relationships and form connections with your visitors
  • Use conversational language, write how you would actually  talk to your visitors
  • Gives you a place to have fun with your business


Blogs have so many benefits for your business, so it is easy to see why we think they are so important to have and maintain. Bloomtools offers a really great blog tool that is easy to use and designed beautifully. We also offer blog writing services if you're struggling to get some content together. Get in touch with your local Internet Marketing Specialist today to chat with us about getting your blog up and running!


Not sure where to start? Check out our other post "The only blogging checklist you'll ever need".

Posted in: Internet Marketing   Comments

Think again before kicking email marketing to the curb

Posted by Tracey Voyce
9
November 2016
Think again before kicking email marketing to the curb

If you've kicked email marketing to the curb, then this article is for you.

Although email marketing has been around for a while, and not thought of by you as being as sexy as social media or search engine marketing, it is still extremely relevant and should be an essential part of any online marketing mix. There are so many benefits to utilising email marketing over other traditional/online marketing channels. Email marketing has been proven to deliver a higher ROI and conversion rate than other online marketing tools, and more and more marketers are allocating higher percentages of their marketing budgets to email marketing. Why you may ask? Because it works!

Email marketing is a simple and easy process, it's cost effective, provides powerful insights, and boasts high ROI's and conversion rates. It's the perfect marketing tool for small businesses who want to keep their costs low, but their return on investment high.

Here are our top 3 reasons why email marketing for your business is a must:

Keeps your costs low:
One of the main drivers as to why email marketing is so popular is the ability to have a high quality marketing tool for a relatively low cost. With the Bloomtools email marketing tool, your email templates are custom designed for your business based on your website and branding. There is a wide range of different ways you can use our database marketing tool to suit your business's goals and needs. Unlink traditional mail, there is no cost of materials such as postage, printing costs etc. and it's delivered right into the inbox of your target market.

Simple and easy to use:
Like all of our tools, the email marketing tool is designed for you to use. That means it's simple and easy enough for you and your team to develop your email marketing campaigns on  your own. And of course, your Bloomtools team is always here to help if you do get stuck. If there is one we know small businesses are short on, it's time. From start to finish your first campaign should take less than 30 minutes, including testing and adjusting. You can even set up trigger emails that will automate your email marketing efforts, saving you more time while still getting those conversions.

Can be automated:
A lot of our best results our clients get, is from automated emails that touch clients, prospects automatically throughout the year... saving time, and best of all generating results.  If you want to learn more, talk to rour Bloomtools Consultant about how this could work for you.  They can even create a marketing plan specifically for your business, and if needed set up these campaigns for you.

High ROI and conversion rates:
Email marketing has one of the highest ROI rates among other marketing channels such as social media marketing. 91% of adults use email, and 61% of them use it on a daily basis meaning your business has the opportunity to reach a lot of potential customers. Email has the highest conversion rate (66%) when it comes to transactions made as a result of receiving a marketing message. The proof is in the pudding, email marketing is still very relevant and has the stats to prove it!

Produces easy stats to help you measure your efforts:
Email marketing is one of the few online marketing channels that produces valuable insights into the success of your campaign. With our email marketing tool, you will be able to easily understand your metrics (open rates, click throughs etc) which will enable you to make important marketing decisions. Your reports can also tell you which links were clicked by who, and works seamlessly with Google Analytics.

With our email marketing tool, you will easily be able to create beautiful email campaigns, that won't get stuck in people's spam folders and can easily be scheduled and automated to save you time and money. Learn more about our email marketing tool here or  you can click here or contact us today.

Posted in: Internet Marketing Email Marketing Lead Generation   Comments

Boost your Instagram game with these top tips

Posted by Tracey Voyce
4
November 2016
Boost your Instagram game with these top tips

We get it - social media networking seems like it changes almost daily. What's in, what's out - up or down: it is hard to keep up. Although being on social media may seem a tad overwhelming, it can be a very powerful online marketing tool - if used correctly.

instagram is the second most popular social network after Facebook with over 400 million active users, and over 60% of those users log in daily. Brand engagement on Instagram is 10 times higher than on Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. Maybe it's time to get your business on the Instagram train!

We've gathered the best tips out there to help boost your businesses Instagram game:

1. Utilise the bio space to your advantage. Currently, the only way to include links in your instagram account is through the bio. Use your bio to link to your website where you can collect leads, gain ebook sign ups or promote your new products or services. If you have a long url, we suggest using a link shortener such as bit.ly. You are also able to track your bit.ly data to determine how many clickthroughs you are getting to your website from your Instagram account.

Check out this example of linking your website in your bifrom @nicolejoyinspire

Nicole Joy Inspire Instagram

 

2. There is nothing worse than having the perfect photo, but then when you upload it into Instagram someone's head is cut off. Ensure that all photos that you post on Instagram are properly sized. You can easily do this by shooting in square on your camera, iphone or android. Also check out this article from Social Media Examiner on how to get the best images for your social media.

This is a great example of proper image size from @nationalgeographic

National Geographic Instagram Example

3. Don't be afraid of hashtags! Hashtags are an important tool to help you get your business found by your target market. Use the Explore feature in Instagram to see which hashtags are popular at the moment. You can then create timely and relevant posts that will appear when those hashtags are searched. Hootsuite's Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide for Business indicates that you should include at least 5 relevant hashtags to each photo.

Halloween Instagram example

4. A good rule of thumb when it comes to what kind of content you post, is to have a balance between photos and videos. Mixing up your content every once in awhile, to include videos can help boost post engagement. Posting a video can be as easy as holding down the record button, or try an app such as Boomerang from Instagram.

5. Producing share worthy content is a great way to gain new followers, reach your target market and drive traffic to your website. Paring striking images with inspirational quotes or interesting facts about your area of business, relevant descriptions and hashtags is the ultimate post sharing package.

Check out this example of share worthy content from @nicolejoyinspire

Nicole Joy Inspire Instagram examples
 

6. Don't forget about your CTA's! We've talked about the importance of CTA's in your website copy, but it is also important to add CTA's to your social media posts as well. This can be as simple as asking your followers to visit your website for more information, or getting them to tag a friend in your post. Have a goal driven strategy for each posts, such as increase post engagement, or to drive traffic to the website. Your CTA will help you reach those goals.

Check out this call-to-action example from @99bikes

99bikes instagram example

 

7. Although it may sound obvious, it still needs to be noted - have your account set as public. It is of course fine to have your personal profile as private, but you will want to make sure that your business account is easily accessible to everyone. If users are having to request to follow your business, more than likely they will pass and that can seriously hurt how many followers you have.

8. Finally, be aware you do not own your users within any social media.  So for any reason you get switched off you will loose all your followers (it happened to a client of ours, who had some complaints on her images not being appropriate - which they were, as she sells kids clothing.  She lost all of her 10,000 + followers) .  So ALWAYS, look at how you can encourage people to your website, so you can encourage people to give up their email address through your Bloomtools DBM account.  Eg. for some competitions are a great incentive.  That way you will keep your contacts, and can also market to them in multiple mediums which increases your results as well.

With these simple strategies you will be ready to take on the Instagram world and get your business out there. Remember, social media is a two way street so don't forget to like, comment and follow others as well. Did you know - we can also help you with your social media strategy. Call us today to chat about ways to improve your social media activity!

Posted in: Internet Marketing Social Media   Comments

Small businesses, meet your new best friend: Local Area Marketing

Posted by Tracey Voyce
27
October 2016
Small businesses, meet your new best friend: Local Area Marketing
Mobile phones, tablets, laptops etc all make it easy for us to do business with people from around the world. But local area marketing is becoming increasingly important as 96% of PC owners conduct local searches, 79% of mobile phone users conduct local searches and 50% of those local searches are to look for businesses they haven't used before. There is a wealth of potential customers hanging out in your own backyard, so how do you get them wanting to talk to you?

We've developed a checklist to help get you started with your local area marketing:

  1. Type your business name into your preferred search engine.  See if your business pops up... this is extremely important to help customers in your local area find you. (If no listings appear, start at number three)

    google Bloomtools
  2. Make sure that all of your business listings are consistent (in every listing you do online) ie. your business name, location and phone number, as well as hours and photos. You should also check your social media accounts, and ensure all the information is consistent with your website. This process is referred to as 'local-NAP optimisation'.
     
  3. If nothing came up during your search, you can start by making Google My Business and Yahoo Localworks accounts. Google My Business helps you get found on Google search, Google Maps and Google +. Yahoo LocalWorks lists your business across more than 40 sites and local directories, including: Yelp, Whitepages, Bing and MapQuest.  Before making these listings, create a file that has all your businesses important information and the photos you want to use. This document will be your go to when creating any new listings ensuring they are all consistent.
     
  4. Get your business reviewed online, whether it be in social media, on your website and definitely on Google My Business - These reviews give you additional credibility, virally spreads the word about you and helps to boost your rankings.
     
  5. We can't stress this one enough - make sure your website is mobile optimised. 79% of mobile phone users conduct local searches, meaning these people are on the move and looking for you! Having a high impact mobile website can leave a lasting impression with your potential customers. Bloomtools can customise your mobile website to have a higher impact with this audience on this medium, easy to use design and different content to help customers find you, use you and remember you.
     
  6. Finally, it is important to get social with other businesses in your area. If you already have local connections - it's time to use them to your advantage. Share their posts, link to their content (if it is relevant to your target market), follow them and like their pages. By getting social with other nearby businesses, you can build relationships with them and start building your network.  If you haven't established business connections in your local area, try joining a networking group to help you get started.

These are easy steps you can take to get you started on your local area marketing. If you have any additional questions on how to market your business in your area, speak to your local Internet Consultant today.
Posted in: Internet Marketing Lead Generation   Comments
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