Nike logo in a smartphone screen - brand image

This article was requested and written for Marshall White Projects. If you’re looking for one of the finest residential properties in Melbourne, or are a residential developer, contact the guru in the business Leonard Teplin on 0402 431 657 .

Now you might have a bit of an oh-oh moment when reading that title, are we going to hear about loosing those winter love handles or you won’t be a hit on Instagram this summer… Well no, that’s your doctor’s line … And side note, the cuddlier the better on Instagram these days since they’ve just dropped public engagement numbers in Australia.

Actually, this is about your business. If you haven’t already gotten stuck into digital marketing, this is a bit of a how to, and why looking good online is the benchmark for business in today’s competitive marketplace.

I’ve been marketing client’s businesses online for over 20 years. I was there at the start of the Internet, rode the boom and have been on the edge of every buzzword ever since. It’s a mad, hectic and often over-hyped industry full of cowboys and narrow advice. So if you’ve found something that is already getting you great results, keep going.

If you happen to have a touch of George Clooney looks or charisma, or a few percent of the social reach of a Kardashian, and you still aren’t making absurd amounts from digital, you need better ideas – call me. The Internet has “insert cliche – changed everything” but the biggest miss I see when clients walk through the door:

They look sharp, talk sharp and know their business… But if you go to follow them online, it’s like they don’t even exist.

If you’re not quite convinced of the power of digital, I could do a series on clients who “know better”, this is “all a phase” and “I don’t need to we are in X” retail or B2B or real-estate… Then watch their businesses fade away or go off a cliff as younger, digital natives, walk in with pretty average strategies but a friend who’s a designer and take chunks out of your industry. It’s why we are bullish at the start and push clients to ‘get it’ straight away, rather than fighting uphill battles when competing in market.  

“Getting it” means, “getting close”. You don’t have to be Nike or Google. I’ve thought about the common threads in client conversations and put the top tips together here, so you’ll be on the competitive when it comes to must-haves.

Step 1

Make everything you put online look beautiful. We live in the most aspirational and designer world that ever existed. The benchmark is high, and unless you’re in the top few percent, you’ll never succeed. It is the embossed business card of the 90s, the reason why you’re footy team has a new logo, and why Google went from quirky coloured letters to slick Sans-Serif typeface. We can all sell 1-on-1, but what represents you when you’re not in the room and someone is looking at sharing or buying from you?

Word of mouth remains the number one reason behind social proof. No one shares if you look crap, (unless you’re going for that low-low-price shopper like JB-HIFI, Reject Shop or those $2 Made in China discount stores).

When we first assess a client, we look at the brand before anything else. Why? If the branding looks dated, that is what everyone else thinks. From there, we look at graphics, photography, layout… anything aesthetic has to have a consistent style about it. With those basics, we step up to website, advertising, social media – do they all look as good? With the hundred or so ways you can be shared online, how many thousands of these opportunities have you converted, or missed, in a year ?

Now you don’t have to go and create the world’s best brand and style guide. There is really no new design, but if you don’t know what’s in fashion or on trend, chances are you aren’t that stylish, so get some help.

New Melrose Health website
Rebranding and website launch of our client Melrose Health

Step 2

Ok, your brand is sharp – what about your team? One of the biggest assets you have is everyone in your team represents you online. They have hundreds of “friends” across multiple platforms. That is an army of advocates you can tap into. Lead by example – ensure your profile represents you authentically. As a quick guide, I recommend in order: LinkedIN, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

I’m not suggesting to go and do a photo shoot down a side lane in the CBD to look cool, or start posting every meal you eat. Those days are gone. But there are basics you must get right – link social pages to your website, ensure people can Google and find you, and do the same for your team. This will ensure every possible link is connected. Simple things like taking a photo in front of your reception logo for LinkedIN profile works too – as long as you haven’t missed step 1.

Step 3

Ok, social media is another world, and if you’re thinking about it for the first time, unless you can commit to the time, just get the basics right. From there, if you’re looking to turbo-charge results, clients, customers, there are still huge opportunities. It might be obvious, but it is all a number game. Build audiences any way you can. Be it email or social, traffic follows when you have access to your own people online that (A) know what you do and (B) respect you. This is exactly like the brand play – make it consistent, make it authentic.

Remember elevator pitches: your presence online should be clear. Pick one thing and promote that, make sure people know what that is.

This is the line you use at BBQs when people ask what you do. Just make sure you don’t have to explain it afterwards.

Start with your LinkedIN profile (and feel free to copy mine!). Written from a third-person perspective, connecting with everyone I know and providing recommendations to show I’m an expert in my field. Every one of these hooks can result in searches, which allows people to find you. Every platform makes it easy to connect with people you already know (they love your data) so use that to your advantage.

Data Visualisation of Michael’s social network.

The first few hundred advocates you already know. Friends of friends, and friends of theirs, are where profit amplifies. Build your audiences, those with access to their own people online gets marketing messages out fast and if done well, still near free. Start now, work on the messaging as you go, it isn’t a print ad…and if you are still paying newspapers or magazines for print spots you are literally out of touch with reality, guaranteed something or someone is actually keeping your business afloat.

What are the numbers? Where should you have them? You’ll know as people start coming to you – this is where it’s at; you are no longer cold calling the internet with sales spam, people are coming to you wanting to buy. Huge difference. The larger your audience, the easier it is. To sell out a project and get new clients, all already framed with “I want to buy” is a home run. This could be a few hundred or a few thousand– as long as they are engaged and know what you do, you’re on the right path. The wrong path? Buying followers, being too far off topic or character, and not being yourself.

There are tons of other little tips, but from there, the advice only gets more and more bespoke. There is no cookie-cutter solutions, only more click bait ideas. Once you look good online, you’ve already increased you chances on everything else you do. Remember, image is everything. Don’t just look good, look great. This will make it easy to be shared.

The new world of marketing is owning your own digital audiences – As a catch all, to convert, to really convert, the effort, resources and funds you put into digital should return a bankable result before 3 months. If not, you’re doing it wrong.

Be ready to tweak your social game – You should feel like you have a good handle and starting to get traction with friends of friends in a few weeks, otherwise, change your approach.

Michael Simonetti
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Not only is Michael professional but he is also a great friend to have in your court. He is balanced in his advice, fair in his quotes and has the best twitter feed for all things tech - i highly recommend you follow him and also hire him! Clare Smith, GM – Brand & Marketing Communications at Sensis

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