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Client News

Park Ridge’s newest masterplanned community has marked its official launch by hosting the first Carver’s Reach Home Expo on Saturday (10 August).

The Carver’s Reach Home Expo, proudly presented by Golden Gate Property, will provide home buyers with an opportunity to meet Queensland’s leading builders, discuss finance options with RAMS and see a range of landscaping solutions on display.

Since the Carver’s Reach pre-launch marketing campaign commenced, which coincided with the start of construction in mid-June, nearly 30% of lots have been contracted, mainly to local buyers. The Jarrah release, being the first 67 lot stage, includes homesites priced from $203,000 and house and land packages from $398,800.


WATCH THE NEWS REPORT



The Expo includes a range of family entertainment and kids activities. Builders in attendance on the day include Metricon, Brighton Homes, Bold, Coral Homes, Simonds and Porter Davis.

David Whiteman, Director of Development at Golden Gate Property, said the launch of the Carver’s Reach project was well timed given the change in sentiment towards property which has been prevalent since the Federal election.

“There has been a renewed sense of positivity in the market over the last few weeks with lower interest rates and a greater willingness for banks to lend money for quality property,” he said.

Research undertaken by Oliver Hume, whom is running the Sales and Marketing for Carver’s Reach, shows while the market has been subdued over the last 12 months, the Logan land market remains one of the best long-term performers in south east Queensland.

Over the last five years the median lot price in Logan has increased 23.2%, including 4% over the 12 months to the end of June this year. The average lot size in the region is 422sqm, with Carver’s Reach achieving an average of 440sqm.

Oliver Hume Queensland General Manager Matt Barr said Park Ridge had emerged as one of the most popular suburbs for new residential development over recent years.

“Logan is one of the top performing markets in South East Queensland over the last few years and Park Ridge is the hottest suburb in the city,” he said.

“We have had hundreds of enquires over the last few weeks since we turned the first sod and would expect to continue a brisk rate of sales now we are fully live.”

The first homesites are expected to settle in early 2020 with first residents due to move in mid 2020.

The project is well connected to the local area, and the rest of south east Queensland with easy access to the west via Mt Lindesay Highway, east via Chambers Flat Road, and north via the Logan Motorway.

The Park Ridge area, which is inclusive of Boronia Heights, has a forecasted population of 29,987 by 2036 representing an increase of over 20,000 residents since the 2016 census. Increasing the current population by 137% over a 20-year period.

Mr Whiteman said the masterplan for the site would have a range of features and amenities including a corridor park, recreation park, childcare centre, and integrated passive recreation opportunities within adjoining biodiversity areas.

“It is a true, multi-stage masterplanned community where we have the scope to be creative in terms of the open space and connectivity with the local community,” he said.

Project Details

Name: Carver’s Reach
Address: 140 Park Ridge Road, Park Ridge
Price: Homesites from $203,000 and Home & Land from $398,880
Size: First stage homesites available from 313-808sqm
Web: carversreach.com.au
Phone: 1800 514 883

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Blog

The proliferation of fake news and social media platforms’ inability to stamp it out is driving more Australians to engage with online news in private spaces like closed, curated interest groups.

The fifth annual Digital News Report (DNR) produced by the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra was released this week and showed that while Facebook remains the most used social media platform for news, but there has been a small drop in its use for news from 39% in 2017 to 36% in 2019. On the other hand, the use of YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram for news has risen and messaging apps are becoming a popular way to access news.

Key Facts

  • Using Facebook for news has decreased since 2016 (-9), while YouTube (+4), Snapchat (+3), and Instagram (+4) have risen.
  • There has been a drop in online news engagement across all sharing, commenting and liking activity.
  • The most popular mode of sharing news continues to be talking face-to-face with friends and colleagues (37%).

The report showed there has been a slight decline in most types of online news engagement from 2016 to 2019. While 63% of Australian news consumers have engaged in one or more online or offline news-sharing activities, there has been a slight overall drop in the past few years.

SOCIAL MEDIA BRANDS FOR NEWS (%)

SOURCE: The Digital News Report: Australia 2019

This corresponds with a decline in Facebook use for news which the report authors said was possibly due to increased concern about the unreliability of the online information environment. Most online news consumers in Australia (62%) remain concerned about what is real or fake on the internet, which is higher than the global average (55%).

This lack of trust in the quality of news combined with a lack of confidence in expressing views publicly is also leading to lower engagement with ‘sharing’, ‘commenting’ and ‘liking’ of news all falling on recent years.

However, behind closed ‘doors’ where membership is often restricted and comes with community-defined rules of behaviour, it is a different matter.

More than half of Facebook users (59%) say they have joined and participated in a Facebook group and 68% of WhatsApp users says they are involved in a group on WhatsApp. Popular public groups on Facebook and WhatsApp are related to hobbies and local community issues, whereas public groups about news and politics are less popular (7%: Facebook; 6%: WhatsApp).

The rapid growth in the use of social media platforms for accessing news is continually creating an environment where social endorsements or so-called social signals such as comments, ‘likes’, or shares play a key role in the sharing and consumption of online news.

Younger news consumers, Gen Z and Y are more likely to engage with these social endorsements, while sharing a news story via email is more popular among older news consumers.

Key Report Findings

NEWS MEDIA PERFORMANCE

  • Two thirds of Australian news consumers (66%) agree the news media keeps them up to date.
  • Less than half (45%) agree that journalism is holding the powerful to account.
  • 44% agree the news media are often too negative.
  • 28% agree the topics chosen by the news media do not feel relevant to them.

POLITICAL ORIENTATION AND NEWS

  • Two thirds (65%) have low interest in politics.
  • Left-wing news consumers are much more likely to fact-check than right-wing.
  • More than half (53%) of right-wing orientated news consumers perceive the news to be too negative compared to 41% of left-wing consumers.
  • News consumers who “don’t know” their political orientation use the fewest number of news brands.

PAYING FOR NEWS AND DIGITAL CONTENT

  • Paying for online news (14%) is close to the global average (13%).
  • More Australians would rather subscribe to video streaming services (34%) than online news (9%).
  • There is a gender paying gap; 17% of men pay for online news compared to 10% of women.
  • 83% of news consumers encounter unwanted paywalls at least once a month.

FAKE NEWS AND FACT CHECKING

  • 62% of Australian online news consumers remain concerned about what is real or fake on the internet.
  • 36% of news consumers say they have checked a news story for accuracy.
  • 26% of people concerned about fake news have started using more reliable news sources.
  • People who access five or more news brands are the most likely to fact-check.

TRUST IN NEWS

  • Trust in news has fallen globally, including in Australia.
  • Distrust in social media has risen from 45% in 2018 to 49% in 2019 and trust in social media has fallen from 24% to 18%.
  • Those who trust news avoid it less and are less worn out by it.
  • Trust is much higher among those who access online brands directly (65%).
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Blog

Increasing pressure on resources and the insatiable need to produce ever more content for more channels means many publishers are looking at creative ways to source high quality articles.

The traditional op-ed pieces has emerged as an important way for these publishers to provide their audiences with great content while providing brands with a great new avenue to generate brand awareness and credibility.

An op-ed is short for ‘opinion editorial’ (or opposite the editorial) and were first used as a form of content for newspapers looking to publish narrative articles which went beyond traditional, objective journalism and instead focussed on the subjective opinion of the author. The first op-ed page of the New York Times appeared in 1970 and was created as a dedicated space for outside contributors. The ‘editorial’ section of newspapers remains reserved for in-house writers or editorial boards to provide the opinion of the publisher.

The op-ed harks back to a time when there was a clear distinction between editorial and opinion and it was important to segregate opinion from news, lest the sky fell in.

As more publishers open their pages and sites to third party content the ability to craft a great op-ed that achieves the right balance between thought leadership, branding, marketing and engagement is becoming more valuable.

Writing a great op-ed that has the ability to not only attract and engage an audience but also achieve marketing outcomes is emerging as one of the most important tools in the public relations arsenal.

Our client simPRO Software often uses op-ed pieces to grow their brand awareness and discuss important issues for their audience. The article above appeared in the latest edition of Circuit magazine and highlighted the need for electrical contractors to build their understanding of IoT, an important growth channel for simPRO.

Have an opinion

It may seem obvious, but the first step to crafting a great op-ed is to have an opinion. The more contrarian the better. In the digital age where views, even sensible ones, can attract a crazed horde of online trolls forming an opinion and arguing it can be a daunting experience.

An op-ed should challenge prevailing thought and provide a new line of thinking about a traditional problem. The best op-eds throw out the prevailing wisdom about a topic and introduce truly disruptive thinking.

Your op-ed should always start with a hypothesis that you set out to prove or disprove. The best place to start is with a simple statement. A thought. An idea. A quick scan of the op-ed pages of major newspapers will provide a good insight into how to create a great piece. The headline should always be a dead giveaway and critical to attracting a reader.

The Guardian – “Does marijuana really cause psychotic disorders

The Australian – “Australia Day debate is based on a myth

Mumbrella – “Australia’s digitally incoherent politicians are threatening the ad and media industries

You don’t need to start with a perfectly formed 600-word piece full of prose and nuanced analysis. That comes later. The premise of your piece will dictate the entire narrative so be sure to get it right.

Write Well

There can be no doubt that some of the best ideas in history have ended up on the cutting room floor due to lack of coherence and basic writing skills. Thankfully, the very best op-ed pieces are marked not by their complexity, but their simplicity.

Columns are most typically conversational in tone, so you can imagine yourself have a conversation with your reader as you write (a short, focused conversation). But the range of voice used in columns can be wide: contemplative, conversational, descriptive, experienced, informative, informed, introspective, observant, plaintive, reportorial, self-effacing, sophisticated, humorous, among many others. These simple tips should get you on your way.

– Use third party data and research to justify your arguments or background.
– Assume your ready knows little about the topic so explain any complex ideas or terminology.
– Give context and background to help the reader see how your idea developed.
– Stay focussed and avoid narrative tangents or sub plots – Use, strong active language and a plain English writing style (save your creative writing skills for your novel)

HERE ARE SOME GREAT OP-ED WRITING TIPS

Know Your Audience

Most op-ed pieces will be written specifically for a publication. If you have convinced the editor to give you some space, make sure you take the time to understand their audience and their editorial priorities.

Write using a tone and language that reflects the audiences’ level of understanding about the topic. If you are writing for a specialist trade magazine it is probably fine to use industry jargon. If you are writing for a wider audience, assume the reader knows little or nothing about the topic.

A good way to perfecting your voice and tone is to get in the habit of reading your column or op-ed out loud. Doing so gives you a clear sense of how your piece might sound – what your voice may come off as – to your intended reader.

Don’t Sell

An op-ed is not an opportunity to write 500 words about your products and their incredible features and great pricing. That’s called advertising. Integrating product references, branding or marketing messages into your piece requires certain degree of subtlety and sophistication.

Not just because your piece may get spiked, but because readers have finely-tuned detectors and can tell the difference between insightful, inspired thinking and a thinly-veiled product flog. Any value from the piece from a commercial perspective should be driven by a desire to establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader.


If thought leadership is part of your ongoing marketing strategy please feel free to get in touch to discuss how RGC can make it happen. Email ben@rgcmm.com.au or call +61 415 743 838.

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Blog

World War I did not get off to a great start for Maurice Buckley (pictured second from left), one of Australia’s bravest soldiers and perhaps my favorite Victoria Cross (VC) recipient.

After signing up to join the famed Australian Light Horse Brigade Maurice was shipped off to Egypt on his way to the infamous cliffs of Gallipoli. No sooner had he sighted the Pyramids then he was sent back home after contracting a venereal disease. On his return the shame became too great and he promptly deserted.

As the war dragged into 1915 and then 1916 Buckley became determined to redeem himself and re-enlisted using his dead brother’s first name and his mother’s maiden name.

‘Gerald Sexton’ landed in the Somme, the bloodiest of all bloodbaths, in early 1917. By late 1918 as the war approached its zenith he had earned himself the rank of Sergeant and a Distinguished Conduct Medal. On 18 September, 2018, as part of the AIF’s assault on the German held village of St Quentin, under the command of Sir John Monash, he was to display bravery that 100 years and one month later still sends a shiver down your spine.

The full story is quite extraordinary but his Victoria Cross citation reads (in part):

“During the whole period of the advance Sergeant Sexton was to the fore dealing with enemy machine guns by firing from the hip as he advanced, rushing enemy posts and performing feats of bravery and endurance which are better appreciated when one realises that all the time he fired his Lewis Gun from the hip without faltering or for a moment taking cover…”

Sexton rushed at least six enemy machine-gun positions, captured a field gun, and took nearly 100 prisoners. He was originally handed the VC under his adopted name before revealing his true identity and having it gazetted in his real name. He would tragically die in a horse riding accident in 1921.

Far more than Gallipoli, I have always wanted to see the battlefields of the Western Front where so many Australian soldiers gave their lives. After first reading Buckley’s story in Sir John Monash’s biography I am determined my tour will start and end in the little village of Le Verguier. Perhaps there is special memorial to the deserter turned hero.

This desire to travel half way across the world to feel close to something that happened more than 100 years ago is down to power of narrative storytelling.

The power of narrative

As a reader, you don’t often think about why stories reach out and touch something deeper inside you. As a storyteller with the goal of driving behaviour and actions it is important to understand the how and the why.

While there are many opinions about what it takes to reach a level of engagement with an audience that prompts action, you won’t often hear the scientific perspective. As a creative industry content marketing and public relations have enough trouble dealing with the rise of big data without also having to put on a white coat and visit a lab.

However, there is a now a small but growing field of study that examines the cold, hard science behind how storytelling works. It seeks to understand why narrative sticks in our brain, moves us (literally) and produces increased empathy. The major research and findings have already delivered some pretty informative insights.

For instance, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research has shown the certain language (such as descriptive and figurative) lights up neurological regions that incite action and movement. This means a good story inspires and motivates you to do something.

When your emotional your body often releases dopamine. Dopamine helps us remember an experience with greater accuracy. A story that touches someone on an emotional level will be much more easily remembered and recalled.

Research by the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies shows character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a speaker wishes to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later. This is because character-driven stories cause a reaction, called oxytocin synthesis, that motivates cooperation with others. (READ MORE).

Each of these helps explains why after reading the story of Maurice Buckley my ability to recall and act on the story was so strong. So next time you read something amazing, remember it;s not all about emotions. It is just science.

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Blog
Producing high-quality narrative content can be time consuming and expensive. Whether it is based on research, customer testimonials or product focussed, your written content is the foundation of successful marketing.

Well-executed high-impact narrative content will address your buyers’ concerns at every potential stumbling block throughout the buying cycle, easing their worries and ushering them to the next step in the process. Despite its importance many marketers will make the fundamental error of utilising narrative content in too few channels, wasting the opportunity to supercharge their return on investment.

With some simple creative thinking every piece of content can, and should, be utilised across at least five different owned, earned and paid channels. Developing a simple strategy for each and every piece of content you produce to maximise its value across other channels should be a fundamental part of the ideation, planning and execution strategy. This re-purposing of content for alternative channels will supercharge your investment.

START WITH A FOUNDATIONAL PIECE

Over many years as a publicist I’ve learned that high-quality, proprietary research is PR ‘gold’. Insightful research packaged in a good media release can deliver many multiples of return from editorial coverage in the earned media.

But the story should never end there. The narrative essentials of a media release – strong headline, great lead paragraph, some quotes and background contextualisation – are often very specific to their purpose. However, like almost any piece of content produced for a specific purpose, it can form the genesis of countless other pieces.

While a media release is great for sending to journalists and storing on the news section of your website, the re-purposing of it it for other channels will significantly amplify its value.

CREATE A LONG-FORM, SEO-FRIENDLY FEATURE

Some of the most powerful content takes complex ideas and chunks them down into easily digestible bites – that is often the main purpose of a media release. For large parts of your audience, shortening narrative content down to a few hundred words or less is ideal. But for a small part of your audience, particularly if you work in the B2B space, long form content of more than 2,000 words can be extremely engaging and valuable.

Taking the time to expand your media release into a more detailed narrative and integrating an SEO keyword strategy with more of everything may take some time, it is these pieces that often become extremely valuable evergreen content that attracts traffic for months and years.

GO NATIVE

Many marketers often neglect using narrative content in paid media channels. Using narrative content in paid channels is primarily done using native advertising. For the uninitiated, native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear.  Native ads are often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads . They look like part of the editorial flow of the page.

READ MORE: Native Ad Spend Will Make Up Nearly 60% of Display Spending in 2018.

The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive – it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb. Highly-engaging narrative content utilising the principals of narrative storytelling are most suited to native advertising.


TELL YOUR TEAM

The main priority of marketers requires that are often focussed exclusively on external audiences. Finding and recruiting new customers is their primary purpose. Sometimes, particularly in large companies, there can be a large disconnect between the way a brand is positioned externally and the way other, non marketing, functions within a company see the brand.

Sharing narrative content and explaining the how, why, what and where it is being used externally is a great way to build a commonality of purpose within an organisation. If product developers know how their work is being sold to customers there should be a much greater alignment of interests.

ADD INTERACTIVE VISUALS

Findings from the 2015 Content Preferences Survey show that a majority (91%) of buyers prefer visual and interactive content rather than traditional, text-based formats. This higher level of buyer engagement offers prospects a more valuable buying experience — while also providing marketers with deeper insights for future marketing initiatives.

Adding interactive elements to popular content formats such as video can boost engagement and lead to greater insights about prospective buyers, experts noted. Short videos, image galleries, infographics, interactive tools, calculators are all great tools to give your narrative content so extra oomph. Even a simple thing like extracting a quote from the piece and turning it into a graphic can improve engagement.

This list is by no means exhaustive but a good start to understanding how getting creative can turn one idea into many opportunities.

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Blog
Marketing’s transition from art to science continues to gather pace with top-performing companies almost three times as likely as their mainstream peers to have invested in an integrated, cloud-based technology stack.

Econsultancy’s 2018 Digital Trends report, published in association with Adobe, is based on a global survey of 12,795 marketing, creative and technology professionals in the digital industry across EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific. 

One of the most important takeaways from the report is the impact of marketing technology infrastructure, or tech stack.

The reports showed that while just over one-in-ten respondents have “a highly-integrated, cloud-based tech stack” those that do are almost three times more likely than their mainstream peers to outperform competitors (25% vs. 9%).

The bottom line is the nature of a company’s technology infrastructure can make or break its attempts to provide an optimal experience for customers across a growing number of channels and touchpoints.

Despite this, organisations are most likely to have a fragmented approach with inconsistent integration between technologies, an unsatisfactory state of affairs indicated by 43% of company and 48% of agency respondents.

A lack of integration reduces the chances of providing a seamless customer experience. It can also be frustrating for marketers and other employees who want to go about their jobs without unnecessary restrictions in their ability to acquire, retain and delight customers.



With an ever-growing number of marketing technology point solutions available (more than 5,000 at the last count), it is no surprise that many companies are struggling to build the kind of unifed platform that is increasingly a prerequisite for success.

The other major takeaway from the report was the growing importance of customer experience (CX), as well as the content required to facilitate this. Organisations committed to CX were shown to outperform their peers.

Asked about the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead, optimising customer experience (19%) again comes out on top, ahead of data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual (16%) and creating compelling content for digital experiences (14%).

Organisations with a ‘cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives’ are nearly twice as likely to have exceeded their top 2017 business goal by a significant margin (20% vs. 11%).

Just under two-thirds (62%) of companies agree they have ‘a cohesive plan, long-term view and executive support for the future of [their] customer’.

The top strategic priority for organisations in 2018 is content and experience management. Almost half (45%) of companies surveyed rank this as one of their three most important priority areas for the year ahead, with a fifth (20%) stating that this is their primary focus.

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Client News

The Aquis Champions Tour showjumping event has concluded at Elysian Fields at Canungra on Sunday (May 6) with a narrow win by rider Merrick Ubank after he rode Alantinus to win the Pryde’s EasiFeed Gold Tour Final on Sunday in front of an excited crowd.

Ubank scored the win by just .35 of a second from Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug to claim the first prize of $35,000 in the richest event on the Australian Jumping calendar.

More than 300 of Australia’s best showjumpers have competed on the Gold Coast in a nine-day program for more than $340,000 in total prize money at the third annual Aquis Champions Tour.

Competition manager Michelle McMahon was delighted with the quality of competition at the prestigious event.

“Over the course of the program we’ve seen some spectacular jumping and tough competition with competitors from all Australian states and international entrants from Japan and New Zealand. Elysian Fields has been a first-class venue and this has been reflected in the quality of this elite event.” 

The Coolmore Silver Tour was won by Stephen Dingwell riding Cavalier Du Rouet, just .06 of a second ahead of Tom McDermott and Elegance De La Charmille. McDermott had paid double entry fee for the chance to win triple prizemoney, which resulted in him winning $12,000 for this class.






McDermott riding Alpha Activity then went on to win the hard-fought IRT Bronze Tour.  He beat Chris Chugg and KG Queenie with a huge gallop to the last fence for another $10,500 in prizemoney.

The junior championship was won by Jess Rice-Ward riding Dusky Farm Cavalier, while the amateur championship went to Morgan Daniel and Aladino. Jessie O’Connell rode Cassis Z Ten Halven to win the young rider championship.

The final event of the day is always a crowd favourite and this year did not disappoint. The winner of the Gollan Racing Speed Derby with an impressive clear 84.68 seconds was Clint Beresford riding SL Donato.

Second place went to Katie Laurie riding Cera Caruso and third was the entertaining Ron Easey riding Simplistic with a time of 87.49. Spread over almost 500 acres of prime pristine rural land at Canungra on the Gold Coast hinterland Elysian Fields features polo fields, show jumping facilities and acres of riding and relaxation country, plus luxury accommodation.

The facility, which has previously hosted a concert by Elton John, is the home of the biggest prize money show jumping competitions ever held in Queensland and the location for the highest level of polo tournaments ever played in Queensland.

Gold Tour Final top 10 placings: 

PLACE

RIDER NAME

HORSE NAME

PRIZE MONEY

1st

Merrick Ubank

Alantinus

$35,000

2nd

Clint Beresford

Emmaville Jitterbug

$25,000

3rd

Amber Fuller

CP Aretino

$20,000

4th

Ally Lamb

Diamond B Corsica

$17,500

5th

Katie Laurie

Casebrooke Lomond

$12,500

6th

David Cameron

RR Dyranta

$5,000

7th

Steven Hill

Yalambi’s Bellini Star

$4,000

8th

Brooke Langbecker

Quintago 1

$3,000

9th

Gabrielle Kuna

Cera Cassiago

$2,000

10th

Billy Raymont

Anton

$1,000

 

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Blog

Marketing technology (Martech) has exploded to almost unfathomable size in recent years. Few other areas have been disrupted, and continue to be disrupted, by technology more than the art of securing new customers.

The graphic above was first produced in 2011 with 150 companies operating in the martech space. In 2015, it had grown to 2,000. Last year, it nearly doubled from that to the 3,500 mark. This year, it includes nearly 5,000.


For the average small business operator who also needs to be on top of accounting tech, product tech, HR and all the other techs, finding the right blend of solutions, or tech stack, for a high-performing marketing framework can be daunting.


For our own business, clients and in-house projects we have trialed dozens of new technologies designed to make marketing more effective while reducing the financial and human resources required to deliver genuine results.


If I knew five years ago what I know now and was starting my own small business these are the essential technologies I would invest time and money learning to use. The payoff will be immense.

Website/CMS

Your website is the foundation of all marketing. Using a content management system (CMS) that allows you to quickly and efficiently load products, add and edit content, integrate other technologies and manage security is essential.


Don’t be conned into paying big fees for a complex proprietary or custom CMS. Demand your provider use an open source platform like WordPress. If you are planning an online store, the WooCommerce platform was made for WordPress.


If you elect to outsource building of the site to someone else it is essential you take the time to understand how it works. What plugins you are utilising, what structures have been established and what the SEO strategy is. It will grow to become your most important marketing asset.


Cost: WordPress is Free but factor in cost of buying domains, hosting, themes, plugins, security and backups.

 

Many years ago I had an idea for a website that eventually became www.mbanews.com.au. I visited a range of web developers all with their own custom/proprietary CMS. The development quotes came in at $15,000-$75,000. This was well beyond the $3.50 I had planned to spend.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was someone who told me to “Lock yourself in a room for a weekend and learn WordPress”. So I did.

Four years later the site attracts more than 10,000 unique browsers a month and has become the number one source for potential MBAs in Australia. The external cost to get the site live $0.00. Well inside my budget.

Direct/Email Marketing

Building a database of satisfied, engaged customers who do your marketing for you by word of mouth is easily the most cost effective form of marketing, because it costs virtually nothing.

While there are literally hundreds of solutions available for email marketing, for ease of use, low cost and extensive range of integrations we recommend MailChimp. The core platform makes building lists, creating emails and understanding the results easy. With an ever-growing range of integrations, including the ability to develop Google remarketing ads, it will change the way you reach your customers.

Cost: Free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,00 emails per month.

Analytics

Understanding how your customers are interacting with your website is essential to the continual task of refining your product and marketing messages. Intalling, monitoring and using the insights provided by Google Analytics.

The range of data available to businesses from Google Analytics is simply extraordinary. The biggest challenge you will find is isolating and utilizing the data that is of most value to you. Again, the easiest way to get your head around the complexity is to take a deep dive; immerse yourself in it for a day, the knowledge you gain will last years.

Cost: FREE for small business


Online Advertising

No other area of martech is populated by more sharks than online advertising. Some of these sharks have built very big businesses on their ability to separate small business people from their money on the promise of an avalanche of customers. Most of their customers are left confused, and poorer, with little to show.

Depending on the goals of your business, Google advertising should be a large chunk of your budget. Whether you are DIY or using an agency, managing the effectiveness of this spend to ensure you are maximising ROI is easy with a platform like WordStream. One of the many benefits of WordStream is the extensive resources available (for free) to help you get the maximum from every dollar.

Advertising on social media platforms, particularly Facebook, is increasingly easy with ex Many people have built.

Cost: How much have you got? External AdWords management can be charged as a flat fee (including set-up and ongoing management fee) or as a percentage of your spend. Bigger agencies will charge 15-20% while smaller agencies (like us) charge 10% with a minimum fee.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimistaion (SEO) is how you ensure customers looking for your products can you find you easily and before they find your customers. Great content is the foundation of all SEO and your website should be a highly-tuned SEO machine. Once you have your site humming, developing off-site SEO tactics like backlinks, can take your traffic stats to the next level.

We used a range of different SEO technologies before discovering Moz. If SEO is going to play an important part of your marketing, the Moz platform is essential. Identifying high value keywords, making content tweaks and tracking performance are all easier with Moz.

COST: From $US99/month.

Social Media

Most small businesses don’t need to be told the importance of (organic) social media in their marketing. While paid advertising on social media platforms is important, building an organic social following is the sort of investment that will pay dividends for years.

Like your website, content on social media is king. Monitoring what content is working and what is not can be made much easier with the use of martech like SproutSocial and Hootsuite. We use both for our business and clients.

With prices starting from $100/month it is a significant investment, especially when you can count your followers on one hand! But it is important to be persistent in posting content, understanding what works and why and refining your content to improve engagement.

Cost:  Sprout Social from $US100/month. Hootsuite $US25/month, billed annually

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Client News
AMEX Corporation’s $1.2 billion Providence masterplaned community at South Ripley has launched another major land release at the project amid an ongoing boom in Ipswich property prices.

The new Silverleaf release, which is part of Providence’s Horizons precinct, includes a total of 16 lots ranging in size from 350sqm to 463sqm.  Prices start from $197,900 for smaller lots with an average price of just over $212,000.

Providence Project Director Michael Khan said the Ipswich land market continued to gather steam with a number of positive economic announcements driving optimism about employment and economic growth.

“We have seen steady and sustainable growth in prices for a number of years now despite a strong increase in the amount of new land being developed in the region,” Mr Khan said.

“This reflects the affordability of Ipswich and continued improvement in the economic outlook for Queensland.”

New research by Oliver Hume released last week showed the land market in the Ipswich was the second strongest performer in SEQ throughout 2017, with average prices rising 4%, behind only the Gold Coast where growth topped 8%.

The average price for new land in Ipswich is now $199,500, compared to $384,200 on the Gold Coast and $230,000 in Logan.

Ipswich also recorded more than 1 in 4 of the total number of project land sales in south east Queensland in 2017.

Oliver Hume General Manager Queensland Matt Barr said despite a slight decrease in lot sales across SEQ as a result of the Christmas period, the Ipswich market was expected to benefit from a surge in demand during 2018, largely due to a rebound in employment and population growth driven by net interstate migration.

The Oliver Hume research showed the median price per square metre of new land in Ipswich was increasing at a rate faster than the median lot price. The median price per sqm rate has increased by 68% over the last 10 years, rising from $250 per/sqm back in 2007 to around$420 per/sqm.

Mr Barr said that while premiums were being paid for large lots, Ipswich remains the most affordable catchment within the SEQ market, and it’s this factor that will continue to underpin its growing demand and will continue to be the strength of the SEQ land market for the next 5 to 10 years.

Mr Khan said the new lots at Providence’s $60 million Horizon precinct would answer the prayers of those contributing to the growing demand of the SEQ land market.

“Our new lots represent real value for money, with a diverse range of sizes and easy access to the planned Providence Town Centre and family-based amenities,” he said. The Horizon precinct includes one of Providence’s “three peaks” elevated hilltop parks and a major district park, with easy access to the future P-12 school.

“We know that buyers are fuelled by a desire to have as much of their lives within easy reach while still able to maintain a quality lifestyle,” Mr Khan said.

“The newest release in Horizon ticks all of the boxes for anyone trying to get a foothold into the property market or looking for a place to settle down and raise a family.”

Providence is the largest masterplanned community in the Ripley Valley growth corridor where there is a massive $4.4 billion worth of residential projects currently underway which will ultimately provide around 50,000 dwellings to house 120,000 people.

Mr Barr said the Ripley Valley remained one of Queensland’s hottest property markets due to its proximity to job hubs at Ipswich, Amberley and Springfield.

“The Centenary Highway residential corridor will be become the epicentre for residential housing growth in Queensland over the next decade with hundreds of people moving into the area every month,” he said.

“This trend will be the case for the next 20 years due to the number, scale and quality of the major projects that are now being developed along the Centenary ‘road to riches’ Highway.”

THE RESULT.

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Blog
The irony of blogging about how to manufacture authenticity does not escape me. Surely being ‘real’ does not require an instructional video? Unfortunately, in the age of fake everything, it does. In modern corporate environments, particularly the marketing and communications space, we have developed a sophisticated language designed around coded phrases that have been deliberately created to squash authenticity. When a business claims to be leveraging a paradigm shift to move the needle towards a success narrative you know they are full of it and have lost the ability to communicate authentically.

Why would you trust a brand or person that can’t even trust themselves enough to be themselves? Being authentic is not just a moral obligation, but can have serious benefits for your career or brand. There is no better example of the growing value of authenticity then the election of Donald Trump.

Regardless of your political views, his campaign to win the Republican nomination and then defeat ‘Crooked Hillary’, was a masterclass in the value of being authentic. Despite his many other flaws, US voters developed an appreciation of his desire to not be anything else, other than himself. On the other hand, Hillary came to reflect everything that was manufactured; a slick careerist unable to say anything for fear of offending anyone. It became a choice between a flawed human and a perfect machine.

People still trust people more than robots and the rest is history. So how can you be more authentic in your communications, and enjoy the benefits of more engagement, without appearing to be faking it?

Be fearless

The courage to offend is often the first step towards authenticity. However, being courageous is not just about being an over-opinionated blowhard and saying whatever pops into your ahead. As Donald Trump will ultimately learn; manners and tone matter too.

To courage to speak your mind, add respect. A simple acknowledgement of the fact you disagree sends a clear message about your intent to ‘agree to disagree’ and builds trust with your audience. Too much modern corporate and political spin is created to avoid any potential blowback from individuals or groups who may not agree with you. The ability to respectfully disagree while maintaining dignity and composure are essential to authenticity.

Avoid platitudes and cliches

Platitudes are statements, especially those with a moral content, that have been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful. Like clichés, they are lazy form of communication that indicate to your listener that you haven’t bothered to create original thought for them. Avoid clichés like the plague.

Actions speak louder than words Speaking coach and author Nick Morgan believes a lot of coming across as authentic is in the non-verbal cues we give people. These non-verbal cues are the second conversation you are having with your audience and can have a huge impact on your ability to engage with people.
“We’re learning that in human beings the second, nonverbal conversation actually starts first, in the instant after an emotion or an impulse fires deep within the brain but before it has been articulated. Indeed, research shows that people’s natural and unstudied gestures are often indicators of what they will think and say next. You might say that words are after-the-fact explanations of why we just gestured as we did.” Nick Morgan (www.publicwords.com)
Morgan identifies four aims (or intents) that give rise to authenticity. The intent to be open with your audience by relaxing, the intent to connect with your audience by keeping their attention, the intent to be passionate about your subject matter and the intent to ‘listen’ to your audience by adjusting to their needs or mood.

READ MORE: How to become an authentic Speaker

Keep It Simple Stupid

Your staff and customers are facing and endless barrage of information meaning simplicity has never been more powerful or necessary. Effective leaders distill complex thoughts and strategies into simple, memorable terms that colleagues and customers can grasp and act upon. If you’re having trouble distilling something to its essence, it may be that you don’t understand it. So get clear and look out for technical jargon and business speak, which add complexity. Say what you mean in as few words as possible. These are of course only the basics but a good starting point to throwing off the shackles of fakery and beginning to build better relationships with your staff, colleagues, customers and partners by becoming a new, realer, you.
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