In today’s world developing and managing your personal brand is critical. Think about the high profile business leaders you know. How would you describe their personal brands? Whether you thought of Oprah, Richard Branson, or Simon Sinek, it is guaranteed that their personal brand is carefully and strategically designed and managed.

Your personal brand is the clear and memorable impression about who you are and what you do. Creating and managing your brand gives you greater control over your career and personal destiny.

Take the quiz below by answering ‘true’ or ‘false’ to each question, to see how well you are strategically managing your brand.

  1. I know what’s important to me, and I can list the values that inform my work and approach.
  2. When colleagues (and those I work with at all levels) think of me, what they think is clear and consistent from person to person.
  3. I know how I create value for my company and/or my clients. They do, too.
  4. My personal “brand message” is targeted and focused.
  5. I put my brand, my unique contribution and/or approach, on everything I do: presentations, reports, meetings, deals, etc.
  6. I look to connect my personal brand to every situation possible (and appropriate).
  7. I consider myself my own CEO and have a vision by which I lead myself.
  8. My emails are consistently opened, read and acted upon.
  9. I focus on growing and nurturing my professional network, both through offline approaches (e.g., associations, speaking, etc.) and online strategies (e.g., LinkedIn, blog/forum participation, etc.).
  10. I look to find what’s distinct about me and what I bring to the table, rather than try to conform to the norm. In essence, I create my own “unique selling proposition” (USP).
  11. I have a personal brand plan, and I execute its strategy and tactics.
  12. I establish appropriate partnerships that will extend my brand and help me get complementary brand value.
  13. I make sure that everything that surrounds my brand (my office, my website, my customer service, etc.) communicates the same brand message.

If you answered true to at least eight statements, you’re well on your way to building a powerful personal brand.

But don’t forget: it’s not only about creating a distinct personality, but also telling the world about it. If you have a bit of work to do on your personal brand, consider these points:

  • Doing great work isn’t enough. People have no way of knowing what great work you are doing unless you let them know. You have to strategically market your value and contributions.
  • Your boss probably won’t market you and your brand. You have to be responsible for your own destiny. To be considered for a new job or a new opportunity you have to be known. Leaving the brand to others is losing control over your brand.
  • Self-promotion isn’t bad – it’s necessary. If you don’t promote unique value it is leaving it to chance that someone else will. Speak up, add value and own your place in the world. If no one knows about your unique value, the world loses out on your experience, expertise and opportunities to engage.

So how is your personal brand? Let me know in the comments.

*Quiz used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Rosalind Cardinal is The Leadership Alchemist and Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, an Australian consultancy, specialising in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organisations. .  Ros’ expertise spans leadership development, organisational culture, team building, change and transition management, organisational behaviour, employee engagement and motivation, strategic direction and management.

For more on developing resilience, visit www.shapingchange.com.au/resources to pick up your complimentary copy of Ros’ report “Thriving in Change” and to sign up for her free audio series “Thriving in the Midst of Change”.

Ros also runs the Shaping Change Inner Circle, an exclusive membership network for driven leaders around the world who are passionate about making a difference, building successful businesses and leveraging the talents and skills of their people.

http://www.shapingchange.com.au/

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https://twitter.com/CardinalRos


Taking centre stage for most is a scary thought but just think of Richard Branson, he was quoted as saying: “A large part of the Virgin Story has been my willingness to be a central character in our publicity. I don’t know how many different outfits I have dressed up in during my business life – probably more than Lawrence Olivier.

You don’t have to dress up as Daisy the cow to get noticed; you just have to be willing to be ‘out there’

In the case of Virgin we see Richard Branson taking centre stage, he’s part of the company’s advertising campaigns, and the company spokesman – he’s out there, and takes his numerous roles very seriously.

Taking control of your company’s PR message and taking centre stage is good PR, it shows you care and above all are passionate about what you do.

Your customers, contacts, and advocates may like you and your company but they are busy and we know how quickly time goes, and how quickly we forget, when we’re busy. Staying front of your customers’ minds is harder than you think, don’t allow yourself to be forgotten, take centre stage and stop your competition from waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces.

Here are three good reasons to consider before you get into character:

1. Get noticed

There is a plethora of choice. From TV channels to brands, the options are endless. Make it easy for people to only consider one option. Taking centre stage and sharing what is good about you, your business and your product through the use of PR is a direct route to repeat business. Don’t be a shrinking violet, equally don’t become a drama queen, find that balance and get noticed for all of the things you do right.

2. People hear your voice

Educating and informing doesn’t have to be boring, maintaining consistency through the creative use of PR can ensure you project your voice as far as the Upper Circle. Remember, if your voice isn’t heard because you’re whispering who will hear it? They’ll think you’ve stopped communicating and your customers will move on in favour of someone that wants to communicate to them.

3. Remind people who you are

Repetition is reputation right? Oh yes it is! The balance here is not to pester, don’t become annoying, you don’t have to take the role of the clown. Focus on relevant communication delivered in a consistent manner.  PR can focus your message and make it relevant, engaging, and even captivating. Ultimately it can make you memorable for all the right reasons.

So when you hear “It’s behind you” you can say “oh no it isn’t” because taking centre stage will ensure your competition isn’t making a fool of you behind your back.

Colette Lowe is the Founder and owner of Chew PR. Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. She is based in Wakefield, England.

Photo credit: slimmer_jimmer


Public relations and social media are central to becoming a well-recognised expert, but the challenge facing many entrepreneurs is figuring out how to make PR work for them.

Every person, brand and organisation has stories to tell that captivate audiences and resonate with people — that’s the very essence of PR. But the trick is to figure out what your story is, how you can share it with others, and how you use it to boost your profile as a thought leader. It’s a challenge, and one that I am very familiar with as an entrepreneur.

Stepping into the world of PR doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and I have narrowed the path to PR and social media success to five simple steps. I call it the Unknown to Expert 5 Star System. It’s a system that I have created from 20 years experience, and one that I can honestly say does work.

By following these five steps, you will be equipped with the tools to boost your profile, become a recognised expert and start opening doors to new opportunities. Like any successful strategy, you only get out what you put in. It takes patience, practice and focus to succeed, but by following the five stages outlined below, success is within reach.

1. Figure out the Why

The key is to be transparent and genuine, and really believe in yourselfFirst things first; in order to become a recognised expert, you need to determine the message you want to convey to the media. The trick is to figure out what your story is and try and see it through the eyes of the media.

Anything from an innovation, new book, or childhood memory has new potential if it’s packaged correctly, but it’s crucial to deliver a story that is compelling enough to hit the newsstands.

Secondly, you need to ask yourself why you are looking to build your profile as an expert. If it’s purely promotional, you will struggle to develop emotional connections with people.

The key is to be transparent and genuine, and really believe in yourself. People will only consider you as an expert if you believe in yourself.

2. Set the Stage

What do you want your audience to hear and remember?After determining what you want to achieve from PR, the next stage is to define your personal brand. Personal branding is central to how people perceive you, so it’s important to pick your niche and stick to it to avoid confusing your audience.

Developing an elevator statement or pitch is an important part of personal branding that clearly explains your role as a thought leader. Not only are they an effective way of making great first impressions, but they can also lead to new business and customers.

Once you’ve figured out how to wow people with your introduction, the next step is to figure out what your key messages are. What do you want your audience to hear and remember? It’s also important to craft yourself a winning biography that sells yourself to your target audience, the media and conference organisers.

Finally, figure out who your target audience is. This will vary depending on your profession, but it’s important to define your audience from the beginning and keep it in mind while you progress through the five stages of the Unknown to Expert 5 Star System.

catriona-pollard-article

3. Turn on the Spotlight

A good tip is to follow up with everyone you meet and keep in touch.At stage three, you’re starting to shine. You’ve done your planning and it’s now time to illuminate your role as an expert and thought leader.

The first step is to create a personal website where you can promote yourself. A great website will not only increase your exposure online, but you will also gain more control over your online identity.

Blogging is another great tool to increase your profile and allow you to connect with your audience in an engaging way. Blogging takes time and effort, so be sure to do your research and consider your audience before taking to the keyboard. The key is to write often, and write well.

Another step to becoming a recognised expert is to network and build relationships with your audiences. Attend functions, connect with local businesses and make yourself known to anyone who’s interested. A good tip is to follow up with everyone you meet and keep in touch.

One of the most effective (and arguably most nerve-wracking) ways to boost your profile is to take to the stage. By raising your profile as a valued speaker for events, you will improve your credibility, create new opportunities and step closer to gaining that expert status. When researching potential speaking opportunities, consider where your target audiences are and what they are interested in.

 4. Use the Media to Shine the Light

Interesting story angles may never see the light of day without a well crafted media releaseBy star 4, your role as an expert will start to take shape. By this stage, you will start to use the media to share your expertise and reach the people that will influence your success.

Approaching journalists can be a daunting task, but the best way to get your story out there is to shape it in a way that’s attractive to the media. Journalists often only pick up stories which they consider to be newsworthy, so it’s worth taking the time to create a great angle. Creating strong relationships with journalists, knowing the publications your pitching to, and sending it to the right inbox is also worthwhile.

Interesting story angles may never see the light of day without a well crafted media release. The key is to keep your target audience in mind, make it newsworthy and concise, and keep it simple.

One of the best ways to catch the media’s interest is to come up with a story angle which is relevant and engaging to their media outlet, but it has to be delivered to the right person at the right time. However you pitch your media release, follow up with the journalist or editor within the first 3-5 days so they keep it front of mind.

TEDx-7

5. Own The Light

your objectives will help you to figure out which portals… will help you to achieve the best resultsThe final stage of the transformation from unknown to expert is to step into the social media spotlight. Social media is a critical step in developing your profile as a thought leader, and it’s an essential tool that allows you to communicate directly with your audience.

Before jumping into the deep end, take a moment to think about your goals and what you want to achieve from social media. Having a goal will help you to determine which platforms will be the most effective for boosting your profile, and to manage your time online.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most popular social media sites, but your objectives will help you to figure out which portals (whether it’s one or all of them) will help you to achieve the best results. The key is to keep it simple and engaging, and to post often. That way, you will stay connected with your followers, keep them interested, and open doors to new opportunities.

So there you have it; you have progressed from unknown to expert in just five steps. Congratulations! However, it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning.

The Unknown to Expert 5 Star System illuminates your path to success, but it’s a path that is ongoing. In fact, it never ends because success is a continuous cycle. Bios, media releases and speaking topics change over time and take a different shape as you evolve as an expert.

But by finishing the Unknown to Expert 5 Star System, you are illuminated and you are truly a known expert.

Featured image: tinto

Pollard_C14-100About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. www.UnknownToExpert.com

Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.

 


Unless you have been stranded on a deserted island for the past few years, you would know that Facebook is like the “Godfather” of social media, with Australians interacting with the platform more than any other site on the Internet. If your business isn’t on Facebook yet, you really are missing out.

Facebook has given the term “marketing” a whole new meaning to business owners. Which other media channel in the world right now can target millions and aim at the exact demographic you wish to have direct communication with?

Whether you are a service or product based business, big or small, businesses are successfully using Facebook for online sales, brand exposure, communicating with new and existing customers, building loyalty and capturing emails to generate leads and converting them into actual sales.

The trick is increasing sales
for your business by increasing the interaction between your brand and customers through your Facebook page – so having users click, like, share and comment regularly.

But, the million dollar question is, how do you do this?

The Basics

  • Social media is a continuous process that requires constant attentionYour FB page must be professionally branded and use the timeline cover image to make it clear what it is you do or offer.
  • Social media is a continuous process that requires constant attention. Think of it as starting a conversation with your customers and midway you go silent. Be committed and consistent every day.
  • You need a healthy number of users opting in to “like” your page. Promote your Facebook page link to all your customers, on your business card, email and website.
  • If you need to gather new “likers” – you can run a simple, low cost paid Facebook campaign where you target users (just make sure they are “likers” you’d LOVE to have as clients and fit the demographic that suits your business).
  • A word of warning – people still regard Facebook as a fun social space where they chat to friends and check out photos. So it’s not just about getting lots of hits or tacky hard sell; it’s about providing relevant and insightful information that actually keeps your customers there and talking.

Content – What, and how much?

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out algorithm updates that have resulted in decreased visibility for business’s organic page posts. It means you really need to spend more time posting great content several times per day to cut through all the other businesses jumping on the bandwagon.

  • spend more time posting great content several times per dayPost 3-4 times per day – sounds like a lot, right? But, around 15% of your fans will see at least one of your posts per day (if even that) so increase your chances of appearing in news feeds by posting more, increasing the chances one post will get a bite.
  • Spread out your posts or schedule them (look into your insights tab to work out when your likers are online the most (morning, late afternoon or evening?)
  • Keep your posts short and sharp – 150-250 characters for optimal engagement
  • videos and You Tube clips have HUGE engagement ratesBy posting amazing content, the chances are it will be commented on, shared and liked many times – videos and You Tube clips have HUGE engagement rates and get great attention
  • Post a healthy mix of helpful information, images and useful resources that your target audience would value. This is a good driver of leads to your website and will have you perceived as trustworthy to buy from.

Paid Facebook Advertisements

With organic reach down, now is the perfect time to experiment with Facebook ads and the new revamped system is easy to use. Paid Facebook ads can appear right in a user’s newsfeed capturing a potential user to take action.

  • You can even zone in on actual suburbs Ensure before you create your advertisement, you know what your goal is – more website visits? More fan engagement? There’s now a guided format to help select your objective.
  • Take advantage of the unique targeting options – make the most of age, gender, relationship status, their workplace and job title. You can even zone in on actual suburbs if you need to attract local customers.
  • Use your audience meter, ensuring it isn’t too broad – advertisements will generally perform better when they are targeted to a few thousand people.
  • Include a clear call to action and enticing headline to encourage users to take your desired action.
  • Go crazy with your images (but remember to choose carefully). You can add up to six images at no extra cost and it’s a real clever way of testing how different images coupled with your advertisement perform
  • Have you got a healthy database of emails? You can now import your contacts (up to 5,000 names at a time) – imagine the possibilities of inviting them to your Facebook page and targeting posts to them.
  • Include a clear call to actionNeed more emails captured? Use software like LeadPages – it’s a powerful way that links with Facebook and allows you to present an offering (usually something for free like an E-Book or how-to-guide) in exchange for an email. Customers sign up and you now have their email to start communicating with them one on one, building a relationship of trust and expertise and then slowly building up to offer your products or service

Finally, as always, you’ve got to test, tweak and measure – always look at your Facebook insights to gauge how popular your posts and advertisements have been and who is actually taking notice – this data is gold to your ongoing efforts and it allows you to quickly see what you’re doing right or wrong – above all – have a little fun with it, put effort in daily, follow the tips above and you’ll be reaping the rewards in a short amount of time.

Featured image: djchuang
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EXCLUSIVE OFFER TO LEADERS IN HEELS READERS:
Danielle is offering a FREE 30min consultation to clarify your strategies and efforts and give your FB page a health check via Skype or a phone consult until 23 December 2014. Get in touch with her directly on [email protected]  or www.creativebuzzdesign.com.au

Adanielle-grantbout Danielle Grant

Danielle Grant is the director of Creative Buzz Design + Marketing based in Sydney.  Danielle is a seasoned marketer, graphic designer and former English high school teacher and has spent the last decade in hospitality, transport and government roles which have developed her design, marketing flair, social media and communication skills.

She has a strong drive to help women in small businesses and entrepreneurs through workshops and 1:1 to re-shape their marketing efforts so it is fuss-free and low-cost. Danielle has helped business owners through the often daunting process of understanding social media and equipping them with the necessary tools to strive for more.


Ok we’ve all done it, sometimes we call it white lies, telling a none truth to protect someone from the truth, however do it once, do it twice, and before you know it you’ve become very good at not telling the truth. And in business, this can be dangerous when building brand trust.

Call me old fashioned but I take an instant dislike to lies, no matter the intention. I was brought up to tell the truth and although I made many feeble attempts as a child to cover the truth they were always seen through by my parents. I also quickly learnt that when I told the truth my parents didn’t get angry, they rationalised with me and reprimanded fairly – they respected my honesty.

As a company it’s vital to tell the truth, anything less could be seen as a distinct lack of respect for every single stakeholder in that business. I’ll go back to the child example; remember when you were younger, say 11 years of age, you thought you could pull the wool over your parents’ eyes no problem, the excuses you could conjure like a magician, you thought your skill far surpassed that of your parents – be honest, you thought your parents were stupid.

What we now know as adults is that our parents knew exactly what was going on, they knew we were lying!

It’s the same if you’re a lying business, your employees and customers will soon realise you’ve been lying and when they do I’d run for the hills because the wrath will surely put you out of business.

To avoid this situation altogether just ditch the fear. The fear of what people will think of you if you are yourself. Be open and transparent in your communication.

It will require focus, nurturing and a dig in at get things done attitude but once you get in to it you will achieve a greater level of understanding, awareness and representation without marketing on lies.

To help you get started here are four essential PR tips that will provide you with a direct route to building your brand:

1. Stick to your key messages

Let people know what it is you specialise in, what it is you are good at. Don’t stray from this, stick to what you know.

2. Involve all staff

From the top to the bottom every member of staff contributes to the success of a business. Share their achievements, good work and recognise that hard work.

3. Engage all forms of communication

Media and all that encompasses is your best ally, engage it online through blogs, on your website, in print through newspapers and magazines, and use it to communicate.

4. Treat the media well

Be friendly, keep your local, regional or trade media informed as a matter of routine. They desperately want your stories and staying in touch means you’ll start to build a good relationship with them.

It’s much harder to market a business on fabricated truth, I know because I’ve worked for a business that did exactly that. Needless to say I didn’t hang around and the truth is no one else did either, not even the customers. It didn’t have to be like that, the business could have been a success if it had only been open and transparent, and above all true to itself.

Colette Lowe
Founder and owner of Chew PR, Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. She is based in Wakefield, England.

photo credit: Steve Wilson via flickr


Just as women update their hairstyle and wardrobe from time to time, as your business grows and develops, your marketing may need a makeover of its own too.

Like so many other business owners, you may have started out several years ago, became too busy, had little or no budget and forgot to keep up with basic marketing efforts.

A simple marketing makeover doesn’t have to be painful on your purseYou may have rushed your branding, slapped together a website a friend built for you overnight and you’ve missed HUGE opportunities from the beginning.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of doing the same thing over again and “hope” for the best. The marketing landscape has rapidly changed and you can no longer afford to stick to the same marketing strategies.

The GOOD NEWS is a simple marketing makeover doesn’t have to be painful on your purse. My clients are proof of this. I am proof of this. Marketing is simply getting and keeping customers that are profitable and needs to be the oxygen in your business EVERY DAY.

The secret is making your business look its best (your brand), making your website and Facebook work and ensuring all your marketing is targeted.

YOUR BRAND/LOGO

Your corporate ‘look’ reflects your businessIf you can’t take an objective look at your brand, get someone to give you their honest opinion and ask:

  • Does your logo look amateurish compared to your competitors?
  • Was it created forever ago and now doesn’t reflect what you are trying to communicate to your core market?
  • Does your business stationery, website, social media platforms and logo all tie in together?
  • Could the text change? The fonts? Could the images be updated?

You may not realise it, but your corporate ‘look’ reflects your business – it is your ‘public face’ and also on what your customers judge you on.

QUICK TIPS

  • Revising your branding should only cost a few hundred dollars (see special offer at the end of the article). It will make a profitable impact for your business and appeal to new customers.
  • Ensure you have templates created so you can use consistent colour palettes and elements from your logo so everything has the same look and feel throughout. It doesn’t have to be flamboyant, just consistent, every time.
  • Resist the urge to create your own logo in publisher – you know the saying “If you pay an expert, you’ll cry once, if you don’t, you’ll cry many times.”

WEBSITE

As websites are one of the FIRST and FASTEST ways a customer will find you, it is important to consider the usability of it. You have to look at your website as your customer would and make it easier for them to do what you really want them to do.

ASK YOURSELF…

  • How often is the content updated?
  • When was the last time you added a news item?
  • How many distracting call to actions do you have (downloads, sign ups, e-books) on the homepage?
  • Have you used clipart from the 90s?
  • Do you have a way of capturing “opt ins” (sites such as www.leadpages.net are terrific for this)
  • Are you using Google Analytics to track what pages your current or potential customers are viewing? (Google Analytics takes just ten minutes to set up)

If your customer can’t determine who you are, or what you are offering in five seconds or less, they WILL look elsewhere. Make it clear and concise.

When it comes to re-building your website, there are hundreds of packages I’ve used for my clients online where you can “do-it-yourself” (try Squarespace, WordPress and Weebly) or contract a company that caters for small to medium sized company websites that can cost up to $500 (not thousands) to have a fully-functioning new website.

FACEBOOK

Think of Facebook as an ongoing focus group“Does my business really need a Facebook page?”
“I need more likes”
“I don’t know how often and what content to put on my Facebook page”

Firstly, the biggest mistake is NOT having a Facebook page – in Australia alone there are 12 million Facebook users and thanks to the added bonus of  promoting your advertisements, you can target your ideal client. Facebook is a powerful business tool and the opportunities are sometimes even better than owning a website.

Wanting more likes won’t convert into customers unless you are offering them something they need.

QUICK TIPS

  • Ensure your Facebook page provides meaningful content that your customer wants to read about
  • If you do plan to pay for advertisements, you can set a daily budget and target ONLY the customer you want. Whe I say target, it means you can pin-point if your ideal target customer is married, has kids, works in the city, has kids and so on.
  • Think of Facebook as an ongoing focus group where those who “like” your page are there to learn about you and what you have to offer. And the best part of this? It is FREE!
  • Consider running promotions, ask for feedback and offer incentives for your likers “sharing” content

 TARGETED MARKETING

It should be common sense by now, but business owners are still marketing too generally and to everyone and anyone. You may be wasting your time and hard-earned money.

QUICK TIPS

  • Find out who the ideal person you want as a customer – how old are they? Are they male or female? Where do they live? Do they have children? What are their interests?
  • What problems can YOU solve for them?
  • Once you figure out who your ideal customer is, target THEM and ONLY THEM and turn them into a profitable customer
  • It could take up to two hours to sit down and answer a series of profile questions on your “ideal client” – but believe me, it will be worth it

So, if it’s a basic, no-fuss marketing makeover that you need, remember it doesn’t have to cost the earth and the process can begin in small steps (think of a nip and tuck, and NOT invasive surgery!) I guarantee it will offer an opportunity to jump ahead of your competitors and appeal to your current and future customers to create immediate profitability.

Featured image: UGArdener
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DG HEADSHOTAbout Danielle Grant

Danielle Grant is the director of Creative Buzz Design + Marketing based in Sydney.  Danielle is a seasoned marketer, graphic designer and former English high school teacher and has spent the last decade in hospitality, transport and government roles which have developed her design, marketing flair, communication skills.

She has a strong drive to help women in small businesses and entrepreneurs through workshops and 1:1 to re-shape their marketing efforts so it is fuss-free and low-cost. Danielle has helped business owners through the often daunting process of changing their business image to suit what they are offering and their passion, and in doing so often totally re-energises their confidence to perform.

Danielle is offering two exclusive offers until August 31st, 2014.

OFFER 1: FREE 30 minute consultation how quickly and effortlessly a marketing makeover could work for your business (And we won’t sell you a thing – that’s a promise!) Feel free to pick her brains about your current marketing activities and she can help you identify what you may need to work on.

OFFER 2: BEST VALUE BRANDING PACKAGE OFFER FOR AUGUST ONLY:

1. Refreshed and unique logo design for your business

2. UNLIMITED Revisions

3. Designed within 7 days

4. FREE Business Card Design + letterhead included.

6. Artwork provided to you in different file formats and OWNED BY YOU!

There are ONLY 100 of these to give away for a tiny investment during the month of August.

We love chatting and coffee. Get in touch [email protected] or www.creativebuzzdesign.com.au

If you want to continue receiving free, practical solutions for your marketing efforts, look me up on Facebook (creativebuzzdesignmarketing)