Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Australia Looks Forward to the Asian Century

The long-awaited Australia in the Asian Century White Paper was published by the Australian Government last month with a goal to define and drive prosperity and population growth in partnership with surrounding Asian countries.
A number of factors are driving Australia's alignment with Asia. Besides the obvious geographical proximity, Asia is set to become the world's largest producer and consumer of goods and services. With a growing middle class which will soon be the largest in the world, Asia will continue to require the natural resources found in Australia like iron ore, coal and liquid natural gas (LNG).
Shifting demographics
Historically, Australia has had strong ties with Europe. Migration programs from European countries after World War II defined the demographics for the latter half of the 20th century. There's been an increasingly large shift in migration with 25 percent of Australia's current migrant population born in Asia.
The migration program for 2011-2012 saw seven of the top 10 countries contributing to Australian migration come from Asia including India, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Korea, and Vietnam. The largest percentage of new migrants, 23 percent, comes from the Indian sub-continent followed by 18.3 percent from the northern part of Asia.
Large Asian student contingent in Australia
Asia currently provides the majority of international students to Australia every year. More than 423,000 Asian students studying in Australia contribute billions of dollars to the local economy. The Australian government is working to keep as many of those highly-educated graduates to stay in the country by improving post-study work rights for students with a bachelor degree or a PHD. Students with engineering, geosciences and math degrees are in high demand in Australia.
Grants for Australian students to study in Asia
But the Asian century is not a one-way street. Australia has announced a $37 million AsiaBound grants program for more than 10,000 Australian students to study in Asia. The grants are valued at $2,000 to $5,000 for short-term exchange study. Other grants of $1,000 are being provided for intensive language training to help students preparing to study in Asia. The idea behind the grant program is to help Australian students establish networks with Asian students which will hopefully turn into lifelong professional relationships.
More Australians enjoying travel to Asia
A growing number of Australians are finding Asia to be the ideal place to holiday. In 2011, 3.5 million Australians travelled to Asia; most of the trips were to Southeast Asia. By 1995, almost 40 percent of Australians travelled to Asian countries. In 1998, Indonesia eclipsed both the United Kingdom and the United States as a tourist destination. It's no wonder; it's faster to get to Indonesia from Perth than to travel to the Eastern states of Australia.
Australia in the Asian Century will provide broader and deeper relationships in the Asian region creating a transformative period in history. Closer educational, cultural and personal relationships with Asia will benefit the entire nation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting Back to Basics With Offline Networking

In many ways, the Internet is the networking arena for the 21st century. From websites to social media, email marketing and pay per click, it seems the place for marketing is on the net. At the heart of the online campaign is the simple tweet or email. But if companies think they can get away with just networking online they are making quite a drastic mistake. For many businesses they are seduced by the web and placed in a false sense of security. Without a powerful offline networking approach - campaigns are likely to just collapse. I think it is time to get back to basics and keep our offline networking tools well-tuned too. These tools are advancing too - and one of those is business card printing.
Plastic business cards, one of the most cost effective tools, can enhance your brand, contacts, communications, and referrals and lead to the next prospective sale months after meeting your lead. And where a tweet has a shelf life of about ten minutes or less, that's definitely something to think about.
Getting back to basics
There is always a need for face to face contacts; business to business negotiations and referrals, and especially directly with the prospective customer. No email or tweet can take the place of the trust initiated by human contact. In order for an organisation or individual to promote themselves, their brand or products and services, there will always be a need for human contact. So what is the key to enhancing your brand offline and generating the next lead? I believe one of the most powerful tools in the hands of today's businessmen is so easily taken for granted - the simple plastic business card.
Why Plastic business cards?
They have been around for a long time. They allow the businessman to make a pitch and leave essential contact information behind with a prospective client, thus ensuring all the effort he has made does not disappear as soon as he leaves the building. When networking, the manager knows he can leave all the relevant information he needs with a new contact by offering his professionally made brand tool.
The point is more about how long that card will survive. Cardboard business cards tend to get bent and deteriorate. Very soon they will be lying at the bottom of a waste paper basket. A plastic business card is more durable. It will not bend or tear (unless you go out of your way to really snap it) and, with the advancement in business card printing, designs can be really attractive and modern - which means it is likely to remain in the memory for longer and remain in a place where it can be seen for a greater period.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Standing Out in Today's Online Media World

Evolving technology is radically changing the way goods and services are sold. As a result, market and buyer preferences are changing how we communicate and gather information. In order to continue to grow, companies and organizations must leverage and embrace technology. Here are some effective marketing strategies to leverage your company in today's digital world.
Search engine marketing
When a person searches for a product or service that you provide, you want your website site to be at the top of the search pages. This can be achieved through search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization increases the visibility and ranking of your website on major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. In essence, a website can be designed and positioned to be found on the first page of search engines for industry key words without paying for position.
This can be achieved by properly coding your website, developing internal links and submitting all the pages within your site to search engines and directories. The websites that are successful can enjoy a flow of free leads and traffic generated from these natural searches.
Online video
Another tool to help with your optimization and hold visitors attention is video. People tend to remember 70 percent of what they see and hear, opposed to 20 percent of what they read. Use of video on your website provides a controlled, interactive method of visual communication to demonstrate your company mission, proposition, product and service. Videos placed on sites like YouTube, Facebook and other video sites helps you distribute your content and create strong inbound links back to your website.
Good quality videos don't have to cost a lot to be effective. Promotional videos should last two to three minutes and concentrate on the benefits and unique features of your product or service. Videos should tell a good story, follow a logical path and be targeted to the audience.
Content management software
People use the Web to gather information; therefore you want your site to be an information resource. In today's competitive market, a well managed site can make all the difference. Your website needs to be fresh, timely, relevant and accurate if it is going to fully engage its audience.
As technology continues to advance, information technology needs increase. You can either spend a lot of money hiring additional IT staff or use an effective content management system to help you manage your Web content. A content management platform provides average business users the ability to build and maintain complex websites without any programming skills.
In today's fast paced information society, it's essential and cost effective to give website ownership and management of content to individuals and departments. Business needs change daily and being able to react quickly and effectively to opportunities is vital.
Establish yourself as a credible resource
Create search engine friendly public relations and marketing materials. Include hyperlinks and key phrases in your press releases that link back to your website. When these releases are posted on news sites, it provides another link to drive people to your website and another source the search engines will detect related to your company.
When a potential customer types in "Widgets in Charlotte" your company website along with other websites that have promoted your successes will come up in their search. It's great when your potential customers see your company listed favorably in the media when they conduct a search for your product or service.
Customer Reviews
One of the fastest growing areas for growing and differentiating your business are customer reviews. Over 75 percent of consumers say that online reviews have impacted their buying decision. Google, Yelp and other sites are making it difficult to compromise the system by requiring reviewers to identify themselves. This is good news because companies can't pay a service to post bogus reviews and it is more difficult for your competition to place fake bad reviews about your company. The opportunity to organically and proactively build good reviews is better than ever. A multi-phased campaign with email, review pages and QR codes can help you easily encourage your raving fans to tell their positive stories to the world!
Technology will continue to play a bigger role in marketing. Adapting and embracing technology will help your marketing efforts be more effective in today's digital world.