As a self-help junkie, setting up a digital marketing agency 4 years ago saw me swimming in a 50m pool of business books and seminars. One of the big stand outs in the chlorine packed body of information was the saying ‘Ready-Fire-Aim’. The thought behind R.F.A is that a lot of good stuff doesn’t happen because people wait to get everything perfect before they ‘shoot’. So for someone who sits seriously in the camp of ‘hurry up’ it was liberating to have my impatience (to get amongst it already) validated.

So it comes from a true lover of ‘I want it yesterday’ that says ‘Whooooa fella’ you just may not be ready to do advertising or content yet. That’s right, you may not be ready to do the business equivalent of standing at Flinders St Station shouting to the morning commuters, “I’m here, I’m gorgeous and here’s why”. Why? Because if you haven’t prepared properly, people in suits are going to look at the chewing gum-laden footpath and walk straight past you, or worse, throw their empty latte cups at your head.

Blasting out advertising and content without being ready is achingly expensive and leads to bad results.

Before you put one tiny toe into advertising and content I earnestly encourage you to:


1. Make sure you have a very clear idea of the niche your business is selling its products and services to.

Be armed with an intimate knowledge of your customer’s hopes, dreams, fears and what they eat for breakfast.


2. Be able to sum up in a sentence what you stand for as a brand.

This isn’t a – kind of a sort of a thing – and its not a statement of what you do. It’s who you are authentically as a business, what differentiates you from competitors and it needs to be powerful, insightful and true.

Next – and I say next, because points 3-6 can’t be done until you have given 1 and 2 a good crack. It is very difficult to make your sales tools into powerful converting machines without knowing clearly who you are, why you are great and who you’re telling your greatness to. Many a tear has been shed over an ineffective website. Save yourself the tissues by doing the hard stuff upfront.

3. Make your website a real corker.

It doesn’t have to be fancy and it definitely doesn’t have to be complex but it does need to be modern, easy to use and uncomplicated. Best practice on the home page is to have one brand positioning upfront and three key messages. No more.

Website design doesn’t stand still. Most need to be refreshed every 5 years, possibly sooner.


4. Have up to date branding.

Like your webbie, it needs to be refreshed at year five.


5. Ensure all your sales collateral is customer benefit lead.

Make it easy on the eye and easy to absorb and read.


6. The final and big one : have your SEO services and Adwords sorted.

The easiest sales are made when people are ready to buy. If people are Googling for your service and you don’t come up on the first page, you are dead to them.

Once you’ve done all this, the uplift in business might be enough so you don’t have to catch an early morning train into the city, milk crate in hand.

Or if like me you like to get amongst it immediately, relax in the knowledge that you are wearing a ‘to die for’ outfit, that you are at your most hilarious and interesting best and enter the advertising and content party with confidence and panache.


Image via Flicker CC/belindasmilne