Is social media your media?

Monday, December 21, 2009

You may remember, from your redline magazine, that profit doesn't come from sales, it comes from customers. And selling more to existing customers is easier (and cheaper) than finding and selling to new ones.

There are a number of ways to do this and you don't have to pick just one communication channel. Often using more than one channel will allow the advantages of one to compensate for the disadvantages of the other. Plus, by mixing your methods you can reach different target audiences within your market.

3 News reported at the weekend that more independent businesses are venturing into 'social media' to build relationships with customers. Social media is everywhere and no doubt you've heard of Facebook and Twitter, you may even use it at home - or your kids do. But how does it help your business and should it replace or compliment other advertising media?

Take it from us, direct mail and online can work well together - redline magazine and redline online (a social media tool) compliment each other perfectly and given their success we couldn't imagine one without the other.

In issue 8 of redline magazine we will be giving you some tips to get you started, to help you understand and decide if social media is for you. But, to help us keep it relevant, let us know what your social media questions are, tell us if your business has tried to use it and what response you've had.
Like many of you we are busy, busy, busy as we head towards the Christmas break. We've been scouting around for content for the next issue of redline™ magazine (out in March - subscribe today!) and sourcing interesting posts for redline™ online.

Of course, if there's anything you would like to hear about in the magazine or online then share your comments with us and we’ll look into it. It's always great to get your feedback and so many of you have shared your thoughts with us already. It helps us get to know you better and stay relevant.
redline™ online will be updated regularly until Christmas, at which point we will take a breather and we will be back the week of 6 January. So don’t forget about us, drop by in the New Year.

You will also notice a change in the New Year, Nick Thompson and Kate Thirkell will be contributing to redline™, both are Communications Specialists for New Zealand Post's Business Markets team. I'm heading off on maternity leave but I'll be back around August and will look forward to catching up with you then. No doubt I will be checking in from time to time to see what you're all saying about redline™ - my other baby!

Happy holidays!
For many businesses, retailers and e-tailers in particular, Christmas is the busiest time of the year. If you haven't prepared yourself already, here's how you can weather the storm:
  • Try not to get bamboozled by the rush - prepare yourself mentally for a busy time.
  • Plan ahead - you know Christmas is coming, so there's no excuse for not being organised.
  • Ease your stress - take on extra staff and extend your opening times.
  • Contact your customers - send customers a personalised greetings card. Go one step further, personalise your postage and overprint your envelopes with your company name or logo.
  • Smile - it makes all the difference to your customers, and makes you feel good too!

Many companies go quiet after the Christmas burst. You might be ready to switch off but, instead, consider taking advantage of the calm:

  • Use the down time wisely - then, you won't have to play 'catch-up' when your business is fully operational again.
  • Stay visible - don’t disappear over the holidays. Open with fewer staff and reduced hours. Use your website as your shop window and to take orders while you're away.
  • Create a holiday notice board - so staff can easily pass on and pick up messages from each other.
  • Put your mail on hold - keep your mail safe by putting it on hold.
  • Plan for the year ahead - get yourself and your business organised for the next 12 months and get on top of the company house-keeping.

Will you be busy this Christmas or is your business shutting down? What tips do you have to stay on top of the silly season? Share them here.

Stay in tune with customer behaviour

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

According to a study by The Nielsen Company*, 65% of Kiwis are:

  • eating less fast food and takeaway meals,
  • using less power, gas and electricity,
  • buying fewer new clothes,
  • using their cars less, and,
  • switching to cheaper grocery brands.

The survey suggests that New Zealanders plan to keep their spending under control even when economic conditions improve.

With this in mind, what can you do?

Know what this means for you - a drop in consumer spending could mean lower profits. And you may find that your customers want to negotiate on price or want 'cheaper' alternatives.

Give great customer service - this is easy to do and often doesn't cost anything. Importantly, your customers will remember you for it.

Offer incentives - a free gift, a discount voucher or a two-for-one offer will encourage your customers to come back to you when they do want to spend money.

Encourage referrals - word of mouth is the best form of advertising, ask your customers to recommend you and reward them for introducing new business.

Provide a lay-by-option - it may seem a bit dated but you're more likely to make a sale if you allow customers to pay over time for products they can't afford 'now' - and as there's no credit, there's no risk to you.

Sell online - consumers are cutting back on using their cars, so make sure they can still buy your goods via your website.

Comment and tell us how you're dealing with changes in customer spending behaviour.

*The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey, April 2009

Your feedback on our new Trade Me page was great, it helped us design a solution that met your needs. On the back of that success we would appreciate your feedback on this.

We have a number of ParcelPost™ Postage Included Bags for Standard Post™, FastPost™ and Tracked services. This results in 18 different products, so if you tend to stock up you have to purchase a lot of bags to cover all the possible sending options.

So we thought we might try and make it simpler for you but before we do we would like your feedback on this idea.

We are thinking of replacing the packaging for these separate products with one untracked Standard Post™ Postage Included Bag in various sizes, with an upgrade option. Then, if you have additional sending needs, all you need to do is upgrade your item to Tracked or FastPost™ by buying and applying a ticket to the bag. Simple.

It won't cost you any more than the current service, it's an extra 50c for a FastPost™ service or an additional $1.00 for a Tracked service. This comes with some added good news, the maximum weight limit across the entire product range would be increased to 3kgs!

Tell us what you think by commenting on this article. Tell us if it’s a 'good idea' or a 'bad idea' and your reasons why, we want you to be happy with the result. Thanks!

Stay the course for success

Monday, November 30, 2009

With the recession tailing off and the holidays fast approaching, you might want to take your foot off the pedal. DON’T. Even if your business is booming and you think you deserve a rest, you have to keep the momentum going if you want your business to continue to succeed.

Because you’re busy enough this season, we will be updating redline™ online every week with tips to help you:

Let us know what you think and learn from other like-minded businesses, simply comment on each article and give us your feedback.

For more great advice subscribe to receive redline™ magazine in the post. The latest issue is out now.

In the meantime, check out our new competitions and offers, read our helpful articles and find out how you can keep the momentum going at this time of year.

Here are some great tips to help you succeed this season.

Maintain the good business practices you’ve already put into place.
If you’ve put new systems in place lately (perhaps you’ve asked staff to amend address details when they contact customers or maybe you’ve stepped up a gear on giving great customer service), it’s now up to you to ensure that these continue to run smoothly.

You made changes for a reason so, don’t let it all go to waste.

Assess every aspect of your business.
It’s easy to focus on the parts of your business that cry out for your attention but try not to overlook all the other areas. Check you’re happy with how all of your business is operating.

Your business can only be successful if all the cogs are turning together.

Update your business plan and refresh your marketing.
Revisit your business plan and update it if necessary. It’s likely that today’s business environment is different from when you launched your company – it’s different from even six months ago!

And if you started without a business plan, it’s never too late to write one, you’ll find it invaluable.

Make sure you’re promoting your company to the right people. Take a look at how using addressed, direct mail can help you communicate more effectively with your customers. Don’t forget your website – is it working? And what about your sales literature – in need of an overhaul?

Review all your marketing activity, refresh, polish and buff as you go.

Talk to your customers and your staff regularly.
What your customers want today may not be what they want tomorrow. Keep up with changing attitudes and new trends. Stay in touch with your customers and ask them what they want.

Also, you need your staff and your staff needs you. Look after your team, talk to them and listen to them. Encourage feedback and work together to make your business successful.

Give your team a motivational boost, take them out, do something as a group and be sure to reward outstanding achievements and individual success.

Smarten up, first impressions count.
You may have pulled your business practices into line but how do you look? Ask yourself what first impressions your company radiates when customers walk in, ring or visit your website.

It’s maybe time to tidy up your offices, answer the telephone with a smile and improve your website.

Network like never before.
Get some stimulation from others – network. Join a business forum and go to all the relevant seminars and events you can. Talk to people and hand out those business cards.

Set time aside to give your business the TLC it needs.
If you think you’re too busy to give your business the on-going TLC it needs, set time aside. If you are heading into a quiet period, use this time wisely. Otherwise, draw up a task list and work through it whenever you get the chance.
Win The E-Myth Revisited by business consultant guru Michael E Gerber.
We have five copies to give away*. Packed with easy-to-follow principles for success, this is essential reading for everyone in business.

*Terms and conditions apply.

Win a professionally designed ad for your business plus space for it in the next issue of redline magazine*.
Use this ad to promote your business - include it on the bills and statements you send out to your customers. A good-looking ad will spice up those invoices and help you sell your products.

*Terms and conditions apply.

Win one of ten KiwiStamp™ first day covers.
To mark the launch of the KiwiStamp™ postage stamp, we are giving away 10, highly collectable KiwiStamp™ first day covers*.

*Terms and conditions apply.

Win the chance to send a parcel via International Economy Courier™ for FREE
So you can discover for yourself just how good our International Economy Courier™ service is, we’re offering to send five parcels for FREE*.

*Terms and conditions apply.

Win one of five packs of ParcelPost™ Postage Included Bags.
Our ‘Stuff it’ campaign has proved successful so we’re giving away five packs of ten ParcelPost™ Postage Included Bags* – each worth $50.00 (RRP)!

*Terms and conditions apply
We have some great offers for you, as featured in the redline™ magazine ‘Grow with Mail’ toolkit. Subscribe today if you didn’t get a copy.

Start smart with your own stamps
Personalise your postage and innovatively promote your business - or a special event - by creating your own stamps. You simply upload your chosen image, customise your layout and then place your order. Your stamps will be delivered to you, gummed or self-adhesive, whichever you prefer.

Offer: Create your own stamps online before 31 December 2009 and you won’t pay any set-up fee*. That’s a saving of $199.90!

*Terms and conditions apply.

Step up with free envelope overprinting
Express your brand or a special message to your customers on a postage included envelope. This is a great, simple way for you to connect with customers. And because the envelopes include postage, you can help keep a lid on costs.

Offer: Call us on 0800 276 7848 to order your paper postage included envelopes before 31 January 2010 and receive the overprinting for free*!

*Minimum order one box. Discounts for volume. Range of envelope sizes available. Free delivery with New Zealand. Standard New Zealand Post terms and conditions apply.

Free Marketing advice – for that extra boost!
If you’re keen to get the best direct marketing advice – you can’t go past our experts. We can help you understand how direct mail can work for you – and how to use it for maximum results. We can help you with setting up and maintaining a database, and we can give you all the techniques to take your direct mail to a whole new level

*Terms and conditions apply.
Can you believe that it’s mid-November already? You may be wondering where the year went. But don’t rest up yet, you need to stay business and customer focused until the end.

If you need a boost of enthusiasm to stay on track make sure you’re registered to receive the next issue of redline™ magazine, out in two weeks time and free to your business.

In this coming edition we discuss how you can maintain momentum and keep your company on an even keel this Christmas (speaking of which, remember to keep your eye on the Christmas sending dates, the first deadline is imminent).

Plus, keep visiting us here, at redline™ online, where you can find the latest redline™ articles. Remember to add your comments under each one - we like to receive your feedback. In the case of our Trade Me and tracking tool articles, your thoughts helped shape services that are designed to make life easier for your business.

Later this week we will provide you with some tips on how to stay customer focused so come back soon and please add your own thoughts.

Stuff it. ParcelPost™ just got better!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Did you see we removed the 70mm thickness restriction from our ParcelPost™ Postage Included Bags? So many of you commented and said this was a great step to make ParcelPost™ easier.

Now there’s even more good news – we’re having an online sale on all ParcelPost™ products! We are offering 10% off ParcelPost™ Postage Included Bags (Tracked and Untracked) and ParcelPost™ Untracked tickets. Plus there’s a 5% discount on ParcelPost™ Tracked tickets.

There’s really no reason to delay, stock up now!

We look forward to your feedback, please comment on this article and tell us what you think.
You’re an independent business owner, living and breathing the highs and lows of your market day to day. You are right in the action so you know what works and what doesn’t. You may have started out with one great idea, taken the opportunity to develop it and built your business on the back of it. You’re an entrepreneur.

So it won’t surprise you that some of the best ideas come from the people working closest to the problem. But have you considered that your staff might have the answer to a problem affecting your business?

We are encouraging creativity and entrepreneurialism in business, and as a supporter of the international GEW programme we are inviting you to Unleash! It.

Register on the Unleash! It website, take a moment to find out what you need to do and invite your staff to participate by 16 November.

Give your business and employees a boost – participators will be recognised.

Unleash! It today. Plus, tell us a bit about yourself, the birth of your business and your ideas for the future, here at redline™ online.
There is now less than one week left for you to be in to win free advertising in the next issue of redline™ magazine, all you have to do is tell us what you think of redline™.

You also have only a short time to enter the draw to win Seth Godin’s business book, ‘Tribes’, so don’t delay.

Plus, if you are interested in exporting, you must be quick to get your hands on a free 2009 Export and Trade Handbook – stocks are limited!

Competition details can be found here.

We are working on some great prizes for November’s edition of redline™ magazine – comment on this article and tell us what would interest your business most.

If your business doesn’t receive our magazine, you can subscribe and we will send you a copy. Of course you can also find the latest redline™ news here, at redline™ online.
Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the Trade Me users page last month. Your comments were invaluable and we’ve made a bunch of changes as a result.

You said we should reduce the amount of New Zealand Post jargon and terminology we use, give real life examples of what items fit best in certain packages, and provide more guidance as to what sending options are best. You also said you didn’t know the page even existed!

As a result, we’ve added a Google gadget which allows you to get estimates on the cost of sending your parcels within New Zealand. We’ve also created a clearer path to buy online, track your items and added a collection of helpful links to help you locate packaging and addressing information.

Other feedback you gave us was around the cost of sending. Did you know you could be eligible for savings and discounts if you open a business account?

Lastly, you said that this page isn’t visible enough on our site. We agree and we are working on this.

Check out the changes on today. Feedback is still welcome as we are committed to continuing to improve the pages so they are more relevant to you.

Get creative when sending out the bills

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spice up your customer invoices or statements - use the blank space at the bottom of your bill, the reverse side or around the edges to promote your company.

Use colour and imagery to:
  • market new products,
  • attach samples,
  • ask for ‘from the heart’ feedback,
  • include discount vouchers, and
  • provide a facility for your customers to let you know if their details change.
Encourage your customers to respond immediately - include a FreePost™ envelope every time. FreePost™ is like a freephone number: you only pay when you receive responses in your New Zealand Post PO Box or Private Bag.

Reinforce your brand and bring your envelopes to life with personalised stamps or envelope overprinting.

We're really keen to hear your thoughts – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

Export with confidence

Friday, September 25, 2009

If you’re thinking of exporting your products, do your homework first.
  • Research the market – find out about the competition and if there’s demand for your product?
  • Develop an export plan – to work through all the aspects of exporting and to help limit risk.
  • Find out what you need – find out what paperwork you need, what duties apply and if you need a customs export entry – which typically applies if you’re shipping goods worth over $1,000.
  • Think about distribution – how you are going to ship your products overseas – courier service, international post or freight?
  • Get exchange rate advice – find out how fluctuations in exchange rates can affect profitability and pricing.
  • Ask for help – ask the officials and ask other exporters for help and advice and collect as much information as possible, this could be the key to your success.

Useful contacts

Share your export tips – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

Give your business confidence a boost

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here’s how:
  • take a break from the negative media coverage,
  • remember why you started your business,
  • remember how passionate you were,
  • think ahead,
  • work out what it will take to get your company where you want it, and
  • go for it.

We're really keen to hear your thoughts – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

KiwiStamp has launched today and redline™ readers are amongst the first to be told.

The KiwiStamp is an innovative non-denominated stamp with a can-do, Kiwi attitude.
It gives your business financial security, ease and convenience as each stamp will always be worth the required postage of a Standard Post medium domestic letter.

They are easy to understand and simple to use. For more information on how to use them have a look at our quick reference table – simple. Get yours today.

Inspirational and entertaining, the KiwiStamp designs reflect distinct aspects of New Zealand life.

We hope we have covered off any questions you might have.

Let us know what your business thinks of the new stamp. If you comment before 30 October 2009 you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card. Just don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Some conditions apply. See here for full details.

KiwiStamp terms and conditions.

Give feedback on our Trade Me page

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Did you know at New Zealand Post we have a dedicated Trade Me page on our website? It links to the tools that can help you decide how best to send your items.

We think it’s time this page had a new look, so it gives you all the information you need and makes sending your items as easy as possible for your business. That way you can concentrate on your business and leave the sending to us.

So, check out the Trade Me page and tell us:
  • What content is relevant and useful?
  • What links are useful?
  • What information you need but couldn’t find.
Some improvements we are thinking about:
  • A link to our Google rate finder gadget, where you can select from some commonly sent items (CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, etc), to quickly get the rate estimates you need for your auction.
  • A focus specifically on our parcel services, clearly explaining the benefits of each option.
  • Making the path to purchase more direct, so you can order what you need online and get it delivered to your door.
And if you comment before 30 October 2009 you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card. Just don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Some conditions apply. See here for full details. Thanks!

Play to win

Friday, August 28, 2009

Many companies only ‘play to win’ when times are good. When things get tough they ‘play not to lose’, but treading water in a recession isn’t usually good enough and businesses can go under.

Playing to win means you have to be bold, confident and positive. Here’s how:
  • view the current financial climate as a time of opportunity,
  • be pro-active, take a bit of risk,
  • keep an eye on your competitors and make sure your company shines out,
  • polish up your product offerings,
  • ‘wow’ your customers with your attitude, your understanding of their needs and your service,
  • keep your staff upbeat and motivated,
  • keep up the momentum and continue to do everything you can to make your business grow.
We're really keen to hear your thoughts – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

Invest in your company

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cutting costs in a downturn is sensible but don’t get carried away. If you cut budgets and scale back too much – on staff, marketing, team building or networking – you could jeopardise the growth of your company and find yourself in trouble when things start to pick up again.

Remember the recession is real but it won’t last forever so stripping your business back to the bone is only a short term solution.

Instead, think about the road ahead:
  • spend your money wisely,
  • maximise every opportunity where you have to spend,
  • make sure you get ‘value’ for your money – don’t just go for the ‘cheaper’ alternative,
  • adopt the buying for ‘necessity’ rather than ‘luxury’ approach,
  • be vigilant but DON’T put the growth of your company on hold for the sake of a small saving.

Tomorrow: play to win.

We're really keen to hear your thoughts – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

Keep your customers coming back. A satisfied customer who comes back again and again is one of the most vital assets of any smart business. You know yourself if a company’s products and services continue to meet your needs you will remain a customer. But needs change.

In a recession buying habits and decision making criteria alter. People become more cost-conscious and their main motivation for buying becomes ‘necessity’ rather than ‘luxury’ - even for the wealthy. They also go for ‘safe’, ‘low-risk’ options.

There’s a great marketing opportunity here:
  • analyse your sales figures, find out what’s selling and what’s not,
  • reposition your products and services as ‘necessary’,
  • offer ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’ options, and
  • promote the ’value’ and ‘affordability’ of your goods.

And if you contact your customers and ask them what they want you’re half way to bringing your business in line with the current financial climate.

Tomorrow: spend wisely but don’t stop investing in your company.

We're really keen to hear your thoughts – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

Value your customers

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Profit comes from customers, not sales. And it’s easier (and cheaper, by four to seven times) to sell more to existing customers than advertising and selling to new ones. (Source: The Find ‘Em Keep ‘Em Toolkit by Phil Slater.)

Release this profit potential:
  • make your customers feel valued,
  • recognise them as individuals,
  • understand the kinds of products they want and,
  • give them a personal service.
Talk to your customers. Go through your database and get in touch with each and every one of them. Ask them what they like about your service, send them information about new products, give them a discount voucher or thank them for their recent purchase.

Your communication must be polite, personal and relevant. And always include a facility for your customers to update their contact details. Correct addressing is essential to keeping your database clean.

Tomorrow: realise the marketing potential of a recession.

We're really keen to hear your thoughts – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

Raring to grow

Monday, August 24, 2009

There’s an economic crisis going on out there but you want to push your business forward.

Each day this week we will post information to help you nurture your business and make it grow. We will look at how to:
We're really keen to hear your thoughts – comment and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

New redline™ competitions

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Win a $1000 Prezzy Card

Give us your opinion by commenting on a redline article, and go in the draw to win a $1,000 Prezzy Card*. We want to hear it all - the good and the bad of running an independent business, so the more you comment, the more chance you have of winning. You’ll go into the draw time EVERY time you submit a comment.

Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment, so we can let you know if you are the winner.

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.

Win FREE advertising space for your business in our next issue*

Ray Simms of Labtec Ltd gave us this feedback and won advertising for his business in issue 6 of redline™ magazine. He said:

“redline™ is a quick easy read that quickly gets to the heart of the matter. It covers topics of interest to most SMEs and gets the inspiration flowing again after a hard week. I know I’m a particularly sad case but it’s perfect weekend reading material for me.”

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 23 October 2009.

Win 1 of 5 copies of Tribes*, Seth Godin’s latest business book

Seth Godin has authored ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, and changed the way people think about marketing, change and work.

Read a review of his latest book below, or if you want to catch more of Seth check out his blog.

Business book review:
Tribes – the latest book by Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur and agent of change – is short, small and succinctly put together. It argues that leadership is the best marketing tactic for any organisation whether it’s a big corporation, a small company, or a lone individual simply looking for a job.

Affordable and easy to read, Tribes is full of common sense ideas (you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them yourself) and modern proverbs, such as: ‘…it's clearly more fun to make the rules than to follow them, and for the first time, it's also profitable, powerful, and productive to do just that’.

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 23 October 2009.

Grab yourself a copy of the 2009 Export & Trade Handbook*

Be quick, we have just a few left!

*Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 23 October 2009.

New mobile Track and Trace

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Running a business is time consuming. We know that you are constantly on the move and don’t always have access to your pc to search for information immediately.

That’s why we are trialling a mobile site for one of your favourite tools – Track and Trace. Go to using your mobile phone to test our beta service before it goes live.

We're really keen to hear your feedback. Let us know how well this tool worked for you - it would help if you could include the make and model of your mobile phone.
Tell us what you think of this new tool by commenting on this article and you’ll be in to win a $1000 Prezzy Card*. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the space provided, before you submit your comment. Thanks!

Terms and conditions apply. Competition closes 30 October 2009.
From today, the 70mm thickness restriction on ParcelPost™ Postage Included Envelopes is removed, allowing you to send bulky items through the post.
As long as your item fits in the envelope and is under the weight restriction you can send anything you like.*

*Standard New Zealand Post terms and conditions apply.

Subscribe for your free redline™ magazine

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Issue 6 of redline™ magazine will be in the post from 20 August so subscribe today to make sure your business receives its free copy.

redline™ is designed to give independent businesses relevant information to make life easier. If you enjoy reading redline™ make sure you recommend us to other businesses.

Subscribe now.

Our redline™ competition winners

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A big thank you to businesses that entered our competition and congratulations to our winners!

There is still time to get a free New Zealand Export and Trade Handbook 2009* so register for your copy today.

The four competitions - 'Feedback', 'Prezzy Card', 'Business Stripped Bare' and 'Having the right conversation – An introductory course in effective marketing' were all very popular. Watch this space and look out for the next edition of redline™ magazine for future competitions – we are working on some great new offers for you.

If you don’t currently receive redline™ magazine in the post subscribe today. Or add us as a favourite on your internet browser to remind you to pop back to redline™ online soon.

* While stocks last. Terms and conditions apply.

Come and see us at Bizzone’s Auckland Business Expo between 27 and 29 May 2009 where we will be demonstrating our latest business solution, MailBase™. Find us at stand 256a and 256d, located in Hall 2 (.pdf - 17kb).

MailBase™ is our new design-it-yourself online marketing tool that helps you put together a direct mail project quickly and easily from your desktop. If you can’t attend the Auckland Expo then why not check it out online today.

[The 'do it yourself direct mail' service MailBase is no longer available. To find out more email or call 0800 DO DIRECT (0800 804 307).]

Bizzone is the organiser of New Zealand’s largest event for business. With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, for three days, the upcoming Business Expo will take place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The Expo will provide you with a wealth of resources from a wide range of organisations to help your business operate better.

Register now for your Auckland ticket.

What did you think of this year’s Expo and of our stand? Leave us a comment and see what other redline™ readers think.

There are just 13 days* left to send back your redline™ magazine survey.

In the magazine we asked you to spend five minutes giving us some quick details about your business to go into the draw to win 1 of 5 Prezzy Cards, each preloaded with $1000.

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redline™ online - our very first article

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Welcome to redline™ online. Not only can you now read our articles online, but you can also select the topic area that most interests you (see Labels) and view related articles.

redline™ online also allows you to comment on the features and discuss topics with other readers too, such as how do you create a winning business?

Every business owner wants to be successful. We’ve talked to some of New Zealand’s most successful companies and asked them to spill the beans as to how they got to the top.

Please subscribe if you would like to receive redline™ magazine in the post, or update your contact details if applicable.
In the current economic climate safeguarding your business is key.

Is your business doing really well? If so, we’d like to know. Tell us why and how your business is winning, and we'll share your secrets of success with other redline™ readers*.

Email the redline editor, or add your comment below.

*By submitting your feedback you consent to this information being published on redline™ online and in the redline™ magazine.
In the face of an economic picture that seems bleak, here’s a bit of good news. If you’re proactive and practical, not only can your business survive this downturn, but you could also come out of it stronger than before.

It might sound unreasonable to expect a business to do anything more than scrape through but research shows that downturns create opportunities. In the last downturn, business analysts saw 20% of market-leading companies fall to the bottom, and 24% of businesses near the bottom leap to the top!

What did those winning businesses have in common? Essentially, it boils down to three key ingredients – Cash, Customers and Confidence.

Cash: budget and forecast so you can understand your revenue peaks and troughs, and prepare for your financial obligations, such as tax. Scrutinise costs. Chase debtors rigorously.

Customers: recognise and reward your best customers. Ask for referrals. Contact lapsed customers. Actively look for new customers. Use every communication as a chance to sell.

Confidence: positivity attracts! Boldly reassess how you do things – look for ways to improve and grow. Focus on your core business. Know what customers value, and deliver on it every time. Think laterally about opportunities and go for them.
Creating customer loyalty is important if you’re serious about growing your business.

Here are a few ideas about how you can hold onto your customers:
  • Unbeatable products and services– create customer satisfaction through quality products and services as well as good value prices.
  • Customer incentives – customers come back for freebies, special offers, discounts and competitions. It’s no coincidence that most major companies, including retailers, airlines and energy companies offer loyalty schemes where customers earn points they can redeem for rewards.
  • Create goodwill – you can generate loyalty by sponsoring local sporting events, social clubs or schools/educational programmes.
  • Support good works – social responsibility is a powerful loyalty builder. Take this example: customers of a children’s clothing company receive a 20% discount off their next purchase when they return clothing their children have outgrown or finished with. The company then sends these items to needy children.
  • Offer a money back guarantee – stand behind your product and reap the rewards of trust. If your customer doesn’t trust you or can’t get their money back from a faulty item they won’t be back.
  • Know your gold customers – and treat them best of all. The top 20% of your customers can contribute 80% of your sales.
  • Make it easy for your customers to buy from you – for example, websites with online ordering facilities make your products and services available to your customers round the clock.
  • Talk to your customers – send personalised thank you notes, Christmas cards, service reminders and product news.
  • Listen to your customers – find out what your customers want and give it to them.
Source: The Small Business Company.
Just how do you make a good business great? We've talked to some of New Zealand’s winning businesses to find out how they’re making it to the top.

Palliser Estate Winery
Sheer hard work and perseverance is behind the success of this award-winning Martinborough wine maker.

According to Palliser Estate Managing Director, Richard Riddiford, “you have to stick to your knitting if you want to succeed. Building brands and creating distribution networks doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and dedication.”

Quality products
“Producing a quality product is also important, no matter what market you’re in. For us, the world is full of good wine, so we’ve had to produce wine that’s excellent.”

Good people
“You also need good people. Here, we have a small, committed team that’s been together for a long time.”

Richard adds that having a no debt policy has also helped. “Cash is king,” he says.

Palliser Estate Winery is the 2008 winner of the prestigious New Zealand Post Wellington Exporter of the Year Award.

Torpedo 7
Torpedo 7 founders, Guy Howard-Willis and his son Luke, put the phenomenal success of their online bikes and bike accessories business partly down to “great timing”.

“Internet shopping is still quite new in New Zealand but after researching the extent of online retailing overseas, we decided to offer bike products online – and it really took off,” Guy Howard-Willis explains.

“The demand for buying from e-stores is certainly here but you have to make sure you offer quality products at good prices. You also need excellent customer service – our customers are really impressed by speedy, next day deliveries, our easy returns process and being able to contact our customer help desk to place orders or ask questions.”

Manage growth
Torpedo 7 has been in the top 10 of the Deloitte/Unlimited Fast 50 for three consecutive years, with growth peaking at an outstanding 962% in 2006 (and reaching 570% in 2007). “Managing this level of growth in just four years has been an issue in itself, but fortunately we have a great managerial team and nearly 70 passionate staff to get us through,” says Guy Howard-Willis.

Maintain success
Keen to maintain its success, Torpedo 7 has recently increased its product range to include motorcross, snowboarding and adventure accessories. And, having listened to its customers, the company has also introduced a women’s range of products.
Safeguard your existing customers and generate more business from your mail campaign with New Zealand Post’s mailing lists.

Don’t lose your customers - keep your database up-to-date using New Zealand Post’s Change of Address and ChangeMyAddress. When you want to grow your business, we have several quality address lists to help you effectively target your mail campaign, whether you want to contact consumers across the nation, rural businesses, PO Box holders or people who have just moved home.
Creative direct mail (DM) ideas can help sales for big and small clients alike.

When advertising agency Y&R came up with an innovative DM idea to show that Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 was serious about security threats, they needed New Zealand Post’s help to make the campaign work.

Y&R asked if they could send a live virus in a Petri dish through the mail. Our initial reaction was one of caution until we investigated further and found that the virus was harmless (it came from cheese). We then developed a sticker saying so, letting our delivery team know that it was safe to handle.

As a result, 1200 IT Managers were sent the live virus through the post, generating a 170% response rate. Microsoft saw a 65% increase in sales and Y&R were recognised for their creativity.

Start to creatively think about how you can maximise sales with your next DM idea.
Most companies tend to export their products once they have cracked the home market. But not Palliser Estate Winery, winner of the 2008 New Zealand Post Wellington Exporter of the Year Award, whose wine has been exported since day one.

“I always knew that the future for New Zealand wine lay in the overseas markets,” explains Managing Director, Richard Riddiford, “and I remember our first export of 50 cases in 1991 to the UK well.”

Richard knew then that sales of his wines would be held back if he limited his products to New Zealand. For example, Palliser Estate’s target of 5% of all wine drinkers is far higher in London than here in New Zealand.

“We started exporting early on also because it generally takes a good five years to get exporting working well,” Richard says. “To succeed at export a winery must have sensible pricing. You have got to persevere and you have to understand foreign exchange.”

Today, Palliser Estate exports over 65% of its Palliser and Pencarrow brands to 25 different countries.

Export the easy way
It doesn’t matter what you export or where you export, New Zealand Post can help your business. Just take a look at our range of international services:
The Wellington Export Awards recognise the extraordinary innovation, vision and efforts that exporters in the region have demonstrated in taking their products and services to global markets.

Nominations for this year’s awards close in June. The Awards ceremony is likely to take place in September.

For more information and exact dates email Charles Broad, or contact him by phone on 04 938 7140.
A good website can enhance a customer’s experience, whereas a website that is hard to navigate can be frustrating. How does your website measure up?

We asked David Kelly, Chief Executive of website design and e-business company, why do some websites succeed and others fail?

“The main difference between websites that work and those that don’t is the knowledge of the business owner or manager. If a website is failing, it is often because the owner or manager doesn’t understand the key fundamentals of a successful website. These are visitors - the number of people who visit your website and the conversion rate - the percentage of visitors that buy something from you or make an enquiry.”

“If you really want a website that generates amazing results, you need to understand the importance of the two ‘P’s of website success - promotion and persuasion.”

“The amount of people visiting your website is directly determined by your website promotion and the percentage of those that take action is directly determined by how persuasive your website is.”

“If your website ‘promotion’ is poor, then very few people will visit. If your website is not ‘persuasive’ then very few people will be persuaded to take action.”

Free: is currently offering business owners a free Website Audit (worth $497.00), plus the opportunity of attending one of its free seminars on the Secrets of Website Persuasion.

For more information and to register for these complimentary offers, visit or email
Successful websites need to offer good products at good prices and good customer service. This typically comes down to providing reasonable delivery times, charges and, importantly, a good returns policy.

“Reverse logistics can be a challenge for many internet businesses looking for a simple, cost-effective solution for customers to return parcels if they need to,” says Michael Stewart, Marketing Manager for New Zealand Post’s ParcelPost™ products.

ParcelPost™ Returns
“Some companies might be prepaying return postage whether an item is returned or not, but with our ParcelPost™ Returns service postage is only charged once an item has actually been returned.”

Michael also offers this advice to companies looking at different distribution options: “Avoid hidden charges for fuel and for Saturday and rural delivery. Find a supplier with fixed rates for urban and rural areas instead. Pay for what you need and what meets your and your customers’ needs – nothing more. You may be able to trade speed for price, if price is more important to your customers than speed. And always consider the option of posting goods.”