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How to increase traffic to your website

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You’re a small business owner.

You started your business because you had experience in a specific industry. Or you started it because you stumbled on the idea or the opportunity, or you were looking for, but couldn’t find, a job.

If you didn’t start your business because it was something you love doing, you probably learned to enjoy it.

Most people sort of “drifted” into whatever they are doing for a living. One responsibility, which is probably not the reason they started the business, is to manage.

As a small business owner, “management” probably means doing everything. You are the bookkeeper, bill payer, rep and janitor. Somewhere in-between everything you must be the marketing officer and, find time to do what you started the company for.

One day you realise that you have a business website, but that it does not make your life easier. It is not the effective silent salesperson the web designer promised you. So, you promise yourself that you will find time to do something about it. You can’t “cancel the website” because everyone has a website.

When you eventually find the time to Google it or ask your IT guy – because you don’t realise that IT people are machine people, not design or SEO people – you hear the phrase “search engine optimisation” or SEO.

You ask a web designer and is told that it has to do with using the right keywords so people will find your website on Google. Your web designer changes the website text to include your keyword on all pages and you wait for the orders to start flooding in.

Complete silence.

One day you look at the books and start panicking.

You post your website address on Facebook and every other platform you can think of. You send emails to your contact list and ask them to visit your website. You hear about Facebook Messenger or SMS marketing and spam everyone you can find.

Nothing happens.

Eventually your business runs in the red and you find an SEO consultant to do your search engine optimisation.

It is too late because SEO takes time to show results. You close your business.

You could have evaded all this trauma if you had acted in time.

SEO starts with the design or redesign of your website.

SEO is not part of how beautiful your site appears.

SEO is part of the technical design and content of your website. It has little to do with what you like, and everything to do with how people search for a solution to a need they have.

With your next endeavour – you will try again because you are an entrepreneur – make sure you understand what SEO is about. It will enable you to defend yourself against “consultants” and web designers who do SEO because it looks easy.

You don’t have to be an SEO (a person who does search engine optimisation), but you need to understand what it is about, just as you must understand other rules of business to be successful.

What you must know about SEO
  • what SEO is
  • how search impacts on SEO
  • SEO terms

Next time we’ll discuss what SEO is, and the different types of searches people do.

My course “How to learn social media marketing in 15 sprints” walks you through a process which leaves you with a well prepared social and off-line marketing plan.

Blog posts go to my newsletter subscribers about two weeks before it appears on my blog.

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Karen Roos, Karma Foods Centurion

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Karin Roos owns Karma Food and Services in Centurion and as can be gathered from the name, she is in the business of providing food, catering and cakes to the people of Tshwane.

She is a well-known figure in the community and her business has a well-followed Facebook Page.

One of the main challenges Karin experiences in her line of business, is people who decide on very short notice that they need catering. Food needs preparation and preparation takes time. This poses a challenge, but Karma Food is known for being able to deliver, as long as it is possible.

Businesses with which Karma Food and Services integrate well, are

  • florists
  • photographers
  • event planners
  • guest houses
  • self catering venues and
  • corporates

Karin prides herself in her ability to garnish every event with exceptional dedication.

Karma Food caters for every taste and preference, not only in food, but in event. Whether it’s indoors or out, a big corporate lunch or an intimate private dinner, whether it’s boerewors or caviar, whatever your needs, Karma Food promises to exceed your expectations. Karen handles every detail to ensure the standard of the occasion is what you deserve. That may be why so much of her business comes from returning clients.

Recent Karma events include an exclusive Moroccan garden celebration, a lekker Shebeen party and a terrifying Murder Mystery event.

In the case of event planning, Karma Food and Services visit the client, to ensure attention to detail from the start.

At Karma Food and Services they pride themselves in offering a variety of choices to suit all clients. That is why all of their menu can be adapted to suit personal requirements.

As Karin says: “We can help you make any event a success, from Inception to Completion.”

At Karma they have dedication and a passion for great ideas, and they are equipped for hire for any occasion, big or small. They supply a large variety of decor, tables, chairs, cutlery and crockery, as well as a variety of related services including photographers, venues, entertainment and music.

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Don’t try to be unique, just be different

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In the city where I live there is a landlord that has quite a large office portfolio.

When a business moves into one of his offices, their fibre-optic cables are already installed and telephone and Internet services are available within 24 hours. If you need a wall plug moved, it happens within 24 hours. You don’t need to get an electrician to come and do it for you. All vacated offices are repainted.

He has nearly 300 businesses in his office parks and an Intranet to which all tenants are connected. If a business moves into any of the office parks, it immediately has a potential market of nearly 300 other businesses and a few thousand individuals. And then he also offers a few other add-ons.

Is this landlord unique? Possibly. Possibly not.

Does he offer something different in his area? You bet.

Is his business model flawless? Probably not.

Is his business faultless? No.

Is it good enough? You bet it’s better than anything else that is available.

Does he have something to market? For sure.

Business owners are often urged to find something in which their business can be unique. I question that wisdom.

Finding something in your business that makes it unique, is quite easy. Finding something unique that matters, is another story.

Every business has at least one aspect in which it is unique. Probably the most basic unique characteristic of a business is where it is located – its physical address. It is not often that one finds two businesses in the same office and you will have to look hard to find two competing businesses in the same office.

If we accept that the word “unique” means “one of a kind” or “unlike anything else”, you can start listing your business’ unique characteristics by writing down your address.

Location

Your location can be unique and can be less or more important, depending on what people expect.

Examples of when location can be important (not unique):

  • office buildings with easy access to main routes or public transport;
  • business accommodation near popular business districts;
  • a restaurant in a densely populated area;
  • guest houses near the beach;
  • a coffee shop with free wireless Internet in an area with many offices.
Quality of service

Fresh ingredients in restaurant dishes are not unique. It is a requirement.

Quality of service is rarely unique and if it is, it rarely stays unique for long because success is quickly copied.

Specials

Less 10% on the price is not unique and in fact not even a convincing sales tool. Less 70% may be!

Areas in which you may be different:

location

a dish on your menu

the way in which you deal with clients

where you source your products from

Forget the unique hype. Rather just find or create something that makes you different.

You have to be able to differentiate your business by communicating the capabilities that make you different. That makes it possible for potential customers to compare you favourably with the other choices they have.

How do you find something that makes you different?

The real question is “What do I have to offer to let my business stand out in the minds of potential customers?”

Know your customer:

Make sure that you have a crystal clear image of your potential customer in your mind. Don’t be too concerned to have a large number of potential customers. Be happy with less customers who spend repeatedly with you.

Articulate what you can do to solve the potential client’s challenge:

  • Formulate and practise an elevator pitch about your business. (Your business and how it solves your potential client’s problems in 70 words.) Read my blog post about the elevator pitch.
  • Make it measurable: “Give better service” is meaningless. “Your washing will be ready in two hours” is measurable.
  • Make it memorable: Think of the nicest thing a client said about your business. How can you build on that? Anything that already exists in your industry cannot make you memorable.
  • Make it different: If you deliver the same services or products as everyone else, make the difference how you deliver it, or find out from your customers what will make a difference to them. ( A good place to start is to listen what people complain about in your industry)
  • Make it easy: Make it more convenient to do business with you than with someone else.
  • Become an expert in your business: Know more than your competition about the area in which you do business, your products, your services and developments in your industry.
  • Tell the right people: Promote your business to a well-defined target audience. Remember that you can promote your business as widely as you would like, most people in the world will never hear about it.

My course “How to learn social media marketing in 15 sprints walks you through a process which leaves you with a well prepared social and off-line marketing plan.

Blog posts go to my newsletter subscribers about two weeks before it appears on my blog.

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Adri Neuper

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Adri Neuper, Pot Specialist

Adri Neuper works from her home office/showroom in Randburg.

She offers a consulting and supply service with the focus being on greening your space using pots.

Adri started The Pot Place 20 years ago and is an expert in the sourcing and use of pots from (mainly) local suppliers.

One of the obstacles she experienced as an entrepreneur was that, after running a retail store with a wide range of stock on hand, working from her garden boutique with a more focused approach and a narrower stock range, has proven to be more difficult than she anticipated. “Clients still want to touch and feel the product” she says.

The Pot Place’s brand was recently aquired by Adri’s “In Eeden”. In Eeden is surrounded by ‘pot shops’ in the same area which ensures tough competition for this one-woman business.

Adri identified a market for large containers, for commercial use. To this end she is always looking to partner with architects and design professionals. In 2018 she completed a range of projects for private homes as well as public areas, working alongside a number of design professionals.

Interested in working with Adri? Visit her website

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People who complain

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People who complain about your business, don’t complain about your business

You just bought a box of cereal with bold letters on the outside promising “freshness guaranteed!”. You open the box and the airtight bag, and find pebble-hard corn flakes inside.

You know it’s not a problem to exchange the box of cereal because the retailer and manufacturer will honour their guarantee and exchange goods that are not what it should be. You dive into the dustbin where you discarded the till slip, find your proof of purchase, get into your car, drive to the retailer, report to a desk manager, wait for them to process a refund, find another box, and drive home.

While driving home you notice a slightly bitter taste in your mouth. That is the taste of a promise not kept (and the absence of the after-taste of coffee you are conditioned to experience at this time of day).

The promise part of the brand promise was not kept although the legal part were kept by exchanging the product. But, the legal part is not an emotional experience, the promise part is.

For a few weeks you buy another product. You may even buy at another shop and tell your friends about your experience. If you are an involved consumer, you go on the manufacturer’s or the retailer’s Google listing and post a testimonial.

What exactly is it that creates the negative feeling against the product or brand?

It’s not the taste – you hardly tasted anythingIt’s not the shop – although you are frustrated with the shop

It’s not the brand – you have been using this brand without trouble before

What angers or frustrates you is that you did not experience what you expected.

You expected a trouble-free experience from opening the box to finishing your breakfast. So you direct your frustration against the easiest target – usually the shop employee (who had nothing to do with the quality of the product).

People who complain about the treatment they received from a business do not complain about the business. They complain because their expectations were not met.

It is difficult, but, as a business owner, you should try and keep in mind that it is never personal. It’s not about you or your employees. It is about what people did or didn’t do which led to your customer’s expectations not being met.

The dissatisfied customer will complain about a lack of service, or about products that were unacceptable. All these reasons for complaints relate to only one thing: the customer did not receive what she expected.

Many business owners advertise their products or services in the most glowing terms with their minds fixed on getting potential customers to do business with them. What they forget is that they must meet the expectations they created.

That is one reason why testimonials or reviews can be a powerful marketing tool. It is not you who create the expectations, it is the people who did business with you before. Their testimonials create an image in the mind of other consumers about what they could expect from your products or services.

Testimonials on your website or Facebook Page is a good idea, but testimonials on Google itself, is more valuable. Register your business with a free business profile on Google. You can do it here

So, what people read about you on the Internet or hear from other people, help them decide whether they want to buy your product or service. What they read or hear about you is based on other people’s experience of your business. That experience has little to do with facts, or with you, and everything to do with how their expectations were met.

Take time to define for yourself what exactly the experience is you want to create for customers and, what the memory is that you want them to have of your business, products or services.

Then create your action plan of how you will attain that result.

My social media training courses deal with reputation, brand and social media platforms. You can get it here.

Blog posts go to my newsletter subscribers about two weeks before it appears on my blog.