The Importance of Newsletters in Business and Why All Businesses Need It

63% of marketers consider generating traffic and leads and measuring ROI as some of their biggest challenges.

So what’s the problem?

Before the 21st century, business was fairly straightforward: if you had the budget, you invested in some advertising space. But in an age of saturated markets, limited funds, fly-by-night marketing trends, and millennials who would rather sit in their pj’s and hunt for bargains online, things have gotten a lot more challenging.
If you want to survive, you need to do more than just provide a good service or product

Simply put: with marketers no longer in the driver’s seat and with consumers calling the shots – marketing is no longer just about selling. Marketing is all about how you sell. To thrive and survive, you need to ensure you’re meeting the needs of your target market or get left behind.

Less about transactions and increasingly about the consumer relationship – marketing has become more customer-centric than ever before. You can invest in a fancy, informative website, a blog with SEO, and even print media advertising, but if you’re not constantly making an effort to connect with your target market—reminding them that you exist and that you care—you’re basically handing sales over to your competitors!

Marketing is about who shouts the loudest

Marketing is all about who shouts the loudest, and if you’re struggling to keep your head above water, it’s time to be innovative. You could choose to “WOW” your audience the digital route or you could stick to the traditional method of print – but are these methods enough to attract traffic and will they fall within your marketing budget? Probably not!

Now… if you had a weekly or monthly newsletter, you can, not only overcome the above problems but reap the rewards of many other invaluable marketing benefits.

Your competitors are using newsletters to grow. They are growing. Are you?

83% of marketers use newsletters as a marketing tool!

As one of the oldest forms of marketing, used by many successful businesses, newsletters are a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place people visit every day—their Inbox.

Newsletters are a slick, efficient way to connect with customers
One in five consumers read every newsletter they receive just to see if something’s on offer!

You only need one sale to make a lifelong loyal connection—but you have to put in the effort. Your customers want a connection with you. They want to know you care about their needs and sending a newsletter regularly offers you a way of communicating with them, cross-selling other related products and adding value through promotions, trends, tips, and news they actually want to read. By constantly sharing relevant content, you’ll be able to stay top-of-mind and build credibility. An email newsletter increases your exposure and might just lead to that next big sale!

Newsletters guarantee a wider reach

83% of consumers say email is one of their preferred methods of brand communication!

Newsletters are one of the most popular forms of communication, and by sending marketing materials to an email address, you’re almost guaranteed that your audience will read them. Plus, with nearly two-thirds of all emails opened on a mobile device, newsletters are one of the best tools you can use to take advantage of the growing popularity of mobile technology. And you can also share your newsletters on your social media platforms!

Newsletters drive traffic to your website

75% of internet users make use only on the first page of Google result!

Your newsletter will most definitely include links back to your website, improving your search engine presence. Search engine optimization involves making your website visible on Google and the other search engines so that potentials can find you when looking for a product or service you offer. With 40,000 searches every second and with 3.5 billion searches each day – there are millions of opportunities for someone to find your business on search engines through the links in your newsletter!

Newsletters are inexpensive and offer a staggering ROI
75% of marketers say newsletters offer an “excellent” ROI!
One of the most obvious benefits of newsletters is its lower cost compared to mainstream marketing channels. Newsletters are almost 40 times better at winning over new customers than Facebook and Twitter, with the only investment being time spent on the newsletter design.

Creating a newsletter is easier than you think

Like all facets of your business, time is money. Luckily, there are many software alternatives to MailChimp that can design a newsletter in advance and send it out automatically. Not only do these newsletter management apps provide great looking templates, but you can even customise them for your readers.

It also lets you keep track of which newsletters are generating the most opens and clicks. Simple to follow, a newsletter app can show how your newsletter is performing—and what still needs improvement. These insights help you market smarter and also gives you the benefit of better understanding the needs of your target market, increasing traffic and boosting sales.

Whether you’re peddling products, services or information—you can’t afford to ignore a tool as valuable as newsletters. A reliable newsletter program with loyal followers is an essential marketing asset for any business.

• Nurtures and generates better leads
• Saves time and money
• Tweaks strategies to maximize results
• Easy to use—even for people who are not tech-savvy
• Makes pre-scheduling social media posts easy & effective

Start Your Success Story with Paarl Web Design

Bringing brands to life, we offer a marketing opportunity for businesses looking to expand or for small startups just getting started. Pairing strategic marketing tools with intelligent design solutions to help brands stand out and increase traffic – not only will we help you learn the tools you need to survive in today’s competitive world, but we will help with your newsletters. So don’t hesitate, get in touch today!

Start Young, Save Dearly—4 Persuasive Reasons to Get Life Cover in Your 20s

Do you think you’re way too young for life insurance? If you’re like most millennials, you’re busy paying off a student loan and a car, kick-starting a career and setting sky-high goals—and life insurance is probably the last thing on your radar. After all, you’re young, you’re healthy and you have years ahead of you—why would you need life insurance?

Well, life comes at you fast and suddenly you’re 30, living with your family in the suburbs. OK, maybe you’re not quite there yet, but the reality is life insurance should be an important part of your overall financial plan, and the sooner you get started, the greater benefits you’ll reap. So, let’s get straight to the top four reasons to get life cover when you’re young.

1. Income support

If you’re a 20-something, you’re more likely to be single and childless—but that doesn’t mean you’ll stay that way. You may get married, have children or you may have to take care of your parents, and if you’re their sole provider, what will they do if you die? Life insurance will provide financial support for them when you’re not able to.

Another thing to be concerned about is disability. Disability places an even bigger financial burden on a family than death, because not only does your income fall away, but living with a disability is expensive. Life insurance is an investment in your wellbeing, and the best time to do it is when you have all odds working in your favour—when you’re young, healthy and free.

2. Younger = Cheaper Monthly Premiums

The best time to apply sunscreen is before you get burnt—and life insurance is no different. Age is on your side in your 20s as the older you get, the more expensive it becomes. People in their twenties are far less likely to develop chronic conditions that may drive up premiums, which means you can lock in low premiums with no exclusions for decades—even if your health deteriorates in your 30s or 40s.

Simply put: if you wait to buy insurance at a later stage in your life, you will face higher premiums, or have exclusions, but if you buy life insurance at an early age, not only are your premiums low, but your premiums could grow into a sizable cash value as the years go by.

3. Your loved ones will not be liable for your debt

It’s hard to imagine being a twenty-something without debt these days, but that’s part of the reason life insurance can make sense—even if you’re single. From credit card debt, car loans to personal loans, South African millennials are some of the most credit-active consumers in the world. But that’s not all; excluding bank-funded student debt, in 2015, it was estimated that university debt alone ran over R700 million.

If your parents co-signed any of your debt (like student loans, car loans, etc.), they will be responsible for those debts if you die before paying them off. One of the greatest benefits of life insurance is that if you fall victim to a life-changing event, having adequate financial protection already in place will protect your family from having to repay your debt.

4. You’re most at risk

In your twenties, you’re statistically more at risk of being involved in an accident, which may cause death or disability. According to Stats SA, road users are at the highest risk in their 20s. Just over 42% of all deaths in the 20s year age group are from road accidents.

A bad accident can compromise one’s ability to receive an income, which has potentially detrimental consequences for a young person with some 40 years of earning potential ahead. Therefore, the first risk cover you should buy in your twenties is life cover, because not only are you at the highest risk of becoming disabled, but you will also have the most to lose in terms of earnings.

Think Ahead With Live Cover from Oakhurst Insurance

We all hope to live a long, full life, but what if you pass away before your time? Doesn’t it make sense to be prepared for the unexpected? At Oakhurst Insurance, we believe that investing in life insurance is one of the smartest moves any young person can make.

Not only will you lock in a great premium at your age, but you will pay the same rate for decades, or even for life. You’ll be covered by a death benefit well into your working years and perhaps after you’ve retired.

Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this investment. Be smart, start early and save dearly with a life insurance policy from Oakhurst Insurance.

Balancing Risk and Reward Means Protecting Your Most Important Assets

Originally a motor-focused insurance provider, today, Oakhurst Insurance Company has expanded into business insurance, household insurance, mobile insurance, bicycle insurance, drone insurance, pet insurance, and funeral, disability and life cover. As one of the top insurance companies in South Africa, striving to stay above our competitors, we offer new and innovative ways to give our clients the absolute best cover at the most competitive premium pricing.

Listening to, and actioning the needs of our clients, we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all policy and therefore offer several life cover solutions to suit each individual’s budget, needs, risks and lifestyle. From comprehensive and accidental death cover, accidental personal disability, and accidental income protection to funeral cover, our life insurance gives you the reassurance that your dependents will be looked after should you be unable to provide for them.

Life insurance is like having a parachute when you need it—and at Oakhurst Insurance, we recommend getting it as early as possible. You do not have to put large amounts into it, but commit to doing regularly and as a priority.

To find out more about our life cover and other products, call us on 0861 001 041 for an obligation-free quote. With great relationships, expertise in various industries, the ability to execute swiftly and the intellectual muscle to innovate, we are the smart choice as your insurance provider.

Hijacking in SA: How to avoid becoming a hijacking victim

You’ve had a tough day at the office. You pull into your driveway—and suddenly there’s a man pointing a 9mm bullet at your head. You’re being hijacked.

Vehicle crime is a grim reality on South Africa’s roads. According to Statistics released by the SAPS, one motorist is hijacked every 32 minutes in the country. The dreadful thuggery has claimed many lives and shattered the safety and confidence of people throughout our nation.

Most vehicle hijackings are done to order. Vehicles are chosen by a potential buyer, not just minutes before, but days or even weeks before. Syndicates receive a hotlist, they then study their victims—even following them for days—and when they least expect, they attack. While some vehicles are resold on South African soil, others are smuggled out of the country and traded for weapons or drugs or broken down for their valuable parts.

One of the most traumatising and jarring experiences anyone can go through is being forced out of their own car at gunpoint, or worse, taken along for the most terrifying ride of their life. So, what can the country’s motorists do to avoid becoming a statistic? Besides handing over your car with no quibble—here are precautions motorists can take to reduce their exposure to high-risk situations.

1. Know that you may be a high-risk target

There are several ways hijackers can target you and purchasing a high-risk vehicle can increase your chances of becoming a hijack victim. Compiled using data and analytics from Ctrack, a global supplier of vehicle tracking, the top most hijacked cars in South Africa are the VW Polo, Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, BMW X5 and Chevrolet Spark. But demands change according to buyers’ needs, so do not get caught in the misconception that your vehicle is low risk. If a buyer requests a certain make or model, your vehicle can become a target.

2. Know South Africa’s hijacking hotspots

Statistics released by the SAPS have shown that 16 325 vehicle hijackings were reported between March and April 2019, with the bulk of these incidents occurring in Gauteng – followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. Hijackings occur every day of the week, reaching a high on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. Most hijackings happen early morning or early evening at the house, around 1 pm to 2 pm during lunch hours in traffic or intersections, and between 7 pm and 8 pm during peak traffic times where there is reduced visibility with accessible escape routes. Should you live in any of these areas—or anywhere really—you need to be alert.

3. Pay attention to your surroundings

Do not be an easy target; rather, be attentive to your surroundings always. As you approach your vehicle, keep your key ready but not visible, and only unlock your car when you’ve confirmed that there are no pedestrians or motorists nearby acting suspiciously. Ensure your windows and doors are closed and locked before leaving and while driving and keep checking your rear-view mirror to see if you are being followed. About 2km from your home, switch off the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings. If you feel unsafe, either drive to a busy area or straight to your closest police station.

4. Avoid distractions and be road smart

Criminals usually know your routines and routes, so it’s wise to change them now and then. Let someone know when to expect you at your destination. In fact, call ahead and ask someone to open and close the gate for you. You should not be using your phone while driving as it makes you vulnerable – and it’s the law. It is also important to keep all your valuables out of sight like your cellphone, laptop, handbag, gym bag and shopping bag.

Finally, do not stop to eat or rest on quiet roads, and never stop for anyone or anything, including unmarked police cars, broken-down cars, and rocks or tyres. Reverse and drive away in the opposite direction.

5. If you have kids with you, take your key out of the ignition

Should you have to get out of your car to open your rear door and you have small children with you, take your key with you when getting out of the vehicle (this is the only exception). Why? Because you want your children and the perpetrators want your vehicle, so you need the key as a “negotiating tool”. If your children are older, let them get out of the vehicle with you when opening the rear door so you are all separated from the vehicle should an attack occur.

Increase Your Chances of Surviving A Hijacking

Today, hijackings are becoming more violent than before, so knowing how to respond if you find yourself in one is critical. First, remember that your car is insured, so let it go. Your life is worth more than your car, so be submissive and do not antagonise the hijackers, as they are probably more nervous than you. Show them you are not a threat by immediately lifting your arms and surrendering.

The perpetrator needs to see where your hands and feet are always. Staying calm, slowly release the safety belt and slowly exit the vehicle. Angling your body sideways from the hijacker so the firearm is not directly pointing at your head or vital organs, protect your head with your arms while avoiding eye contact.

Never look directly at any of the suspects, but count the number of voices, note the language spoken, and get a good look at their shoes. It may appear as if you are cringing, but that might very well save your life.

It all sounds paranoid, doesn’t it? Hijacking and car theft are, unfortunately, a reality that must be factored into our daily lives—and part of the risk we face is whether to install a tracker or get insurance.

Driving an uninsured car is a risk for you, your passengers, your vehicle, and other drivers on the road. If you experience car theft or hijacking, or if you have an accident, you need cover. Without car insurance, you will be liable for expenses and you will need to find money to purchase another car.

Many insurance companies will charge you more if they know that you live in a high-risk area, you drive a high-risk car, or if you have no secure parking and no tracker system. Thankfully, these factors will in no way negatively impact your car insurance premium rates at Oakhurst Insurance.

Oakhurst Insurance provides affordable comprehensive car insurance to protect you against the devastating financial effects of fire, theft, and third-party claims. All you need to do is go to our website and an online quote will be generated within minutes. Alternatively, you can call one of our agents who will assist you in getting the right plan for you.

Make the wise insurance choice and get a quote from one of South Africa’s leading vehicle insurance providers.

It’s Time To Make Real Money. It’s Time to Go eCommerce

Is your business making money, or more importantly—is your business even online? With 87% of the British population shopping online—you could be losing out on thousands of pounds each month.

In an age of rivalry, exorbitant retail rentals, fly-by-night trends, and the emergence of young shoppers who would shop online at midnight—it seems a month passes by without a much-loved retailer or start-up closing their doors. The world of retail has gone eCommerce.

The Internet has revolutionised the way we live—and online trading is now a way of life. Did you know that 96% of the UK population are on the Internet and that UK shoppers make 87% of their retail purchases online? So, we ask again: Is your business making money—and are you online?

The UK is the hub of internet shoppers

As the gateway to 21st-century trading, everyone should be trading online. In fact, in 2021, forecasters estimate there will be 2.1 billion digital buyers worldwide. Fortunately, the United Kingdom B2C eCommerce market is the third-largest in the world. As one of the most sophisticated eCommerce markets, the UK has become the hub of internet shoppers, influencing up to 56% of in-store purchases. Even though it is a smaller consumer market than the US, China or Japan, shoppers spend more money per capita online than in other countries, with business-to-consumer turnover expected to reach over 200 billion Euros at the beginning of 2020.

It’s time to cash in on the eCommerce revolution

With 86% of the UK population making at least one purchase between 2018 and 2019—by 2028, eCommerce in the UK expects to account for 53% of the country’s total retail sales. A recent survey by 123-Reg revealed that businesses with an online shop were 51% more likely to grow than those without one. That tells us that there has never been a better time to cash in on the eCommerce revolution.

UK Shoppers love to shop online

In our tech-savvy times, an eCommerce shop is one of the fastest, convenient, and most affordable ways to build a consumer base and double sales. The UK population love to shop online, and this allows customers to make purchases anytime and anywhere. eCommerce provides safe and easy payment options, and delivery is always on time—and sometimes even free.

For the frugal shopper, super-saving deals and discounts are essential, and since there are zero overheads that high-street stores demand—sellers offer discounted prices and loads of incentives. Plus, Distance Selling Regulations have made it mandatory for merchants to accept returns, provided items are sent back within seven days. UK shoppers know they will get their money back.

You double your chances of sales with an eCommerce site
eCommerce does not just provide benefits to shoppers. It is a holy grail for start-ups and retailers of all sizes too. Offering a platform where customers easily find you, and allowing you to innovate, and double sales—going eCommerce can both make and save businesses loads of money. Your overheads are almost zero because you get to cut out rentals, interior design costs, sales equipment, salaries, and more.

eCommerce allows you to punch above your weight against much larger competitors and expand your geographic reach. Your business remains open 24/7, and with SEO practices in place, online stores can rank high with all the different search engines, which drive traffic to your store.

But the REAL beauty of eCommerce is the amount of information harvested about customers’—thanks to Web Analytics. Google Analytics makes it extremely easy to see where people find your website, which pages they visit, and where in the UK they live. It is almost impossible to get these results from standard websites or brick and mortar stores.
With an eCommerce business, there is no limit on the amount of money to make. It hardly matters whether you’re looking to earn thousands of pounds or Euros every month or save up some extra cash for a rainy day. If you’re running your eCommerce business efficaciously, you will achieve your financial goals.
Retailers must respond to the ever-changing market—or get left behind

As UK shoppers hunt for the best deals and prices, the growth of eCommerce drives a relentless pursuit of value for money. To thrive and survive, retailers must respond to the ever-changing online shopping behaviour led by younger shoppers—or they will be closing their brick-and-mortar shutters in no time. An online shop welcomes a wave of local and international web surfing buyers. Expect sales growth, excellent savings on overheads and set-up costs, and efficient monitoring of customers.

We turn websites into money-makers

If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art online shop, then you need to get in touch with us. As an in-house team of creative’s, not only do we specialise in building custom-designed eCommerce sites, but we can also integrate sites with many other ‘off the shelf’ eCommerce services. Professional, creative and experienced, we ensure your entire online shop and purchasing process remains simple to navigate and safe and convenient—from the product selection to check out to pay.

Debt Counselling- Advertorial

Many South Africans whose debts exceed their income and are struggling to make their monthly loan, financing and credit card repayments could qualify for debt counselling—and that is where comes in.

A financial rescue plan with the aim of financial freedom
Backed by the National Credit Act and NCR registered network of debt advisors provides families, couples, and single parents throughout South Africa with a financial rescue plan that aims to put them back in the driver seat to financial freedom.

The process is convenient, simple, legal, and voluntary

To reduce the minimum amount payable each month—by extending the repayment terms, debt counselling is a convenient, simple, legal and voluntary process.

Debt counsellors start by assessing applicants monthly expenses to free up disposable income. Once approved, negotiates with all creditors to reduce interest rates and monthly repayments. Debt counsellors then create a new restructured monthly budget covering all monthly living expenses and leaving excess for creditors.

Avoid creditor harassment and legal letters

Anyone who has run into debt knows that there is nothing worse than creditor harassment, day in and day out. Legal letters and frequent phone calls can take a toll on an individual, emotionally and physically.

The good news is that not long after’s debt advisors take over—creditors will not be allowed to contact the applicant or proceed with any further legal action. That enables individuals to enjoy a happier, stress-free life until they are debt-free.

Debt Counsellors work hard to reduce debt

But not only could helps an applicant avoid legal action, but debt counsellors also work hard to reduce up to 60% of the applicant’s debt. Reducing applicant debt and helping them meet their monthly living expenses— helps applicants get their life back on track.

South African’s are one step away from taking control of their debt!

See if you qualify today!

A Buyers Guide to Purchasing Your First Home

Property prices have dropped by 12%, with the cost of renting versus buying swinging very much in favour of buying.

After an economically tumultuous 2019, followed by a pandemic-plagued 2020, property prices have dropped, and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has brought down prime rates to 7.25%—the lowest level since 1973.

It’s a buyers’ market

South Africa is in a buyer’s market, creating opportunities for first-time homebuyers to snap up their dream home. First-time home buyers will have less difficulty qualifying for a home loan, especially for properties below R1m where no transfer duty is required. If you’re a first-time buyer looking to purchase a property while market conditions are in your favour but are in the dark with what to expect, look at our first-time homebuyers guide to buying—not just your first home, but your dream home.

Assess your affordability

Buying a home is more than an investment. It’s a commitment. Your income must be stable and sufficient to support the first-time bond. Your monthly bond repayment should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income, so before you begin your property search, use an affordability calculator and get pre-qualified for a home loan. Using online tools to estimate costs, including transfer costs and monthly repayments, will confirm the qualified bond amount.

Ensure your credit history is healthy—and pay a deposit!

It is always a good idea to clear as much debt as possible, such as your credit cards and retail accounts. If you want to better your chances of bond approval, ensure your credit report is healthy and pay a deposit, as this will lower your bond payments.

Begin your house hunting adventure

A property specialist is a link between the seller and you, the buyer. They bring experience, expertise and negotiating skills to the table. A property specialist protects your interests—from giving you the first pick of listings to dealing with timely and stressful legal and financial issues. They play an essential role in guaranteeing the security of your investment.

You’ve found your dream home. What’s next?

When you’ve found the perfect home, you will be ready to make an offer to purchase and apply for a bond. That is when you compare multiple banks to get the best home loan offer, and once approved and signed, the bank will formally grant the loan and direct the bond attorney to register the bond.

However, this is a legal process that includes procedures, fees, duties, formalities and legalities. As a result, a Transfer Attorney, Bond Attorney and Cancellation Attorney will enter the relationship. The bank selects a bond attorney to draw up documents for you to sign, and you will appoint a conveyancing/transfer attorney to transfer the property to your name.

The registration and transfer process can easily take up to three months to conclude. However, once completed, your dedicated attorney will send the paperwork to the Deeds Registry Office for the verification process. The bank will then pay out the loan, and you will be the owner of your first property. Exciting and easy, right!

Buying your first property is one of the most significant financial investments you’ll ever make. And if you’ve had your eye on a property for sale, there is no better opportunity than right now to snap it up, and Tyson Properties can help you through every step of this exciting venture.

Ensuring that our clients are always 100% satisfied with their investment—we deliver the best results and returns possible.

5 Reasons Why the World Loves Shopify—and You Will Too!

Are you a small to large business wanting to put your products on the market—but not sure how or where? Did you know you can build your online store from scratch using the Shopify e-commerce platform?

Online shopping has become one of the fastest-growing markets, which means now is a great time to jump onto the eCommerce bandwagon.

While traditional stores still dominate the market, eCommerce is fast changing the business landscape—with retailers showcasing their products online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores. An industry poised for growth—Statista predicts that global retail eCommerce revenue will amount to $4.88 trillion by 2021.

Why do consumers prefer to shop online?

A customer can make a purchase anytime and anywhere. They can compare reviews and have the instant gratification of buying something just at a tap of a screen. Safe and easy payment options are available, and delivery is always on time and sometimes even free. Because of the zero overheads that physical stores demand, sellers can offer better prices and discounts, making it an ideal landscape for bargain hunters.

For many, the allure of digital retail has become too lucrative to resist, presenting a need to develop online shops that reflect a perfect blend between aesthetics and functionality. If you are one of many entrepreneurs looking to create and manage your online shop, we recommend using Shopify to power your store.

So, what is Shopify, and how does it work?

Shopify started over ten years ago when the founder wanted to sell snowboards. Realising it was incredibly challenging to sell online without an easy-to-use eCommerce platform, Shopify was born.
Today, Shopify is a cloud-based, all-inclusive online selling platform that allows you to start, grow, and manage your business.

Shopify is the leading eCommerce platform, boasting many advantages that make it an ideal choice for SMEs. For a small monthly fee, you can create and develop an online store from which you can promote, sell, and ship your products. Here is why retailers of all sizes are using this platform to sell their products and services—and are making a killing.

#1 Choose from over 160 themes and layouts.

Did you know that it only takes 0.05 seconds for a visitor to decide whether they like your site? With a global average of nearly 700 million websites and an average visit of fewer than 30 seconds—visuals are critical to success.

Shopify understands this and has developed over 160 themes and layouts (free and paid) that will help you create a professional and visually appealing eCommerce store. You can even customise your site to fit your brand identity by editing code.

#2 A treasure trove of apps and essential marketing tools

As an all-inclusive selling platform, Shopify has the marketing edge too. By design, Shopify comes with primary and even many advanced tools and apps that most eCommerce businesses need to buy to get started. Boasting customisation abilities that can easily integrate with apps and online selling, Shopify comes with baked-in support from social media marketing, analytics, conversion tracking, and SEO.

Besides the above, the Shopify app store is a treasure trove of functionality—offering more marketing tools such as custom gift cards, discount coupons, store statistics, targeted email marketing, accounting software, reviews and loyalty programmes and more. With over 1,500 apps to choose from—whatever you want—there is an App.

#3 Low start-up costs

The number one rule for start-ups in any industry is to keep costs low, but a good eCommerce site can cost a ransom. Enter Shopify: For a minimal monthly fee, users get all the tools to power a reliable eCommerce site.

Compared with other eCommerce and shopping cart solutions, you get the best for your buck with Shopify. In addition, if you want to leave Shopify, you can sell it using the Shopify internal system.
The basic Shopify system is affordable for even new start-ups with limited capital—especially when compared to the cost of professional web design, paying for hosting, and buying software and the other tools required to sell online.

For a minimal start-up fee, Shopify will govern the site’s servers, pay for hosting, and maintain software. It also manages the payment gateway while you get to sell in multiple places, including web, mobile, social media, online marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops.

#4 A massive support ecosystem

One of the foremost things that makes Shopify the first choice for SMEs is exceptional customer support. Shopify wants its customers to succeed on their platform, and by choosing their platform, you access technical support every hour of the day through phone, live chat, or email. They also have their blog where eCommerce experts share their best tactics, and there are many forums, guides and videos on their website that show you how to get started and troubleshoot.

#5 Security is untouchable

Some world’s biggest brands trust Shopify to protect their sites—including Tesla Motors and General Motors. When Shopify powers your eCommerce site, they handle security compliance, security upgrades, and hacker protection. Shopify takes care of all your security issues, so you can concentrate on selling your products and making money.

Ready to create your online store?

Shopify is one of the most recommended eCommerce platforms on the market today. It has features that help people build their own flexible, scalable online selling store with hundreds of remarkable built-in tools and stacks of apps. Store owners can sell products directly on their website and across many marketplaces and social channels.

If you’re considering Shopify, take the first step to get started and sign up for their 14-day free trial—no credit card required. You will only need to submit contact information and answer a few questions about your business. Whether you sell online, on social media, in-store, or out of the trunk of your cousins’ car—Shopify has you covered.

4 Signs It May Be Time To Sell Your Home Soon

Sell your home at the wrong time out of fear, and your decision can haunt you for the rest of your life. Hang on to your home too long in a time of financial struggle, and you could end up losing it all.

Are you on the fence about putting your home on the market but waiting for some sign of divine intervention to give you the green flag? It is hard to know when to sell something as personal as your home, especially in such a volatile market. Luckily, you do not need a crystal ball—just read the surrounding signs. From current market conditions to your circumstances and more, here are 4-signs to list your home soon.

1. Safety and security

There are many reasons to put your family home on the market—from avoiding costly repairs and up-scaling to a larger home to better job opportunities elsewhere. However, one reason that stands out is safety. Crime in South Africa has reached epic proportions, and there have been a handful of house robberies and car break-ins in your neighbourhood. Adding to that, your next-door neighbour just sold his 4-bedroom family home and scooped a brilliant ROI. To put it simply—if your little one cannot ride a bicycle down the road, you do not feel safe jogging in the area, or if your neighbour just made bank flipping their house, which is the same size as yours, take that as a cue to call an Estate Agent right away.

2. Downsizing or Upsizing

With our economy pushed to its lowest since the Great Depression, bond payments strain finances. Further, property taxes, insurances, rates and utilities, security installations, and maintenance and living expenses are astronomical. If you already struggle to set aside 1%-3% of your home purchase price each year for indoor and outdoor maintenance and repairs and spend way over a third of your monthly income on housing costs alone, it is time to sell.

The future is unpredictable, and it is far better to be realistic and downsize than to wait for bad credit. Maybe you are an empty-nester ready to cash in on that big family home for a golden nest egg on the beach or in a gated estate on a signature golf course. Contrary, if you work from home and have equity on your side, or your family is growing and shopping for a school or university district, take that as a sign.

3. The market is in your favour

2020 was a bumper year for sellers, with record-low bond rates triggering an unexpected wave of homebuyers. Because of those rates, and fewer houses on the market, residential property prices shot up. That means your house could be worth much more than you think. Selling a home is rarely a market-driven issue but a lifestyle decision. However, if SOLD signs appear around your neighbourhood and your Estate Agent tells you that there is strong home price growth, jump onto the Real Estate wagon right away.

4. You have an agent on your side

It is essential to get a value estimation of your home. You can do this by using an online estimator or talking with a credible real estate agent in your area. It is also not uncommon to get free market appraisals—but not all Real Estate Agents are equal. Your Agent must understand the South African property market, and they must have an impressive portfolio to prove it. If you already have an Estate Agent with deep industry knowledge and experience coupled with an extensive network and a marketing division, take that as divine intervention. You are at the right place with the right people at the right time.

The South African housing market is emerging from its challenges

Supply and demand are key contributors to growth in property prices. When economies take a knock, it affects consumer buying power, and when the demand for property drops, sellers have no option but to lower their prices. However, the property market did 360, boasting a brilliant year with strong demand.

Low-interest rates—which are likely to remain low, paired with the highest number of bond approvals in over a decade, create opportunities for first-time buyers to enter the property market, as it becomes cheaper to buy than rent. As a result, sellers get their asking price, which means we are officially in a seller market. Yet, another divine sign of dipping your toes in real estate waters.

We are moving from a buyer market to a seller market

Despite economic difficulties and the pandemic, SA Real Estate forecasters predict that demand will exceed supply. Quality stock will be harder to find, and that will move us from a buyer market into a seller market, driving property prices up. For sellers who get off the fence—this is your market, and buyers—low bond and interest rates coupled with a wave of new and exciting properties await you.

So why wait? All the signs are there—and that means there is no better time than now to get in touch with Tyson Properties.

2 Brilliant Reasons to Quit Your 9-5 and Become a Freelance Chef

Sick and tired of making your boss rich while you struggle to make ends meet each month? Or are you someone who has had just about enough of the corporate world and looking for a career change that will inspire you to get out of bed in the morning? If you have a flair for experimenting with different flavours, techniques, ingredients, and different cuisine, then you should look at becoming a chef, and here’s why.

#1 Job Growth and Prospects

While many industries are struggling, recent growth in the culinary industry is just getting started. People love food, and as long as people need to eat, explore new flavours and cuisine, restaurants will always make money.

A lucrative industry where you don’t need any higher education to transcend, becoming a chef doesn’t just limit you to opening up your own catering business or working as a chef in a restaurant in South Africa. As a chef, the world is your oyster, which means you can travel the world and find jobs in restaurants, health spas, and clubs.

Or, if you love the ocean, then work on a cruise liner or a superyacht in France, America or the Caribbean. Whether you want to open a restaurant, become a private chef for celebrities or private parties and functions, or even start your very own catering business, you can do it all. Yes, food is big money, and people have no problem paying for it, which means this is one industry where you can earn big.

#2 Freedom of Creativity

Not only is this industry financially rewarding and exciting, but this is an industry that will allow for freedom of creativity. In a people-oriented environment where you use your skills and showcase your creations, becoming a chef is incredibly fulfilling. And did we mention it makes no difference if covered in tattoos? If you can cook, bake, soufflé, and create authentic dishes, people will view you as a Rock star.

Yes, being a chef today differs from how it was a decade ago. Thanks to chefs like Gordon Ramsey, Marco Pierre White, Wolfgang Puck, Nigella, Rachael Ray and Jamie Oliver, chefs are treated like celebrities. But to become a chef, you must complete a City & Guilds chef course through an established and highly recognised Culinary Academy like CTIA.

Achieve a Golden Passport into any Restaurant

Distinguished as a Golden Passport into any restaurant, a City & Guilds qualification from SA Chefs Training & Innovation Academy tells people you are educated by one the best culinary schools in the world. That means a high-paying chef job will not be hard to find in any country you desire.

You only live once, and life is too short to spend it in a job that is making you miserable. Whether you’re a beginner or a chef wanting to add to your recipe repertoire, you’ll love the diverse range of chef courses at SA Chefs Training & Innovation Academy. Make a change today and become a chef by enrolling in one of our exciting chef courses in Franschhoek, Cape Town or Centurion.

The Ultimate Guide to Online Marketing

There are 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide.

25% of the world population shops online.


With more and more people shopping online—now is the time to go online.


92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth more than any other form of marketing.

64% of customers pursue relationships with brands based on reputation.


For your business, that means a potential of more clients knocking on the door.


If you are new to the world of eCommerce, it is challenging to achieve an online presence. A market riddled with so many online marketing tools, apps and advice that pulls you in all directions is overwhelming. And even if already deep down the rabbit hole, generating traffic and leads and measuring ROI can further fuel the frustration.


But know that you are not alone!


If you are a lot like most Digital clients, you’ve been busy trying to manage and grow your business. You do not have any extra time to figure out how to navigate the vast ocean of bulls#!t and the turbulent world of online marketing. But that is okay because we can help you get on the path to success.


This eBook will help you make sense of digital marketing—and get you on the right path to success.


Here is the thing: having a website and using tools like social media DOES NOT make you a digital marketing expert. With so many moving parts, you need to understand the nuts and bolts of marketing so you can get the most out of those tools. Online marketing moves at the speed of light, and you need a solid foundation to stay ahead, but being a business owner by trade and a marketer by necessity is not easy.


With that in mind, this guide gives you practical advice that will inspire and empower you. Closing the gap by showing you how to connect the dots in online marketing, this guide will point out what you should pay attention to so you have a strong foundation in place. We want you to walk away from this guide feeling knowledgeable and armed with the right skills and confidence to take advantage of the new opportunities online marketing opens for you.


But before we begin, keep this in mind about online marketing: If I asked you where most of your business comes from today, what would you say?


Many small businesses tell us word of mouth.


Customer relationships are the backbone of sales and should be the focus of any marketing strategy—and online marketing will allow you to strengthen existing relationships with current customers and build new ones. When implemented intelligently, online marketing provides plenty of opportunities to increase word-of-mouth marketing, which is invaluable for your business.


Here is something else important to keep in mind. As a small business, you have an advantage over BIG Tech because you know your customers. Unlike Fortune 500s, you have the time to interact and listen to customer needs and wants. That intimate knowledge can keep your business top of mind, giving you a competitive edge.


To put it simply: We are talking about engaging with people. We may have moved from brick-and-mortar to a digital format, but humans remain at the other end of those devices. And people only do business with businesses they know, like, and trust.


Tip: As you navigate the digital landscape – here is a good rule of thumb to always stick to – If you would never do it face-to-face with someone, DO NOT do it online.


That said: this guide covers the following:


Chapter 1: How to become visible to 2.14 billion digital buyers

Chapter 2: How to Set Yourself up for Success

Chapter 3: How It All Comes Together


Now let us get started!


Chapter 1: How People Find You Online


Word of mouth (WOM) is a priceless asset for any small business, and it happens online.

Just like every business, your main aim is to better sales, but if your target market does not even know you exist, how are you supposed to make any real money?


There are billions of people online just waiting to find your company, and if you want to stay top of mind, then you need more than just an excellent product or service. You need to be digitally creative. The more you do to keep your business fresh in the minds of your consumers in the digital world, the easy it is for consumers to talk about you and share content about you – increasing the chances of people finding you when they need what you offer.


Right now, in the digital world, 2.14 billion digital buyers are talking about their favourite products and services. They are sharing valuable and entertaining content from businesses, and they are asking questions and requesting recommendations about their products and services. Ultimately, these digital conversations spread brand awareness, which will lead to you being found—especially on Google.


Your business has an opportunity to be part of these conversations—and we will show you how.


What do people find when they go looking online for your business?


Ever done a Google search on your products, services, or reviews to see what comes up? With 73% of consumers doing online research before making a purchasing decision and 75% only using the first page of Google results, online search plays a significant role in rank and sales. That means you need to ensure you keep a clean, solid reputation that shows brand professionalism. Here is an example of what will show up on the search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for a business by name:


  • Paid ads
  • Organic (non-paid) search results
  • Google My Business listing
  • Social Media accounts
  • Reviews
  • Info from other sites


What if people are looking for something your business offers?


In the example on the previous page, we searched for a specific business by name. But people DO NOT always search for a business by name. Now and then, they have no idea who offers the service or product, so they type in a more generic search term, such as bed & breakfasts near me or braai and fireplaces in Pretoria.


Here is another example: Imagine your geyser bursts in the middle of the night, and you urgently require the expert services of a plumber. So, you jump onto Google and search plumbers near me.

Here is what may come up (of course, your actual results will differ): Notice that plumbers near me bring up the listings in Google Maps first. This information comes from Google My Business profiles—but we speak more about this that later.


Besides map listings, you may also find websites, social media accounts, reviews, and listings of plumbers near your location in the search results.


If we apply these results to what shows up for your business, your customers may find:


  • Your website
  • Social media accounts
  • Review sites
  • Business listings
  • Competitor listing


Bottom line: If your business is not online, no one will find you.


Whether people search for your brand by name or by the products or services you offer, they must be able to find you on the first page of Google.


We live in a customer-centric world, where 64% of consumers pursue relationships with businesses based on image, reputation and shared values. As consumers visit your site, it takes a few seconds to form an opinion about your brand. They ask themselves: Is this the right business for me? However, if your business is present, interactive, and engaging with interesting and relevant resources, you increase the chance of people choosing you and sharing your content.


Action Steps:


  1. First, search for your business.


What information shows up? Is it what you were expecting? Is there anything that should not be visible, or is there something missing?


  1. Next, search for generic terms for your business.


Is your business there in either an organic or paid perspective? Where are you ranked on Google—1st page, 2nd page, 5th page, or not all?


  1. Finally, make a list of results that show on the first page in both scenarios.


The question is: What tools will you use to rank high on Google and additional search engines?



Chapter 2: How to Set Yourself up for Online Business Success


By now, you should understand that if you are not online, then your customers and prospects will never find you. You also understand how people find you online, and with that in mind—your next step is to have a strong foundation in place.


This chapter covers the tools to use and shares some expert digital marketing tips to get you started.


But first, you will need to get online.


  1. A mobile-friendly website
  2. An email marketing tool
  3. A primary social channel
  4. Up-to-date business listings
  5. A way to easily create content



  1. A mobile-friendly website: If a marketer, never rely solely on social media sites. You need an online address of your own.


As your best performing salesman, your website is the first place potential customers turn for information about you, your products or services. It is the heart of all your online activities and the address to direct customers to drive sales.


But with more than half of digital traffic emerging from mobile devices and mobile apps, chances are you already heard that your website needs to be mobile-friendly if you want to be competitive today.


Think about the first thing you do when you want to research a business. You start by doing a Google search. But, here is the thing: Your potential customers do the same as you accept they do it on a mobile device.


Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visit competitor sites instead. That tells us that mobile-friendly websites are essential for modern consumers.


So, what is mobile-friendly exactly?

A mobile-friendly website is a mobile-responsive site configured to display on Smartphones and tablets. Providing fast and efficient visitor experiences, mobile-responsive websites deliver more high-speed downloads and is easy to navigate with content that fits the page. The good news is that you no longer need to be a web designer to build an effective mobile-friendly website.


Tip:  Buy a domain name for your website to match your business name.


In the early stages of your business, you may use free tools to get online, but as you grow, you will need to purchase your domain ( to look professional and add credibility to your business.


Building an online presence for your business is hard work. It takes time and financial commitment to do so. For these reasons and many others, make it as easy as possible for people to find and connect with you online.


Every website is different—but your website should have at least three pages.

When potential customers visit your website, they are looking for answers to their questions.


Use the following standard pages to answer them:


  • Home Page—Your virtual front door. The Homepage is the page users navigate directly to when typing in a page URL or clicking a link to a site.
  • About Page—Your story. People do business with other people, and visitors want to learn more about the people behind the company.


  • Contact Page—Your chance to connect. This page should include a contact form, and it should also list your social media accounts, mailing address, phone and fax number, and email address.


When you create your website, you want to have all the right pages, giving customers everything they need to know about you and your services. With more pages on your site that speak more directly to your prospects, the higher the conversion rate you will have.


Take a moment to think about any additional pages you would need to add to your website. For example, a catering company should have a Menu page—and even an online store. A beauty salon should have a Services page. Many businesses also have a Blog page which is a platform to share expertise and engage with customers—driving traffic and increasing sales (more on blogs later).



What should you put on the three core pages? Below, we take a look.



HOME PAGE: Questions to answer on your Homepage


What is my product or service? Within seconds, your Homepage needs to introduce your product or service and entice visitors to explore your site, so be clear and specific.


Who is the websites target audience? The customer is asking:


  • Is this product or service for me?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Do you serve a specific group or industry?


That is where you explain who your product or services target.


Why would potential customers care?

Why should consumers choose you?

How are your products or services unique?

What is the call to action?

Must they contact you via email, purchase through your online shop, request a demo, or sign up for your mailing list?


Be definitive about what action they should take next. In short, the Homepage should explain who you are and what you do, and it should give a brief description of your services and products in a way that draws the attention of customers.


ABOUT PAGE—Questions to answer on your About page


What is your story?


  • Who are you?
  • What is your company history and achievements?
  • What issue are you trying to solve for your customers?
  • Why should people trust your products and services?
  • How will potential customers benefit from working with you?
  • How can they earn your trust?
  • Do you have reviews and testimonials to support your promise?
  • What makes you or your business different?
  • What isolates you from the competition?
  • How will your services or products benefit your customers—again, outlining the advantages?
  • What is your blueprint for your future?


In short, the About page should sum up your company history and achievements and provide a short piece on what separates you from the competition.


CONTACT PAGE—Questions to answer on your Contact page?


  • Where can I find you?
  • Where are you based? Do you have a physical address? Which social media channels do you use?
  • When can I reach you?
  • What are your hours of operation? Are all locations the same? Do you have an after-hours contact number for emergency support?
  • How can I contact you?
  • Is there more than one way? How will you reply to your customers?


Tip: No physical address? You can use a P.O. Box or list the areas you serve. Short of images on your website? Use free authentic, high-quality resolution images from Unsplash.




You want to WOW people the moment they click onto your Homepage. Use hero pictures that demonstrate what real success looks like for someone using your product or service.




You want people to imagine what it would be like to work with you. Use the right action shots to demonstrate a polished, professional business image of yourself and your workforce.




You want to engage visitors to act. Show your physical location by address, map or both. Use success shots that either give visitors a sense of the atmosphere you create or a power shot that makes visitors feel like they are making the right choice.


  • What happens if someone visits your website without making a purchase?


Every new online business runs into the same struggles. But what if you could get their email address before they left your site—and then contact them? You could send them a newsletter about your products or services, which could sway their decision to return and do business with you.


That said, you will want to collect email addresses from all your website visitors, which you can achieve by adding sign-up forms to your website.


But visitors do not just join mailing lists for nothing. With millions of other mailing lists like yours—what is in it for them? What incentives are you going to offer your potential email subscribers?


It is essential to offer value like promotions, discounts, competitions, trends, tips, and appealing content they want to read.


With 83% of consumers saying that email is their preferred method of marketing communication, having a potential customers email address gives you the power to reach and persuade them in a place they visit more than once a day—their inbox.


Action Steps


  • Create a simple website.
  • Review your website for the relevant pages.
  • Make sure to answer the questions suggested above.
  • Add sign-up forms to your website.


  1. Email marketing: How you power business!


So, why is email marketing so important today? It works!


With millennials spending up to 6.4 hours each day (Adobe statistic) reading their emails—emails are one of the best ways to reach out to your customers and potential leads alike. Almost 40-times better at winning over new customers than Facebook and Twitter, email marketing is still ranked as one of the most effective marketing channels today.


Email marketing is one of few marketing materials consumers ask to receive. Comparable to owning your website, email marketing creates an additional asset—an exclusive list of contacts that want to hear from you.


One of the many great things about email marketing is that it allows you to automate much of the communication, sending time or action triggered emails to subscribers with relevant information.


Automation assures you get the right messages to the right people at the right time—all on its own.


When someone signs up to your email list, view that as a sale. An email address is an invitation to a conversation. Use this opportunity to keep the conversation going by automating emails.


Tip: Draft two simple emails to welcome visitors to your email list (more on the next page).


  • 1st Welcome Email—The Welcome Email


The welcome email sets the foundation for the rest of the relationship.


You should send a welcome email immediately after someone signs up. Ensure the subject line is clear and engaging, and the greeting should is personal.  That is an opportunity to introduce yourself, tell your story, reinforce the advantages of staying subscribed to your list, and list expectations for the future.


  • 2nd Welcome Email—The Invitation to Connect


The second welcome email should give information about your social channels and how customers can engage with you if they have questions.


You should send the second welcome email not more than three days after the first. This email is essential, as visitors will now have access to your social media sites. If visitors engage with you on these sites, your business will display on their networks.


Tip: Use email automation to save time and get new and repeat business. Need some ideas? Find some here.


Fluid Communication


Now that you have an email customer base, you need to ensure you keep them interested.


Fluidity and consistency are essential to online marketing, so email your customers at least once a month.


Make a list of special occasions that will provide the opportunity to engage with your list. Take advantage of holidays, birthdays, specials, launches, milestones, new products, discounts, and sales. People also appreciate hot off the press news, so share facts, laws, trends, and tips that contribute value to your customers.


Action Steps


  • Set up two simple, automated welcome emails: a welcome email and an invitation to connect.
  • Email your customers at least once a month.
  • Think about additional emails you may want to automate.


Get yourself further in the marketing driving seat with more advanced automated features that send emails on dates like birthdays or when triggered by subscriber activity, like when they visit your website or click on a link.



  1. Social media: It does not have to overwhelm you!


If like many SMEs we chat with—navigating the stormy seas of social media can often feel like a slow boat in China. Ultimately, social media should improve search rankings, drive more website traffic and increase conversion rates. But how does one generate awareness, engagement, and sales if not on social media or juggling way too many social channels at once?


You do not have to be on every single channel. Instead, focus on one or two that connect with your target audience, drive engagement, and boost revenue for your company.



Tip: Pick your social channels. Find out how.


Did you know? Each social channel has its personality.


Never post the same content on every channel. Use the same theme, but change posts to complement the channels before sending out.


Take Netflix on Facebook and LinkedIn, for instance. The content and updates Netflix shares on Facebook centre around consumer entertainment, whereas the content shared on LinkedIn is motivated by the business aspect of Netflix.


Now we look at each of the channel personalities.


  • Facebook—The social home for your business on the Internet. With a plethora of potential-TARGETED customers in the news feed, engage with friend and family – and their friends and family.


  • LinkedIn—The most comprehensive social media network for entrepreneurs and professionals. The opportunities to establish your business as an industry expert and build relationships and sales leads are endless.


  • Instagram—A photo-sharing social channel that adds: we are just human factors to your brand. You can apply a variety of filters to pictures with a simple press of a button.


  • Twitter—public news feed of current news. Twitter is full of people with things to say. For instance, if there is an unsatisfied customer, you will hear all about their experience on Twitter.


  • Pinterest—A visual and informative channel that displays millions of boards with tips and ideas. A quality image pinned by a highly followed Pinterest member has a chance of becoming viral, reaching millions of viewers.


  • YouTube—A highly competitive social media channel for those that value educational and entertainment videos that invite engagement and sharing.


There is an enormous potential to reach a massive and engaged audience on social media.


Social media is an engaging way to connect with customers who already like your products or services. It is also a great way to reach out to customers who have not heard of your business.


Social media marketing will help you achieve brand awareness. It will help you better customer service, and it will boost more traffic to your website, increasing your sales.


Consumers want entertainment—and it is your job to engage them on social media to get them to your website and onto your mailing list. Because the longer your contact list, the greater your chances of sales.


But do not forget that social media is not the only social channel where people can find and engage with your business.


Action Steps


  • Figure out which social channel makes the most sense for your business.
  • Set business goals for this channel across three categories.


  • Create a plan for this channel to reach your business goals.



  1. Listings and Reviews: Respond promptly with accurate information!



There are over 4.48 billion active internet users searching apps and websites for information.

Search engines automatically generate listings, or customers create them.


As the business owner, you control these listings by clicking a button and submitting requested information that proves the business is yours.


When doing so, ensure your information is accurate across all channels because inconsistency means irregular business.


Tip: Once you claim a listing, keep control over updates and accuracy.



  1. Create Content: Increase your chances of getting found!


Great content is the stuff that makes the web wheel spin.


Google processes over 40,000 search query every second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day. People search for information, consume content, and share online. It is the way of the digital world.


If you consistently generate interesting, unique, and relevant content that supports your audience needs—you will have visitors bookmarking your content, linking to it, and sharing it. But it is impossible to have an efficient online marketing strategy without optimized quality content. Google ranks quality and relevance according to your traffic, which means quality optimized content translates to free traffic to your website.


Sure, there are some white hat tactics to work out before SEO practice, but at its core, you want to deliver new, meaningful and relevant content to your audience. And this is where blogs hit the ball right out of the park.


All blogs are websites, but all websites are not blogs.


A blog is a type of website that chronologically showcases fresh content on the Homepage. It can be a part of a website, a separate page, or linked to the Homepage.


While websites are static, with the content organized in pages, blogs are dynamic and updated daily, weekly or monthly with thought-provoking content. Blogs give you the ability to demonstrate your expertise by answering specific questions, whereas websites focus more on the products and services.


Did you know? A blog allows you to target your audience directly with meaningful, relevant content.


Google loves its blog content fresh.


Just like fans like their Apple iPhone fresh, Google likes its content fresh. But to get the most benefit out of your blog content – your blog must directly connect to your website.


Once created, use the blog content on your email and social channels to lead people back to your website. By doing this, you help humanize your brand, build authority, generate inbound links, and improve your conversion rates.


Action Steps


  • Add a blog to your website domain.
  • List the top questions you get from prospects and customers.
  • Create a calendar to publish content that answers those questions.



How to amplify your efforts?


Once you have the essential elements in place, you can and should use paid advertising to guide more traffic to your site. The digital landscape has transformed over the past few years. Whereas it used to be enough to reach your potential customers, with the ever-growing volume of websites, blogs and social media platforms – algorithms limit your access to your audience, impacting your search engine results. Today, you must pay to reach large volumes of consumers.


But it is not a bad thing. Paid advertising can increase your ROI—when executed smartly.


Facebook and Instagram Ads


With a few clicks, you can run advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. Not only do these ads help to increase brand recognition, search rankings, and conversion rates, but they are affordable and measurable. Facebook and Instagram allow you to target your ads based on location, demographics, interests, behaviours, and connections. It also creates a lookalike audience to target people like those already on your email contact list.


Google Ads


Google Ads will get you onto the 1st page of Google – nearly instantly. The best part? These ads are pay-per-click (PPC), which means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Every second, there are millions of searches on Google, and most of the search result pages include Google ads.


Google Ads is an effective way of driving traffic to websites exactly when people search for your products or services. You can pay to have Google Ads display your advertisements at the top of the search results based on specific keywords.


How much should you spend on ads?


With AdWords, you can set a budget for your ad, ensuring that you do not overspend. To begin, set aside R1000, and as you learn what does and does not work, you can invest more in the ads that bring you more business.


Action Steps


  • Set aside a budget of R1000 to experiment with paid advertising.
  • Review your website analytics and drive traffic to top-performing pages on your website.
  • Use ads to get new sign-ups for your email list.



Chapter 3—How it all comes together!


Now that you have the digital tools—get ready to position your brand for success.


But how do you bring it all together to drive new and repeat business? Remember, people will forget about your business, and you will lose money if you are not top-of-mind.


Now, we take a look at how it all comes together.




Online marketing is all about attracting digital buyers to your door or mobile-responsive website through listing sites, mobile searches on apps, paid to advertise, online organic searches, and word-of-mouth referrals.




In a customer-centric landscape, make it a priority to deliver seamless, positive customer experiences. Do this by knowing your customers, making customer interaction easy, answering questions, and resolving problems quickly and efficiently.




The moment you have an interested customer, you have a golden opportunity to get them to return. Use it to get their email address, send out newsletters and connect with them on social media channels.




Customer engagement is the emotional connection between a customer and a brand – and it is your job to engage with the customers who have enthusiastically chosen to connect with you and hear from you. Highly engaged customers buy more, promote more, and demonstrate more loyalty, so stay engaged regularly.


Simply put, engaged customers become brand evangelists, creating more awareness for your business and bringing more traffic to your door.


As the most significant piece of the online marketing puzzle, customer engagement brings prospects to your door, allowing them to discover your business. When your customers and prospects engage with you on social media, use this as an opportunity to share your content with their contacts, as those interactions create further visibility for your business.


And that is how it all works together.


By focusing on the core elements of connecting, experience, entice, and engage, any start-up or small business can get new customers to walk through the door and existing customers to return.


How to know if your online marketing efforts are working?


Every business is different, with likes, followers, shares, downloads, and clicks leading indicators. With plenty of metrics to determine success, rather keep it simple by focussing on indicators meaningful for your business.


To measure success—answer these questions:


  • Are you getting traffic to your website?
  • Are consumers joining your email list?
  • Are consumers contacting you?
  • Are you making sales?


So, how long does it take for online marketing to work?


From an organic or non-paid perspective, it takes a few months to see the results of your digital marketing efforts. But once you form the groundwork and emotional connections with customers, the time frame shortens. Then you can experiment with paid advertising to amplify those efforts that are working.


Remember: Across all online platforms, the idea should be to use your mobile-friendly website, email marketing, social channels, business listings, blog content, and paid advertising to add value to your current and potential customers.