7 Rules for small business growth

You can ask almost any Small business owner what they want for their company, and the answer is likely to be “more customers, more sales and more business.” In other words, they want their business to grow. Here are just a few suggestions that might be of help to you and your business.

  1. Know what business you’re in

You may think you know what your business does, but in today’s rapidly changing world, with more competitors, it may be hard to figure out exactly what your strategic position is and how your customers perceive you. Take our small business. We called ourselves a web design and internet marketing company. But the world of web design and online marketing changes almost every day. We needed to figure out what our customers really wanted from us and understand our core competencies so we could change to survive in this new competitive environment. What are your core competencies?

  1. Take care of your bread-and-butter business first

What business activities / services actually bring in the money to pay the bills? Never endanger these activities, even if they’re not exciting or “creative” It’s easy to get bored with your own business — but don’t allow yourself to be. After all, your employees need a paycheck, and your dog has to eat. Look at your financials to see where your sales come from and who your biggest clients are. Taking care of them is your first, though not your only, priority.

  1. Don’t bet all your money on one horse

Many businesses — including our own at one point — have only one or two clients or distribution channels that bring in the bulk of revenue. Being dependent on one or two revenue streams is perilous. It certainly made us nervous at the time, and we knew we had to add new revenue streams to reduce risk, which we did. And that boosted and sustained our business.

  1. Be clear about your target market

If you don’t know exactly who your customers are, you won’t know what they want and how best to serve them. The biggest problem of most small businesses is they try to serve too large a market. Find a niche and own it. When you try to reach too many customers — or types of customers — you spread your resources too thin and your message gets incoherent.

  1. Identify exit scenarios

Someday, you’ll want to leave your business — sell it, close it, pass it to your family members. Outline a few realistic exit possibilities and the steps necessary to make those happen. For instance, if you’d like to sell your business, what would make your company attractive to a buyer?

  1. Build one business at a time

Most entrepreneurs have many great ideas and see opportunities to grow in many different directions. But if you try to act on all those ideas — seize those opportunities — at once, you’re less likely to be successful at any one of them. A key rule is to concentrate on only one new direction — product line, target market, distribution channel — at a time. Get that done right, and only then expand.

  1. Choose a strategy you can afford

Growing a business takes money: for marketing activities, new staff, inventory. How will you fund that growth? Through your own revenues? That means growth will be slower. By taking out loans? You’ll have more debt and obligations. By finding an investor? That takes time, and you have to give up part of your company’s ownership. Figure out what kind of financing you can live with, and choose your growth strategy accordingly.



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The 3 Areas Brands Should Invest in to Improve Consumer Experiences on Mobile

Digital user experiences are more important than ever. Whether it’s on the web, mobile, or a digital assistant, consumers’ relationships with technology continue to evolve. People are finding faster and more efficient ways to get things done. As a result, brands are no longer competing with other brands in their category. They’re now competing with the best digital experience a user has ever had.

1. Help me faster

Consumers are shifting their thinking from “Who does it best?” to “Who does it best, now?”

2. Know me better

Consumers want to be served relevant experiences—regardless of context, device, or channel.

3. Wow me everywhere

Consumers expect seamless experiences every time they interact with a brand.

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10 Ways to increase your email open rate

You probably already know how important email marketing is, but if no one is actually reading your emails, your campaigns aren’t doing you much good. Luckily, there are lots of ways you can entice more people to click on your emails. Here are 10 tried-and-true strategies for improving your email open rate.

  1. Write a great subject line

A subject line is to an email what a headline is to an article. If it doesn’t beg to be clicked, people won’t bother, and your painstakingly-crafted email will go unseen. If you’re not happy with your current email open rate, your subject lines are a good place to start improving.

A few rules of thumb for clickable subject lines: make them concise, specific, and action-oriented. If you can, add a sense of urgency, or make people feel like they’ll be missing out on something great if they don’t click. Whatever you do, don’t be generic or bore people. For example, write something like “Grab our marketing guide while it’s free!” instead of “Special offer inside.”

Try not to sound too promotional in your subject line, or your emails might get snagged by the spam filter. Don’t use all caps or multiple exclamation points.

  1. Send emails from a trustworthy name

What name do you send marketing emails from? This little detail can make a big difference in your open rates. If your brand is small or personal, make sure your name is in the “From” field, not the name of your business. People are more likely to open emails that are sent from a name they recognise and trust.

There are some times when you might want to use your brand name instead of your personal name for sending emails, though. If your brand is very recognizable but your name isn’t, you may get better results by putting your business’ name in the “From” field. There’s no single right answer here, so put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes and take the approach that makes more sense for your situation.

  1. Use a double opt-in system

When it comes to subscribers, quality is more important than quantity. You can ensure that all your subscribers are actually interested in your business by using a double opt-in system. With this type of system, your subscribers have to open up your first email and click a confirmation link to be added to your list. True, you probably will get fewer subscribers than you might have otherwise, but you’re only losing the people who didn’t care that much in the first place. This is also a good way to prevent bots from joining your list.

Popular email marketing systems like MailChimp allow you to use a double opt-in system.

  1. Maintain your email list regularly

Just like anything else, your email list needs regular maintenance to stay neat and tidy. Go through your list periodically and do the following checks:

  • Fix common typos, such as example@gmal.com or 123apples@yahoocom.
  • Remove alias email addresses, like webmaster@yoursite.com or support@yoursite.com.
  • Check your feedback loops. If people are reporting your messages as spam, it could damage your reputation with ISPs. Remove the complainers from your list so they can’t keep sending your emails to their spam folder.
  • Look at your bounces. A hard bounce means there’s a permanent problem with an email address – it may be deleted or blocked. Whatever the reason, you should take it off your list right away. A soft bounce indicates a temporary problem with an email address, like a full mailbox, so it’s okay to keep soft bounces on your list.
  • Identify subscribers who never open your emails. Don’t delete them right away – give them one more chance to re-engage with you. For instance, you could send an email offering them a discount, or just ask them if they want to keep getting emails from you. If you don’t hear back within a week, cut them – they’re dead weight on your list.
  1. Segment your email list

Segmenting is the process of categorising your email list, so you can tailor your marketing more effectively to different facets of your customer base. There are a ton of ways you can divide up your list. Consider segmenting by:

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Job title
  • Purchase history
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Frequency of opening your emails

The more data you gather about your subscribers, the easier it will be to segment your list effectively, so consider conducting some informal polls or surveys to find out more about your customers.

  1. Personalise Your Emails

Everyone loves hearing (or reading) their own name. To get your subscribers’ attention, talk directly to them by using their name in your emails, preferably in both the subject line and the body. You can also personalise your emails based on your subscribers’ location and any other pertinent information you’ve gathered about them. Segmenting your list will help you do this more easily.

  1. Keep your tone casual

Nobody likes reading stiff, formal marketing emails. You can get more people to open your emails by making them fun to read. Don’t focus on the fact that you’re sending each email out to a lot of people – write like you’re talking to your favorite subscriber. Don’t be afraid to throw in a joke or a pun every now and then, too. Of course, you should also keep your emails in line with what’s appropriate in your industry. You’ve got more leeway in an artistic field than you do in finance, for example.

  1. Deliver Great (and Alternative) Content

If every email you send is too promotional or boring, people will catch on and stop opening them. Maintain a good reputation with your subscribers by sending emails they’ll actually want to read. Here are some ways you can provide excellent value in every email:

  • Don’t email your subscribers unless you have something good to say. It’s hard to be interesting when you’re just emailing for the sake of emailing.
  • Write well. Use a lively tone. Proofread every email to make sure you haven’t made any easily-preventable grammar or spelling mistakes.
  • Link to something your subscribers will like, such as a useful article or video.
  • Give something away. Send your subscribers an ebook, some case studies, a coupon code, or an invitation to a webinar.

When it comes to writing alternative content, get creative. Infographics works great if they’re short and sweet (and load quickly). Keep things fresh so that in the future, people will always open emails when they see they’re from you.

  1. Time your emails right

Want more people to read your emails? Send them at the right time. The day of the week and time of day you send an email both have a huge impact on whether people will click on it or not.

Figuring out the best time to send your emails can be tricky. It varies from industry to industry. In general, though, weekdays are better than weekends, and the middle of the day is better than evening. Whatever you do, don’t send emails in the middle of the night, or your open rate will probably take a nosedive.

Analysis from Mailchimp shows that subscribers open more emails on weekdays – especially Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – than weekends.

MailChimp also found that open rates are highest during the middle of the day, particularly between 9 AM and 2 PM.

Good email timing is somewhat field-dependent, so you’ll probably have to experiment to find a time that works well for you. If you’re not sure when to send your emails, the next tip can help you figure it out.

  1. Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly

Are your emails easy for your smartphone-loving subscribers to read? They should be, because two out of every three emails are opened on a mobile device instead of a desktop computer, and that number is growing all the time. You can make sure your emails are mobile-friendly by:

  • Using short subject lines that will display fully on a mobile screen. Aim for an upper limit of 30 characters or so.
  • Giving your pre-header text some thought. Mobile devices display the beginning of your email (the pre-header) to give your subject line some context. Start your emails in a way that will make people want to open them.
  • Breaking your text into short, easy-to-scan paragraphs. Long, dense emails are tedious to read on a mobile device.
  • Making sure your emails look good without images, since not all mobile devices display them.


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10 alternatives to communicate a sense of urgency without resorting to “ASAP”

Reading “as soon as possible” in an email usually makes us cringe. There are several problems with this phrase: The request is often urgent for the other person, but not for us; it makes them seem self-important and demanding; and if the timing doesn’t align with our work schedule, we feel stressed and anxious.

That’s a pretty strong reaction to four simple words. Here are 12 alternatives to communicate without using the word “ASAP”.

1)  … by (date and time) because (reason)

Do you have a specific deadline by which this task needs to be done? Use that instead. If the other person has an exact time, they can prioritise their other work accordingly. Plus, you’ll seem less pushy since you have a clear reasoning for your due date.

2) When you have a chance (in the next day, before tomorrow, this week)

Saying “when you have a chance” gives the other person a little breathing room, so you don’t come across as demanding. However, the deadline ensures they’ll still finish your request on time.

3) I apologize for the urgency, but could you please (do X, send me Y, complete Z) at your soonest possible convenience?

This politely worded question communicates the same level of urgency as “ASAP” but in a far more considerate way.

4) EOD (End of Discussion)

All but the most pressing requests can typically wait eight hours. “EOD” shows you’d like the request fulfilled soon, but you’re not asking the other person to drop everything to tackle it.

5) I will be grateful if you can get to this (before X and Y)

Show the other person where this request falls in terms of importance on their to-do list.

6) Since this is a relatively urgent request, let’s put a hold on (X project, Y meeting, Z deliverable) until you’re finished.

When you’re talking to a direct report, use this line. It helps them stay on top of their workload and shows you’re not randomly assigning them work.

7) ASAP, or by (date and time)

“As soon as possible” is pretty vague, so if you must use it, add a date and time to show how important your request is. For instance, you might write, “Please submit your specs ASAP, or by Thursday at 4 p.m.”

8) I normally wouldn’t ask for such a quick turnaround, but (reason for urgency). It would be great if you could address this by (date and time).

Giving an explanation for the tight deadline proves you understand it might be inconvenient for the other person. A little empathy will go a long way.

9) (Timely ask)

Want to really get someone’s attention? Add “[timely ask]” to the end of your email subject line. Not only will it stand out in their inbox, but they’ll be curious to know what’s so pressing.

Just make sure the matter actually is timely — and not just for you, but for them too. If you’re trying to get them to buy in the next six hours so you make quota, rushing them to the finish line will make you look pushy and could backfire.

10) Your quick response would be greatly appreciated

When you’re trying to get a swift reply, try this line. It can come across as passive-aggressive, however, so use it sparingly.

Next time speed is of the essence, try these 10 alternatives to “ASAP” to avoid annoying your recipient.

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Having e-mail problems? Solve it in 5 easy steps with Webnova

  1. Check your Internet connection. Emails need an Internet connection in order to connect to the Server where your emails / account is hosted. Try to Google something to see if the connection has been lost. If you do not have an Internet connection, please contact your Internet Service Provider such as Telkom.
  2. Check your access to your email server. Visit your webmail page. Simply go to the url bar at the top of your Google page and type in (yourdomain).co.za/webmail If the page loads and asks you for a username and password, it means your connection to the Webnova Server is working.
  3. Ensure you are using the correct settings as provided to you by Webnova Designs. This is very crucial as on several occasions, clients miss something or have an incorrect setting / incorrect spelling mistake which leads to high levels of frustration. If you are not sure about the settings, please contact Webnova or send us an email. We are happy to assist!
  4. The Incoming mail server / outgoing mail server should have the same settings. You only have to set up your account once so why not double check it the first time to save you unnecessary stress.
  5. Use the correct password. The hosting server has very strict security measures and only grants you 5 attempts for your email password. Should you have exceeded this amount, your IP will be blocked immediately. Please contact Webnova Designs so that we can whitelist your IP.
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7 Reasons You Should Redesign Your Website in WordPress

Your website serves as the digital storefront for your business. If it doesn’t look appealing, load quickly or even have a mobile version, customers are going to keep walking. Many small business owners rely on their website to bring in a steady stream of leads and educate potential customers on what they offer.

However, when it comes to designing and developing a website, most of those same small business owners think they can’t have all the bells and whistles that larger businesses have. But that’s not true. Why? Meet WordPress.

WordPress is a platform that powers the back end of your website. It’s commonly referred to as a “content management system” because of its ability to let you easily create and organise all of the pages and media you upload to your site.

Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or your small business is growing like a weed, you want a website that grows as you do. WordPress gives you that option.

  1. You’ll be able to start using your website as a blog

If you’re using a separate website to host your blog or, worse, have no blog at all (at least yet), switching your site over to WordPress will quickly solve that problem. Not only is the software incredibly easy to operate (adding new pages/posts literally takes seconds), but it’s the perfect platform for blogging about your small business.

Simply set up a page on your site dedicated to your blog then you can start adding posts to that page. A blog is your easiest and most effective way to continuously add new content to your site and keep customers up-to-date with your business.

  1. WordPress constantly updates itself for safety and security

Instant updates mean you can be confident your website’s security is always up to date and aligned with the best, most current policies. While some other content management systems might require you to manually check for updates or may be slack on performing maintenance, WordPress does the work for you.

You can sleep soundly knowing that your site will automatically update, and knowing, too, that WordPress will keep working to better its system and make things more secure for users and visitors.

  1. WordPress is open source

“Open source” simply means that developers are able to contribute to WordPress’ software in the form of plugins, themes and updates. How does that benefit you? The system is constantly improving and getting better, and a new addition doesn’t cost you a cent. You can reap all the benefits of these improvements without paying for them.

  1. WordPress is SEO friendly

SEO, or search engine optimisation, refers to the idea of making your website more searchable by engines like Google. While mastering SEO can take some investment of time WordPress offers ways for business owners to optimise their site in the easiest way possible.

  1. WordPress has been around the block

This CMS has been around for more than ten years so it’s safe to say it’s a sure thing. While WordPress (like any CMS) isn’t perfect, it’s pretty much problem-free. Over the years, its engineers have had time to work out those little kinks and improve, aging the system into a timeless CMS that all levels of web developers have come to love.

  1. Coding for WordPress is standard for any web developer

A lot of small business owners hire a web developer who then builds a complicated website that no one else can manage. That’s all well and good if you never need to change your website again — but that’s rare.

One of the reasons WordPress is so great is that it’s become such a popular choice any web developer knows how to code for it. Whenever a problem pops up that you can’t fix, or you decide to redesign your website’s look, any developer will be able to get the job done.

  1. Having a WordPress website puts you in good companyWordPress capabilities extend far beyond the basic ones; and some of the biggest companies in the world use WordPress to power their sites.

WordPress is great for small businesses because it has everything you need to create a visually pleasing, fully functional website, and it also offers endless possibilities if your business or budget grows down the road.


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Your Logo: Your Most Important Strategic Marketing Effort

A logo is quite possibly the most important strategic marketing asset a company can have. In addition to the obvious benefit of creating brand recognition, a well-designed logo can also communicate subliminal benefits about a company. First instance, logos can inspire people, it can instill trust and admiration or express product or service superiority.

What some business owners don’t realize, however, is that a logo should not just express what a company “does” but it should represent who a company “is”. In this sense a logo should be used as an asset just like any product or service provided to the public. In this way a company is marketing their “logo”, which then helps to sell the products and services associated with it.

Given this information it may seem like creating your own logo is far too complex but the reality is that a well-designed logo doesn’t have to be an impossible dream.

Below are a few tips that can be utilized to help you create a successful marketing logo brand:

  1. Don’t be wowed by trendy or creative graphics. Avoid letting these trend-setting ideas permeate your brand identity. There is a reason why these ideas are called “trends” as they typically tend to be short-lived. A year or two from now, when the popular trend is long buried, your brand will appear old and “yesterday”.
  2. Once you have a logo, stick to it. While it may be tempting to change your logo every time a new idea comes into your head, this can be counterproductive. First, building a brand name takes time and effort that hopefully builds a return when customers see your brand and purchase your products or services as a result. Changing your logo is like changing your brand, and it’s like starting from square one. Second, customers may see your constant logo changes as a lack of stability.
  3. Something that looks awesome on your computer screen may not look so great elsewhere. Always keep in mind that your logo will potentially be used in many different places. For instance while a bright multi-coloured logo with lots of detail may look wonderful on your website, when converted to black and white for a fax or stationary it potentially will not have the same visual appeal. In fact most often complex logos reprint very poorly in traditional settings so keep this in mind before you begin to design.

While the tips and ideas above have focused primarily on the graphic element of your logo, don’t forget about the message that must accompany it. Tag lines and other marketing text should easily integrate into the graphical elements of your logo for a clean, transitional look.

A good, successful company logo will express the company’s image so that it transcends merely one product or service. Unless you can foretell the future, most businesses will shift and change as they grow, making it imperative that their brand identity is able to shift and grow with them.

In general, your logo should embody the following key rules:

  • Fonts should be simple and easy to read.
  • Utilize simplistic graphics as attention-getting elements of the logo, but don’t throw too many into a small space, which implies chaos.
  • Find colours to fit the emotional feel of the company. For example, green works well for a peaceful look and feel, while red will express confidence and a go-getting attitude.
  • Use symbolic elements that portray simple ideas that are easy for customers to grasp and remember.

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Six ways for businesses to become pillars of the community

Many businesses make a point of giving, from sponsoring sports gear to donating goods to a nearby charity. By helping out in this way, the thinking goes, the business fosters goodwill and loyalty in the community. But charitable giving is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways in which businesses can contribute towards the welfare of the communities and cement their position as good corporate citizens.

1. Make your business profitable

In a certain sense, it sounds like the polar opposite of being community minded or charitable. But being profitable is the single biggest contribution that a business can make to the community in which it is based. It means that the service it provides is sustainable, and that community members will be able to rely on it being there next year and the year after.

Being profitable means that the jobs provided by the business to members of the community are stable, dependable and long-term.

In contrast, the respect earned by the big-tipping type of business owner who prioritizes buying flashy cars over business sustainability is as superficial and short-lived as the business itself.

2. Train your staff

All over the world, small and medium businesses are responsible for a huge amount of work-place training, simply because they cannot afford to appoint fully trained workers like big corporations can. They appoint youngsters with the understanding that the salary will not be great to start off with, but there will be lots of training. And in a small-business setting the worker is often in close proximity to the owner, who can constantly give expert feedback and on-the-job training.

In South Africa, where state-provided basic education and vocational training is to a large extent struggling, the role of the small business in keeping vocational skills alive has become absolutely critical. The few workers who are well trained and educated tend to work for bigger companies, while small businesses tend to employ untrained youngsters from their community in return for on-the-job training.

Yet the idea of training sits uncomfortably with many small business owners, who fear that all their investment in the on-the-job training of a youngster will be lost when they are poached by bigger businesses as soon as they are proficient.

It is bound to happen at some stage to every small business, but the fear is overrated. Research shows that one of the best ways to instill loyalty in workers is by providing skills development. The few who do leave for better-paying jobs are indeed the business owner’s contribution to the industry skills pool, which, although it may not be immediately apparent, benefits every business in the long term.

3. Be visible to the community

A business owner’s presence in the community provides another crucial contribution to the development of South Africa, which urgently needs role models to show the youth that self-employment or entrepreneurship is a valid and worthy alternative to working for someone else.

Business owners do not have to be flashy or glamorous in order to make an impression on the youth. A solid presence as a role model can be established by low-key involvement such as giving talks at schools or serving on the board of a local community project. And here charitable giving can play its most important role. When business owners sponsor the kit of a local soccer team, for example, the value they provide as role models is worth much more than the price of the donation.

4. Mentor young entrepreneurs

Apart from the general role modeling that business owners can do in their communities, they can also focus on imparting skills and knowledge to up and coming young business owners in their industry.

Even though they are strictly speaking competitors, the bond developed by mentorship is beneficial to both businesses. Experienced business owners can refer overflow work to the young entrepreneurs they mentor, and can strengthen their capacity by forming joint ventures with them.

Experienced business owners can also join, or set up, formal mentorship programmes. BUSINESS/PARTNERS, for example, has a pool of more than 300 business owners in its mentorship programme. Many of the participants are retired business owners who want to contribute to South Africa’s economic development by sharing their extensive experience with the younger generation of business owners.

5. Be vocal about issues that hurt your business

Workers have well established structures and methods to make a noise and exert pressure when they feel their rights are being threatened. Students are again finding their voice to raise awareness about their plight. But the voice of the business owner is largely silent, even in the face of serious damage inflicted by unnecessary red tape. Big business, when they do speak up, often do not face the same challenges as small businesses.

An important part of the problem is that business owners are too busy to spend much time participating and setting up local business associations. But it also has to do with a lack of a culture of activism. Join your local chamber or business association, even if it is dominated by big business, and even if you contribute just an hour or two per month. In their numbers, the voice of small business can become powerful.

6. Innovate

You don’t have to change the world like Google, or shake up industries like Elon Musk. Incremental and localized innovation is hugely beneficial to the community. Every time a business introduces something as simple as SMS notifications to its clients, or a new method copied from overseas, life becomes a little more convenient, products and services a little better or cheaper, and the business itself a little stronger.

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Crucial Website Elements

Word of mouth referrals, repeat business and network marketing are great methods to generate business but sometimes this is simply not enough if you wish to grow and expand your company. The steady flow of online enquiries is critical to the survival and sustainability of modern businesses and a great website can help close the gap between survival and expansion.

Most business owners already have an existing website. The question you need to ask yourself is if your business is generating enough sale enquires for you to reach your business goals and if you are using your website to its full potential.

What elements does your website require to be a productive tool for your business? It can be great looking, easy to use, informative or it can be a combination of these elements. The most important feature of a great website is the ability to acquire sales leads for your company and help generate clients and revenue.
In the year 2010 there was a record high of 2 billion people using the internet regularly and just over 200 million websites on the internet. Today there are close to 3 billion internet users and almost 1 billion website on the internet. There is literally one website for every 3 internet users!

This rise in new websites is great news for information sharing and technological advancement however; this is bad news for business since there are more and more online competitors every day.

Below are five steps to set your company’s website apart from the competition.

1st, have a look at your site’s graphic “look and feel” and the first impression you get when you open the website. This will be the first impression your potential client will receive when they find your website. It needs to be clean, colourful and easy to grasp what your company is about and what you offer. If the site is looking dull and boring or cluttered and disorganized, then people will simply move on to the next site. It is always a good idea to have a look at your competitor’s websites to stay ahead of the trend.

2nd, your website needs a good flow of information to guide users from the introduction to more detailed information about your product or service and finally to contact you for a quote. This can all be achieved on the home or landing page to make it easy for your online visitor to make an informed decision without having to click through multiple links.

3rd, you need to establish your company’s credibility. When you promote products or services online, you need to convince your online visitor that your company is reputable and that you offer a quality product or service. There are several methods you can use to display credibility on your website.

Firstly, you need to make it easy for people to contact you. Internet users are suspicious of companies who do not show a phone number or physical address.
Next you need some credentials like a list of past projects or accomplishments and make sure your potential client understands how your experience or accomplishments will benefit them.
Last but not least, you need to show some testimonials to reassure your online visitors that people are happy with your products or services and enjoyed working with you.

4th, finally and the most important aspect of all is online marketing. Once you have this great looking and functional site that converts visitors into clients, you need to make sure people can find you when they search for products or services you provide. 42% of search engine queries are people looking for local business services. Google SEO and Google AdWords Marketing is currently the most popular and affordable way to get listed on search engines and generate online traffic.

If you need help converting a basic website into a sales lead generator or if you would like to improve your current online conversions, please give us a call for more information.

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How to Respond to Bad Reviews to Build Customer Loyalty

While it is always important to reach out to and attract new customers / clients, it is likewise imperative that you work to maintain your existing customers / clients. Customer loyalty is essential to any successful business enterprise, even more so when you are first starting out with your business.

All it takes is one customer who is unsatisfied with your business or product to scare away a dozen others.

In this social media age, bad reviews can quickly and easily reach hundreds if not thousands of prospective customers. As review sites such as Hallo Peter and Tripadvisor have become increasingly popular and powerful, it has become even more important to make certain that you respond appropriately to bad customer reviews. While you cannot always prevent bad reviews, if you respond correctly, you can help to mitigate their damage and even convert a customer with a bad experience into a loyal customer.

Be proactive

Preventive action is always best in order to ensure bad reviews do not happen in the first place. But the truth is that you cannot always please everyone and bad reviews are inevitable. You must accept this and be prepared to take action when they do occur. The worst thing you can do is ignore a bad review and hope that it goes away. Although this strategy might work some of the time, there can be potential fallout.

For instance, you never know how many people who could have been customers / clients will see that review and never even contact you based on what they read. Furthermore, some unsatisfied customers / clients simply will not go quietly into the night. If you fail to respond and your unsatisfied customer / client does not receive acknowledgement, he or she may well decide to turn up the heat. In that case, what started out as a bad situation can quickly turn into a nightmare.

Begin by making sure you have a system in place to track when you have received a bad review. Ignorance is not an excuse for failing to respond to a bad review. There are services and applications available that can be used for notifying you when you receive reviews on the most popular sites. Among those services are Google Alerts.

Appropriate responses to negative reviews

When you do receive a bad review, it is important that you do not respond emotionally. It is only natural to feel offended and even defensive, but do not let that come across in your response. Regardless of your customer’s complaint, even if you think it is unfounded, recognize that that what matters is that in your customer’s perception, the complaint is extremely well founded.

The key here is to respond promptly to any complaint and be sincere in your response. In many instances, you will find that this is all it takes to make the customer happy and retain him or her as a customer. Even when that is not the case, if other customers or prospects see that you are attempting to resolve the problem, you can forestall further damage.

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