All posts by B.O.F

About B.O.F

B.O.F Networx is a a networking group for professionals. Our philosophy is to BENEFIT all through our various OFFERINGS of workshops, networking meetings and social events - and ultimately to FLOURISH with our various members. You are welcome to join us on our journey, sign up to our e-newsletter and meet others like you.

How to Market Your Website

The marketing house

Marketing ‘How To’ Guide

Here are a few tips to help market your website

1. S.E.O : SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

You may often have across this acronym in your website dealings and fathomed over its meaning. S.E.O stand for Search Engine Optimisation and is a methodology used b web developers and specialists to improve or optimize your ranking with search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing (there are several out there!) When building your site, it is important to take note of some key factors which affect the performance of your website on search engines. Here are a few:

CONTENT – Sufficient content should be available on all your web pages and should be completely relevant and describe your product or service offering in detail. Content should also be changed on occasion to ensure you site always remains fresh.

KEYWORDS – Each page should have relevant keywords added that will be picked up by search engines

DESCRIPTION TAGS – These should be used in the coding of your website and should be edited to ensure the reader is attracted to and intrigued by your website

PAGE HEADINGS – Headings for your pages should be relevant to your website and product or service offering

AVOID DUPLICATION – avoid duplicated content in your site, or content copied over from another site. Search Engines will pick this up and give you a low scoring.

AVOID WAFFLE – content should be relevant to your product or service offering and not “fluffed” to simply consume space

2. LINK BUILDING

Research other website that may be interested in putting a reciprocal link on their website to yours. This simply means you host a link to their site on your site in return. You obviously don’t want to be putting links on competitor’s sites, but if you’re a Pet Store Owner for example, you may want to ask for a reciprocal link on a Pet Food Product owners website. Reciprocal Links drive traffic both ways and also serve to increase your search engine performance.

3. ADVERTISE YOUR URL ON SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKING SITES

Your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a fancy name for your website address. You should be proud of your website and advertise if at every opportunity you get. Place it in your email signature, on any written correspondence and all business stationery. If you sign up on any social networks like Face Book, LinkedIn, or Plaxo, be sure to list your URL there, and be sure to spell it correctly! We have a guide on Social Media Marketing, be sure to read that.

4. ADVERTISE THE BENEFITS OF VISITING YOUR SITE

Be sure to inform people of the benefits of visiting your website. If you visit the MH Marketing website, you will be able to download free Marketing “How To” Guides, and sign up for our monthly newsletter which is filled with tips and interesting stuff! What are the benefits of visiting your website?

Happy Marketing!

Megan Harris

The marketing housePhone: +27 (0)83 797 1980
Fax to Email: 086 541 7703
Skype: megan.bender.harris
Email: megan [at] themarketinghouse.co.za
www.themarketinghouse.co.za
Postal Address: Unit 2, Tyrell House, Crowthorne Corner, Garlicke Road, Ballito
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1409, Ballito, 4420
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How to Register a Domain and Plan Your Website

The marketing house

Marketing ‘How To’ Guide

Domain Names & Web Hosting

Domain Registration

It is not safe to assume that everyone knows what a domain is, so quite simply, a domain name locates an entity on the internet, just as your home or business address locates you on planet earth. When you think of the most successful websites you know, chances are that what comes to your mind is their domain name eg ebay.com or amazon.com

. A great domain name is the foundation of your web based business or company website. Some key things to consider when brainstorming a domain name:

– It should be clear and concise (easy to say and easy to spell)

– It should clearly communicate what your website is all about

– It must be memorable

After brainstorming, make a list of about 5 preferred domain names. As the internet has evolved rapidly, most of the really great domain names are already taken, so a variation of your favourite may be needed. Once you have selected a domain name, you need to find a Domain Name Registrar. You will pay a registration fee, and this is renewable annually. You can expect to pay anywhere between R70 and R150 for .co.za domain and anywhere between R120 and R200 for a .com domain. Your Domain Name Registrar will conduct an availability search on your chosen domain names, and then register the available one accordingly. Make sure that your registrar registers your domain in your company or personal name as this indicates the true ownership of the domain.

It is important to note that a domain fee differs from a web hosting fee. A domain fee secures your domain on the Internet, just as buying a home secures your spot on planet earth. However, to live in this house you still need to pay your rates, levy and electricity every month to the service authorities. In the same manner, to host a website on your domain, you need to pay a monthly hosting fee to the host who services your secured spot on the internet. This will vary anywhere from around R50 a month to R500 a month, depending on the size of your website and the functionality required.

Planning Your Website

You now have a great domain name, but what are you going to build on it?

Questions to ask before you plan your site:

– What is the purpose of the site? Is it to sell a product online with a payment gateway? Or to offer a virtual service such as a booking engine; or is it to simply advertise a company’s product offering online

– What should the site look and feel like? You look and feel should be in line with your target audience. You would not design a site advertising party clowns, with a serious black and white formal structured website, just as you would not design a site advertising a financial business by using part clowns in bright vivid colours dancing across your screen. Consider things such as colour, flash animation, flow lines or structured blocks, navigation buttons, and formal versus funky

– What ingredients do you need? Your website needs contents, images and perhaps some downloadable information. We will discuss more on content in the next issue. You may need blogging software, an online payment solution, and an email contact form

Now that you have an idea of the purpose of your site, what it should look and feel like, and what ingredients it needs, we can set about creating a site plan.

The best way to design a site plan is with a blank piece of paper and a pencil. Turn the A4 page landscape ways, and write

HOME PAGE on the far left. From here, create a spider-gram out to the right, for the main pages of your site. From each of these main pages write keywords out next to them for the main content of the page. This will help you establish whether you need to have further sub pages. This will also help you to establish where ingredients like Shopping carts, articles, downloads and contact or enquiry forms will be placed.

You’re now ready to start collecting design and development quotations. Here is a quick checklist to send with any quote requests:

– A Website Plan clearly indicating the number of pages required

– A list of special image requirements that you need designed or purchased such as logos or photographs. Don’t assume that a logo and images come free with the website

– Any special-ingredient requirements such as a shopcart, payment portal or a blog

– Anything else you expect the designer to assist you with, such as content writing or editing

The designer will then give you a project quote, with certain Terms and Conditions. One of these is usually that content is supplied, so be sure you are both on the same page in this regard!

Happy Marketing!

Megan Harris

The marketing housePhone: +27 (0)83 797 1980
Fax to Email: 086 541 7703
Skype: megan.bender.harris
Email: megan [at] themarketinghouse.co.za
www.themarketinghouse.co.za
Postal Address: Unit 2, Tyrell House, Crowthorne Corner, Garlicke Road, Ballito
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1409, Ballito, 4420

Laughter and Learning on the Joy Journey Course

Joy Journey Group“If you haven’t reached for the box of tissues in Donna’s Workshop yet…you will. Soon. Fortunately the love, understanding and unconditional acceptance we share in that special place means we can finally Let Go and LAUGH about our silly notions, sordid histories and diabolical beliefs! How nice to know I am not the only one!   

We are almost midway through the Joy Journey – and transformations are becoming quite noticeable. One of our members blubbered freely one session as she struggled within the confines of a situation she found herself…to be totally in control the next as she mastered that particular situation and firmly took the reigns of her life in a way she would never previously.

What happened? “I heard all your different voices in my head,” she tells us. “Before I knew it, I was saying this…as B said I should and that…as S would have said it. It was easy, because I had all of you right there with me…’

That’s the magic of a small development group – it’s not just the work of the facilitator or the material used – it’s the collective experience and wisdom of other women in very similar situations that catalyzes us all to advanced levels. If 2 minds can make 3 – then 8 minds can make hundreds!

Interested in learning more?

Contact: info [at] bofnetworx.co.za

How to Use Social Media to Market your Business

The marketing house

Marketing ‘How To’ Guide

According to expert Hugh McCabe, Social Media is the “biggest media revolution of our times” . I cannot agree more! The statistics speak for themselves. More and more business is coming from online reviews and word-of-mouth forums.

Social mediaSo what’s the big hype? Well, most social media sites are free, for a start. Secondly, social media allows you to engage with your audience, get relevant leads for your business, and influence peoples decisions through idea generation.

Here are a few tips from a few online experts on how best to use Social Media to market your business:

Your Brand

Use social media to build your company’s brand rather than using is as a constant sales pitch. You can become an ambassador for your brand through the use of Twitter, FaceBook pages, LinkedIn and WordPress

You should not go in without a plan though – develop a strategy to position your company at the forefront of the online communities you are engaging with.

Your Customers

Bear in mind that Social Media has an International reach. This gives small business the same global reach as a big international and multinational companies.

You can now also target travellers because Smart Phones and the Mobile Web give social media users access whilst they are travelling

Use social media to plant ideas in your customers head and thereby potentially influence their decisions

Your Community

Use Social media to place your business in a good light with your community by commenting on issues that your industry or your home community is faced with. In this way you create a knowledge sharing pool, all this while you are getting your brand out there in a positive light.

Your Peers

Use social media amongst your peers in your industry to look for possible collaborations that could strengthen your business proposition.

Your Competition

Of course, with Social Media tools, you are able to keep abreast of what your competition is up to online at any given time. There is nowhere to hide online. (This is a good reason to remember to always keep it professional!)

Your Budget

The marvel of Viral Marketing – I call it the Online Sneeze (spreading a message just as a sneeze would spread the Flu) – means you can produce relevant and interesting content through other people without having to pay for it, or spend time producing it.

TIPS when using Social Media

First, set clear, concise objectives – what is the purpose of this mission for you?

Next, define your goals and make them measurable

With these goals in mind, you now need to define your ‘message’ – what do you intend to convey to your audience? Be creative, original, funny, bold. Never be overbearing.

Once you have your message, you now need to select your target audience and then go out and find them

Remember that Social Media is about ENGAGING. Listen and respond and adapt your campaign and your message if required.

Don’t allow yourself to become rejected if you experience a slow start – creating a healthy online footprint takes time and commitment.

Last but not least, face negative feedback head on. Comments never die on the internet. They cannot be erased, and will not go away if you play the Ostrich.

Good Luck! If you need any help, feel free to contact us by clicking here

Happy Marketing!

Megan Harris

The marketing housePhone: +27 (0)83 797 1980
Fax to Email: 086 541 7703
Skype: megan.bender.harris
Email: megan [at] themarketinghouse.co.za
www.themarketinghouse.co.za
Postal Address: Unit 2, Tyrell House, Crowthorne Corner, Garlicke Road, Ballito
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1409, Ballito, 4420

How to Generate an Income from your eNewsletters

The marketing house

Marketing ‘How To’ Guide

Here are a few tips on how to generate an income from your eNewsletters:

With a little effort, you can enjoy the added benefit of great returns when advertising with your newsletter. Here are some ideas on how to tweak your content for optimal gains!

1. Start with an eye catching header. You want your customers to stay on your subscription list for future newsletters, and to entice new readers so be sure to lock their interest from the first word.

2. Content is King. Your customer or potential customer probably gets hounded with several newsletters every day. Bear this in mind when you write your content. Use the 3C rule: Keep it Crisp, Concise, and Clear.

3. Offer giveaways: Everybody wants something for nothing every now and then, and you could get enjoy promise of loyalty in return, but the giveaway must be of value to your clients – if you are going to go this route, don’t tarnish your reputation with something of no value.

4. Don’t be shy: People need to know how why they should use your services so don’t be shy to strut your stuff. You are good at what you do otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it. Display this with confidence and you will instil that in your clients.

5. Fulfil their needs: You will find that your clients need or want certain products or services. Find relevant information and provide links (you may need permission from the website host) to the sites that would fulfil their need. Your client will be pleased you were able to point him in the right direction, and you may also be able to enjoy the benefit of reciprocal links with that particular website

6. Call to Action: wherever you can on your newsletter, use a call to action such as “click here to view our special offers”, with a link to the relevant page on your website. Not only will this possibly result in a sales lead, it will increase your website traffic.

7. Sell advertising slots: Your newsletter will no doubt cost you a service fee. Consider selling advertising space to cover this fee and even earn a profit. This also helps in adding to the useful content.

8. Offer value-adds such as coaching, online courses, tips, news, and relevant information. Your customers must identify your company with a place where they can get value. Offering this information is a great way to achieve this.

Happy Marketing!

Megan Harris

The marketing housePhone: +27 (0)83 797 1980
Fax to Email: 086 541 7703
Skype: megan.bender.harris
Email: megan [at] themarketinghouse.co.za
www.themarketinghouse.co.za
Postal Address: Unit 2, Tyrell House, Crowthorne Corner, Garlicke Road, Ballito
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1409, Ballito, 4420

How to Get Potential Clients to Do Business with You

The marketing house

Marketing ‘How To’ Guide

Here we discuss a few basic principles that will help you to get your client to want to do business with only you. These revolve around questions that you need to put to your clients.

Potential Client1. Do your potential clients know your service or product offering? Sounds like a stupid question, doesn’t it, but don’t ever assume that they understand your offering. Your brand promise needs to clearly state your purpose. With MH Marketing, you get “Complete Marketing Management”. Your Brand needs to clearly convey your purpose.

2. Do your potential clients know your FULL product offering? Yes your product offering must be evident from your Branding, but above that, you must remind your clients of your full product offering on a regular basis. Interesting email newsletters are a handy way of achieving this.

3. Does your Branding and your product offering make your potential client understand why you are different from others? Your client needs to understand your Unique Selling Points. What makes your company unique over the others.

4. Do your potential clients understand why they must choose to do business with you above all your competitors? You need to position yourself to your clients and potential clients as the only option out there that is the right option for them, as the expert in your field. Even if you only know a narrow portion in your field, you need to be an expert in it!

5. Do your potential clients know what value you deliver? Your value proposition needs to be clearly stated in all your marketing efforts. Are you the cheapest, biggest, best quality, best value for money, offering the fastest service in town? Put it out there, but ensure you can deliver on that promise.

6. What do your potential clients know about your company? Do you have a well worded website that clearly tells a story about your company and the business you do? Do you use testimonials as evidence in proving your knowledge, trustworthiness and ability? Do you have your photos taken with your clients or do you have images of your work to showcase in order to create a strong desire to do business with you.

Summary: Your clients and prospective clients must quickly and accurately be able to answer these questions in their mind on their first contact with you, be it a website visit, a sales call, or an email newsletter.

Happy Marketing!

Megan Harris

The marketing housePhone: +27 (0)83 797 1980
Fax to Email: 086 541 7703
Skype: megan.bender.harris
Email: megan [at] themarketinghouse.co.za
www.themarketinghouse.co.za
Postal Address: Unit 2, Tyrell House, Crowthorne Corner, Garlicke Road, Ballito
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1409, Ballito, 4420

How to Create a Website That Works

The marketing house

Marketing ‘How To’ Guide

Your website is one of the most important marketing tools of your business, and whilst it’s great to have an eye-catching, modern, flashy, funky website with all the bells and whistles, but does it provide what the customer is looking for – information – quickly and easily?

Here are some important parts of a website that works:

1. WHAT IS YOUR WEBSITE INTENDED TO DO?

– Set Goals : What do you want your website to achieve? Is it intended to be a portal for selling products, or for bring in new clients, or simply to provide information?

– Do you want to portray a professional, fun, traditional or ultra modern site?

2. IS YOUR WEBSITE ALWAYS UP TO DATE?

– To keep your visitors coming back, keep your website’s content new and relative

– Add company news and fresh images whenever you can

3. IS IT QUICK AND EASY TO ACCESS?

– Time is every mans desire, so it is important to have a page that loads quickly as soon as it is opened

– Whilst some “enter site” buttons are also quirky and fun, remember that this gives the visitor the option NOT to enter the site or to see your home page

– Avoid long lists of information to avoid scrolling down the page, rather using small bits of information bites

– Use many smaller graphics instead of one large one

4. DOES IT HAVE A CALL TO ACTION ON EACH PAGE?

– You want your clients to react to every page on your website, and therefore need to put a call to action of some kind on each page, ensuring also that your contact information is readily available and all call to action links work

5. IS IT COMPLETE?

– As far as possible, do not have any “under construction” buttons – this is a waste of internet space, and leaves your visitor cold

– If necessary, leave a teaser behind of what is to come

6. DO YOU KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE?

– Every product or service has a target audience on the internet just as it does in the tangible world

– Are they young, old, serious, light-hearted, ill, travellers, conservative. Try and place your audience and cater to them adequately

7. IS YOUR WEBSITE BUG AND VIRUS FREE?

– A website that doesn’t work properly is simply going to annoy your visitor and he won’t return

– Regularly check that all pages and links are working. Glitches have a habit of creeping in at odd times

8. IS NAVIGATION EASY?

– It may be all good and well to have off-the-wall, funky navigation on your website, but whilst you may know how to find what you’re looking for, your guest may lose interest in trying to figure it out, and leave

– Menu buttons must be clear and prominent, and the contact information button must be available on every page

9. IS THE PURCHASE PROCESS SIMPLE?

– Make any processes which are part of your website, as simple to use as possible. These could include completing a form, placing an order or making a purchase

– Offer offline alternatives for people who do not want to follow an online procedure

10. IS YOUR WEBSITE AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE?

– An ordinary day in the life of an ordinary person can be really mundane. Try to leave your visitor with a memorable experience after visiting your website

– Where it is relevant, add humour and fun interaction

– Make sure to add a human element to your site – in a mundane life, people want to deal with people, not machines

11. DOES YOUR DOMAIN NAME HAVE A DIRECT LINK TO YOUR BUSINESS?

– Your domain is an important part of your website, and should reflect your company name as closely as possible, if not completely. This will aid search engine rankings, as well as customer recall

– Ensure that your web address is listed prominently on all your marketing material

Happy Marketing!

Megan Harris

The marketing housePhone: +27 (0)83 797 1980
Fax to Email: 086 541 7703
Skype: megan.bender.harris
Email: megan [at] themarketinghouse.co.za
www.themarketinghouse.co.za
Postal Address: Unit 2, Tyrell House, Crowthorne Corner, Garlicke Road, Ballito
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1409, Ballito, 4420

Christmas Fair Fund Bridge Day

FUNDRAISING BRIDGE DAY

Please join us for an enjoyable morning of bridge
Followed by a luncheon on

13 MARCH 2013

08H30 for 09h00

at BRAESIDE Wedding & Function venue

COSTS:

Bridge R80 per person
Lunch R130 per person

To book your table, please contact

Maryderne Boyce : 032 – 946 2425 or 082 – 801 1942
Or
Gaby Lyle : 032 – 946 1935 or 082 – 925 6481

South Africans Rated High as Binge Alcoholics

alcohol pileIt started with the Dutch Settlers. The ‘dop’ was part of the weekly wage deal – and somehow, several hundred years later, many South Africans still feel ‘shortchanged’ if they don’t get in their weekly bout of drinking. ‘Puza Thursday’ (Drinking Thursday) has become permanently inked into the South African Social Calendar. Friday Lunch ‘with a few’ is the norm. Saturday Sport is paired with Drinks and Braai (in that order), Sundays wouldn’t be the same without alcohol to ease the hangover effects of Saturday Sport…

alcohol shotsIn the South African context; high rates of alcohol consumption between Puza Thursday and Sunday is a normal social pastime.

In the global context South Africans are ranked 5th in the world as Binge Alcoholics. One third of South African drinkers regularly binge from Friday afternoon through to Sunday evening. One in 10 drivers on the road on a Monday morning are over the legal blood alcohol level.

Binge Alcoholics generally refute their problem, claiming to ‘have it under control’ and professing ‘minor’ trangressions over a limit ‘by mistake’.

In reality, Binge Alcholics regularly reach a point of ‘No Return’.  At a certain point between drinks or in the midst of a drink, they simply can not and will not stop consuming alcohol until all alcohol is finished. If they were enjoying sundowners at the beach this would mean draining all bottles brought to the event. If they were at a bar, it means continuing until closing and forced eviction from the premises.

At this point, all rational or logical capabilities vanish. Children could beg to be taken home for dinner and bed and be ignored. A spouse could plead illness or fatigue and be met with surley denial. Commitments  and responsibilities to work or others are simply let go. Alcohol and the continued consumption of it takes ALL precedence. Time, money, repsonsibilities, safety, security, laws and personal pride are obliterated. Only the drinker and his alcohol matter.

The binge alcoholic may reglulary show remorse for their actions and swear off any form of alcohol for a period of time. Weeks or months may go by without a binging session, but put back into a socially conducive setting again and he/she will invariably abuse alcohol to extreme again and again.

Calculate How Much is Too Much

9 Types of Binge Drinkers

  1. De-Stress Drinkers use alcohol to regain control of life and calm down. They include middle-class women and men.
  2. Conformist Drinkers are driven by the need to belong and seek a structure to their lives. They are typically men aged 45 to 59 in clerical or manual jobs.
  3. Boredom Drinkers consume alcohol to pass the time, seeking stimulation to relieve the monotony of life. Alcohol helps them to feel comforted and secure.
  4. Depressed Drinkers may be of any age, gender or socioeconomic group. They crave comfort, safety and security.
  5. Re-Bonding Drinkers are driven by a need to keep in touch with people who are close to them.
  6. Community Drinkers are motivated by the need to belong. They are usually lower middle class men and women who drink in large friendship groups.
  7. Hedonistic Drinkers crave stimulation and want to abandon control. They are often divorced people with grown-up children, who want to stand out from the crowd.
  8. Macho Drinkers spend most of their spare time in pubs. They are mostly men of all ages who want to stand out from the crowd.
  9. Border Dependents regard the pub as a home from home. They visit it during the day and the evening, on weekdays and at weekends, drinking fast and often.

alcohol poisoningBinge Drinkers and Alcohol Poisoning

When on a binge, alcohol is consumed quickly and without restraint. The mortal danger of this is Alcohol Poisoning. For many, the sign of a person having a ‘good time’ or “too good a time” are in fact the first signs of Alcohol Poisoning!  4 Drinks for a man and just 3 drinks for a woman within 2 hours could potentially cause Poisoning and death.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Irregular or slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute which could simply STOP)
  • Blue-tinged or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Stupor – when someone’s conscious but unresponsive
  • Unconsciousness – passing out

In the event of suspected Alcohol Poisoning, do NOT leave the person to ‘sleep it off.’ If possible, get them to drink water. (Severe dehydration causes seizures, brain damage and shutting down of vital organs)

Place them in the recovery position (on the side with airways clear) lest they drown in their own vomit.

Get them to a hospital for medical attention where they will be given intravenous fluids and oxygen to enable their body to process the high rate of alcohol.

Signs Alcohol is Messing with Your Life:

  • You actively seek out occassions/ excuses to drink (it’s Friday, it’s raining, it’s such a sunny day out, it’s so-and-so’s birthday/ anniversary / divorce/ marriage etc)
  • You nurture a large and varied circle of ‘friends’ across all spectrums so no one group can know just how much/ often you do drink
  • You drink and drive.
  • You miss days at work, special events in your children’s lives, appointments because you’re hungover.
  • Alcohol causes excessive fighting and arguments at home.
  • You drink alone.
  • After drinking, you can’t remember what happened while you were drinking (blackouts).
  • You have legal problems because of your drinking, such as being arrested for harming someone or driving while drunk.
  • You get hurt or you hurt someone else when you are drinking.
  • You keep drinking even though you have health problems that are caused or made worse by alcohol use, such as heart or liver disease.
  • Your friends or family members are worried about your drinking.

It doesn’t matter if your drink of choice is Home Brewed Beer or Premium Label Whisky – if it steers you rather than you control it – get help.

Scary Stats:

  • 25% of College students who drink can’t remember what they did while drinking
  • 4 Drinks for a man and just 3 drinks for a woman in under 2 hours could cause Alcohol Poisoning and possible death.
  • 10 % of women and 19% of men have reported being sexually assaulted as a result of alcohol
  • 2-5% of deaths in South Africa are alcohol related. (Violent murders, car accidents and Alcohol Poisoning included)

Useful Contacts:

Brothers Designated Drivers on Call – 079 514 0600

Alcoholics Anonymous