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Best Business Tools for Coworking Entrepreneurs in South Africa

March 2019– As a business owner renting shared office space, it is essential for you not to purely rely on your business network and coworking colleagues for new business, but also to seek out digital platforms and applications that will provide your company with access to information that can be used to optimise its performance.

Although progressive Landlords of rented coworking office spaces, such as The Business Exchange, are providing many options for tenants to increase their number of business opportunities, coworking business owners also need to realise that these activities should only support their own marketing efforts and not be the mainstay for them.

So, where can you find some of the bestbusiness tools for coworking entrepreneurs in South Africa?

For Professionally Designed Websites

In today’s digital age, a website is non-negotiable. This is the first place that potential clients will search for products and services and where you can make an impact withengaging written content and amazing visuals. Both WordPress and Facebook offer easy-to-use platforms with a range of free and paid-for options. If you are unsure about your skills when it comes to putting together a basic website, Conversion Guru can assist you with a professional site.

Engaging Corporate Blog

The purpose of a corporate blog is to inform and solve problems for your clients and potential clients. A well-written blog, containing relevant information will help your website to be properly referenced and ranked by search engines such as Googleand assist your sitein startingto reach the top of the results page when people search for your product or service. This should be done on at least aweekly basis to ensure continuity and consistency. If English is not your first language or you are worried about your grammar or ability to put together professional content, The Write Content Co will help you put together an informative and exciting article or content for your website that is also optimised for search engines.

SMS and Email Marketing Platforms

You can create professional emails, automate communications, personalise bulk messages, and test and track campaigns with online platforms such as Everlytic or MailChimp. If in doubt, The Write Content Co can also assist you in putting together various email marketing campaigns.

Online Competitor Analysis

SEMrush is a complete SEO tool that can be used by both small and big businesses. This online tool will allow you to see how your competitors’ websites are faring with regards to keywords, search engine rankings and other digital metrics. Using this data, you can quickly capitalise on using the right keywords and developing the right content according to information that your clients are searching for.

Online Marketing Using Local Search

One of the first online directories you should register your business for is Google My Business. This will allow your business profile to appear when people search for it and provide them with all your relevant contact details. You can also include photos of your company or products. Once you have done this with Google, you can repeat it on these directories:

  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Facebook
  • Hotfrog
  • Ananzi
  • Cylex

Creating a profile on each of these directories will also provide you with an all-important backlinkto your website which is excellentfor search engine optimisation.

Build Your Online Reputation

As an entrepreneur in a coworking office space, you should have an excellent face-to-face reputation, and a corresponding online reputation. This online reputation is achieved through reviews that your clients leave on the online directories where you have registered your business.

Over 90% of people read online reviews and tend to trust them. You will need to continually audit the reviews left about your business and respond accordingly, whether the reviews are positive or negative.

We also recommended that you send outemails to clients asking them to review your products or services after concluding a transaction. This way you will increase your reviews, keep them current and collect vital information about your clients and services for later analysis. This is a time-consuming process which not all companies are able to manage and can outsource. For further information, contact The Business Exchange’s Digital Team.

Online Stores

E-commerce is experiencing a long-overdue growth in South Africa and platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce, (which both integrate nicely with WordPress), are recommended platforms for you to set up an online store for your clients.

Payments and Billing

WalletDoc is a successful South African start-up for businesses to collect more money and avoid cash flow issues with consumers. PayFast also makes it possible to accept payments online and also integrates well with WordPress, Shopify and WooCommerce.

Cloud Solutions

If you haven’t yet realised it, the “Cloud” is having an immense impact on all types of small businesses. Microsoft 365 allows entrepreneurs to choose from a variety of services and only pay for those they need. Cloud computing also will enableyou to quicklyand securely upgrade and update your business information.

We hope that you will find some of this information useful and should you be looking to rent coworking office space, please visit The Business Exchange to see their extensive range of additional business services on offer.

How online marketing can boost your business efforts

The ultimate aim of any marketing strategy, whether online or offline is to achieve sales. In order to do this, companies need to fully understand the positioning of their brand as well as which methods best reach their target audience in the most effective and cost-efficient manner.

What is Online or Digital Marketing?
By definition, online or digital marketing is “the marketing of products or a brand to reach consumers by providing the content that they seek through electronic means”. These electronic means may encompass the use of one or a combination of the following;

Company Website
• Search Engine Optimised (SEO) Content
• Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
• Corporate Blogs
• Online Videos
• Email Newsletters
• Internet Adverts (banners or pay-per-click ads)
• Mobile Marketing (SMS, MMS)

Companies today are quickly recognising the practical and versatile benefits of online marketing, especially towards the up and coming, tech-savvy generation X and Y adults. These progressive organisations understand that people will use brands that they trust and with whom they have built up a personal relationship.

By establishing and building a relationship with each client, companies can tailor their offerings to an individual’s unique requirements through the use of social media. Specialised applications are able to recognise client demographics and show advertising specific to each user. In other words, users are only shown content which is relevant to them, thus driving brand recognition and ultimately potential sales.

Online Communication is a Two-Way Street
In order for companies to maximise their online marketing strategy, regular two-way communication, in a large part consisting of content marketing, needs to be regularly maintained between the company and its clients.

Importance of Keyword-Rich Content Marketing
It is imperative to monitor and respond to online comments relating to the brand so the client feels connected to the brand. Keyword-rich content marketing is another major marketing tactic which companies need to utilise. This involves publishing high quality and relevant information which clients or potential clients may be seeking. This content needs to be Search Engine Optimised and contain the right ratio of keywords in order to ensure that content can be found and indexed by search engines such as Google in order to rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERP).

Types of Online Content
Content varies greatly and may be in the format of an article, a white paper, a video or photos which may be published on one channel and linked to a number of other online channels in order to gain maximum exposure.

Online marketing is the perfect platform to demonstrate your or your company’s expertise, whilst establishing and fostering the personalised business relationships required to build trust, create brand awareness, increase your client base and increase sales.

The additional advantage of online marketing is that companies are able to easily monitor the results of their marketing activities and to optimise them in order to provide better results in the future. Furthermore online marketing is a powerful lead-generating tool which companies cannot afford to be without.

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