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Seth Godin writes about how simple your approach to online advertising should be in his post:

If your ads work, if you can measure them and they return more profit than they cost, why not keep buying them until they stop working?

And if they don’t work, why are you running them?

The time-tested response is that you’re not sure, that ads are risky, that you can’t tell. …

Digital ads are different (or they should be). You should know cost per click and revenue per click and be able to make a smart guess about lifetime value of a click. And if that’s positive, buy, buy, buy.

And if you don’t know those things, why are you buying digital ads?

We do a lot of online advertising through various providers and it is amazing how scientific you can get in order to gain real value from the medium. Online ads have totally changed the marketing landscape and we no longer rely on made up stats like “readership” and “circulation” that off line print media rely on the help justify their advertising costs.  I’m not saying don’t use “off line” media, as not all of your target audience are necessarily online, but it sure does help to focus your marketing efforts with stats such as cost per click and revenue per click.

The one thing about online advertising is that you need to actively track them.  Gone are the days of sending off an advert to your favorite magazine and then waiting for the phone to ring. Today, you can see exactly how your online ads are performing, who is viewing them and if they are delivering real business results. All in real time. Its amazing how the Internet is revolutionising marketing and the way we reach customers.


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Read magazines online

December 10, 2008


Google has set about to digitize the worlds books through a complicated scanning and indexing system. This never really excited me as the books they chose to index first were all old library classics and journals. This has now changed with the inclusion of magazines. Today Google launched magazines as part of their Book Search tool which is still officially in beta, but can be accessed here. My favorites are all included, take a look at the full catalog scanned in for your viewing pleasure (the Popular Mechanics from the early 1900’s are classic). Here are some of the magazines already scanned, expect more to be added soon:


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Twilight Running

December 08, 2008


Many of us at RSAWEB enjoy a 5Km run around the block from time to time however call it a race and the competitive spirit in all of us comes out. Last week the RSAWEB staff headed down to the Community Chest Twilight run through the streets of Cape Town. This annual event is always fun with 3 180 teams entered in 2008, which meant there were about 19 080 entrants all in fancy dress.

The run finishes with a stunning final straight down Adderley Street under the Christmas lights to the finish line and the corporate tents with braai’s and drinks to end off an awesome evening.

Well done to Vern who burst out of the blocks and achieved second place overall.

Meghann Leo from the Community Chest said that the race had been “stunning” and that R524 700 was raised. Well done to everyone who participated


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Our website evolves

November 20, 2008


A good website is never finished. The fluid nature of the web & technology in general, demands that you need to be constantly upgrading, redesigning and publishing if you want to stay on top.

We often advise clients to adopt a continual improvement philosophy when it comes to their website, encouraging them to keep content fresh and to make a few small improvements every month. However, from time to time a major change is needed, we felt that time had come.

It’s also important to be listing to your users. The site is, after all, for their benefit.

One such example of where we applied this principle was in expanding the pixel dimensions of our site. Based on older web-standards, our website was design to fit within an 800 x 600 pixel PC screen resolution. Usage statistics however, showed us that only 4.5 percent of our users were still using the 800 x 600 pixel resolution, with the majority using 1024 x 768! Consequently, we changed the site to fit the 1024 x 768 resolution, which not only catered to the majority of our users, but also gave us the extra space to add more content and improve the overall usability and aesthetics of the site.

 

Other noticeable improvements included:

Improved SEO capabilities. this helps users find us easily using search engines such as Google or Yahoo.

More informative. More content around our products and services was added to aid users in making informed decisions.

More Helpful. Various help mechanisms such as our Online Broadband Consultant help users to find what they’re looking for without having to spend money on a phone call.

Refined usability. It’s the little things that improve usability. Accessible menus, adding extra links, removing unnecessary pages/steps.

Got an opinion? go take a look at the improved site here, and let us know what you think.


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What is Twitter?

October 31, 2008


People often ask me – What is all this Twitter, Facebook stuff all about?

My answer usually hinges around explaining to them how people’s communication choice’s are changing in a similar way to how we changed our method of communicating when we bought our first cell phone. We no longer needed to wait at home for that important phone call, we could just pick up our cell phone at any location and call/text our friends. Twitter and Facebook are the next step in this communication evolution as the Internet allows us through these platforms to communicate for free on a one to many basis, rather than a one to one method like your cell phone. So you can now tell all our friends about the new bike you have just bought or about where we are having dinner tonight. Your friends who are now following you on Twitter have the choice of whether to act on this information or to ignore it.

After dabbling a bit with Twitter I initially wrote it off as a niche teenager communication tool that while sometimes useful would not be something I would ever use, however I am finding more and more business uses for it as I interact with others through it and explore its uses.

So, what is Twitter? According to Wikipedia

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

For a business Twitter offers new ways of engaging existing and new clients in a way that was never possible before. Take a look at this short screencast video that explains how to use Twitter in your business. Enjoy!

Screencast courtesy of www.smallbiztrends.com


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Data Centre Tours extended

October 27, 2008


For those wishing to join our Data Centre Tour scheduled for Nov 13, the tour is now fully booked. However, due to popular demand, we’ve created another opportunity for visitors to take a guided tour of our Cape Town Data Centre. (If you missed the details on what the tour is all about, you can read about it here.)

The details for our 2nd Data Centre Tour are as follows:

Date: 20 November
Time: 10am -11am
Street Address: 1st Floor, The Terraces, 34 Bree Street, Cape Town.

For security purposes, you will be required to bring your ID/drivers license for identification.

To book your space on the tour, please RSVP well in advance.


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Caffeine, muffins & servers

October 08, 2008


During the month of November RSAWEB will be opening the doors of their Cape Town Data Centre to the public for guided tours of the facilities by their team of technical virtuosos.

Located in the heart of the Cape Town CBD inside the majestic Terraces building, RSAWEB Data Centre 2 is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. As MD Rob Gilmour puts it: “For businesses looking to expand into prime data real-estate at affordable prices, this is it…”

DC2 is loaded with features, including fully redundant power systems, raised flooring, advanced climate control, Cisco certified Gigabit network backbone, redundant connectivity systems and biometric access control amongst others. More than that, the Data Centre provides a host of business opportunities as well: “DC2 provides the perfect platform for customers to create and package their own web based products. We offer the full range of hosted products from rented servers to fully managed solutions best suited to companies looking to grow their internet infrastructure without the associated capital costs…” affirms Technical Director Mark Slingsby.

Come and discover the inner workings of our world class Data Centre environment and stick around afterwards for a cappuccino, muffin and some serious techie talk.

The first tour is scheduled to take place on Thursday the 13th of November, and is open to everyone, whether you’re an existing RSAWEB customer or not. Tour space is limited, so you must RSVP with you name, company & contact details should you wish to participate.


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I personally do, and it seems that for the first time in history the average American does too. The New York Times published an article stating that in the fourth quarter of 2007, American cellphone subscribers for the first time sent text messages more than they phoned, according to Nielsen Mobile.

I have no doubt that in South Africa, the average cellphone user has been SMS’ing more than calling for some time due to our higher call tariffs.

So what does this mean, how can you capitalize on this?

Here are 2 examples:

  1. Use SMS communications from your website, rather than email/call/fax, try send pertinent information via SMS.  An example of this may be a “contact me form” where when a user inputs his details for you to call him back, you could SMS the user immediately thanking them for their request and alerting the user that it may take up to 30 minutes before you call them back. In time sensitive business applications such as selling insurance online, managing this expectation could be the difference between providing what you consider a good service, and the users expectation for an immediate response.
  2. Allow people to SMS your business, try setting up a inbound SMS system. For example this same insurance company could publish a number and say on their website: “SMS 08xxxxxxxx with your car make, model and year and we will get you a quote in 30 minutes”

The bottom line is marketing is now all about using communication methods that users are already comfortable using, so if you are already using the web and email and are finding you are not growing your business or delighting your customers more, try SMS.

Checkout MyMessager, should you need the technology and API’s to do this.


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Choosing the right Domain Name

September 29, 2008


Many people ask us for advice before they setup their web hosting, and the most frequently asked question is “What domain name should I use?” It is important to get this initial step right before setting up your website and is one of the critical success factors when launching your business online.

In the real world, people can distinguish a business because of its location, structure, window displays, or signs before deciding whether to go into the store. While walking down a street, you can distinguish a bank from a hair salon via their signage and window layout. This immediately helps you make up your mind, and helps you associate a particular brand with its product offering. However, in the online world, prospective visitors have no idea what your company does before they reach your website and read its content. Unlike in the real world you can’t stand on a street corner while looking at their shop window know that Amazon sells books, you have to go to their website to find that out. For this reason, it is a good idea to in some way describe what your business does in its domain name if possible.

In the real world people can also forget your shops name, but because they remember the shops location, they may return. This is not the case on the internet, who ever says: “I can’t remember that websites domain name, but I remember its IP Address…” It never happens. So domain names on the internet need to be memorable.

Your domain name can spell the success of your brand on the internet. Your domain name is also your only weapon to ensure people find you and more importantly remember you on the internet.

My six points to remember when choosing a domain name are:

  1. Keep it short.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Describe your business in some way.
  4. Be memorable and unique.
  5. Always be able to say your domain name like you spell it!
  6. Make it personal, not too generic.

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Partner Program launch

September 03, 2008


RSAWEB formally launched it’s new Partner Program at a breakfast event held at the exquisite Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay, Cape town Monday. The launch was well supported despite the prevailing hazardous weather conditions (see previous blog post!) Capetonians have been contending with of late. The launch was the culmination of a lengthily process of refining and streamlining the former the program to make it more efficient, partner-friendly and include new product opportunities.
Attendees were treated to a presentation on the current & future opportunities for Internet service providers in South African markets and the complementing range of exciting new products available through the Partner Program such as: Server Virtualization, Hosted Zimbra, Online Backup and Dedicated Servers and how these services can be best leveraged to offer added value to clients.

The program is now available to all entrepreneurially minded businesses looking to build on their existing offerings and create new revenue streams and business opportunities.

To find out more or sign up for the program, click here.


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