ecommerce online presence

[Ebook] How to Create a Solid Online Presence for Your Business

Does your business have an online presence?

If you run an offline business, then it’s likely you already advertise your business online in one or two ways.

For example, you may have advertised your business via your Facebook posts, personal chats, and you may even be actively sourcing for and interacting with customers via social media or email.

But does that mean your business is online?

The answer is no.

When we talk about your business being online, we mean the possibility for random searchers, or people who heard about your business from someone, to use a search engine (such as Google) to find your business.

For example, do you have a business name? If I googled your business, what would I find?

Do you have an active website, social media profiles, and is your business listed in online directories?  These seemingly simple things are the basic ingredients of a solid online presence.

Let’s look at a real-life example of a business doing it right. Let’s find a business that has a solid online presence.

First, I started a Google search for bakeries in Lagos and I found Dreamtreats Cake.

Next, I searched for the company and here’s the result I got from Google.

Online presence Dreamtreats

Not only does this company have a website (the first listing), they also have an active Facebook page and the business is listed with Google, which is why you see the rich snippet to the right.

At a glance, I have all the information I need to contact and do business with Dreamtreats Cake right there on the first page of Google search result.

That is what a solid online presence means: The ability for people to find your business on the internet and do business with you online.

If all you do is share random posts on Facebook under your personal profile and blast people in chat groups with spammy messages, then you’re not using the internet for strategic business growth.

Your business needs a solid online marketing strategy that is not only targeted at advertising your business and getting sales but also building a memorable brand.

To recap, here are the:

Basic ingredients of a solid web presence

  • Listings in important online directories
  • Active social media profiles
  • Functional business website

In the next topic, we’ll look at one of the best free ways to put your business in front of your customers.

View the e-book

Content marketing tips

3 Expert Tips To Help You Win At Content Marketing

When Coca-Cola changed its marketing focus from creative excellence to content excellence, the marketing world got the message: content marketing is the way forward.

But not everyone is satisfied with their content marketing results. Marketers, small business owners and even large businesses with a high budget still struggle with this tough nut.

Some businesses are even starting to question if content marketing works in their industry.
If you have already taken the plunge but feel you’re yet to discover the secret content marketing formula for your business, then settle down for a few expert tips that can help you clarify your objectives.

Ready? Here’s the first step:

Answer Mr Pulizzi’s question

Early this year, Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, shared details of a content marketing workshop he organized for about 50 small business CEOs and operations managers. Many of the business owners had all shared a common characteristic – they were unhappy with their marketing results. After listening to several complaints, Mr Pulizzi had to stop his presentation and ask them the same question, one after the other:

“Is the content you are creating and distributing for your customers any different than anything else out there?”

You should ask yourself the same question.

It is so easy to get lost in the frenzy of tactics, implementing one golden tip after the other when in fact there’s nothing special about the content you create.

How good is your content? Are you writing blog posts that your readers can’t tell from that of your competitor?

Take a day off the marketing and look at your content from the consumer’s perspective? Would you buy that if you were a consumer? Would that post stop your scroll if it appeared on your Facebook feed?

Mr Pulizzi had this final question for his participants and you should give it some thought too.

“Let’s say someone rounded up all your content and placed it in a box like it never existed. Would anyone miss it? Would you leave a gap in the marketplace?”

Call yourself a publisher, not a blogger

Answering the questions posed by Mr Pulizzi is one thing, getting practical about it is another thing. Okay, your content didn’t pass the test. How do you make it more engaging?

Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner suggests you “start thinking of your blog as a publication, then you can start calling yourself a publisher.”

Here’s why it works:

You may not be an expert at content marketing but you’re definitely an expert in the business you do.

Which one sounds more exciting? Writing blog posts that focus on trying to get people to do business with you or simply sharing your expertise? Clearly, the latter would come more effortlessly and would be more infused with your personality. It would also help you build authority in your industry. With the former, however, you’d be worried about both what to say and how to say it without looking sneaky.

For Stelzner, he thought of his site, Social Media Examiner, as an online magazine and went about curating it as such.

So, look at the blog posts or articles you already have on your business blog? Do they reflect your new status as the publisher of the next [your industry] Vogue?

This brings us to the next point:

Publish only your best content

You know one thing business owners worry about the most when it comes to content marketing?

It’s this: how much information should I give away for free?

Everyone talks about writing blog posts, creating eBooks, lead magnets and sending insightful emails. But wouldn’t that be giving away too much sauce?

This is, perhaps, one of the biggest reasons why many business blogs are full of lifeless articles.

Well, meet Emeric Ernoult, the lawyer turned CEO of the thriving SaaS company, AgoraPulse.

Here’s what he had to say in an expert roundup over at Social media Examiner:

“A long time ago, I was a lawyer and I started blogging content that my colleagues would sell for a fee. They looked at me like I was nuts. Three years later, they were still fighting hard to get a couple of new clients, whereas I was getting many more incoming calls than I could handle, thanks to my blog!”

Giving away your best content works like charm, as long as you’re speaking to the right audience. With the right audience, it only enforces in their minds that you’re are the right person to do business with.

If you’re still worried about what to give away and what not to, Chris Garrett of Rainmaker Digital has an excellent piece at Copyblogger that answers most of the questions you may have.

Keep in mind what he says at the end of the article:

“But the good news is that I have yet to find someone who has given away too much. I don’t believe it is possible to be too helpful or too generous … provided you manage your time and energy, and that people know you are in business.”

Conclusion

Like any business goal, content marketing success isn’t going to happen overnight. It would require consistent dedicated steps. The most important thing is to put in your best effort and differentiate your business by producing content that is remarkably refreshing.

This article was originally published on Medium.

How strong is your metal detection system?

In March this year, five consumers reported finding metal objects in ready-to-eat chicken products produced by OK foods. The company conducted an internal investigation and found that the objects came from a metal conveyor belt. A million pounds of chicken products had to be recalled.

Two months later, in May, metal objects were found in hot dogs produced by John Morrell and Co., a Cincinnati, Ohio establishment. One hundred tons of hot dogs were recalled as a result.

Food recall is a manufacturer’s nightmare. In the event of a food recall, the damage done to a company’s reputation can be more harmful than the monetary losses. Unfortunately, food recall is a regular occurrence, for several reasons.

Among the causes of food recall, foreign object contamination is the third leading cause, after undeclared allergens and Listeria. One foreign object that is a headache for food manufacturers is metal because it can come from a variety of sources.

In an industry that is already faced with enormous challenges, how can you protect your brand by keeping your product safe and free from metal contamination? How strong is your metal detection system?

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at the best practices for keeping metal contaminants out of your products and how to ensure that your detection system meets industry standard.

Read the full article here.

Sample Food ERP Whitepaper

Food manufacturers face several challenges. In addition to administrative and corporate responsibilities, they have to meet stringent safety regulations. This includes identifying and tracking every single ingredient in their products from purchase/receipt until they reach the customer table.

Paper-based or multiple disintegrated systems won’t cut it anymore. The solution is an ERP software, a system that integrates all aspects of manufacturing, sales and other front office tasks into one computer-based system.

Food companies have adopted and continue to adopt ERPs. The problem is that available ERPs are not designed to solve food-industry specific problems. Adopters have to go through painful customizations to mold generic ERPs to meet their specific needs as well as industry requirements.

An ideal ERP software for the food industry should:

  • Be completely customized to meet the particular demands of the food industry such as traceability and food recall.
  • Be intuitive and easy to use
  • Allow for hassle-free customization, where necessary, preferably as add-ons within the software
  • Offer integrated quality management options specific to the food industry
  • Come with training and implementation support

SampleFoodERP is a software carefully crafted to meet these requirements. Designed to handle all aspects of food production, from food safety/compliance to plant/preventive maintenance, SampleFoodERP gives food manufacturers the power to do business on their own terms.

Download the whitepaper.

new restaurant

How To Choose The Best Commercial Refrigeration For Your New Restaurant

Starting a new restaurant is no easy feat. If you are already on the path, you know there’s an endless list of decisions to make — from whether or not you should even start one, to the location, cuisine and later down the list — equipment.

For a restaurant, a refrigerator is a crucial equipment. You could consider it the powerhouse of the business. This piece of equipment will preserve your ingredients, leftovers and will be used to display products such as wines and beverages. Plus, it’s a considerable investment. So, you absolutely shouldn’t rush to make a purchase or skimp over the decision stage. The choice of a commercial refrigerator is one that should be made after careful consideration.

In this article, we’ll cover three important steps you can take to ensure you take the right choice of commercial refrigeration for your business.

Step 1: Start by making a list of your own requirements

Before you even start shopping for a refrigerator, you should be clear about some of the important details on your end. That way you avoid getting overwhelmed when you open a product catalogue or browse through online stores.

So grab a pen and paper and go through this checklist:

What is the size of your workspace?

How much space can a refrigerator take up without cramping your space? Get the dimensions of your workspace and visualise the size of equipment you want in there.

Take note of the exact position where the refrigerator will be and the other equipment that will flank it. This may affect the type of refrigerator you choose (more on that later).

What about your doorway? Any equipment you choose has to pass through unless you want to break down walls.

Next, take a look at your menu and size of regular stock.

Do not buy a refrigerator until you have settled your menu and the types of food you’ll prepare. This is important because different foods have different storage temperatures and refrigeration guidelines. While foods like vegetables can simply be refrigerated, meat, fish and other high-risk items need to be kept frozen at all times. So, you want a unit that is powerful yet flexible enough to accommodate your range of food ingredients.

If you have limited space, you may also have to consider buying smaller units such as under-counter refrigerators or worktop freezers. This would require sorting your ingredients into groups that are likely to be kept/stored together.

Once you have sorted out your refrigeration requirements, then it’s time to start scouting for the right equipment.

Step 2: Match equipment specs against your needs

This is why the first step is really important. Armed with the size of your workspace, food types and other specifications, it’s easier to narrow down your search and to use filters on e-commerce stores.

One of the common descriptions you will come across is the top-mount and bottom-mount refrigerator. This description refers to the location of the condenser within the equipment. Top-mount refrigerators have the condensers at the top of the fridge while condensers in bottom-mount freezers are located below the fridge.

Each type has its pros and cons. With bottom-mount freezers, for example, it’s easier to reach for ingredients because the condenser location means that the refrigeration unit is elevated. The disadvantage, however, is that the low position of the condenser makes it easy for dust and dirt to collect under the unit, making maintenance harder in the long run.

On the other hand, top-mount freezers do not collect dust and dirt but are usually not suitable to be used near heaters because of grease and oil leakage. Repairs may also be more difficult for technicians because the condenser is located higher up the unit.

You would have to take all these into consideration before settling for an equipment.

Step 3: Make your final decision based on quality and long-term performance

Starting a restaurant entails a lot of financial involvement. But don’t be tempted to settle for a cheap equipment in order to save money. Instead, focus on long-term performance. While it may look alluring to simply go for a cheap equipment from an unnamed manufacturer, the long-term costs quickly add up.

Your best bet is to go for trusted brands and ensure the equipment comes with a reasonable warranty. This can save you a lot of headache in the long run, as refrigerators often break down for no reason. With a reputable manufacturer, you are much more likely to get support and services should anything go wrong.

Get professional help

A sure way to make the process of choosing commercial refrigeration even easier is to use some professional help. We have helped over 50 restaurant owners with their equipment selection process. We not only guide them through the process but explain why they should go for which manufacturer or specific equipment.

To learn more about our advisory services, book a free consultation.