Way back n 2005, no it was 1997 when I walked through Standard Bank’s door and asked to be signed up for Internet Banking for my bookstore. They offered this service but of all the people that I knew I was the first to actually do my transactions online via the bank’s website. I always had a thing for technology and the fresher the better.
In 2005 I came across a franchise from Canada named WSI. They offered what we called today, Digital Marketing Agency Franchises. These words were foreign at that stage so they called themselves web developers. I got 2 partners and off we went to Toronto the week before Christmas to get our Franchise training after the payment of $50 000 was made into their bank account.
Back in South Africa, we were ready to roll. The people from WSI kept telling us that we had a market of over 40 million people, yes but what they did not know was that only 1,8 million at that stage had access to unrestricted Internet. This was before the launch of 3G data sticks. Most people were accessing the internet from dial-up modems at home. The website uptake was slow and I decided to depart from this business after 8 months.
In 2008, I assisted a struggling carpenter friend to get online with a website. Until then he was advertising in a local smalls add paper. We built a very basic website with a few of his project photos one Saturday morning. I remembered that he did not even have R200 to pay towards Google AdWords which I recommended. I paid for it and activated an Ad campaign for him. Within 6 weeks he asked me to switch off his website because he could not handle all the work that he got from it. It was then that I realized that the South African market had to catch up on this web marketing thing.
In 2010 we started a company named WebMarketing1oo, developing websites and marketing them via Google AdWords. We were an instant success with our customers getting leads that converted into sales. In 2011 we joined the Google Partner program which helped us to get even better at getting results for our clients.
We believed in staying ahead of the pack by ensuring that we provide our customers with the best solutions out there. We got into Social Media Marketing, Inbound marketing with Hubspot and a few more solutions that I do not even want to mention. We launched local and international websites with huge success stories.
These years and years of real-world experience with over 300 customers taught us that without a proper Digital Marketing Plan most customers are wasting money. Anyone with a little bit of computer experience can build a website or social media campaign, but are they truly becoming lead generators?