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4 Small Business Lessons from my experience with Clickatell.com

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Hmmnnn, can I really say I am one of those using the Internet to make an impact? I leave you to be the judge of that, maybe not now but in the days ahead.

Talking about Impact, Google and Facebook are 2 companies making great impacts online. I was happy to hear of Google’s clamp down of sites doing all sorts and SEO firms using ‘blackhat’ techniques to rank, read about it hear. Thumbs up Google for levelling the field a bit!

Did you read the post Pointing out South Africa’s clickatell.com anti-Nigerian Policy? Well I wish to inform you that it has produced some positive results, which I am proud of….

Clickatell.com has informed me of their willingness to accept my Naira mastercard which they had earlier rejected.

Now, what is important for me is not just the fact that I have attained a personal objective (which is to use their central API, something I am not sure of continuing with anymore) but the fact that I have started something others coming behind can leverage upon whenever they need to use their services.

That said, I want to stress that clickatell.com is a serious and forward looking company, which they have proven with the way they have handled this case.

They have kept in touch using all of the following means;

  1. They have put 2 calls through (at 2 different times)
  2. They have sent a couple of follow up emails
  3. They have also stopped by this blog to leave a comment.

Am I impressed? Yes I am. Am I still pissed? Yes and No, Yes because this was totally avoidable and No because the company has done everything humanly possible to show that they are a listening company and that I respect.

What are the small business lessons from this experience?

1. Never be too proud to admit when you are wrong.

Clickatell.com is a medium-to-large IT company in many regards and could have as well called my bluff. What would I have done? Maybe write another one or two posts at most and that would have been it. So the lesson here for a small business is that you should not lose sight of the fact that you exist to serve the customer, however, big or small you are/become.

It doesn’t hurt to say I am sorry!

2. Follow up.

Most SMEs have issues with adequate follow-up. We (CFA Leverage) aren’t exempted, for example in the month of March, we sent out proposals in excess of $20,000 to numerous prospective clients but we managed to pull in less than $3,000. This is a typical example of how poor follow-up hurts small businesses.

If clickatell.com did not effectively follow up on me, I probably would have been writing another post castigating rather than commending them.

Create adequate follow up mechanisms!

3. Leverage technology.

I am so fascinated about Technology, hence the founding CFA Leverage, which represents our passion to help individuals leverage the Internet.

I want to commend clickatell’s use of technology and the Internet. Let me explain, My plan when I wrote the 1st article about them was to send the link to their management staff, officials of the NCC and any other person who cared to listen. I told members of the CFA Nigeria blackberry team of my intention and I was advised that the best way to approach it was to write, SEO optimize it and then leave it for them to discover it via Google. I took that advice and never mentioned it to clickatell.

But to my utmost surprise, clickatell.com found the post and left a positive comment stating the solution already proferred, rather than trying to justify their actions/inactions. I am not sure how they found the post but a basic and free tool that I use always is Google Alerts. It gives me the opportunity to know the much I need to know about competition.

I have set Google Alert to inform me whenever keywords such as SEO Services, Social Media Marketing, SEO in Nigeria etc. are mentioned. This way I can easily work hard to stay ahead of the game. (I know I am letting out my strategies but it’s all part of the Internet game – no one is loser)

Let CFA Leverage help you leverage the Internet effectively!

4. Use Incentives to your favour.

Yes, it is permisible to bribe (not in that sense) your clients if you have to, as longer as you are certain you are doing the correct thing.

The last email I got from clickatell.com is an offer of discounts whenever I am ready to start buying from them. This part I admire so much, as it’s part of giving your customer that WOW experience.

My joy will be full only if and when clickatell.com boldly accepts credit cards issued by Nigerian banks as a show of confidence in the Nigerian people and her economy. I rember that a number of well meaning people discouraged me from pressing on and asked me to simply look for alternatives, my response was that they don’t understand.

Don’t wait until there is trouble to offer your (prospective) clients an incentive.

What do you think about this experience with clickatell? Do you think I missed out any lesson?

domain name

4 Tips to Help You Choose a Good Domain Name

A good domain name is synonymous to having a good name. Most parents are usually happy after child birth, so they carefully select a name for the child and in places like Africa, extended family members also give the child a special name.

This is to prove that names are not just cultural but very significant.

Domain name defined

A domain name is basically the address of a website online, so for instance this blog is called Conditioned for Accomplishments (CFA) with the domain name www.CFAgbata.com which I formed out my first, middle and surname names.

Tips to help you select a good Domain name:

1. Go for a Keyword Rich Domain name

SEO again? Someone might say not again, why so much noise about SEO?

Well, it’s simply because SEO professionals now play a major role both in choosing a good domain name as well as building a new website, so SEO plays a key role here.

CFAgbata.com is no doubt becoming an authority domain by the day but this domain name is nowhere near being keyword rich. Think about it, who is going to search for cfagbata online? It is not a product nor a service, so it’s tough.

Now, compare the domain name CFAagbata.com with www.AwesomeBizTips.com, owned by Fayo Williams, one of my partners and students. She has a much better keyword rich domain that is likely to do much better because ordinarily people are searching for “biz tips”

Now am I worried about the CFAgbata.com domain name not being keyword rich? The answer is a Yes. As early as yesterday, I asked my US based SEO colleague what he thought about it? Below is a screenshot of his reply;

domain name

Marketing takeaway: Make sure your domain name contains a highly searched keyword or keyword phrase.

2. A Good Domain Name should be Short

Yes you are free to register a 50 word domain name but why do that? Imagine the pain you would put your clients and subscribers through if you do that?

Imagine someone says to you, my domain name is callmeandIwillbetherewiththefoodforyoualone.com? (this will be every hilarious to see or hear). This is one of the reasons I chose to stick with CFAgbata.com, though not keyword rich, it is only 7 characters which means it meets one of the criteria of a good domain name.

I remember back then it was a struggle between fredagbata.com and CFAgbata.com, then I had not yet come up with this whole CFA concept. I actually registered the domain name fredagbata.com but the guy refused to develop my blog even after payment.

Boy was I sad? You bet I was but guess what? I am glad he never did because that bad experience helped me come up with the CFA concept which I am so very proud of today. This is a case of turning a bad experience into a good story!

Marketing Takeaway: Insist on a shorter domain name, if possible try other extensions. The shorter the better.

3. Register some other extensions of your domain name

Domain names come with different extensions while some i.e. .com, .net, .org, are referred to as Top level domains (TLDs) others are known as country specific domains i.e. .com.ng is for Nigeria, .com.uk is for United Kingdom, .co.za is for South Africa.

Almost, all countries of the world have theirs and some smart nations are using theirs as a foreign exchange earner. For example .tv is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Islands of Tuvalu, a small but smart country that has earned some much from this gift of Nature.

I understand that Nigeria actually has another exclusive .ng that is sold for as much as One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) each (I have not verified the exact cost) but to prove that it really exists here is Google’s version of the. ng url www.google.ng – clicking this redirects you to the main www.google.com site.

Marketing Takeaway: Don’t bother registering all your domain extensions, just register a few. In my case, I registered www.CFAgbata.com and CFAgbata.net (which I use for sending email newsletters) and then I registered a country specific domain name www.cfa.com.ng to protect the CFA brand locally. Both are redirected to this blog.

Notice I said some and not all. You can only register all if you are as a big as Google.

4. Avoid Domain Names with Hyphens

If you are a newbie to the internet space then heed my advice and warning: Avoid a domain name that has an hyphen.

Yes there are a couple of very successful websites that have domain names with hypens, which means there is an exception to this rule. Should that be a reason for you not to adhere to my advice? Well its up you but I encourage to obey.

Some Exceptions to this Rule

Yaro Starak is founder www.entrepreneurs-journey.com while this domain has an hypen, it is

yaro starak's domain name age

a pretty old domain, which makes it an authority domain.

Also note that it has “entrepreneurs” a highly competitive and highly searched keyword as the first part of the domain name. He is an early bird to the internet and a lot worked in his favour. If you are starting out today, I doubt if you will be that lucky, except for those with a huge SEO budget.

Recently, I was appointed to the ICT committee of Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International Nigeria, a 60 years old fellowship of the Happiest People on Earth, when I was asked to review the website and come up with recommendations, I got confused because how am I supposed to tell my fellowship that the domain name www.fgbmfi-nigeria.org registered since 2003 should be changed because it has an hypen?

I am sure you know what I did……

Marketing Takeaway: Just save youself any unforseen stress and avoid domain names with hyphens. If you have an old domain name with an hypen, you can live with it as long as competition does not have the exact same one without an hyphen.

Someone might ask, what if my Small Business’s name is not keyword rich?

Well that is a brilliant question, I can’t imagine a small business looking for international clients to have a domain name as difficult as www.gbongbongidiyakpa.com irrespective if that is the business name or not.

Wisdom is profitable to direct – Ecclesiastes 10:10

This is a practical example of how we handled this sort of situation. Our company name is CFA Leverage, so we registered the domain name www.cfaleverage.com which is the natural thing to do.

But www.cfaleverage.com is not a keyword rich domain name, so we registered another domain www.seoexpertng.com that represents one of our major services which is SEO Services. We then created a permanent redirect such that if you click on www.cfaleverage.com it takes you to www.seoexpertng.com

I hope this helps and you learnt a thing or two? Please go on now and implement!

Feel free to share your experience if you have a website? How did you go about choosing a domain name?

Note: If this sounds too difficult for you then you should order our comprehensive Keyword Research, Domain Name Ideas and Title Tag SEO Services package. Prices start from as low as N10,000 ($60) and you can be sure of getting the best value for your money!