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Updated 26 Feb 2020


Case study: The little company that could

With a budget of just R30 per day, here’s how one small South African business used Google AdWords to help grow its turnover 20-fold.


18 July 2011  Share  0 comments  Print


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Brian Moore speaks six languages fluently and can greet you in eight.

"I'm a member of a Zulu tribe and used to work as a peace-maker between organisers and local people for the Dusi canoe marathon," he says. "This brought me closer to tribal groups and taught me how to mediate between people with diverse cultures."

With this experience in hand, Brian and his wife Arthie started a company focused on diversity training in 1993. "We work with businesses who employ diverse groups of people and help them to manage this. We have a passion for transforming lives and teaching people how to overcome cultural boundaries," he explains.

Brian and Arthie’s company, Mthimkhulu International, now employs 20 individuals in the running, selling and administration of its Celebrating Humanity Programme.

In the early years of the company, Brian and Arthie battled to get exposure for the niche services they offered. "The service we provide is unique but the problem in the early days of operation was developing a presence and getting our message out to the world,” says Brian. We essentially became a survivalist organisation, generating between two and three hundred thousand rand a year."

A breakthrough happened when Mthimkhulu International aligned itself with a Canadian business that provided mentoring. This company introduced Brian to Google AdWords. "It was easy for me to set up AdWords myself, even though I was busy and did not have advanced technical skills at the time," says Brian. "We started out really small with an AdWords budget of R30 a day for text-based adverts.

"The number of hits our site gets per month has now grown from 120 to five or ten thousand, and the visitors being directed by AdWords to our site are genuinely interested in our service because they have been specifically searching for diversity training.

"New clients brought in by AdWords are looking for training on a larger scale than we used to offer. In the past, we would train small groups, whereas now we are being approached by bigger organisations."

Though AdWords, Brian and his team started being contacted from outside South African borders for the first time. "We now run programmes in Zambia, Namibia and other countries, for customers who would never have found us without AdWords," he says.

Now Mthimkhulu International has a long list of customers across southern African and has improved its annual turnover 20-fold. "We have already quoted on more work than we can handle for the year and it is not even February yet."

But for Brian, money is secondary and he hasn’t lost touch with the reason for starting his business. "We measure success by how many minds we manage to change. Whereas we used to work with two to three hundred people a year, we now handle numbers of around 3 500."

Recipe for success

TARGETED SPEND:

Mthimkhulu International still exclusively uses AdWords as an advertising medium. "We spend with AdWords about three times more than we started with," says Brian, "but AdWords is the only marketing we do."

REGULAR OPTIMISATION:

"We adjust the campaign every three to six months and this is a quick process that I am comfortable doing myself."

TARGET AND TRACK RESULTS:

Brian makes use of AdWords tools, including site-targeting, which allows him to specifically address nationalities he would like his company's adverts to appear in front of, and Google Analytics for monitoring the subsequent traffic to his site.

Brian plans to use AdWords going forward as a permanent part of his business strategy. "We are taking skills learned in remote areas and exposing them to an international market, right here from the bush!" he enthuses. "How could one achieve that without the Internet?"

For step-by-step tips on creating your own own Google AdWords campaign, download this AdWords Beginner's Guide, or visit www.google.co.za/adwords, or click on the Technology menu tab on this website.

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