In this day and age, it is evident that traditional ways of marketing are no longer enough, online or digital marketing has taken the lead role. It is for this reason that entrepreneurs need to keep up with this change to ensure that their businesses survive, that they are competent, and most importantly can grow exponentially.
Most times when entrepreneurs start their businesses they focus on getting the first customer on their doorstep. That is a good focus, however, the issue is with relying only on traditional ways of marketing to attract the customer. Perhaps, connect traditional and digital marketing.
Blessing Letsoara, who is a Digital Skills Trainer at Digify Africa says that the digital space has a big market that has expanded as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic forcing most people to become digitally savvy.
There are eyes and attention on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. According to Social Shepherd more than 1.6 billion people on average visit Facebook daily. “As a small business owner, you can have access to those people, you just need to strategically build an online community that will care about your business”, says Letsoara.
Social media platforms are usually the first point of contact with brands, so small business owners need to create an impressive online experience for potential customers who interact with their social media.
Letsoara adds that for entrepreneurs to build an online brand community, firstly, they must have a full understanding of who their ideal customers are. “After understanding who your customers are, research what their interests are and what they are likely to converse about”, he says. Then how your product messaging is tailored, will be inspired by the customers’ interests.
With this kind of approach, you will develop a personality for your brand, which you will then display digitally on social media. “That’s how brands build communities on social media, to attract potential customers and at some point, they reap the benefits of using these digital platforms”, Letsoara adds.
Besides promoting products and building a strong online presence, digital marketing allows small businesses to build long-lasting relationships with their customers. Letsoara affirms that “Small businesses can thrive in the digital economy because they have access to a big market and there are several benefits that they can leverage to grow their businesses”.
With over 75% of people using online platforms daily, small businesses stand a high chance of getting noticed. Hence it is important to communicate their brand personality and engage with customers online, to become memorable in their target market.
“Online you have the whole world, literally”, adds Letsoara.
Compared to the traditional way of marketing, it is cost-effective. “For example, there are bigger brands who put up big and expensive billboards but they do not know much impact that billboard has, perhaps they know how many cars drive by”, says Letsoara.
On the other hand, digital marketing activities are cheaper and have data that you can use to make informed decisions. “You can use your social media and website analytics to make informed decisions about your brand”, he adds.
Digital marketing enables you to analyse your brand’s performance, through certain metrics that are used to make informed decisions to tailor your marketing strategy. As a result, you get a higher return on investment in less time compared to traditional marketing activities.
Research shows that more than 80% of customers are found online and that means small businesses can generate sales through digital marketing. Letsoara adds, “hence it is important for entrepreneurs to build an online presence because it gives them many opportunities to make sales”.
“Digital marketing is fast-growing and it has value. As a small business owner, try to grasp the value of this digital economy and what you could do in this space”, says Letsoara.
There are a variety of tools that you can make use of to digitally market your business and those include: content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, partner and influencer marketing, search engine optimisation, and search engine marketing.
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