There is no business that can survive outside marketing. You need to create awareness for your brand, product or service on an ongoing basis. We are all familiar with traditional methods of advertising – using radio, TV, fliers, posters, billboards, vehicle bodies and more. But have you been employing any methods to market your business online?
In reality, we would recommend that you use EVERY AVAILABLE CHANNEL to market your business. But if you are yet to apply effective methods to market your business online in Nigeria, you are undermining your profitability. Do you realize that Nigeria has the largest internet subscriber base of all the countries in Africa? You must not waste this golden opportunity to promote your brand to millions of Nigerians.
Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms have become insanely popular sites for networking, entertainment, and business connections across the world. Millions and millions of Nigerians (not to mention foreigners) are so hooked to their registered social media pages every passing second. They are vast marketplaces indeed. You must not ignore their potential to bring leads into your business, and convert them into eager followers and customers.
To do so, your social media pages must be updated regularly with interesting, relatable, and brief (to the point) contents relating to your product/service. Creative use of videos, text, images, and storytelling can drive more and more curious visitors to your social media pages. And of course you need to interact and engage with your visitors continually, while you nurture them into followers. As your followership grows, your product will surely attract more attention.
There is also the hashtag (#) movement integrated into virtually every social media platform. You can specifically create a keyword related to your product/service by adding an initial hashtag to it, e.g. #fruitcake. Otherwise if it already exists, you can search for the keyword, and the people and pages connected to that hashtag will be displayed. You can follow and interact with such people and pages to increase the visibility of your brand or product/service.
Additionally, social media marketing gives you access to business analytics tools to track and measure how effective your marketing campaigns turn out. In most cases, these analytics tools are made more accessible to users who subscribe to paid social media advertising. Not to worry, you need not search too far for them. The admin teams of each app are monitoring your posted content regularly. They would easily see your attempt to market any product or service. You will be automatically invited to use paid ads and analytics tools, based on your contents.
It may take anything from a few weeks to months of consistent relationship and brand building, bonding and sharing with visitors. But you will definitely reap huge rewards in the long run if you maintain your focus. Also take note that virtually every social media app has both free (organic) and paid methods to market your business in Nigeria.
You can run either free or paid social media adverts on any of these channels:
- Facebook: Post free ads on either your Facebook Profile page; and/or on an additional Facebook Business page you can create easily. The more friends you have (and invite), the greater your reach. However, you can also order for paid ads by ‘boosting’ your marketing ads with a small fee. This will further increase the number of Facebook users who can see and interact with your marketing ads. Furthermore, you can search for, and join Facebook groups related to your product/service (especially the moderated ones). Engaging with people who operate in your industry and inviting them to your product page(s) is a highly useful marketing strategy.
- Instagram: You can post text, content, sounds, images and videos on your Instagram page for free organically. And if you can build a large following as well as interesting content, Instagram is particularly good for promoting products with visual appeal. Very easily, you can display your product catalog on the app. There is even greater advantage and reach with using Instagram, as the app is now owned by Facebook. You can post your Instagram video as a ‘Reel’, and it will be uploaded to your connected Facebook account as well. Paid Instagram ads also give you the opportunity to reach a far larger audience on Instagram than just your organic content. Finally, you can promote a big brand or product/service by employing Instagram influencers with large following.
- TikTok Ads: TikTok has become a massive success in the area of posting viral short video contents. As such, you can employ TikTok videos effectively to market your brand or product/service, assisted with many integrated tools to enrich your content. You will get even greater access to the TikTok community when you employ TikTok influencers to market for you. But do you know you can also run TikTok ads? That is a discovery you need to find out for yourself.
- YouTube Ads: Following Facebook, YouTube is the second largest social media platform globally, in terms of number of subscribers (and even popularity). This video sharing app must not be toyed with by any business owner who really wants to make sales. Employing organic video contents that are relevant and engaging can really boost the exposure of your product. You can go further by boosting a video content as a paid video ad. YouTube influencers with large following are also highly versatile in promoting high-profile marketing videos.
- WhatsApp: The WhatsApp Messenger app is such a popular social media tool that is too famous not to be used for marketing. If you have a lot of contacts on WhatsApp, then you can market your business to them through direct messages. You can even upload your marketing ads as one or more images or videos in your WhatsApp ‘Status’. Another effective strategy is to search for, and join WhatsApp groups related to your product/service. You will find lots of them embedded as invitation links in social media channels (e.g. Facebook and YouTube), as well as some blogs and websites.
- Other popular social media channels you can effectively use for both organic marketing and paid ads include X (formerly Twitter), Quora, Reddit, and Pinterest.
Google My Business
‘Google My Business’ is a free business listing tool/app provided in the Google Workspace to every registered Google account user. You can easily access it after signing in to your Google account. You simply check the ‘Google Apps’ section (the dotted square in the top-right corner of Google search engine page, close to your profile image). It appears as your Google Business Profile Manager. We encourage every business owner in Nigeria to list their businesses on ‘Google My Business’ for greater visibility. It is a cheap and far-reaching marketing tool for any business owner.
You can use this tool to upload details about your business into the Google indexing database. Thus, your business can easily be discovered both physically and online (while others are using the search engine). It allows potential and existing customers to find and connect with your business. And to make that easier, Google Maps is attached to your business profile (to give directions to anyone planning to visit your business location).
Brand Websites and/or Blogs
Blogs have become a hugely effective way of attracting visitors and attention to a company brand or product/service. Keep a blog updated with relevant and interesting content, and visitors will keep coming back. And it is critical to ensure your content is tailored towards marketing the product.
Integrate your blog with a standard brand website for your product/service or company, and you will go far in attracting people to your business. Remember that your brand or company website is the ‘face’ of your business on the internet; your online ‘office’. It is an important gateway for visitors near and far to access you and your brand or product/service. Your website must also be regularly updated with useful content. And it must employ easy, prompt interaction and feedback between your business and visitors. Websites and/or blogs can provide so many avenues for marketing your business (including affiliate marketing), so you should not ignore them.
Buying of Ad Space on Well-known Blogs/Websites
An alternative or complementary method to market your business online is to buy ad space on popular blogs and/or websites with large web traffic. This is made possible with the help of web advertising programs such as Google AdSense.
Email marketing is considered one of the cheapest and most effective methods of advertising your business, brand and/or product or service. The simple reason being that firstly, marketing emails can be generated and sent to many people all at once, and at a low cost. Secondly, email softwares are integrated into every digital device (including smartphones), and easily used by people at any desired time. You can also create different lists of contactees/clients with unique, customized email messages for each list. Lastly, there are many email marketing softwares (and customer relationship management softwares with email marketing tools) that can easily help you track and measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
Take note that your email campaigns should attract and generate just enough interest in readers. Your email content must be brief, interesting and meaningful, with a call to action in the message. Also, you can see that you need to generate an email list by collecting email addresses of potential customers. These are people who visit your blog, website and/or social media page(s). Email lists are very fundamental to the effectiveness of every email campaign.
So how do you get these email addresses? You can easily use special invitation/survey forms conspicuously displayed in all your social media profiles or pages, and business website/blog’s landing page. The form can easily be embedded as an automatic popup form when your social media page or site/blog is opened by anyone. Ensure also that you post relevant, relatable and engaging content on your blog/site and social media pages regularly. Then synchronize them to have uniform messages from time to time.
Otherwise, use a hyperlink that appears clearly in your social media bio or profile page (and contents) to invite people to access your product/service. Thus, you can invite people to view your product/service and receive regular updates, newsletters, or regular promotional emails from you. Commonly used and effective email marketing software include GetResponse, MailChimp, and Hubspot, amongst others.
Influencers are well-known people with popular or viral content on social media that has allowed them to have a large number of followers. An influencer with several thousands (or even millions) of followers can easily promote your product to his/her followers. He/she has taken time to build trust, a brand name, and enormous influence over his/her followers. Influencers don’t need to be celebrities (although many of them are). They could be average people with extraordinary dedication to promoting their brand. This method would be beneficial to you, if you can afford to pay an influencer to market your product. However, you may need to pay a large amount of money.
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