Of all obstacles Kenyan SMEs currently experience, from unstable cash flows to the inability to afford a high-calibre workforce to power rationing to complying with a maze of central and local government regulations, nothing probably keeps their owners awake at night than how to market their businesses.
The available advertising platforms such as radio, TV and print advertising are expensive. It’s also next to impossible to measure their return on your investment. Other alternatives like exhibitions (registration fees, stall rental fees, etc), and sponsorships will also cost you dearly.
Scratch your head no more because there’s a cheaper (bandwidth prices are dropping though not as quickly with the arrival of undersea cables such as EASSY) medium you should use to market your SME. The good thing is that you are already using it and what’s more, the results are easy to measure. That medium is the internet.
Begin by building a website for your SME which will contain information about your products /services, your contact details, your mission and vision, etc. You don’t even have to pay a designer to do it to you thanks to Google’s recent initiative that lets SME owners build and host their own websites for free. Popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter also allow SMEs to create their own free accounts.
Once these sites are running, you can begin your internet marketing efforts by employing tactics such as such search engine optimisation and social media marketing. The advantages of internet marketing to your SME include: the ability to update content round the clock, the potential to ‘spy’ on what your competitors are up to by visiting their websites and then seeing how your business can differentiate itself, the ability to target specific customers by using keywords in your content, and the joy of measuring the precise return on your investments by using tools such as Google analytics.
Therefore, don’t fret because you can’t afford to market your SME via the usual suspects, the alternative is staring at you from your monitor and screaming, ‘Use me!’