We hope you had a blessed festive season.
As usual, when it reaches Jan.1, many people make resolutions such as to quit smoking, eat healthier, save more money, etc. Whatever your personal 2012 resolutions, don’t forget to also do the same for your business, particularly if it’s a Kenyan-based SME.
One challenge Kenyan SMEs face is how to cost-effectively increase their visibility. The available platforms such as TV, billboards, radio, competitions, etc require big budgets that SMEs obviously lack. That leaves SMEs with the option of going online. Not only is the medium cheaper, any internet marketing efforts you embark on are measurable. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work hard at it. Below are some internet marketing tips that you should apply to your SME this year.
Get a website
A website is no longer a bragging asset only corporates can list on their marketing materials. Thanks to initiatives like Google’s KBO, SMEs can no longer claim unaffordability as THE reason why they don’t practise E-commerce in Kenya. In last year’s Business Daily top 100 SMEs, 67 of them had built websites. In the next edition of the rankings, all participating small and medium enterprises in Kenya should have websites. Don’t forget to also create a mobile site (mobisite) to target potential customers because according to a November 2011 report by the Kenya ICT Board, there were over 24 million mobile phone subscribers compared with just approximately 4.5 million internet subscribers.
In addition, your business should have a Facebook page. According to internetworldstats.com, slightly over 1.1 million Kenyans were Facebook users by June 30, 2011.
Show and tell
Take advantage of free, local classifieds sites to complement your publicity tactics. Capitalfm, Dealfish and Google Trader are popular sites where you can list your SME. If you run a fast food business, go further by signing up to a location-based application and collaborate with it to run offers, encourage loyalty, etc. Nikohapa is an example of a Kenyan, location-based application.
Words, pictures and videos
Now that you have a website and Facebook page, what’s next? Content. Create content that’s related to your business and we don’t mean sales copy. Write regular opinions regarding your industry, make how-to videos and post them on Youtube, take photographs of seminars that you attend and upload them on your Facebook page. Content creation is a great, indirect marketing tactic to complement your product/service descriptions.
To increase your SME website’s chances of appearing highly in search engines, include keywords that relate to your business/industry in the content. This is called search engine optimisation.
Finger on the pulse
The internet is too wide a space for you to constantly monitor your reputation. In addition to the obvious excellent customer service that you should engage in, there are tools to help you spot potential mines. Google alerts and trackur are some of them.
When it comes to measuring your SEO and Adwords efforts, Google Analytics is the most widely used tool, though Facebook also provides you with metrics regarding how people are engaging with your page via Facebook Insights. If you do a paid campaign, then Facebook Ads Reports is the go-to application to measure its performance.
There you have it, a firm foundation upon which to build a strong, internet marketing palace for your SME.