Pamoja Media | African Internet marketing agency | African brands | advertising in Africa » mobile trends Wed, 24 May 2017 10:03:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 We are in this together Fri, 18 Nov 2011 15:16:31 +0000 Building virtual loyalty programmes dos and don’ts

It would be short-sighted of you to only plan for your business’ festive season success and forget to strategise how to keep as many new customers captured by your season’s offers as possible for 2012 and beyond.

In Kenyan brick and mortar businesses, particularly major supermarkets such as Nakumatt, and Uchumi, loyalty cards are the best example of persuasion instruments used to encourage customers to continue shopping there. You enjoy benefits such as points for a particular amount spent (Nakumatt and Uchumi calculate 1 point for every Kshs 100 spent currently), that can then be later redeemed for discounted goods or school fees (Nakumatt),and Safaricom airtime (Uchumi), etc.

If your website delivers a beautiful return on your marketing investment during the festive season, you should consider building a post- festive season virtual loyalty programme. How do you do this?


  • Ensure you have an opt-in form which requests your consumers for their email addresses (and add a privacy policy) so that you can send them not just about special offers, but news as well. If your company is involved in trying to solve a big challenge, include such news in your emails. It’s proof that at least your company is spending its consumers’ money to be part of a solution.
  • Inform your consumers that they can redeem their virtual points online so that when they visit your store, they just come to pick their goods or they are delivered to them hassle-free. This means your IT infrastructure and home delivery platforms have to be pothole-free. Also include an option of availing virtual gift vouchers.
  • Add other gifts such as online games to the basket of benefits that your customers can enjoy. You may be surprised to find out that some of your customers get a kick out of such ‘childish’ pastimes.
  • Promote your loyalty programme on your social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter.


  • Build a virtual loyalty programme if your website can’t handle online payments and points redemption processes.
  • Assume all your potential loyal customers want a uniform set of rewards. Survey them to find out what excites them.
  • Promise your loyal followers specific rewards and then you don’t fulfill them. If you run out of stock, inform your customers in advance and provide alternatives.

Election years are normally slow for Kenyan businesses because of post-election  uncertainties and 2012 won’t be any different. Building online loyalty programmes is one tactic of giving your business a fighting chance to survive and thrive.

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How to optimise your website for the festive season Thu, 17 Nov 2011 16:09:36 +0000


Once a Website starts using ‘Christmas’ in its marketing messages, then that’s enough evidence that the festive season is on.

Unfortunately, there are no statistics available regarding the amount Kenyans spend online during the festive season, but Americans spent $36.4 billion (over Kshs 3 trillion) online in 2010 during the holiday season until Christmas Eve. Even though we are light years of hitting such figures, you can still optimise your website for the festive season which will place your business as a contender for a rich, local harvest.

Content adaptation

Your content has to change to reflect the season. People usually use keywords such as ‘Christmas deals’, ‘Christmas bargains’, ‘Christmas offers,’ etc. Add these keywords to your products/service descriptions to give your website a good chance of earning a high rank on organic searches.

Season imagery

There’s a Christmas tree on the Orange website mentioned above.  Your site’s look and feel has to be in tune with the season’s mood.  You don’t have to decorate your whole site, just one image on the homepage and perhaps on the landing pages containing the festive season goods/services on offer will do.

Status updates

Your social media spaces such as Facebook and YouTube are great avenues to hype up your festive season offers to your fans. Mention your deals and then attach a link to your website for your fans to find out more information. Another advantage of using social media is that your fans will share your website’s links with their friends if the offers are juicy enough.

If you run a blog on your site, post season themed content.

Adwords campaign

A Google adwords campaign can fuel your festive season offers’ momentum. But before you spend money on it, ensure you conduct keyword research on Google’s keyword tool to both gauge how much traffic your keywords will generate for your website and how much competition there is for the keywords you choose. Select keywords that have a low to medium local search competition because that will reduce your pay per click costs.

After the end of the festive season, measure the campaign’s effectiveness using Google analytics.

Just don’t wait until the first of December to begin optimising your website for the festive season.

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Use online marketing strategies to drive offline festive sales for your bricks and mortar business Fri, 04 Nov 2011 16:13:38 +0000

image compliments of

The last two Pamoja Media posts have outlined how SME owners can use social gaming and email marketing to boost their sales during the 2011 festive marketing season. However, we realise some of you may not want to rely sorely on metrics such as Facebook Insights or Google Analytics to measure your festival marketing results. You want foot traffic to your bricks-and-mortar business and physical receipts to complement these tools.

Web appetizers

You will still need to debut your festive season offers online whether you use Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, or email marketing. The fine print will be that your customers will have to redeem the offers at your physical location. The advantage of this tactic is that you have an opportunity to introduce them to other products and services you provide through physically interacting with them, a chance that you can miss if you finalise the transaction online. If you run a coffee shop the better for your cash registers. Kenyans tend to shop in ‘packs’ during the festive season, so there’s no way the voucher winner will redeem the voucher and leave those accompanying her to spectate.

Location-based applications such as niko hapa can also aid your business increase sales during this festive season. Basically, location-based applications function like ‘live report’ transmission stations. People tell their friends via social media like Facebook that they have ‘checked in’ to your shop. You can then offer a discount which is normally stored in a quick response code to anyone who says they are in your establishment, in the hope that their friends will join them. But first observe whether a substantial number of your regular clients have smartphones before you opt for the location-based method. Basic handsets can’t scan quick-response codes.

Theatre and charity

But perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of online marketing-into-offline sales are theatre troupes and charities. Plays and charity concerts are a festive season staple.  Both parties can promote their wares online, but require their audiences to buy the tickets at a physical location.

Using online marketing strategies to benefit your brick-and-mortar business is a great interactive strategy that should not only benefit your bottom line during this festive season, but also assist your brand to remain in your consumers’ minds even in the New Year.

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How Kenyan SMEs can incorporate social games to drive sales during this festive season Wed, 02 Nov 2011 15:32:03 +0000

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Kenya’s end-of-year festive season marketing tactics resemble a rugby scrum: brands attempt to outmuscle one another to make the greatest sales. The usual suspects are raffles, ‘special offers,’giveaways, ‘part of the proceeds will be donated to charity,’ etc. In other words, de ja vu.

It’s only natural that small and medium enterprises in Kenya salivate to join this scrum, but they are discouraged by the high cost of membership and therefore, the stereotype that you need deep pockets to make a splash during the November/December festive season endures.

That was true, until the Internet’s arrival and specifically, social media sites. Facebook, (over 1 million Kenyans have Facebook accounts) Twitter, YouTube, blogs, anyone? These sites are (un)fair hunting ground for SMEs to attract and retain customers long after the yells of ‘happy new year, happy new year,’ have stopped. Social gaming is one effective festival marketing tactic. Social what? Yes, social gaming. Observe: During the festive season, Kenyans are generally relaxed and in the mood to play.

You want proof of successful social games before you consider this idea further? Well, there’s Angry Birds and Farmville. These are not just successful games, but more like movements.Now that you are convinced there could be potential for your SME to use social gaming as its festival marketing tool to create awareness and drive up sales, there are a few basics that you will have to remember:


What audience are you targeting? Young children, teenagers, women?Your audience will create what game you will conceptualise. (Confession:  if you cater to young children then this festive season is yours to lose).


Despite our pandering to individualism between January and November, during the festive season we love to be around family members and relatives. So, design games that can be played by many pairs of hands and eyes such as online board games.


Don’t copy games from abroad and then substitute them with your brand name. Not only will piracy potentially result in a lawsuit against you, but think of your personal and SME’s reputations too. Design games that are unique to our environment. For instance, you could play with the theme of Jamhuri Day.

Data Capture

Before players can activate the game, they have to register on your website or Facebook. This way you have captured a free database for both your festive and post-festive season marketing offers.

Freemium or premium

Also consider charging players to progress to the next stage of the game or make some parts free and others premium content. You can consider partnering with mobile-payment systems such as M-Pesa.


Encourage players to share feedback about the gaming experience, you can even throw in an incentive such as a free goodie bag for the suggestion/s that garners the most votes from other users.


Kenyan Internet speeds are still a long distance from high speed and cheap, so avoid adding elements to your games that will take forever to download, especially if you are designing games for mobile phones.

Social games are not only inexpensive (no paying fees to the Betting Control and Licensing Board for Christmas raffles, for instance) ways to promote your brand during the 2011 festive marketing season, they’re measurable and have the potential to endure after December 31st, as long as you update them regularly. May the fun and games begin.

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How Facebook and Google marketing suits SMEs anxious about results Mon, 31 Oct 2011 09:18:46 +0000

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John Wanamaker (1838-1922), an American businessman, wouldn’t have known his now famous statement, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half;” would profoundly change traditional advertising after the Internet’s arrival.

But even before the Internet gave TV, radio, print and billboard advertising a panic attack, traditional advertising once enjoyed a ‘bling’ era that birthed and celebrated its ‘owners’ like David Ogilvy, James Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett. Brands, especially fast moving consumer goods, believed they had to advertise, and spend heavily at it, if they wanted to gain traction. Prices soared as everyone from agencies to media houses to the government salivated for a meaty piece of the dish. Advertising effectiveness wasn’t judged on return on investment, but by awards ceremonies such as the Cannes Festival of Advertising . If you weren’t a Fortune 500 company with a deep wallet, you couldn’t afford to promote your brand/s, especially on TV during sporting events such as the Super Bowl.

The Internet attacks Adland’s comfort zone

Then cracks began appearing. Billboards were labeled a source of pollution, leading to Sao Paulo banning billboards in 2007. Pay-TV remote controls came with ad skipping options. Fast food advertising was blamed for rising obesity cases in ‘first-world’ children. Then Google happened! The company was formed in 1998, giving advertisers eyeballs, options such as customized budgeting and best of all, analyses that enable you to calculate the return of investment.

One feature that characterises advertising in Kenya and hinders SMEs from exposure, is the high cost of traditional advertising. Observe the billboards as you drive, the TV ads in-between the news, the radio ads, the full-page advertisements on the major newspapers: almost all the brands are either multi-nationals, NGOs or the government.

The Kenyan government has implemented policies that have enabled the easy adoption of ecommerce by both businesses and consumers: from zero rating of computers to lobbying Internet service providers to reduce Internet access fees after the arrival of underneath cables such as Eassy that have improved speeds (though ISPs contend they have to first recoup their investments in these undersea cables before they reduce prices) to establishing the Kenya ICT Board in 2007 whose roles include ‘positioning and promoting Kenya as an ICT destination.’

Facebook and Google inducements

Google recently launched Kenya Business Online, an initiative to fast-track SMEs’ establishment of a web presence. You already know about the search engine’s vital statistics, so we won’t bore you by repeating them. However, we will outline its Google Analytics feature and how it helps you track the effectiveness of your ad spend on its Adwords platform. You can track: sales and conversions (number of people who buy your product or service from your website), email campaigns and banner ads, and trace transactions to keywords and campaigns, among other numerous benefits.  Visit for more information. To sweeten the KBO offer further, Google is offering you a free Kshs5,120 Adwords voucher.

Facebook, Google’s advertising  competitor, already allows brands to create free pages. It too plans to offer free advertising worth $50 (approximately Kshs5,000 at the current exchange rates) from January 2012, but it’s unclear whether SMEs outside America will enjoy this benefit.  It’s unfair to Kenyan SMEs because slightly over one million Kenyans are active ‘Facebookers’. Facebook also allows you to measure your advertising effectiveness courtesy of its Ad Manager feature.

Google and Facebook founders owe Mr. Wanamaker a drink, don’t you think?

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Can technology keep healthcare challenges out of the ICU? Thu, 27 Oct 2011 15:54:52 +0000 picture compliments of

Yesterday’s post outlined how SMEs can utilise technology to solve the challenges African farmers face. Today’s blog will explore technology’s effect on health. First, we praise Kentons Limited, a pharmaceutical, surgical and veterinary products supplier for embracing Internet marketing by not only building a website, but for also opening Twitter and Facebook accounts. It took seventh position in the 2011 Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies awards.  And another thing: Kentons is a Kisumu-based SME with a web and social media presence. So all Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru-based SME owners have no excuse for being MIA from the Web!

The Web’s greatest contribution to the health/pharmaceutical/veterinary industries has been the easy availability of information about diseases, drugs, livestock, research, etc. As long as you have Internet access, you no longer have to ask around about a particular health issue, just type in the keyword/s on a search engine and the answers are displayed on the search engine results page. The Web has also enabled people, especially victims of terminal illnesses like cancer, to form communities where they support one another. The Africa Cancer Foundation, launched in July 2011, is one local example. The foundation is also present in the social media space having opened Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Kenyan hospitals have also established a web presence that has lent a dosage of warmth into what are otherwise regarded as cold places. Kenyatta National Hospital, East Africa’s biggest referral hospital, has a website and multiple Facebook pages, an inconsistency that damages the brand’s personality. I won’t even comment about the website’s layout. However, Nairobi Hospital has done well to own both its website and Facebook page by regularly updating content on both platforms.

For city residents, traffic congestion, demanding workplace assignments, the rising cost of living, parenting, and poor eating habits, etc endanger our health. Proof of Kenyans’ poor health status can be shown by the 2011 United Nations Population Fund report that indicates Kenyans’ average life expectancy is 58 years, up from 55 years last year. Naturally, we start getting worried about factors such as weight and blood sugar levels.  The Web offers some relief from visiting the doctor. Just visit a site such as the Mayo Clinic and get calculate your body mass index (BMI) using the application tool. In America, mobile phones will soon become ultra-sound machines when a device is attached to them, potentially benefitting pregnant women who experience pain and are far away from the nearest hospital. Technology ‘s help is also being sought to enable patients’ medical records become easily accessible online. Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, is in this field already, though the issue of privacy may hinder patients from uploading their records online because of the likelihood of using these data to discriminate against people for jobs, for example.

How can technology fight the fake drug menace in Kenya? The World Health Organisation reports that in 2005, approximately 30% of the drugs in the Kenyan drug market were fake, and worth approximately $130 million (Kshs 13 billion) annually. Recently, Orange, a mobile-phone service provider and M- pedigree, an anti-counterfeit drug NGO, launched a free SMS service early this month to fight counterfeit drugs in Kenya and Cameroon. To know whether a drug is real or fake, Orange Kenya consumers have to SMS the serial number on the medicine tablet to 1393, and then await feedback. The rest of the mobile networks operating in Kenya should urgently also extend this benefit to their subscribers.

How else can technology assist Africa solve its healthcare challenges? We welcome your suggestions below. Thank you.

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How Kenyan SMEs can use technology to transform agriculture Wed, 26 Oct 2011 15:21:03 +0000

The CENA website, built by Pamoja Media, is an example of technology assisting African farmers adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Our first post on the 2011 Kenya Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies Awards recognized the role these awards play in celebrating SMEs’ contribution to our economy and encouraging them to stay the course despite the numerous challenges they encounter daily.

Nyeri county-based Mukurweini Wakulima Dairy Farmers’ Society was the highest placed agricultural SME at fifth position. From a modest 31 litres of milk collected in 1990, Wakulima Dairy currently handles between 34,000 and 39,000 litres of milk daily, employs 157 workers, has diversified into manufacturing animal feeds, and owns assets worth Kshs150 million.

For a sector that employs two-thirds of Kenya’s labour force, contributes 26% of Kenya’s GDP valued at Kshs342 billion annually, and received Kshs33 billion in this year’s  government budget, you would expect agriculture to lead other sectors in using technology to enhance production. However, technology has been viewed as a threat instead of an enabler especially when it threatens jobs as witnessed in October 2010 when tea growing companies’ attempts to introduce automatic tea picking machines were met with a strike by tea workers who said one machine renders 60 workers jobless.

Despite such resistance, a handful of innovators, mostly young Kenyan individuals and companies, are brave enough to create technology-driven solutions to problems faced by many small-scale farmers such as market information for their produce, peer-to-peer information sharing and advice and weather patterns, particularly now that extension officers have become rare., developed by Pamoja Media mid this year, aims to be THE social network for farmers to interact and share information and ‘war stories’ with one another either over the Internet or mobile phone. Icow, a mobile phone application, assists dairy farmers to track their cows’ gestation cycle, sends them tips on best dairy practices, among other benefits. These examples prove solving farmers’ problems via technology is one area SMEs can explore and build a business model from by, for example, carrying advertising alongside free mobile applications downloaded by farmers.

The weather has gone insane

Despite Africa producing the least carbon emissions, it unfairly experiences the biggest effect of these emissions: climate change. Floods devastated Mozambique in 2000, displaced approximately 500,000 Mozambicans, destroyed infrastructure, killed 700 Mozambicans, among other effects. They were Mozambique’s worst floods in 50 years.

How can African farmers mitigate and adapt to climate change? Technology can help. acts as an information repository for farmers to access and get the knowledge to mitigate the effects of climate change on their farms and livestock (though it’s necessary for the creation of a mobisite because most rural farmers lack access to computers and Internet connectivity). SMEs can also use the information as an innovation platform where they can introduce new products and services for farmers.

The challenges affecting African farmers are many and may seem intractable, but technology can play a big role in addressing a substantial number of them, which should convert many African countries from the current degrading food aid beggars to self-sufficiency.

Does adoption of technology equal to food sufficiency in Africa? Give us your views below.

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Kenya’s depreciating currency and its gigabyte effects on Internet marketing Thu, 13 Oct 2011 10:01:48 +0000


The effects of the continuing depreciation of the Kenya shilling have been felt by the entire economy. Oil importers, manufacturers and consumers are paying more because imported components and finished products and services have become expensive. On the other hand, exporters of horticultural produce and the tourism sector are benefitting because our produce and destinations have become more affordable.

Internet marketing will undoubtedly experience stiffer challenges because of the depreciating shilling. It’s unlikely that ISPs will reduce bandwidth prices further, for their claim will almost be that they purchase wholesale bandwidth prices in US$ which has strengthened against the Kenya shilling.

So, what are the likely scenarios of the weakening shilling on Internet marketing?

  • If Kenya can’t grow the current 4.7 million Internet subscriptions because of high prices, then Internet marketing is in trouble.
  • If prices of computers and mobile phones and accessories rise, then Internet marketing is in trouble.
  • If mobile phone service providers increase their Internet access prices like Safaricom recently did, then Internet marketing in Kenya is in trouble.
  • If brands can’t market their services online through platforms like paid search because they can’t forecast what they will pay tomorrow, then Internet marketing in trouble.
  • If Kenya can’t attract seminars and other events that are about the Internet, or if only a few people can afford to pay to attend, then Internet marketing is in trouble.
  • If multinational marketing services companies set up Internet marketing subsidiaries in Kenya because it’s cheaper for them, but they pursue alien marketing tactics because they don’t see the need to understand the market, then Internet marketing is in trouble.

Kenya won’t realise the much hyped vision 2030 if a basic requirement like Internet access is still a luxury to most Kenyans.

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Kenya’s Internet marketing future bright, thanks to students Wed, 12 Oct 2011 08:33:52 +0000


If you are a Kenyan parent or teacher, you will be horrified at the statistics quoted in a Daily Nation October 10, 2011 article: ‘Internet zombies in class;’ presented by Lenana School students at the National Research Club Of Kenya competition held on September 16 in Nairobi. Among the highlights, many students in high schools and colleges spend up to six hours daily on social networks “… chatting, blogging, updating status, sharing jokes, tweeting, and spreading news, rumours and gossip on Internet and social media…” 87% of them use social networking as their main communication platform and 66% of them being active Facebook users. Furthermore, 74% of them were ‘hooked’ to Facebook and 81% of high school students’ use their mobile phones to access social networks.

But if you are an Internet/social media marketer/SME in Kenya, these statistics are gold dust. Why?

First, they prove that you are spoilt for choice on how to promote your brand using social media, especially if high school and college youth are your primary target audience. Will you take advantage of the ‘spreading news, rumours and gossip’ aspect to start a viral campaign? Will you target influential bloggers to endorse your brand? Will Twitter work better? All of the above?

Second, these students will be tomorrow’s adult ‘unga earning’ consumers who will rely primarily on their peers for information regarding brands and less on advertising. Does your brand have an online reputation management /web PR strategy?

Third, Facebook will still be THE pre-eminent social networking site in the near future, so your brand will need a separate Facebook strategy and tactics.

Fourth, you will have to include mobile marketing in your Internet marketing mix.

Fifth, these statistics, when combined with the latest Communications Commission of Kenya numbers, show that the future of Internet marketing in Kenya is bright.

By all means, be alarmed if you are a parent, but if you also double up as an Internet marketer, give your high school/college offspring a bear hug.

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Mobisites: A formidable arsenal in Internet marketing Tue, 04 Oct 2011 17:07:56 +0000 Despite the landing of undersea cables in 2009 that were billed as the panacea to slow Internet speeds and expensive access costs, and other incentives such as zero-rating of computers, Internet penetration in Kenya is still shallow. According to a July 2011 Study on ICT Access Gaps in Kenya  undertaken by the Communications Commission of Kenya, there are only 4.7 million Internet subscriptions in Kenya, with broadband connections standing at 84,726. These are disappointing statistics for e-commerce take up and sustainability. However, the same report states there are more than 25 million mobile phone subscribers.

As an SME owner, these statistics underscore the importance of including mobile marketing in your Internet marketing strategy because a significant number of your potential customers access the Internet via their mobile phones.  This means that they are searching for goods and services using their mobile phones. How do you ensure your SME benefits from mobile Internet searches?

One, you will have to build a mobile site, also known as a mobisite. A mobisite is a website specifically designed for mobile phones and its URL is . Second, your SME’s mobisite layout has to be simple and the navigation easy. Mobile phone consumers lack the patience and time to wander through mobisites looking for information. Third, customise content for different interactions such as sound and text. Avoid adding videos because your most of your consumers will quickly exhaust their airtime watching them. Fourth, use keywords in your content to give your mobisite a high chance of appearing in search results, and measure your mobisite’s performance for insights into what’s working and what isn’t.

A well-designed and functional mobisite is a formidable addition to your Internet marketing arsenal.

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