Having a strong web marketing presence doesn’t have to be expensive, yet about half of small business owners in Uganda are still not online—at least not the right way. If you are one of them, now is the perfect time to launch your digital marketing strategy. Why? Because EVERYONE who matters to your business uses the internet to learn and discover just about anything. Secondly because online marketing is your best (AND ONLY) chance to put up any meaningful competition against the big guys with big money.
In this article, I’d like to quickly run through the 3 digital marketing tools you will need. If used correctly, these 3 alone are enough to help your company be known by thousands of people, make your business look legitimate, organized and credible and of course for you to make more money with less effort.
A website is the foundation of a strong digital marketing strategy; it is the place where you will direct traffic, collect sales leads and provide useful information about your company. It is the only place on the internet where your message will not be crowded by others—on every other platform, you compete for space but on your company website, it’s all about you! The only thing left for you to do is find a way to get people there.
The key things to prioritize about your website
- Design for mobile—also known as responsive design. CLICK HERE to learn more about this
- Present professional content; your text should be convincing & your imagery appealing. Avoid big words and talking too much about yourself
- Optimize it for social media and search (more on this below)
Interacting with consumers on social media is an important marketing strategy for small businesses. Using social media helps you build brand awareness, increase your customer base, and connect with current customers. There is however a right and wrong way to do it. We covered this topic in a previous article CLICK HERE to check it out. On social media, your focus should be on engagement!!! Not followers or likes.
Most small businesses assume that the public already loves them and cares about what they are selling. As a result they end up self-promoting 90% of the time and simply making “selfish” announcements.
Always keep in mind that engagement is a game of connections. Connect with your market by talking about things they care about but from an angle of your business
The key things to prioritize on social media
- Start with one or two platforms. Remember as a small business, you probably have a small team and most importantly a small budget. Choosing to focus on one or two platforms only in the beginning allows you to dedicate your resources and monitor your performance better. The social platform you choose must be based on these 2 questions; 1) where does the largest percentage of my target market hangout? 2) Where can I build the biggest credibility and garner influence as a brand?
- Focus on conversation and engagement: Remember that social media is about the conversation, not blasting content and promotions about your products and services to your audience. The objective should be to create a thriving community on each social site. An engaged community creates brand advocates and if you focus on collecting quality followers (not quantity) you eventually see the return on investment.
Search engine optimization
Without going into the technical talk, search engine optimization simply means making it possible for your content to be found through search. This content can either be from your website, blog or your social media accounts. The mistake most small businesses make is to think that because they have built a website, people will find it and visit it automatically.
I remember talking to a friend a while back about search optimization and she said, “My search optimization is great, I come up number one for my company name.” This is very misguided on so many levels—first because people search services and solutions not company names. Your search is great or at least good if your company name shows up on search terms related to what you do, not your business name. For example, if you are a tour operator, be happy if your name shows for terms like “Tour Company in Uganda”or“gorilla safaris in Uganda not your business name.
Key things to prioritize for search optimization
- Do your research: Get to know how your website and your competitors’ websites are performing first. Use Google and other search engines to see where you rank.
- Choose the right keywords: Based on your research, choose the most appropriate keywords for your website, blog posts and all of the other content you create.
With these three weapons in check, your small business will be on its way to digital marketing success. How you start and how much you invest in your campaign will depend on where you are as a business and what you are trying to achieve. If you are not skilled and sufficiently experienced with each of these areas, consider outsourcing some or all of it to give you the time you need to focus on running and growing your business.
Based on our 5 years of experience serving digital marketing for small and mid-sized businesses in Uganda, I can assure you that you do not need to spend a lot of money on any of these, you just need the right strategy and the right kind of execution.
How is your digital marketing doing?