4 simple steps for developing a marketing strategy for your Small Business

It’s common to see many small business owners unintentionally ignore marketing, as in this digital age, a lot of SME’s interchange ‘marketing’ with ‘social media’ and ‘advertising’.

This article aims to get small business owners to think about marketing holistically and systematically. Marketing is definitely not a few social media posts with a few Instagram ads here and there. You need to put in WORK!

Running a small business without a strategy in place leads to confusing your customers with mixed messages, and worst of all, confusing yourself with a lack of direction.

We’ve put together for you, some simple steps to developing a marketing strategy as a small business owner.

Step 1: Take a step back

Look at your entire business as it relates to your marketing strategy, plans, and campaigns as well as your competitors, your customers and your industry as a whole.

Take the time to write (or type) things down, getting your thoughts out of your head allows you to see the bigger picture.

Step 2: Plan ahead

Lucky for you, here is a FREE template you can use ( because who doesn’t like freebies?) to develop your marketing strategy, which you can download and work through. Make sure you are as thorough as you can so you don’t get overwhelmed later on when it is time to execute your plans.

When you answer these questions, it is time to think about how they will affect your marketing communication.

Step 3: Communicate appropriately

Your communication depends on your strategy (which you should have created using the template above). For example, if you provide a home service or you offer delivery services, your communication should play upon the element of convenience.

If you do not have a permanent location and offer a nomadic experience, then your communication should play up the element of mystery.

If your target customer does not have a car and uses public transportation, your location is key as it needs somewhere that is close to where your customer works/lives or you can consider a delivery service and cut down on your overheads.

Your product, customer base, and price point will determine your tone of voice in your communication for example, if you are selling luxury high-end handbags to women over 40 years old, it is not advisable to use slang such as ‘slay’, ‘beat’ or extensively refer to popular culture as your customers are unlikely to relate.

If you are selling a luxury product/service, your communication should be minimal, professional, impersonal and aesthetically pleasing. Make sure you are not partnering with brands that might dilute the luxury i.e. lower end brands or brands that cater to a completely different market in the same industry.

If you are selling a product/service that is complementary to another e.g. if you are a makeup artist, your service complements or relies on makeup products and tools. Therefore, your communication can involve displaying makeup products or you can possibly collaborate with brands that offer the complementary product/service.

Step 4: Stick to your plans

Defining your USP (Unique Selling Point) and communicating effectively will allow you to play up your strengths and allow you to stay consistent and relevant in your consumers’ minds. You will be able to let your customers know exactly what problem your product/service solves and what gap it fills.

Without actually writing down these points, you may be communicating something that you think is a strength but is actually your weakness in comparison to your competitors.

Once your marketing strategy is in place, it becomes easier to develop your marketing plan for different instances, e.g. your launch, new product releases, and your seasonal campaigns.

Go forth and strategize!

Five skills every online journalist must have to be successful

If you’re an online journalist, content creator, or digital analyst, this one’s for you!

The world is said to be moving online and many are debating if this shift could be the fourth industrial revolution.

This move has seen the rise of digital and/or online journalism and publications which are generating all-things-zines.

This means a lot of information is now available on the internet through webzines, e-zines, mobizines etc, creating easy channels of accessibility to these throughout the world. The internet phenomenon has thus, undoubtedly created a hub for freelance journalists, particularly writers.

Writing for the web, however, may not be as easy as you may think if you are a novice. It requires much skill and is slightly less traditional from print journalism.

On top of having regular journalist skills of interviewing, good writing, research, and accuracy, you must have the ability to be web savvy and stand out. The good thing is you can learn how to excel at these skills.

Understanding and patience will reward your writing with instant tracking, likes, and comments.

As a digital journalist you need to consider these five techniques to incorporate into your writing:

Hyperlinking

When you hyperlink, you want to ensure that when you click on a word, phrase or image within a file it takes you to a different web page or document.

The hyperlinked text is usually highlighted blue, italicised and underlined.

Chunking

Because we read differently on the web than we do in print, a huge paragraph of information as such does not cut it in web writing.

This is why breaking up huge text and making it easy to read is necessary. Use a numbered list, bulleted list, and subheadings. That is chunking.

SEO

Keywords are an essential for search engine optimization (SEO). If you want your article to be part of the list on a search engine, you have to be keyword savvy.

Take time to learn this technique and know how to weave in keywords seamlessly into your writing.

Headings and sub-headings

As a web journalist, it is your duty to make sure that web readers can easily scan your article and direct them to that precise information they are looking for.

The easier the better, hence the use of catchy headings and sub-headings.

Word count 

Writing less is essential in web writing. Depending on your chosen online publication this will differ. Some publications require 400 – 600 words and others will require 600 – 900 words.


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Vaida Odongo: You can start a business anytime with the right mindset

Contrary to what many people and businesses might think, investing in your brand online is not just about spending money on the brand.

Instead, it’s about building an entity that will resonate with your customers and keep them coming back again and again—even when there’s no deal or promotion to entice them.

Who is Vaida?

Vaida Odongo is a young woman living in Nairobi who’s passionate about empowering women and leveraging on technology for sustainable development.

She studied Gender and development studies while in university but came to love marketing after a short stint working as a trainer in the Google Digify Bytes Program that was being implemented by Livity Africa, a youth-focused nonprofit based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Vaida loves seeing businesses grow and coming up with strategies to solve various business challenges. “You might be having a challenge with selling a product online, what I do is that I sit down and look at all the possible solutions that might help solve the problem then we choose one that works. I love the adrenaline rush that comes with brainstorming”. 

“I have always been interested in empowering women. When I was younger, my dream was to work in an NGO that would enable me directly work with women.

I hadn’t figured out yet what exactly I wanted to do when I actually landed the job, but I knew things would become clearer with time.

When you empower a woman, you empower the society - @vaida_odongo Click To Tweet

Fast forward almost ten years later, I have found myself working with women though not in an NGO.

I now help women brand and market their products and services online. I am very passionate about helping women grow and sustain their businesses because I believe that when you empower a woman, you empower the society.” 

Why Digital Marketing?

“The world is increasingly going digital. With more than half the population using online platforms such as social media, companies are now forced to look at how they can leverage these platforms.

The social space is set to grow and there’s a need for training so that the teams which are set on marketing online have the capacity to do so”. 

What does your work involve?

My work involves training women-led business and enterprises on branding online. This means creating a brand story that their online audience will be attracted to. I have been working on this for the last two years and I’m loving it every day.

My pieces of training are conducted over a one to two-day period and tailor-made to fit a customer’s needs.

I love the adrenaline rush that comes with brainstorming - @vaida_odongo Click To Tweet

Whether you are in beauty, fashion, construction or advocacy, I have the right curriculum to help you amplify your online voice. I also help companies come up with strategies that will help amplify their voices online.

I also offer mentorship sessions to my clients. Maybe along the road the strategy we picked might not work, I’ll come in again and we’ll come up with another one. I also offer refresher training to me customers for free. My aim is getting their businesses to grow so we do whatever it takes to make sure this happens.

To empower more businesses to grow, I also offer pro bono services to customers who are just venturing into business and need some advice.

I do this because at the beginning some people just need to know different ways they can market their products and services. 

When building your online brand, you need to:

  • Make sure you understand your audience, their needs, and why they interact with you.
  • Create an online persona that is fun and captivating at the same time.
  • Be consistent. Make sure you post when you are supposed to.
  • Take time to appreciate your customers e.g. through give away. 
  • Remember to have fun. Captivating your audience is trial and error. Have fun while at it.

How do you manage your business?

Being your own boss is a challenge because most of the time, you never know when to stop and take a break. I have learned to schedule myself so that I have enough time to catch my breath and relax.

Also, I enjoy reading and watching animated movies and cartoons.

I also love cooking and discovering how I can use different spices and herbs from all over the world in my food.

What is your advice for young women who are looking to venture into Digital Marketing?

My advice to young women out there is that you can start a business anytime and with the right mindset, you can take it to the next.

Becoming a digital marketing expert requires you to do a lot of research to know what’s happening in the online space. 

Remember that deciding to be your own boss doesn’t mean lots of free time on your hands.

You have to be willing work overtime because most of the time you will have to do everything on your own without a cheering squad. 


If you’d like to share a story with us at She Leads Africa, share your story us here.

Nomvelo Chalumbira: There are endless possibilities available to millennials now than there previously were

‘Lazy…entitled…’? Enough with the name calling!

Because some bold young ladies are challenging the way some describe millennials, and Africa is already celebrating their work!

Nomvelo Chalumbira, 23, recently graduated from Wits University where she studied journalism and is currently interning at Reuters Africa.

She is also the co-founder of Melenial Media, a digital-content platform created by two young black women, for young black women, with the aim of empowering them and supporting the great work they are doing in different spheres of society.  

What started as a blog is growing into a great media brand, and with a prestigious award already on their shelf, we thought we should get into the psyche of this aspiring media mogul, and also asked her to share some of her work with us.


What made you decide to start early, co-founding Melenial Media while still studying?

I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do after university and felt that my degree had not prepared me for the job market, but I was always interested in media, and after doing a blog with my friends for a year, I wanted to start something that represented me and other black millennial women.

My passion was to be a part of the change of the media landscape in South Africa and not rely on building a career at already-established media companies.

In my third year, my current partner and I saw a huge gap in the market of voices of millennial women of color, and thus Melenial Media was founded.

There is no set path to success Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millennials have been called many (not so great) names, such as ‘the Me, Me, Me Generation”, as expressed in an article by a reputable magazine. What are your thoughts about this?

Times are very different and things are being done very differently. Many traditional industries have been disrupted and altered to suit the needs of the current generation.

For instance, the media industry is becoming more digital and fast-paced. We must all keep up with the new.

As an article in the Atlantic put it very well, “every generation has been a me, me, me generation”, so what is new?

How did you go from blogging to having an award winning media brand? What drives you as an entrepreneur?

It hasn’t been easy! Building a business has taught me discipline and perseverance, especially juggling studying full-time and doing Melenial. But, I absolutely love what I do and having the privilege to do what I love every day is a great blessing.

That has helped me get through the tough times, knowing that the reward is sweeter than the sweat. We try our best to be consistent and put out the best content.

Entrepreneurship is challenging but I have a great family support system. What’s even more exciting is being able to be a part of the advancement and empowerment of black women.

Please share some of your photojournalism work with us:

 

More Than a Barcode: Like identity, our sense of place is fluid; it changes as the place changes and as we change. One’s sense of place becomes part of their identity, and one’s identity affects the ways we define and experience a place. Therefore in the construction of identities, part of what one does is to instill place with meaning by attaching memories and experiences to the place.

 

Serene yet Strong: Mammy Setshogo fulfilling her regular duties of looking after and running a tavern household in Soweto. Here she is washing the household’s clothes and she looks serene, regal, strong and beautiful whilst doing a mundane chore.

 

 

 

How does Melenial Media aim to empower millennials and change such narratives about them?

Melenial Media showcases a diverse range of women doing great things in their respective fields. We are breaking down the stereotype and notion that there is one type of black woman.

The content you find on our site is interesting, fresh and relatable – not only to millennials but to any generation. We showcase that there is no set path to success.

Melenial Media shows that anything is possible if you believe enough in your vision.

We are breaking down the stereotype and notion that there is one type of black woman - @nomvelo_c Click To Tweet

From the work you have done so far with millennials, what potential do you think they have to make Africa even greater?

There are endless possibilities available to Millennials than there previously were. This makes the potential to do great things even greater.

With information, access, and opportunities available at our fingertips, millennials are creating their own opportunities and path.

Africa is a wealthy goldmine of opportunities and it’s all about seizing the moment and just going for it. And that is exactly what millennials are doing. They are not afraid to take a chance and create their own realities that suit them.

Africa is a wealthy goldmine of opportunities and it’s all about seizing the moment and just going for it. Click To Tweet

You won the ‘2016 Top Youth Culture Blog in Africa’ award in such a short space of time. What does the award mean to you and Melenial Media?

It was a humbling milestone to have reached in such a short time. It has made us realize that we are creating a sustainable business that is making a difference and contributing positively to society.

What we have created is something quite relevant in the current South African media landscape. We have started something unique, which I am extremely proud of.

...anything is possible if you believe enough in your vision. Click To Tweet

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South Africa’s Digital Womxnist – Owethu Makhathini

Owethu is beyond a force to be reckoned with. This incredible Google Certified genius is taking over the digital sphere by holding workshops and talks across the country through her consultancy, Makhathini Media – which provides innovative ways to show young women how they can advance their careers using digital marketing.

Owethu created her platform to upskill young business-minded women and show others how you can liberate women through social media. Let’s take a look at Owethu’s journey on how she is making a difference in empowering women while making her mark in the digital industry.


Tell us more about Makhathini Media?

Makhathini Media is a creative consultancy that specializes in offering tailored digital marketing and ICT training. We tailor the content depending on the needs of the client, not just for young people but for large corporates and government parastatals. We have a long way to go in terms of digital literacy. I want to ultimately be in a position to fund creative projects, upskill people in digital skills, facilitate networking events and help big brands and businesses create compelling, perception-shifting work.

What projects do you have up your sleeve?

I have 2 very special projects coming up and I couldn’t be more excited! One ties into the focus of the business which is the training aspect while the other ties into the secondary goal of the business which is creating a community underpinned by the restorative power of sisterhood.

We hope to create networks of women who inspire, uplift and collaborate with each other. 2018 is going to an exciting year for Makhathini Media!

The media industry has predominantly been male-dominated. How do you navigate this reality as a woman and leader in the digital industry?

If we are being honest, most industries are male-dominated. Patriarchy is maintained and is a tool of capitalism, that much is inescapable. I am fortunate that in the digital marketing space, one has the power to create a platform that can exist to challenge mainstream ideas.

Business is ruthless and as a young, black woman there are additional challenges we face to get into the room and be taken seriously, never mind having a seat at the table. As a businesswoman, you have to be able to stand in your truth and create an ecosystem of women that look like you to collaborate and make money with. There definitely is strength in numbers.

Young women are the most receptive to skills training- @owethumack Click To Tweet

How has the process and reception of educating the youth on the digital sphere been? 

Young women are the most receptive to skills training. They are often the ones that already have small-scale businesses running from home who just need a boost of knowledge. I have had mostly young women come up to me after my sessions to share their stories or to thank me for showing them that someone as young as them has found a niche and is making a business around it.

The project I am initiating in 2018 will attend to the needs of the young women who have attended one of my sessions. There is a need that must be met and I feel that I am the perfect position to facilitate it. It is very humbling, inspiring and truthfully, it is what keeps me going when I feel overwhelmed.

Can digital marketing play a role in liberating women, especially in South Africa?

Firstly, the internet is a borderless place, we are able to share ideas across the world in a matter of moments. This means that even if you feel isolated in your geographical area, you can find a community of like-minded individuals by simply searching for those people online.

Secondly, the information shared online can make people aware of the organizations that exist to help women out of situations where they feel helpless.

Thirdly, digital marketing is a business opportunity. If a woman is being financially abused, she is able to run a small business through WhatsApp or social media, therefore getting practical help.

The internet is a borderless place & digital marketing is a business opportunity Click To Tweet

As a mentor to other women, who do you go to for inspiration and why?

My great-grandmother, grandmothers, and my mother. Outside of my family, I look up to the Knowles sisters, Oprah Winfrey, Nunu Ntshingila, Zodwa Khumalo, Khanyi Dhlomo and Bonang Matheba.

I grew up in a matriarchal family with women who were equally strong and soft. They provided a firm foundation that I have built my version of womanhood on. The women in my family are not too different from women around the world. We are resilient because we must be. We are people who can get things done without disregarding our empathy.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your line of work?

I would say take yourself on as a project. Critically assess where you fall short, unpack the ways you dishonor yourself and show yourself grace. As women, we are socialized to constantly give and made to feel selfish when we finally erect boundaries.

Make sure you have boundaries and a standard for your life, don’t ever compromise yourself for the comfort of another because you aren’t giving from a place of love but from a place of obligation which leads down a path of resentment.

 


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Peace & Joyce: Social Media Helps Achieve Digital Marketing Goals

22-year old Peace Itimi and 26-year old Joyce Imiegha are the co-founders of Rene Digital Hub, a Digital Marketing and Creative Agency which helps businesses grow, using solutions such as  Social Media Marketing, PPC, Visual Branding and Web Design. 

While Joyce is a serial entrepreneur with experience working in several industries, including PR and Entertainment; Peace, on the other hand, is a Digital Marketing Guru who also works as a trainer in Google Digital Skills for Africa Program, and has trained over 2000 people.

At Rene, Peace leads the Digital Marketing team while Joyce heads Business Development.


What inspired your decision to start Rene Digital Hub?

Joyce: We wanted to solve marketing problems for people. Digital marketing wasn’t as saturated when we started, so it was a relevant reason to start a company that would cater to the needs of individuals and brands seeking to expand their businesses in the digital sphere.

Peace: As Joyce rightly said, we started Rene because we wanted to use digital marketing solutions to help businesses grow. We realized that there was (and still is) a huge digital divide between businesses and their customers; a lot of people are using the internet and social media for personal purposes, people practically live online these days, yet businesses and brands are not using the opportunity efficiently.

How has social media been able to help increase your productivity?

Joyce: Social media is the major core of digital marketing; it keeps booming with lots of people (users), activities, trends, controversies etc, and this in turn serves as an avenue for us as marketers to understand people more (their needs, likes, dislikes, fantasies etc). Social media has and keeps helping people achieve their digital marketing goals on a daily basis.

Peace: That is very true, and for Rene Particularly, social media has been one of our biggest client acquisition sources. We get lots of inquiries and clients on Instagram and Twitter.

What key factors do you consider for small brands to help improve their digital footprints online?

Joyce: Unique identity, Content, Consistency, Great Customer Care and Creativity

Peace: Definitely! Consistency and Great Customer Experience would make any brand stand out and help convert first time customers to retainers.

Entrepreneurship is not an easy or rosy path - Peace Itimi Click To Tweet

Apart from social media, are there any online methods that can be beneficial for small businesses?

Joyce: Yes there are numerous channels small businesses can also utilize. Email marketing is great, there is also Contextual advertising, Public Relations, Influencer marketing and so on.

Peace: I particularly like PPC (Pay Per Click advertising). It is a bit more cost intensive than social media but with the right targeting, it can greatly affect a brand’s awareness and ROI.

What are some of the things that are likely to change in the digital marketing industry in the next few years? And what impact would it have on small businesses?

Joyce: Automation. Automation can be defined as the technology by which a process or procedure is performed without human assistance. 

Automation is definitely going to change the modus operandi in our industry in the not-so-distant future, and we are steadfast in gearing towards it. With automation comes the need for less human resources, and this means most people might become jobless if their job operations get successfully replaced with automation.

What’s your perfect one – line statement for young females trying to build a brand via social media?

Joyce: Whatever you do, always kill it! That’s all people really care about in your journey.

Peace: Entrepreneurship is not an easy or rosy path, but with consistency and resilience, you can do it.


How has social media helped you grow and build a positive brand image, personally and professionally?

Let us know more  here.

Fatima Babakura: Social Media Made Our First Collection Successful

Fatima Babakura is a 21-year-old final year student at McMaster University and the founder and creative director of Timabee,  a luxury accessory brand which she created out of her passion for sketching designs. Within 3 years of starting the business, Timabee has won a best fashion brand of the year award.

Fatima has also been listed among 22 women redefining luxury in Africa by the Lionesses of Africa group, and has also received the WEF “Iconic Woman” award in 2017.

Her passion for women and girls has inspired her to continue to grow Timabee, as well as start other businesses that would create job opportunities, especially in Africa.  She is also the co- founder of Signature Boutique in Canada, a multi-brand boutique that aims to showcase the works of African based designers to the world. Fatima enjoys cooking, traveling and sharing her success story.


I have always loved accessories and handbags Click To Tweet

What inspired the Timabee brand?

I have always loved accessories and handbags. Growing up, I remember being called “mummy’s handbag”, not because I followed her everywhere as that title would suggest, but because I was always holding my mother’s handbag when we went out together. I guess it was only natural that after I sketched a handbag, I became very curious to see it come to life. That is how Timabee started.

What other services do you offer?

Timabee currently has a bespoke section that allows the client to be a part of the design team for their handbag. You get to pick your leather, style and a whole lot more. I think it’s really cool.

Do your services include any form of offline transactions or are they strictly online? Kindly tell us how the sales chain works.

Being a full-time student and juggling a business doesn’t allow much time for offline interactions but I find ways to work around it.We have events from time to time and I also offer one on one bespoke sessions, depending on my availability. I am responsible for the bespoke side of design, amongst other things, so my schedule definitely affects those sessions.

With everyone being on social media these days, it is the best way to connect to a wider audience Click To Tweet

What are the major social media channels you make use of?

Instagram and Twitter. Instagram is our first love. It made our very first collection a success.

What has been the most challenging moment on social media so far?

So far we haven’t had any challenge’s with social media, thankfully.

What would your response be to someone who is contemplating whether or not to use social media as a marketing tool?

I think it is a very great tool and it is inexpensive too. With everyone being on social media these days, it is the best way to connect to a wider audience. I would definitely say do it!


Are you in the fashion accessories industry?

 Share your story with us, let us know more about you and your story here.

Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni: Digital Marketing Is Taking Over Rapidly

Everyone can afford to take advantage of digital marketing services.- Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni Click To Tweet

Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni is currently the Senior Account Manager at Nigeria’s foremost digital marketing agency, Webcoupers. She has successfully worked with several brands and has helped them achieve digital footprints on the web.

In this interview, Oluwaseyi gives us exclusive insights into why small business owners need to incorporate digital marketing services into their sales strategy.


Tell us a bit about yourself & your background

I’m a 25 year old branding powerhouse! A slightly eccentric creative genius, obsessed with the color pink and a Nigerian woman on the rise.

I spent my childhood and high school years in Nigeria after which I moved to the States for the first half of my undergrad. I then moved to Canada where I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Economics as well as a certification in Business Analysis. Followed by a few years of work in the financial sector.

Eventually I became quite jaded, packed my bags, and moved to France last year to attend Business School where I received my MBA with a specialization in Marketing & Brand Management.

I just relocated to Nigeria a few months ago, and I am currently the Senior Account Manager at Nigeria’s foremost digital marketing agency, Webcoupers.

 

Why did you decide to come back to Nigeria?

I never wanted to leave in the first place! Nigeria has been experiencing a brain drain for a while now but all we do is complain. Those abroad refuse to return while those on the ground want to flee! So who is left?

A lot of people don’t see the digital landscape in Africa as viable and I knew I had to play a role in changing that narrative in my own little way. You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. I decided it was time to become a part of the solution. That being said, having 24/7 access to pounded yam may or may not have played a role in my decision.

 

Having worked on several marketing campaigns for major brands, what would you say to those who are yet to optimize digital marketing to grow their businesses?

It’s 2017 and there is a 99.99% chance that your target market is online, what are you doing? From personal experience, I find a lot of key decision makers in Nigerian businesses are not as open minded as they would like to think. They would rather play it safe and splurge on traditional modes of advertising which don’t even produce trackable results, while neglecting the digital side.

That’s not to downplay the importance of non-digital mediums but can you tell me how many people viewed a particular physical billboard yesterday? Probably not. But I can tell you how many people viewed an online ad banner, clicked on it and made a purchase after seeing it! That’s the power of digital.

Businesses are literally stagnating their growth by refusing to key into digital marketing vehicles.

 

Digital Marketing is scalable to fit any budget. - Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni Click To Tweet

What are the various aspects of digital marketing services that small business owners can leverage on?

The wonderful thing about digital marketing is that it is scalable to fit any budget. From the frugal university student selling jewelry on the side to earn extra income, to the massive multinational firm spending the big bucks to drive sales, everyone can afford to take advantage of digital marketing services.

Social media

Without getting too technical, I’ll discuss a few simple ways SMEs can utilize digital marketing to drive sales. It goes without saying that establishing a social media presence and providing engaging content is imperative.

Word of mouth

We all know of “Word of Mouth”, but what needs to be leveraged is “Word of Mouse”. This is essentially free advertising by connecting with and building a network of brand loyalists who will help spread the word about their products or services online. With over 70 million Nigerians using the internet, the click of a mouse on social media can get you in front of your target consumer faster than any mouth can.

Targeted ad’s

Another way is by running targeted ads on social media platforms. You don’t need a big budget or a formal education to get these up and running. Most social media platforms offer a lot of free learning resources to assist you in getting your campaigns up and running.  Easy-to-use tools like canva can aid you on your creative journey where you can design colorful engaging ads to appeal to prospective clients.

SEO

Ensure your website is SEO optimized. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and what that means is you want to boost the visibility of your brand when words relating to it (keywords) are searched for.

There’s a popular saying that the best place to hide a dead body is the 2nd page of Google. Seriously, no one checks there. It is estimated that 75% of users never scroll past first page results; The first page is where all the action is and this is where your business needs to be.

This does not happen overnight and takes a bit of dedication. But, by using relevant keywords, consistently churning out pertinent content and also having links to your website shared on other sites, small businesses can boost their SEO ranking to drive traffic and sales.

If you’re not too keen on trying these out yourself, enlist the services of a digital agency and get on it fast!

 

Some people think digital marketing is expensive. What is the average amount that a small business owner needs to run a digital marketing campaign?

There are so many myths surrounding digital marketing. I frequently ponder on where they emanate from. There is no “average” amount as strategies and requirements vary from business to business and campaign to campaign.

For example, you can run online ads for various types of campaigns for less than N2,000 a day or you can choose to spend over N200,000 daily. Heck, you can spend N2m a day depending on what your campaign goals are!

You also have to take into account the duration, type of campaign you plan to execute and what online platforms you plan to utilize. Will it run for a day, a month or longer? Is this a physical product, an app or maybe an event? Will you be advertising on the Google Display Network or Social Media? All these factors and more tie into the cost of running a digital marketing campaign.

Digital is taking over rapidly- Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni Click To Tweet

Do you think small business owners can depend on only digital channels to drive sales?

Certainly! I’ve seen it happen first hand, over and over again. It could be quite beneficial to complement digital with offline marketing strategies, but not all businesses can afford to or necessarily need that.

 

What do you think is the future of digital marketing in Nigeria?

Digital is taking over rapidly. I predict a massive shift in the industry with new media completely overtaking traditional media. Think about it, who really watches TV anymore? Where do the flyers shove into your hands end up? Probably underneath a pile of suya somewhere.

Although I don’t think traditional media will completely die out, I do foresee a complete role reversal between digital and non-traditional marketing channels.I am ecstatic to be an agent of this digital transformation in Nigeria & Africa as a whole through my role at Webcoupers.


How has digital marketing helped you grow and scale your business?

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more  here.

Blogging: Business sense or business nonsense?

If your business blog provides people with much-needed information you easily become an authority Click To Tweet

Is your business blogging?
We are living in a digital age. Anything analogue is left out of the dialogue. And, my good friend, dialogue is what drives every business. If people are not talking about your business:

  1. You lose out on free marketing
    2. People can’t trust your brand
    3. Your product is ignored

What does all this have to do with blogging? Everything.

A well-maintained blog solves all the above problems and more. Let me elaborate. Here are 10 reasons your business needs a blog (no matter the industry).

1. A great way to market your business

With the advent of the smartphone, traditional advertising is fast becoming redundant. This is because information about everything is right at our fingertips, thanks to Google.
The infographic below shows the increase in internet usage globally.

This is where blogging becomes a powerful marketing tool. A well written, SEO optimised and maintained blog will put you on Google’s front page. Simply put, a blog has the power to put your business in front of 3773 billion people.

2. Builds authority and influence

One ingredient that drives sales more than others is trust. People buy products they trust and trust is a by product of authority. That is what a blog does for a brand; it builds authority.

A brand that has authority is an influential brand. If you do a search for any online marketing tactic/tip in Google, you’re most likely to see a Hubspot article as one of the top results. Forbes

Now that’s authority! Through their strategic blogging, Hubspot has become a powerhouse in digital marketing. If your business blog provides people with much-needed information or resources, you easily become an authority in your niche. With authority comes the power to influence people’s buying decisions.

3. Key ingredient to branding

Modern consumers have indicated that they look at companies in a negative light if they cannot find them online. Chrysalis Communications

A brand is a business’ identity. Contrary to popular belief, this identity is not established by fancy packaging and logos alone. To establish your brand, you need to be ubiquitous. Everywhere people turn, they must see you.

This is one of Coca Cola’s strengths. They have a presence everywhere. Need I say more about their brand power? You may not be physically present everywhere but make an effort to be found where it matters; in cyberspace.

4. Gives customers a reason to remember you

A blog is a simple way of connecting with your customers. If your business blog is engaging enough, people will remember you. And next time they need a product your business deals in, you will be their first port of call.

This is why as a business, your blog must not just be informative. It should also be entertaining. Your blog should be an experience to be remembered.

5. An amazing traffic attractor

In today’s world, profit is spelt T.R.A.F.F.I.C. The higher the traffic, the louder the cash register rings.

Consider two shops selling the same product at the same price. Both in the same densely populated location. One shop plays popular chart topping music, the other, blue grass (pardon me fans of this genre). Which shop will rake in the profits? My point exactly.

A blog is an amazing traffic attractor. Run properly, it will draw people to your business while your competitors sing the blues

Run properly, a blog will draw people to your business while your competitors sing the blues Click To Tweet

6. Easiest way to turn leads into customers

I talked about traffic in the previous point because it’s important for every business. But traffic for the sake of traffic won’t cut it.

That’s why businesses should invest in good copywriters for their web copy and blogs. Writers who possess the skill (dare I say magic) to subconsciously drive people into making “the right” decision. What better decision can a visitor to your website make other than becoming a customer?

A well written blog has the potency to turn leads into life-long customers. That, in business terms, means life-long profits.

7. Deepens relationship with customers

Relationships in the 21st century are fluid. When people find one that’s solid, they hold on to it for dear life. This is where your business should leverage the emotional deficit in your customers. Be there for them. Let them know you care.

I get an SMS from my bank every year on my birthday. I know it’s automated but somehow it still tugs at my heart. I feel “connected”. Your blog has the power to deepen relationships with your customers. Use it to answer their questions, solve their problems and even connect on an emotional level.

If you can succeed in relating with your customers through your blog, they become more than customers. They become an army that will fight for your success.

8. Makes public relations easier and cheaper

PR campaigns are a thorn in the flesh for most companies. Their Return On Investment (ROI) is usually disappointing. Is PR essential? Yes. Is it expensive? Painfully so.

The easiest and cheapest way to drive publicity (which is what PR is for) is by maintaining a good social media department. With a good content marketing strategy, you can do most, if not all, of your PR at a fraction of the cost.

Cheap, minimum effort and yet maximum impact. The “public” nowadays is found online. Relate with them there. Can it be easier and more cost effective than this?

9. Strengthens your email marketing campaigns

Talk about massive ROI! Email marketing is the obvious marketing approach for every serious business. But email marketing is weak without a blog. This is because:

  1. It’s easier to get people’s emails from your blog
    2. The blog keeps them informed and entertained while email does the power selling

Email marketing can’t survive without a good blog. They need each other.

10. Gives your business a human touch

To drive engagement, businesses need simple, human-centric communication and collaboration built deep into business processes. Avaya.com

The essence of being human is the ability to communicate. To touch each other’s lives in a meaningful way. A business can succeed in doing this through blogging. One major inherent strength of a blog is that it’s interactive.

An excellent blog is actually a living community that gives a business that much needed human touch. This statement alone gives you two powerful reasons your company should start and maintain a blog:

  1. Community. People love to be part of a greater cause.
    2. Human touch. People need human touch. It’s as important as breathing.
An excellent blog is actually a living community that gives a business that much-needed human touch Click To Tweet

These ten reasons should be enough to convince you that every business needs to invest in a blog. A business without a blog will surely get stuck in the bog.

Now, you tell me. Blogging: business sense or business nonsense?

Diana Washe: Because I do what I like, my work and lifestyle are interlinked

I covered my shoe with African fabric, posted it on social media & the next thing I was getting orders Click To Tweet

Diana Mano is a Digital Marketer for a direct marketing company, a blogger, a BA Communication Science graduate and a mother of two boys.

Diana, known by most as Diana Washe, is the founder and creative designer of Shaina an African inspired accessory designing business based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her products are handmade and fuse African fabrics with different textures to create unique handmade pieces.

She named herself Washe a name which comes from her faith in the Lord meaning “of the Lord”.


Tell us a bit about Shaina.

Shaina started in 2014 when I was diagnosed with depression. I was in a dark place having lost someone very close to me. I started seeing a therapist and one of the things that she encouraged me to do was to look for a hobby in an effort to help me with the depression. So I went to YouTube and found a video on how to make crafts using the fabric. The first thing I did was cover my shoe with African fabric, posted it on my social media page and the next thing I was getting orders. I wasn’t keen on making this an income generating hobby but my therapist advised me otherwise.

So I started with a few orders and boom, Shaina was born. I started with small things like accessories because if you can’t wear fabric, you can at least accessorize. With each year I get better at the craft. Shaina basically means shine. I named it Shaina because I don’t believe that people should just sit and wait for things to happen, they should flourish where they are planted. Shaina is an extension of my personal life, I am a lover of accessories.

How would you describe your designs?

I make contemporary African accessories which is a fusion of other fabrics and African print. I have in cooperated a combination of leather and African print into my line. Basically my brand is an affordable luxury brand.

What inspires your designs?

The different people I meet in African print either on the streets of Johannesburg, Harare or in magazines. If I see something I like, I am always thinking of ways to make it better. I love fashion and prints, I find them very vibrant but I also feel like a lot of people do not really appreciate print.

If I see something I like, I am always thinking of ways to make it better - Diana Washe Click To Tweet

Tell us a bit about Soweto Fashion week?

Soweto Fashion Week (SFW) is a platform for upcoming fashion designers to show the world what they are made of. For me it was nerve-racking, exciting and a great eye opening experience. It was my first time showcasing at a fashion show but I feel I executed my work very well. It was a good place for me to be because of the media coverage, exposure and meeting new people.

How has your educational background helped you in managing your business?

So firstly, my work background as a Digital Marketer assists me in running my own pages as it includes a lot of social media, email marketing, web-page optimising. So because I do what I like, my work and lifestyle are interlinked.

What are the challenges of running your own company?

Time. One just never has enough time. I wear many hats, student, mom, blogger, digital marketer and my personal life, therefore, there is not enough time.

Tell me a bit about your blog.

My blog is called Parenting in Heels and it is a lifestyle parenting blog started in April 2017. A lot of people ask me how I manage to do what I do so I decided to share my everyday life and how I make it work.

What is your advice to those aspiring to enter the fashion industry?

Have a passion for it, determination, work hard and stay focused.

What were the major start up challenges you faced?

Trying to move Shaina from being a hobby to it being a business.

Where would you like to see your brand in future?

I am looking at expanding my brand into African Inspired interior design and a kids clothing line. I want to have a concept shop and also work with other designers. I would also like to see my products being recognised and available in shops and major fashion shows.

Diana Washe: I am self-taught and I am willing to help other women Click To Tweet

What can we expect from Shaina in the next five years?

A more solid brand that is found all over the world. Empowering and encouraging women especially single parents to be self-sustaining and use what they have. I am self-taught and I am willing to help other women. I believe the world is so abundant of things to work with.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.