How is your business’ online presence?
If you’re not sure how you should answer this question, I’ll give you a few scenarios that’ll help you understand what it’s about.
Let’s say I type your business’s name into a search engine, and click the search button. What should I expect to pop up in the results page?.
My inquiry might turn up any of these:
- A number of websites – including your business’s website – carrying some sort of information about what your venture is and what it does. There’s just enough detail for me to know what services it offers, where it’s located (if it has a formal address), and perhaps, who its boss is.
- A social media page (or a few) belonging to you.
- Names of individuals and organizations that aren’t connected with your business in any way.
- No results found.
If the first instance applies to your business, you have a good launch pad to set off from; maybe you already have customers finding you via random (or not so random) web searches. Case two isn’t really ideal for medium scale businesses; perhaps it just about cuts it for relatively new micro scale trade. There are exceptions to this rule; but then they are exceptions, not the rule.
If you identify with the final two scenarios, you’re missing out on a lot. A whole lot. This is also true for businesses that have a social media page or a website, but aren’t making the most of them.
Why your business should loom larger online
Nigeria has about 98 million internet users. That’s half the country’s population. This number represents a huge market for many sorts of products. The great thing is, you can connect with numerous persons in your target market, at once, from wherever you are.
In a nutshell, if you have no accessible presence on the web, you’re shut out of a market that’s much bigger than your offline push can ever reach. And if you’re onboard but not really minding your pages, you’re certainly not getting anything close to the slice of this market that you should.
How to improve your online presence
Take these steps to give your business a stronger presence online.
- Have a website
This is ideal for businesses operating in a world that’s increasingly digitally driven. As we’ve already mentioned, a formal business website should contain information about the enterprise it represents, which visitors are likely to want. Such information will include the business name and logo, its mission and vision, products and services, contact details, and other useful details.
There’s something to be said for the impression your website makes on its visitors’ visual senses. A tacky looking website could disorient potential customers; a nicely laid out, easily navigable site guarantees a positive user experience, if it also has the information its visitors want.
Your website could do well with a blog section, which should have information that your typical customer would find useful. The posts in this section should be good enough to draw in new visitors, and make existing ones keep coming back. Updates on your business’s activities and successes could also be provided on the site.
Make sure your posts are optimized for search engines (SEO).
A mobile friendly website us an added advantage, considering the fact that a large proportion of online purchases in Nigeria are done using mobile phones. Jumia, the country’s biggest ecommerce company, says in a report that as much as 79% of orders on its platform in 2017 were placed via mobile phones.
- Get Social media savvy
It’s one thing to have a business account for social media; it’s quite another to know which social media channels are best for your business.
Just in case you’re wondering if social media is worth the fuss, consider this: Nigeria has at least 17 million active social media users; and there’s plenty of room for this number to grow. It’s where many people these days find the latest news, gossip…and products.
A few hints:
- Twitter is big on news and byte sized comments (or commentaries). Because of its character limit (240 characters), you’ll have to be brief and on target if you’re marketing there.
- Instagram has a strong emphasis on pictures. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly popular with businesses which find it easier to display photos and short video descriptions of their products.
- Facebook has always been popular with businesses in these parts. You have an option of using its paid ads to reach out to thousands of potential followers and would be customers.
- Linkedin is great for connecting with professionals, and may serve your purposes especially if you’re looking to build B2B relationships.
There’s more on social media and business in our article, How To Use Social Media to Promote Your Business and Drive Traffic.
- Write guest posts
You can write a guest post on a blog which is frequently read by people in your target market. A guest post need not explicitly promote your business, but it should deal with an issue that your typical customer cares about- something that’s also related to what you do.
If you’re not very good at communicating your ideas in writing, you could hire a content marketer to help you craft a guest post for your business.
- Use email
Email marketing involves reaching out to prospective and existing clients via email. While there’s no guarantee that every message you send out will be read, a good number of them will, if they contain material that keeps their recipients engaged.
These articles should get you off to a good start on this front:
- How To Write Eye-Catching Emails.
- How To Build An Email List for Your Business.
- How To Use Email To Promote Your Event Effectively.