It is 2023, and many economies of the world are on an uneven rebound from ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic while others are still reeling from the dark clouds of global political and economic unrest.
The resources of many countries are stretched, and governments are having to engineer the growth of their economies under austere and excruciatingly challenging circumstances.
These have invariably spawned a unique set of challenges for businesses and individuals who are desirous of advancing themselves in every way possible. Digital Marketing offers a veritable path to all such individuals and businesses seeking to expand their reach, engage with a broader audience, increase brand awareness, and ultimately grow their businesses in the most cost-effective manner.
Data from the National Communications Authority indicate that the number of connected mobile phones are approximately 140% of the Ghanaian population – with the figure growing at an average of about 8% per annum.
Again, according to various reports, Ghana’s Internet penetration rate averages around 60% – with a significant number accessing the Internet via mobile phones and tablets. Estimates from DATAREPORTAL also reveal that there are approximately 11 million users of various social media platforms in Ghana, with the figure growing at an average minimum of about 35% per year.
Search-engines like Google and Bing have also become an overwhelmingly frequent starting point for consumers who are actively searching for products and services. These realities make online visibility an imperative for businesses and individuals if they are to feature in the sights of the ballooning number of customers who are moving online, and take advantage of the vast opportunities for growth these trends present. I discuss below a few of these opportunities:
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to a collection of techniques or strategies used to improve a website or blog to enhance its quality and visibility, or get the pages of the website to rank higher in search engines (e.g., Google, Bing etc.) when people search for products and services.
Organic and paid search results are the two types of results that appear after each search in any search-engine. Organic search results are the unpaid portions of the search-engine results, and these are determined by the website content’s relevance to what is being searched.
A website’s organic ranking costs no money, but it requires time and effort to achieve that ranking. Paid searches on the other hand are advertisements that appear at the top of the web page for specific keywords chosen by the advertiser, and charged for every person that clicks on the link to your website. While both methods are effective in generating results, organic rankings offer more consistent and long-lasting results. Paid searches on the other hand are often used in targetting specific audiences for limited time periods. They are considered less credible in the long-term, and there is greater likelihood of a slump in traffic flow to the website if pay per click is stopped. It is a little more expensive but best for site owners needing immediate results.
E-mail marketing is a form of direct marketing, and it is a powerful and inexpensive tool for acquiring, engaging, managing and retaining customers. It is estimated that over 90% of customers check their emails daily, and it is said to be one of the highest-converting digital marketing tools.
It is a key avenue for building trust, credibility and connection with a tribe and community of people who will over time become deeply acquainted with your business and what it offers. E-mail newsletters, for example, allow you to keep your customers up to date about your operations and also share information that adds value to your customers.
In addition to any announcements or updates on products and services, newsletters should include engaging and beneficial content; such as ‘how-to’ articles and thought-leadership pieces on matters of concern pertinent to your audience. A key success factor in e-mail marketing is generating credible and expansive mailing lists which are appropriately segmented to enable the dissemination of relevant content to different demographic groups.
One of the surest ways of generating and growing a credible and responsive mailing list is by the use of a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something you offer for free in exchange for an email address. These include mini e-books, free trials or samples, a free quote or consultation or a free webinar etc.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the use of websites and social media platforms to promote or advertise a good or service.
An estimated 11 million Ghanaians are active users of various social media platforms, with the notable ones being Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
One of the fundamental advantages of social media marketing is connectivity and the ability to intimately engage with your customers in real-time. It is also cost-effective, with ads costing a minimum of US$1 per day.
Most social media platforms also have the functionality of allowing ads to be customised for specific audiences; whether for particular age-groups, genders, regions or occupations. While there may be a risk of encountering online provocateurs, the use of social media in promoting products and creating brand-awareness is almost indispensable.
Social media requires consistency in the generation and posting of well-designed graphics and careful copywriting of promotional material that inspires action. Additionally, the use of social media management platforms like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, etc. improves efficiency by allowing you to manage multiple social media accounts in one place, schedule posts in advance, monitor the level of engagements with your posts, study market trends, and draw data-driven suggestions regarding best times of the day to post.
Further, businesses can also seek collaborations with influencers whose audience characteristics sync well with your current customers or target audiences; or use influencers whose brand personalities align with the company’s brand archetype.
Content marketing involves the consistent creation and publication of relevant content that enables you to reach, attract, engage and convert new customers.
Good content aligns with a typical customer journey, identifies their needs and questions, and proactively addresses them.
Content marketing strategies include the use of blogs, vlogs, podcasts, social-media content, and just about anything your target audiences would find informative, entertaining and beneficial.
Blogs are a platform meant for posting incisive and well-researched articles and opinion pieces which invariably demonstrate knowledge and expertise in your core business. Vlogs are short but engaging videos that dilate an issue or offers vital information customers would find relevant.
For example, financial institutions could consistently put out content regarding savings, investing and long-term wealth creation; mortgage companies would put out content on how to get started or succeed in real estate; a hospital should put out material on nutrition, healthy-eating, fitness etc.
All promotions sent and received via mobile phones in the form of text messaging, WhatsApp messaging, downloadable apps and mobile websites are considered mobile marketing. Ghana’s connected mobile lines are estimated to be about 140% of the total population.
Additionally, the WhatsApp messaging service is used by about 90% of all Internet users in Ghana. According to gs.statcounter.com, the percentage of global web traffic from mobile phones is over 60%; with most web-based and e-commerce companies reporting an increase in sales after designing mobile-friendly websites.
With the active collaboration of telecommunication companies and other service providers, businesses can deliver promotional material and other relevant content directly to mobile phones of the different classes and categories of their customers and target audiences.
The recipients of such messages are often segmented in accordance with the key demographics of age: gender, income, level of education, occupation etc. – and messages are uniquely tailored to the specific needs of each of these groups.
Affiliate Marketing programmes are a type of performance-based marketing strategy that rewards allied businesses which bring customers into your business through their own marketing efforts.
E-commerce businesses can allow their products to get listed and promoted on other platforms and pay commissions on each successful sale. Banks and Financial Institutions can collaborate with key e-commerce platforms to promote the use of their debit and credit cards at a commission, creating a win-win situation for both entities.
Digital Marketing has the capacity to help businesses radically expand their scope of operations, break new frontiersand experience the fastest, most cost-efficient growth possible. It is therefore an imperative that businesses look to wholly or progressively implement these strategies to enable them better adapt to the fast-changing consumer narrative.
The writer is a Business Consultant and Lecturer
You may send your comments or questions to him through the mail: [email protected]