Business News of Friday, 11 October 2013
Source: Sulemana, Abdul-Rahim
Ghanaian businesses spend huge sums of money on customer acquisition and retention strategies through the use of traditional media like the TV, radio and newspapers. They forget or are unaware of very low cost but efficient strategies that sometimes yield even better results. In this article, I take a look at some of the very important things Ghanaian businesses have taken for granted and are paying dearly for.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing means creating and sharing informative, valuable, and free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. This is something businesses in Ghana are either unaware of or are just careless about whereas businesses abroad have employed this form of marketing to rake in millions of customers.
Content marketing involves investing time and energy into websites and features such as blogs and FAQ sections. It is becoming common for businesses in Ghana to have websites however these websites are left so dry of content that they were better not in existence. Hardly does one come across a blog or FAQ section on business websites in Ghana.
Take for instance websites of UT bank, RLG, Kasapreko and all the other big businesses in Ghana and you will realize they invest less into content marketing. They either have a newsletter form (which is not taken seriously) or an FAQ section which doesn't serve its intended purpose fully. What is absent is blog sections. Ghanaian businesses just hate blogs.
The primary goal with content marketing is not typically to make a direct sale (although it happens), it is to deliver content over an extended period of time, preferably through email or other means.
The secondary goal is to become a ?thought leader? in your industry. The benefits of this is that your content gets you on the radar of larger publications, who will then link to you naturally.
Now let's take RLG for a case study. Assuming RLG had an active blog section on its official website that regularly churns out important articles about the world of technology as it relates to Ghana. After sometime, tech savvy Ghanaians (who have the potential to use RLG products) will begin to visit this blog for news and updates about technology. The more people visit this blog section the higher the chances they would visit other sections of the same website and as people visit sections that explain RLG products, they get interested in what RLG offers and eventually these site visitors become RLG customers.
This is a very low cost marketing strategy which startups especially must adopt since they do not have much financial resources to engage in the very expensive traditional forms of marketing.
Another benefit of the blog section is that, these regular articles that the business produces get crawled by Google and other search engines and kept for future potential customers who may be having their Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT). ZMOT is that point in time when someone decides to look up information, reviews etc. on a particular product the person intends to buy.
What form of advertisement is better than having tech-pundits, bloggers, social commentators among others referencing the blog section of RLG for a particular piece of fact or statement they are using?
The most benefit a business can derive from content marketing in my opinion is trust. The more valuable the information you put out there, the more people (who are potential customers) trust your business and the services or products you offer. These people will consider you an expert in your field of business since you have for a long period satified their information need. They will forever remain loyal customers and will refer many other people to your business.
Note: There are other forms of content marketing that a business can engage in.
2. Email Marketing
Do you know what smart entrepreneurs or businesses do with the traffic they receive from content marketing? They build an email list. Outside of direct sales, there is no better business outcome attached to first-time visitors than when they subscribe to receive newsletters and email updates from your business.
So after all your efforts in content marketing (created a blog section on your website etc.) and you are beginning to see several visitors to your company's website, it will be dumb on the part of the business if it does not collect emails.
I know in Ghana, we are not very good at this email thing. Nevertheless, they are people like me who do everything with our emails (I am sure there is a lot more of us with the popularity of social media).
Email marketing basically involves putting a 'Subscribe to our Newsletter' form on your website and other channels and using the emails you collect as a competitive advantage. If on your site, the 'Subscribe to our Newsletter' should be seen on all pages of the site especially where the blog section is. And make sure it is very conspicuous.
The more the visitors to your blog section, the higher the chances they will subscribe to your newsletter in order not to miss future 'juicy' information.
After collecting all these emails, the business can now be sending regular personalized messages to these potential customers. And trust me, there is a 99% probability they will respond positively to your messages if crafted well than they will do to your facebook page posts which might not even get to them because of facebook's new policy for pages.
People feel privileged to be on the email list of companies they trust and will be glad to share whatever information you send them with friends. In fact, most businesses abroad have had their product launches gone viral because the people on their email list decided to share the next 'coolest' thing with their friends who in turn reshare to their other friends. Wouldn't you wish to be the first to know via email what promotions MTN will be launching in the next couple of days? Wouldn't you, thinking to be very important to MTN and the first to hear such news tell your friends about it? This is how email marketing works.
According to ExactTarget, 50% of online users bought something as a result of an email which is higher than any other marketing channel.
To be continued ...
This article will be continued in the second part (3 remaining points will be talked about). You can visit http://www.opinionghana.com for more interesting and intriguing articles or like the facebook page www.facebook.com/opinionghana for the best articles.