Kasi Corner Talks: Episode 7, Importance of Digital Marketing for Lesotho Businesses

Written By: Motebang Senaoana, Osmium Co-Founder & Manager

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Lesotho’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is ever growing, and although in its infancy stage, a great deal of entrepreneurs are eager to solve existing problems in our socio-economic environment. Much of the key factors involved in the ecosystem; finance, capital, infrastructure, etc. are slowly connecting.

Lesotho, just like most countries is largely being affected by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it’s one of its key factors; The Internet of Things (IoT). This is critical to connecting the key elements involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and part of it, is Digital Marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing involves having complete online presence for your brand and/or organization. Online presence involves the complete and consistent utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by organizations and brands to be on the internet and remain on the internet. Every organization (private and public), has to firstly have a brand, and then work towards digitizing this brand.

What does it involve?

Once a brand has been established, there is need now to know what is needed going forward in Digital Marketing. This hinges on the following factors:

  • Visibility: Have social media accounts, a website, be available on online directories, Google My Business, etc.
  • Discoverability: The internet is a cluster of information, once you are visible online, be discoverable. This is mainly through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), genuine content and Online Display Advertising, to mention a few.
  • Memorability: A client goes through a number of stages before buying a service or product, it is thus very important to create relational content, have a distinct online brand, and have an online marketing roadmap.
  • Public Relations: One cannot have digital marketing without Public Relations (PR). With physical marketing, it ranges from building relations with consumers, greeting consumers as they come across an organization, accountability and responsiveness with consumers, and giving them power. Digital Marketing works the same way, questions should be attended to, content should relate to the target audience, and content (website and social media) should be easy to comprehend.

Why is it important?

Organizations (private and public), no matter the size, need to be online. Having a consistent online presence builds trust between the business and its clients, especially with B2C (Businesses to Clients) businesses, while also being able to easily communicate the philosophy and/or Unique Selling Proposition (USP) with relevant stakeholders, especially with B2B (Business 2 Business) businesses. For each of the involved participants; Consumers and Organizations, there is value to digital marketing.

For Consumers

No consumer buys a service or product at first sight. In marketing, a client goes through a number of stages to buying a product. In the physical world, these stages are; See, Think, Care and Do.

Thereafter realizing these stages, traditional marketers act accordingly; develop a captivating ad, have a physical fixed location where the client can further inquire about the product or service, have a great product or service, and then finally be able to then convince a caring client to actually buy. What about in the digital world? Put simply, a consumer goes through a funnel of stages that boil down to exchange of a product or service for money.

See

This occurs at the Awareness stage. Organizations have curate and create content that communicates the brand to consumers and/or clients. This involves information about the brand, relevant information like what the service/product is about, how and where to attain, and what makes it different (USP). Content here must be relational and informational.

Think

This stage involves the organization shaping opinions and/views of clients or consumers. At this stage, there has been a steady growth of following online. There needs to be creation of campaigns that use messaging to highlight competitive advantage.

Care

Every business ought to focus on its acquired customers, while also looking to reach out to potential clients or consumers. These are followers who care, who have shown interest in your solution, this means you focus and create content that works to communicate what makes you different, or stand out. “WHY YOU??” Einstein had argued that the 8th Wonder of the World; Compound Interest must never be ignored; many that pay attention to it, benefit from it, while those that ignore it, suffer from it.

We would argue the 9th Wonder of world, should definitely be the Value Proposition, Why should clients buy your service/product and why should potential investors and financial institutions invest capital in your organization? Mastering this can influence a number of factors; the scalability, customer acquisition and retention, target audience, and marketing strategy.

Do

It is one thing for followers to give your organization, it is another for them to actually take out their money and buy. Content creators ought to focus on converting followers to sales by advertising offers, and sales and discounts.

For Organizations

The Internet of Things has made relations, costs and innovations much easier to handle and thus lead to increased profits.  Using Insights and Analytical tools, organizations can trace Return On Investment (ROI) and see the online routes taken by clients, the age group and gender and from which location. This allows them to see the progress of the product, strategize how to improve the product of service, etc.

Following trends, customer needs and wants becomes a whole lot easier with digital marketing, as search engines enable marketers to see what is trending and how they reshape their content to befit consumer wants. It is very critical to give consumers power. Digital marketing is very cost effective for organizations, and allows a smoother cash flow, as it costs much less than traditional forms of marketing.

How does it work?

For the effectiveness of digital marketing, organizations need to work on a number of internal and external factors whose end result lead to the overall success for the organi  zation.  These factors involve:

  • Have a great product
  • Know your target audience
  • Clearly state out specific organizational goals
  • Create strategized relational content
  • Know and Communicate your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Once these have been established, there are various online platforms that can be used for effective digital marketing. Organizations ought to make sure they use platforms specific to the market. These involve:

Websites

E-commerce in Lesotho is pretty low; businesses have struggled with finding its importance. It is very important to have a website as part of the online presence package. Where organizations cannot afford, they could have free blog sites such as wordpress. These can be used to create and cement the name of the brand; through Search Engine Optimization. The homepage should tell clients the obvious (what we do), but should communicate its philosophy (why we do what we do). It should be user friendly, easy to use, and easy to access on all devices.

Social Media Platforms

With 78.28% of users on Facebook, and 16% on Pinterest, and more than 60% of the youth on social media, it is evident that every organization must be social media. Organization ought to have strategies on content, have influencers to drive traffic to the pages, and post regularly to cement relations between the brand and followers.

Every organization should have its own identifier in the form of a hashtag, there ought to be actual humans on the platforms to attend to questions, comments and queries, there must also be usage of visuals (images, banners, videos) to capture of their attention. There is also the element of consistent and distinctiveness; no one wants to lose themselves in trying to fit in, but at the same time, every organization ought to adapt to market demands.

The use of analytical tools and insights can be used to trace the effectiveness of the content posted. One must NOT use these platforms as spam, always advertising and selling, but to increase and cement relations with followers.

Email Marketing

This is more than just spam emails clients receive. Through such strategies as AB Testing, organizations can see as to which approach works best for followers. Collect emails, create a contact list, and optimize emails that appeal to the interests of followers.

Your emails should be short, and straight to the point, should have links and must avoid such words as “Sale”, “discount”  or “Buy” on the subject to avoid scroll through rates. Consumers MUST be allowed to unsubscribe, just as they were encouraged to subscribe. Equally important, the rate at which these emails are sent should be optional for contacts.

Display Advertising and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing is mainly used to potential customers who actively search for something. These ads are normally in the form of texts, and only show up when people are searching something online.

For example, when one types Osmium Lesotho, SEM allows this to be visible on the first three search results. While with Display Ads, a person does not have to search for your business or services. One chooses where your banners or billboards can be found online. Normally, websites or online directors with the most directors that offer advertising space are approached. This allows a lot more creative strategies.

Digital marketing is more than just advertising, but highlights on building relations with current followers, while gaining even more. The “Why we do what we do is highlighted” and organizations have more power to trace where is their money going.

 

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