A new report reveals that total growth for online retail in South Africa rose to 66% in 2020, exceeding the 25% growth predicted three years ago, and bringing the total of online retail in South Africa to R30,2bn.
Digital marketing for your business can be daunting. Marketing your business online to bolster your brand and attract some customers with little to no money is no easy task. This is further exacerbated by your competitors employing the same tools and techniques as you. How do you then, manage to stand out? It can be tempting to think that using paid services will put you ahead of your peers.
I am here to tell you that you do not need to resort to that. Do not get me wrong, paid tools and services have their merit and when used effectively, they can be an excellent way to supplement your digital marketing efforts. There are, however, free ways to reach potential customers and not have to pay a hefty price for it.
Here are 5 free ways to market your business online.
1. Improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This can be done by publishing content that is relevant to the intended user using keywords, multiple keyword phrases and repeating them throughout the remaining content. Secondly, your content must be updated regularly, have bold italics and heading tags as well as clickable text to relevant links.
2. Build a strong e-mail list
E-mail lists are a great tool that is often taken for granted by entrepreneurs and small businesses. However, a strong email list can be a very powerful tool. Most marketers regard email marketing as their top channel for lead generation.
According to statistics, for every R15 spent on e-mail marketing, companies achieve an average of R630 on their return on investment. E-mails are consistently found to be more successful than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social sites in creating conversions.
They have a better chance of getting read than social media posts, and the click-through rates are great. It is also a good idea to include an e-mail subscription option on every one of your web properties. The bigger your qualified e-mail list is, the more your business will see success.
UGC or User Generated Content is content that has been created and published by fans who are not paid for doing so. This is when a person loves your product or services so much that they willingly share their experience with their audience on social media.
UGC normally comes about naturally, however, you can also encourage it. For example, you can run a campaign to showcase the best posts every week on your social media and offer prizes to the winner.
Video marketing has seen significant growth in popularity in the past few years and is widely considered to be the favourite content type to consume on social media.
Videos are a way to give consumers compact, memorable and measurable value that can be engaging and informative. it is a way for people to become aware of your brand and the value that it offers, whilst simultaneously giving them long or bite-sized visual content that is easily consumable.
5. Get online reviews
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways of promoting your business to the correct people. It is great to have testimonials on your website but reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp and Facebook are even better.
These platforms can help increase your exposure. These sites also have measures in place to prevent fake or spam reviews. People find these to be the most credible sources for reviews. In addition, reviews are a significant ranking factor for local search results.
Bonus Tip. Interact with your reviews
Make sure to claim your listings where it is possible and to monitor these sites often. It is a great way to respond to your reviews and promote your business. Not only can you resolve (and even reverse) negative reviews but how you answer can show your customers your brands values and give them an idea of how it is like to do business with you.
There is a lot that one can do to market their business online. You do not need a big budget to get your brand and the value it offers in front of potential customers. What is important is a goal-orientated strategy, consistency and utilise free tools like the ones mentioned above. So, get out there and start marketing.
About the author
Gugulethu Rajuili is the founder and managing director of Pull Incorporated, a management consultancy that focuses on the functional areas of SMMEs.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.