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Help your small business in South Africa grow with digital marketing

At the start, small shops could focus on how to get as many customers as possible to visit their stores. Maybe some small business owners think that some print ads and outdoor advertising is all you need. After all, they are selling a good product. But unfortunately, this excludes digital marketing.

Think of how often South Africans are on social media and use Google Search and emails, to name a few digital channels, and realise the huge advantages of digital marketing. So, even the smallest business should not overlook this approach.

We spoke to Mpho Letsoalo, Digital Marketing Lecturer and Programme Lead at Red & Yellow Creative School of Business, to learn how digital marketing skills can help small businesses. 

Read Mpho's helpful answers to popular questions about digital marketing.

What is digital marketing?

  • "Digital marketing is essentially all the marketing activities that a business or organisation conducts online.

  • "Typically, a small business will use search engines and digital channels such as email, social media channels, websites and others to reach your customers.

  • "I advocate for small businesses to focus on digital marketing because the consumer data you attain from digital tools can help reach your consumers more effectively and with fewer costs because it is measurable. 

  • "In Africa alone, according to ThinkwithGoogle, over 60% of the population are online on their mobile devices. This presents you with the unique opportunity to optimise mobile responsiveness, allow a user to finish checking out on a tablet or laptop, download your app, and ensure overall engagement with the audience at every stage of their journey through various channels.

  • "Ultimately, with digital marketing, the control is placed in your hands. This is different from traditional advertising, where you cannot often confirm who is watching the advertisement at a particular point in time."

Is digital marketing effective for small businesses?

  • "Digital marketing can be effective if the analytics data, the appropriate digital channels, types of ads, and budget are used correctly to attract and retain customers.

  • "If, for example, you invest money into a social media marketing campaign to increase sales, but your website makes it difficult to checkout, you can decrease the likelihood of success for your campaign.

  • "An excellent digital campaign is one thing. Having a fully optimised website for a good customer experience during the checkout process is another.

  • "For brick-and-mortar stores, for instance, you are running a mother's day digital campaign, and a potential customer comes to the store to purchase a discounted hamper for their mother.

  • "Unfortunately, the hampers you advertised are either finished or damaged. The negative reviews could sabotage the success of your campaign. This can be even more prominent for small businesses due to little capacity or a small budget to manage different customer touchpoints from end to end.

  • "Nonetheless, digital tools will give you insights into improving your campaign or adverts to get a better return on your investment." 

Which type of digital marketing is best?

  • "There really isn't a one-size-fits-all. It depends on your digital marketing objectives and where your audience mostly is active online.

  • "Suppose, for example, you want to increase customer retention and customer loyalty. You could consider email marketing, affiliate marketing, SEO [Search Engine Optimisation] and/or interacting with your audience on social media with updates on new products, discounts and their queries.

  • "In my experience, SEO and social media marketing can yield incredible results for a business.

  • "For example, a potential customer could either be searching for 'buy winter boots' on Google and scroll down to your business or come across an influencer video where they say your store is the best for stylish leather winter boots.

  • "This brings me to the point that influencer marketing is a great avenue to consider, particularly for brand/product mentions and endorsements. These content creators often have niche audiences and a loyal fan base."

How do you digitally market small businesses?

  • "I always urge a business I work with to first consider creating a website or e-commerce store. This ensures that they can easily visit their website when someone sees their advert.

  • "The next step is creating a Google My Business (GMB) profile.

  • "Then, later consider doing a relevant advert or campaign, especially when it comes to major events like Black Friday, Easter, and Christmas, when there are tons of shopping happening online and offline.

  • "After that, I encourage them to register on social media platforms where their audience resides, start producing organic digital content, and consider paying for adverts once there is enough owned content to peruse through by a potential customer.

  • "Once their website, GMB profile, and social media pages are established, we continue to invest in the channels that will yield the best returns."

Mpho gave us some valuable thoughts on digital marketing for small businesses.

Read on if you are curious to learn more about digital marketing.

Studying digital marketing part-time will help your business in South Africa 

Mpho mentioned some things about digital marketing that you might want to go into more detail about.

There are free resources out there to help you like free digital marketing textbooks.

For example, Red & Yellow Creative School of Business's has a free digital marketing textbook

You can read all about what Mpho said and much more inside the free eMarketing, the Essential Guide to Marketing in a Digital World textbook.

Small businesses might not be able to afford to pay someone, a company or an agency to do their digital marketing for them, but it doesn't mean that they can't benefit from it.

So, this is when small business owners can take the opportunity to empower themselves or their employees to effectively harness digital marketing.

But you are too busy to go to a campus to study anything, right? No problem. First, research respective digital marketing educational institutes to find the best course for you. Then, pick a course and go for it! For example, you can study a digital marketing course at Red & Yellow Creative School of Business.

Let’s see how you can help grow your business by looking at the advantages of digital marketing.

What are some advantages?

You could have a much greater chance of finding potential customers online than through traditional methods. This is because you connect with an audience using special digital marketing techniques.

You can contact everyone everywhere and target the audience you want. This approach is most economical and efficient. Importantly, you can so easily follow any responses to your marketing operations.

Find customers online

Should your business compete "online" on the internet for the attention of potential customers? The point is that your business needs to appear in a place where most customers spend a lot of their time, and that is online. So, promote your business online and start targeting specific people.

If a customer can't find your business online, then they conclude you don’t exist.


What’s your competition up to online?

If you want your business to succeed, you need to know what your competitors are doing online. Learn from the techniques they use and adapt and improve upon them for your business.

How do your competitors promote their brand, and who is their intended audience? What is their niche?

So, you need to do research and find out more to factor into your business's digital marketing.

Can your customers find you?

Most customers would typically start to search on Google for your product or service. If you’re not there, they won't find you. Likewise, if your competitors rank higher in Google, they won't find you. This is what SEO and Google Ads are all about.

Don’t stress  customers will visit you

Your website is open night and day while you are not. With a few easy clicks, customers can visit your website, find what they want, and make a few purchases. It's so easy once it’s all properly set up!

Start interacting with your online audience

You’ll get to know your audience and how they tick via social media. You’ll discover more about what they want and dislike. And that’ll help your business.

Grow with Yoco

You can find more customers online, but how will they pay you? Join 230 000 successful small businesses that use Yoco's affordable card machines, online shop payment gateway and other convenient payment tools to grow their businesses.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us. 

Source: Why Digital Marketing is Important for Small Business

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