When Brexit – the official withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union – happened, Caren Obote and her two business partners saw new trade possibilities for Kenya and the African market.
This saw them start a digital marketing business to bridge the skills and quality gap that exists in the local digital marketing industry and elevate the craft to standards similar to those in the UK.
Digital marketing involves content creation, website development, organic search, influencer marketing, online campaigns and training, as well as online advertisement, among other skills.
Caren spoke to Enterprise about some of the digital marketing solutions that can boost sales for firms. She heads HC Media Group’s Africa unit.
Hiring the wrong people
Getting a web developer to code your website is the first and most important quest in hiring as most of the things which later affect the purpose of the website happen at the coding stage.
You need to get a developer who understands your industry and is conversant with things like search engine optimisation – the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through organic search engine results.
When looking for someone to host, ensure the person has the capacity to host your website. Failure to do so, your website will have persistent problems and will eventually reflect in your business sales.
A person who is a jack of all trades in this area is a red flag. That is why we have a UK specialised team where everyone in the team has a different function.
Illiteracy about digital marketing
Many individuals are using digital marketing as a complement to traditional marketing. They are unaware of the opportunities digital marketing has to offer. With digital marketing, unlike traditional, you can select whom to target and at what time, ensuring effective advertising. Second, you can track the effectiveness of digital marketing, assuming you know exactly what to measure. In effect, this helps save on cost in matters of time, money and effort making it an effective marketing strategy.
Not knowing what to measure
While likes, followers, views, clicks, downloads and hits are good digital metrics used to gauge how well a campaign is performing digitally, digital engagement will further show you how many qualified leads you generated through a said campaign, and the sales conversions you achieved. The latter gives more important and tangible results that make fodder for better business decisions.
Having a website with no purpose
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‘About Us’, ‘What We Offer’ and ‘Contact Us’ are the most common and only pages on many websites, with government sites being a good example. These kinds of websites tend to underperform due to a lack of value-added functionality that makes them more useful.
I like to say that the website is like building a house in the forest. Once you build the house, you also need to build roads leading to the house, otherwise, there will be no traffic leading there. That is where things like using the right keywords during coding come to play. When coded right, your website should generate organic traffic within 14 hours of being developed, while website feature marketing automation should enable a business to better understand their visitors.
Not keeping up with trends
Digital marketing is an area that pays to keep up with transitions, updates and upgrades in digital marketing. For example, Google changed their search engine algorithm to favour mobile-friendly results in 2015. This meant that unless your website is mobile-optimised or mobile responsive – designed to work across different screen sizes. Google will drop your visibility on their search engine results pages (SERPs) to accommodate websites that meet this criterion.
This is especially significant in the Kenyan market where internet access skews towards mobile internet. According to The Kenya Digital Report, 97 per cent of all internet users in Kenya access the internet on mobile phones, with Kenyans spending over four and a half hours every day using the internet on their phones.
Not investing in content marketing
The creation of engaging, compelling, informative and entertaining digital content is how businesses connect with their audience. This kind of story-telling that resonates with your audience is what is known as content marketing.
When creating content, one should keep in mind the quality of the content. It should, at the very least, be free of grammatical errors. The images used should be of good quality as this helps rate your site higher, thus elevating it on the SERPs. Also, the use of keywords on your content helps make your website easy to find.