Since the inception of the internet, there is a global swift towards electronic everything. The biggest retail shop that seems to have everything isn’t the one in town, but the one online. Likewise, the biggest library, the latest news and even communities. Prior to the internet, people relied on newspapers, magazines, radio and television for information. It is no wonder why TV celebrities then were superstars. Businesses then, trusted the media to showcase their products and services. This came at a hefty price. Only big businesses could afford the limited slots media companies could provide at a given time. Therefore small businesses relied on flyers and word of mouth. However today things are changing. The internet has leveled the playground somehow. In this article we are going to look at Internet Marketing In Zambia.
According to Investopedia, Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. Marketing includes advertising, selling, and delivering products to consumers or other businesses. Similarly, etymologists indicate that the term ‘marketing’ first appeared in dictionaries in the sixteenth century where it referred to the process of buying and selling at a market (Wikipedia).
A market is a place where two or more parties can gather to facilitate the exchange of goods and services. The parties involved are usually buyers and sellers. The market may be physical like a retail outlet, where people meet face-to-face, or virtual like an online market, where there is no direct physical contact between buyers and sellers (Investopedia).
Internet marketing is usually interchangeable to online advertising or online marketing or Internet advertising or digital advertising and even web advertising. This is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers Wikipedia.
The success of internet marketing is largely attributed to the increased use of the internet. In case you didn’t know, the Internet is a global network of billions of computers and other electronic devices. With the Internet, it’s possible to access almost any information, communicate with anyone else in the world, and do much more. You can do all of this by connecting a computer to the Internet, which is also called going online GCFGlobal.
In 1995, there was less than 1% of people who accessed the internet in relation to the global population. Since then, the number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. The first billion was reached in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014.
The chart and table below show the number of global internet users per year since 1990:
In Zambia, internet usage increased from 4.16 percent in 2006 to 25.51 percent in 2016. That is more than sixfold within a space of 10 years. Check the below:
Coupled with reduced prices of smart phones and cheaper bundles to access the internet, the number of internet users is expected to continue growing exponentially. Well if that does not send chills down your spine then I don’t know what will. As people increasingly use electronic devices such as smartphones, they are searching for products and services instead of visiting physical shops. Therefore, companies and individuals should not ignore internet marketing campaigns, such as combinations of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), influencer marketing and social media marketing.
The most effective ways to market your products and services, is to get them in front of people. They ought to see or hear what your products and services can do or help. To quote Steve Jobs, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” In other words, it is the battle for eyeballs. Nowadays, the eyeballs of most people are fixed on electronic devices such as smartphones that are connected to the internet. Understanding your clientele very well, you could target them with your products and services and make a sell.
In this digital age, your digital presence starts with your website. It’s the hub for all your marketing efforts and your business’s online home. Whether you’re looking for a way to advertise your products, share your work, or simply establish an online presence, launching a website of your own is an important step towards growing your business. Data Axis Node offers free website builders such as WordPress, Drupal and many more so you can quickly build your brand online and introduce yourself to the world, all while staying in touch with your audience.
In addition, your website should be considered another member of your sales and marketing team. (One that works 24/7!) Your website is more than a cool branding exercise. It is a companion to your prospects at every stage of their buyer’s journey. A well designed website can be used to grow your audience, answer customers’ queries and identify products on demand.
Digital footprint extends to the creation of social media profiles. Equivalent to websites, social media profiles demand frequent updates with content. The most updated profiles usually amass a huge following. The followers are a social proof to doubting Thomases. The easiest way to update both is to make a fair post on your website and share the link to social profile. This drives traffic from social media to a website. In turn allow visitors to browse the site and initiate a sell or give coupon after registration or subscription.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Once your website is launched, it needs to be optimized for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of growing website or web page traffic by increasing it’s visibility to search engine users through a high-ranking placement in the search result page. All major search engines such as Google and Bing have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos, images or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. SEO is also known as “natural” or “organic” results. In a case you are offering products and services people are looking for, SEO will drive people to your website for free and potentially make a sale.
Next to SEO is search engine marketing, or SEM. This is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. With millions of businesses out there all vying for the same eyeballs, search engine marketing is one of the effective ways to promote your products and grow your business. It is a paid placement advertising. This means, if people are searching for your product and services and your competitors are the ones showing up on the search page result, then you can pay for your products and services to show up. Your results will have an “ad” text to indicate to users that they will be clicking on an advertisement.
These ads, often known by the term pay-per-click ads, come in a variety of formats. Some are small, text-based ads, whereas others, such as product listing ads (PLAs, also known as Shopping ads) are more visual, product-based advertisements that allow consumers to see important information at-a-glance, such as price and reviews. Advertisers bid on keywords that users of services such as Google and Bing might enter when looking for certain products or services, which gives the advertiser the opportunity for their ads to appear alongside SEO results for those search queries. In paid search advertising, sponsored ads appear at the top, on the side and at the bottom of search engine results pages to gain more visibility and prominence than the organic results.
Social Media Marketing
Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing great content on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging followers, analyzing your results, and running social media advertisements. The major social media platforms (at the moment) are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. The major difference between SEM and social media marketing is that SEM displays advertisements that are related to the search term that users are looking for. Whilst SMM is a disruptive type of advertising. Similar to television advertisements, ads appear on a users’ feed whether they are interested or not. However, with the coming of big data users are now being categorised in relation to their age, interest and behaviour patterns. Therefore, advertisers can target specific groups of people to display their ads. Thus being more effective.
Some social media platforms do offer free ways to advertise. For example you can post your products and services in groups related to what you are offering. This is a good start if this is when you are just starting. However, for an established brand it is recommended you stick to paid advertisement. You don’t want your posts to appear alongside undesired posts or competitors. Rather, leave that to your fans to share in groups.
Social Media users vary from one platform to another. Some social media platforms focus on family and friends whilst other platforms caters for professionals. At the same time other social media platforms focus on entertainment, educational content, news, opinion etc. Therefore, it is important to identify your business model and which platform may serve you best.
In order to be successful with internet marketing in Zambia, It is important to have a digital footprint of your business or company. You have to understand your clients and business. Whether it is a Business to Business (BtoB) or Business to Consumer (BtoC) or both before choosing which platform to choose to run your ads. Products and services you offer must be well organized for search engine crawlers. Once that is done, you can push for paid online advertising. It is worthy to note that internet marketing is way cheaper and effective advertisement than Television, Radio and Newspaper advertisement.
Have you found this overwhelming? Don’t worry we can help. Data Axis Node offers internet marketing in Zambia at an affordable price besides websites hosting and design. Contact us.