Recently, i was in a meeting with an ‘old- school’ marketing consultant, who was quite irritated with my emphasis on leveraging the internet.
“It’s not because I’m a technophobe” (He is) “…but i just don’t see why you think the internet is so important. There are thousands of people who read the Sunday mail…we don’t need the internet Max – name 3 reasons why we should spend on the internet?”
Here’s what i told him and how you can benefit from using internet marketing in your Zimbabwe business.
1) Online Marketing is NOW.
When you’ve got an online marketing system setup, you’ll be shocked by just how fast it can get results for you. The Herald or Financial Gazette is great if you can wait a few days.First you need to find a graphic designer who will conceptualize, design, complete, save and deliver the job to you. Next you make a booking in the Fingaz, Standard, Zimbabwean, Herald or wherever -48 hours in advance. Then you wait.
Same goes for creating fliers or brochures or producing a TV advert or radio spot.
Online is different. It can take less than an hour between the time you decide to market something to the time it actually goes out. And if you’ve done well, within 2 hours your phone is ringing with business! Online is fast.
2) Online Marketing Is Easily Measurable.
You can tell in real-time how many people have read your email, clicked on your links, visited your website, purchased your product. You can even tell how they found your site, how long they stayed, which pages they went to. You can tell if they told a friend, or recommended you (bookmarked) and so on. To get this kind of info for an offline campaign would work out quite pricey and certainly not easy. It would require new systems, staff training and even new equipment for some.
And the benefit of all this data? Market intelligence. Sales intelligence. It allows you to monitor and measure whats working and whats not.It shows you what should be further optimized to improve its performance and what should be deleted. This kind of info gives you rare insights into how to It best spend your marketing dollars both on and offline.
3) Online Marketing is Cost Effective.
Unlike old media models, most online advertising and marketing options are far more affordable. They’re not based on limited space (print media) or time (broad cast media). In many cases, it will cost you the same to use 100 words or 500 words. In the newspaper or on a print brochure they are huge cost implications to consider. Not everyone can afford the multiple full-page newspaper ads Econet loves so much.
In addition to this, some online marketing options are even FREE! Imagine that. True, just because it’s doesn’t make it effective – but still, c’mon free is a great price for anyone. It means you can realistically start with little or nothing and still make progress.
No such thing offline. (well actually a friend of mine recently started the Friday Ads paper that will allow you free classifieds – you should try it. But those options are very few and far between and still, you’ll be very limited by space to communicate your message effectively.
4) Online Marketing Is A Dialogue.
In old school marketing isn’t interactive – it’s a monologue. You can’t get easy feedback from your market. Since research is a complicated and expensive venture for most entrepreneurs – they simply send out a message and pray it’s what the market wants to hear.
Online, you can have an easy, cost-effective and immediate conversation with a prospect. You can tell what he likes and doesn’t like and see how he makes his decisions to buy. He can easily rate his favorite offers for you. He can easily give you feedback or advice on how to improve your service, product or marketing.
For example, here i can ask you to something you couldn’t do in my news paper ads… ‘Please Leave A Comment’. Your feedback is important to me. Your thoughts, ideas and questions make this post more valuable and useful to everyone else who reads it.
Here are just a few of my favourite online marketing resources for the Zimbabwean market
1) GetMoreInfo. Email + Online blog marketing combined. Both free and paid options
2) Dipleague. Very active email marketing community.
3) Classifieds. Zimbabwe’s top basic classifieds resource
4) Zimboogle. Find anything in Zimbabwe + use keyword marketing to become more visible yourself. (Zimboogle indexes thousands of local websites and pages)
Maybe if you’re really nice, I’ll show you some much lesser known, hard to find sources I use for mega results!
Max Soutter is the founder of the Business Setup Group. An organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start-up and grow businesses the smart way. He blogs at http://bizsetup.wordpress.com where this article appeared first. Email Max directly on firstname.lastname@example.org for help with your business setup, internet marketing strategy or corporate marketing efforts.