With the markets increasingly getting competitive, running a business without advertising complicates the situation. To survive, most entrepreneurs have tried to go the extra mile to make sure their businesses get known to almost every person in a desperate bid to increase sales.
This, for a long time has been done through the traditional mainstream media including newspapers, television, radio, outdoor billboards and websites among others.
It is a move that has benefi ted many entrepreneurs, but, only those that can spend huge sums of their business earnings on advertising.
Considering the wave of improved technology and communication that has swept across the globe, it is pertinent that every entrepreneur desirous of staying afloat in business embraces the marketing mechanisms that utilise these technologies. This is what many refer to as digital marketing.
It is the medium of marketing that makes use of electronic devices such as personal computers, smartphones, cell phones and tablets among other devices to engage with stakeholders. Digital marketing involves technologies or platforms such as websites, e-mail, apps, short message services (SMS) and social networks.
This medium exists in two forms. These are the in-pull and in-push mechanisms of client-base building. With in-pull digital marketing, the consumer actively seeks the marketing content, often via web searches or opening an email, text message or web feed.
Websites, blogs and streaming media (audio and video) are examples of in-pull digital marketing.
As for in-push digital marketing, the marketer sends a message without the recipient actively seeking the content, such as display advertising on websites and news blogs. Email, text messaging and web feeds can also be classed as in-push digital marketing when the recipient has not actively sought the marketing message.
According to Ismail Kayemba, the business d e v e l o p m e n t manager of Green Power Solutions, a digital marketing firm in Kampala, this marketing mechanism is what any business; big or small should endeavour to embark on.
“With over 10 million Ugandans owning a mobile phone, SMS marketing is possibly the most cost-effective, high reach, personal and direct marketing tool available to businesses today. It has proven to be 10 times more effective than traditional mainstream advertising because people read virtually every text they get unlike other adverts which can be easily ignored,” he says.
With billions of potential consumers world over subscribing to social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, Whatsapp and Instagram, among others, it is vital for every business practitioner, regardless their size and products or services to embark on a digital marketing campaign since ‘mobile marketing is king’ in this cyber era.
Going digital comes with a voluminous package of benefits for any business in any part of this global village. A case in point is SMS marketing. SMS advertising, compared to all the other traditional marketing systems is cost-effective and affordable.
It also fosters immediate critical information delivery and allows the transmission of time-sensitive information, something that is not characteristic of methods like poster-prints, flyers and radio.
More so, it has a high open rate since essentially, every SMS sent is opened and read. Kayemba stresses that for all the time he has been into the digital marketing business, he as well as his clients have realised unimaginable growth attributed to the effectiveness of this marketing mechanism.
A Northern Irish online channel for business advice and guidance, nibusinessinfo.co.uk, says with digital marketing, you can deliver improved customer service and respond effectively to feedback. It goes ahead to stress that customers can find you through new channels, generating more leads hence increasing loyalty and advocacy from the customers you have connected with.
David Sempala, a seasoned marketing consultant and chief executive officer of Royalway Media Limited, a public relations and marketing powerhouse in Uganda, emphasises the fact that digital marketing is highly empirical, a key strength that raises it above all the other marketing mechanisms.
“Almost everything can be measured, from behaviour to actions and action paths to results. This means that the digital marketing strategist should start thinking with return on investment (ROI) in mind, something that can help them decide where to place their business,” he mentions.
According to mark2marketing. com, having a digital marketing strategy for your business helps you evaluate the effectiveness of marketing initiatives by identifying key-performance indicators and establishing benchmarks ,a key aspect in identifying what is working or not working for your business.
Martin Kawande, a managing partner at Hostnet Uganda Limited, stresses the fact that if your business is online, it gives you an advantage over your competitors. “A website is a very efficient form of advertising. Having a website is like having your own brochure of information. It can be easily updated with new details; new products and you can change this information at any time you desire. Clearly, if you are a business owner in this modern age, then having a website or turning your business digital is a necessity,” he advises.
Choosing to make a turn to marketing the digital way is not just a plain sail. Like any other parameters in doing business, it has its shortfalls. For example, going digital requires one to set aside enough resources to sustain the campaigns.
According to nibusinessinfo. co.uk, you will need to commit resources to continuously manage your social media presence as well as respond to feedback and produce new content for your potential clients and followers.
The online resource centre also points out that it can be difficult to quantify the return on investment and the value of one channel over another. Such a situation poses a danger for any business since it might not be easy to tell how much profit the business has made from the campaigns.
There are also risks of ineffective use. For example, using the network to push for sales without engaging with customers or failing to respond to negative feedback may damage your reputation yet this is a very important pillar for any business to tower above its competitors
Advantages of digital advertising
Digital advertising, compared to all the other traditional marketing systems is cost-effective and affordable. It fosters immediate critical information delivery and allows the transmission of time-sensitive information, something that is not characteristic of traditional methods.
With digital marketing, you can deliver improved customer service and effectively respond to feedback.
Customers can find you through new channels, generating more leads hence increasing loyalty and advocacy from the customers you have connected with.
Having a digital marketing strategy helps you evaluate the effectiveness of marketing initiatives by identifying key-performance indicators and establishing benchmarks, a key aspect in identifying what is working or not working for your business.
My tip for you
SMS marketing also fosters immediate critical information delivery and allows the transmission of time sensitive information, something that is not characteristic of methods like poster-prints, flyers and radio among other means.
More so, it has a high open rate since essentially, every SMS sent is opened and read.
-Article supplements from New Vision UGANDA and Uganda Bloggers Association.