How digital marketing can help smes in their business development

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You might be overwhelmed by the wealth of information you have gotten about digital marketing either through word of mouth or articles you have read at various points. You may not have been able to trickle down the barrage of information to its benefits for your business.

Let’s examine the basics: What exactly is digital marketing? It is simply the marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media.
Digital marketing includes mobile messaging service (both SMS and MMS), social media marketing, display advertising, search engine marketing, and any other form of digital media. Guess you are wondering how different this is from Traditional Marketing? Let’s compare this side by side:
It is important to know your customers and their needs in order to compete in today’s competitive online world. To predict what consumers want and provide value at the right time, place and format, businesses must successfully measure, segment and digest thousands or even millions of customers in a fast and efficient way.
One question that readily comes to mind is how the target market can be reached online? There are three major channels that foster engagement. They are the Digital Platforms, Social media and Mobile. Channels available on the digital platforms contain Search, Blogs, and Webpages amongst others. On social media, the availability of applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat has made it easy to reach audience and for the Mobile platforms – SMS/UUSD/MMS, Mobile Advertising and applications are some of the channels.
These digital channels allows SMEs to reach their target audience in order to generate awareness about their brand(s). Here ads done are targeted at consumers that have interest in the product/service and unlike traditional marketing whose communication is one sided, digital platforms allow consumers to interact with the ads.
Social media attracts customers that are fans of the SME brand and is a great way to generate interest in a new brand. They give brands opportunities to have conversations with their customers. SMEs can get immediate feedback through social media from their customers regarding products/services which can in turn help the SME to identify what the customer wants and grow accordingly.
A Terragon Group study in 2014 showsthat 40% of netizens are very active on social media and 78% of Nigerians access the internet every day. It also showed the internet actives by platforms.
One of the tools of Digital marketing, Mobile marketing, is a highly effective way for SMEs to reach consumers because of the high mobile penetration rate of the country. Just recently, The Nigeria Communications Commission revealed that the numberof internet users on the country’s telecom networks increased to more than 93 million in the month of July and there were 151,018,624 activelines as at August 2015. Through various mobile initiatives, SME brands can engage with their customers.
Digital Marketing enables brands to target their advertising to specific online users e.g. age, gender, language, interests, etc; at specified times within specific geographic location(s). These ads can be targeted to customers in other countries; this is especially beneficial for SMEs that aim to export their products/services to other countries.
Through digital advertising, businesses have access to tools that enable them to segment customers according to different categories to fit the business’ purpose. SMEs can leverage ecommerce sites that have both local and global forefront and use intelligence data to tailor their products according to the preference of their target audience.
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