Why Kenyan Youths should take their small businesses online, in the social media era.

The digital space is fast thriving and setting itself up as an industry that is self-sustaining. Digital marketing is data-driven and despite common misconceptions, this industry can work with any budget a business uses it for.

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“When Covid-19 hit in early 2020, it re-awakened the digital revolution amid lock-downs, curfews and work from home arrangements. Internet usage surged along with online shopping, social media use, virtual meetings and streaming of online content. Business-to consumer and business to business sales spiked for businesses that were able to provide their products/services through online platforms.” Ms Karuga who is the CEO of the Kenya Private Sector.

Small businesses can especially thrive in digital right now. It allows for easy business to consumer engagement. Customers usually appreciate and trust a business that comes to them and actively engages with them. With the effects of Covid on many global businesses, it is imperative that small business owners get on the digital bandwagon.

Consumers are Online

In the digital space, consumers love fastness and honesty. One thing that is important is to meet your customers where they are. When customers have a need for a product or service, the first thing is to get online. Brand exposure is crucial for a small business. Making that early contact with your consumer makes sure you are at the start of the consumer’s buying journey.

This enables you to remain top of mind. Of course you want consumers to see your business first; you want them to see and choose you. By being first to their eye, they learn about your business and make a decision to fulfill their needs. Having an online presence exposes people to your brand and company.

Competitors are Online

As a small business, paying attention to your competitors is key. Not only does this act as a benchmark against your business, but also serves as a learning point for you. Potential consumers look at both you and your competitor before making a decision. You are already being pitted against each other. Doing a competitor analysis helps you find out what they are doing differently, what their consumers are saying and what is working for and against them.

Since most businesses have gone digital, it is highly likely that your competitors are online too. If your competitor is online and you are not, that marks the end of your prospect’s consumer journey. Consumer behavior is such that the brand that stands out online has their trust and seems legitimate. They will not choose you because you did not meet them at their first need; online presence.

Higher Return on Investment (ROI)

Compared to other markets/industries, digital marketing offers a higher return on investment. Small business owners can always work within the budget they have as digital is more dynamic and allows you to start wherever you are financially. Online marketing can always be adjustable, depending on the budget and enables for great reach with less investment. It helps you reach out to both existing and potential consumers. It is easier to start marketing your business online than it is to use traditional forms of marketing. Why?

Traditional media is set up in a way that puts the message out there in hope of someone resonating with your brand. It does not narrow down your consumers and does not show you who you should be reaching out to. Something as simple as having a Google my Business listing is impactful for small business. Creating social media profiles is also a start towards reaching consumers.

Consumer Conversion

Through digital marketing, you are able to reach ideal customers and potential consumers. The key is to reach the right people. The first step in marketing is to first target customers that have shown interest in your business. This is an advantage because these are people who will actually make a purchase. You can write them down as actual leads. You are able to make your company grow by having a set of specific leads.

Other than this, you are able to reach out to potential customers and tailor your marketing efforts to reach their needs and in turn, increase sales. Alternatively, you are able to uncover insights to improve your digital marketing efforts and help you create an effective marketing strategy.

Free Digital Programs and Courses

In this dynamic digital space, the need to keep learning and find best ways to invest in your small business, is necessary. There are a number of programs and courses available for free and some paid, that will help you learn more about your business and customers.

Some Government programs that target businesses with little or no digital presence for training and on-boarding to e-commerce platforms to ensure MSMEs can increase and diversify their revenue streams during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

An example is the KEPSA E-commerce booster program that was launched by the Cabinet Administrative Secretary Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade & Enterprise Development Mr. David Osiany and KEPSA CEO, Ms. Carole Kariuki Karuga. The main objectives are to help SMEs gain the digital skills necessary to engage in a digital economy and improve livelihoods.

This support for SMEs in the wholesale and retail sector with little or no e-commerce presence to get on board e-commerce platforms and to increase and diversify revenue streams during the COVID-19 period for most young Kenyans.

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