In this day and age, having a business without a digital presence is like opening a business and not telling anyone. 81% of people search online for a product or service. Let us say that you have determined that you need to launch your brand online because you want to make it easier for potential customers to find you, make it easier to showcase your product/ services, or, make it easier to market your brand, where do you begin?
Here is a 5 step checklist to successfully launching your brand online in Kenya that can act as your guide.
Step 1 – Start by analyzing your target audience
How well you understand your target market is imperative to the success of your digital activities. This is because your target market is the one who will become your core Target Audience online. Remember, your product or service serves someone’s needs. Ask yourself; Who is this person? Why do they choose my offering? How can I better serve them? Where do they hang out online? Who else do they go to for solutions to their pinpoints other than me?
Not everybody wants your offering. If you do not have a clear target audience in mind, your digital customer acquisition costs are likely to be higher than necessary. The ideal situation is for you to reach the specific person who needs your offering without wasting any shilling, time, or effort trying to reach everyone (including those who do not need/want your offering).
How do you analyze your target audience? Here are some pro-tips:
- Create a buyer persona/ detailed customer profile – This includes their demographic and psychographic characteristics like their age, gender, income levels/sources, education level, pinpoints, buying behaviors, fears, aspirations, and et cetera. This gives you insights into your customer’s motivations so that you can create digital content that appeals to them, and promote products and services relevant to their needs.
- If you do not already have your buyer persona and do not have data you can refer to build one, you can get information from your existing customers through a survey. This is assuming that you may be having a database of your customers somewhere.
- Study the target audience of your top competitors to determine their needs, interests and challenges. This is effective if there is a market leader in your industry. You can simply employ a second mover’s advantage by picking up what is working well for them and perfecting what is not working well for them to work for you.
- Hire a 3rd party market research organization. This may be an option that needs notable investment however it pays huge dividends to have professionals conduct market research, segmentation and targeting for your brand. It will drastically improve your chances of succeeding online.
Step 2 – Research your competition
Who is your competition? How do they engage their target audience? Are there gaps that you can take advantage of? Are there industry standards you can employ? Are there mistakes that you can avoid? Researching your competition is a crucial step because you do not have to reinvent the wheel. All you have to do is figure out how to stand out. How do you research your competition online? Here are some pro-tips:
- Check their website – Imagine that you are a customer and try and gauge your user experience. This will give you a feel for what is working for them and what is not. Furthermore, you can use free online digital audit tools to audit their websites and landing pages. Based on what you discover is lacking, make sure to outdo them when you launch your website/landing page.
- Check their social media platforms – What are they promoting on their social media platforms? What strategies are they employing to promote those things? How active are their social media platforms?
- Investigate their advertising efforts – Try searching for various keywords relevant to your niche on the search engines and see if your competitors appear in the sponsored listings of the various search engines. Furthermore, you can use online 3rd party tools like SpyFu to determine all the advertising activities of your competitors including what is working for them and what is not.
- Check for online reviews and citations –
By looking at review sites in your niche, you can gauge your competitor’s online reputation by looking at what customers have published about them. This will give your insight into what your competitors are doing right and what they are doing wrong.
Step 3 – Set up your Website or Landing Page
A website is your most priced digital asset because it is the equivalent of a physical store on the internet. Even if you do not have an entire website dedicated to your ordering, you should have a specific page (landing page) within an existing website that will give your customers a place to learn more about your offering.
There are many things to consider when setting up your website. You can have it built code by code from scratch by a programmer or you could use a content management system like WordPress, Wix, Joomla, Drupal and Et Cetera to create one if you have the know-how. Alternatively, you could seek website design and management services to get the job done for you professionally.
Before embarking on your website, you will have to identify an ideal website domain and hosting company. Here is a list of the top 5 website domain and hosting companies in Kenya.
Step 4 – Select right social media platforms
The right social media platform is determined by many factors however, two major factors MUST always be taken into consideration. They are:
- Your Target Audience –
Where do they “hang out” online? Which social media platforms do they often engage with? If you do not already know, you need to do some market research. You can do this yourself or by seeking professional help. Here is a list of top research companies in Kenya.
- Your Digital Content Strategy –
Based on your business objectives and your customer’s needs, you will need to figure out what type of digital content strategy you will employ to select a social media platform that will be ideal for the strategy. Have you determined that you need to share industry updates, company news or white papers? For this, LinkedIn and slide share may work just fine. Have you determined that you want to promote your offering through short video content to a younger audience? For this Instagram, Vine, TikTok, and YouTube may work just fine.
There are different platforms specific for certain content and audiences and you will need to determine this beforehand through digital research and planning.
Step 5 – Determine a long term digital marketing plan and launch!
Having your brand online does not mean simply having static and ornamental digital assets. They need to be consistently engaging your customers for them to be useful. For this, you will need to create a long term digital marketing plan that will engage your customer’s post-launch. If you want to have an effective online brand presence, you need to invest in a digital marketing plan.
To learn more about crafting a long term digital marketing plan, call us on 0721314242 or email [email protected].