15-tips-email-marketing

15 tips to getting email marketing right for Nigerian businesses

Email marketing, if done right, is a direct self-sufficient means of advertising and marketing. It is relatively affordable and provides quality leads and guarantees a high CTR (click through rate). Based on the rate at which people check their emails, now that is easily synced on their mobile phones, it is a really efficient marketing means. But a lot of brands fail at it. This is mainly because of the practice of sending out mass emails with little or no thought about tailoring content to fit a group of people. Some experts have even predicted the death of email marketing. But for now, since it's not, there are ways to getting it right. It only requires a certain amount of work to make your emails connect with your target audiences.

If you're targeting the millennials (20-35) who open their emails frequently, then here are 15 email marketing tips to help boost engagement:

Be personal

I’m not going to pay any attention to an email that addresses me as “Hi”, not “Hi Kemi,”. That way I already know it’s just a bulk email and I’m one of the numerous recipients of it. Your emails need to be written as though you're only speaking to one person, the recipient. Don’t use terms like subscribers or mailing list in your content, stick to just one person.

Skip the bait-and-switch

Corny email marketing tactics have made it difficult to let people know that you are real and honest. Also considering how many spam emails go out every day it's difficult to stand out in this pool. You have to make sure your email is clear and contains no falsified information. You only one chance so don't lose your audience. Here's a very tacky spammy mail subject line from Verve *there was no credit alert

verve email closed

Be Natural

In the process of been personal, try to be natural don’t use my name where a pronoun will suffice, that’s obviously a code. Even if you have to use names ensure it flows naturally with the conversation or content in this case. And if you brand is a personal one, write your email like you would speak. That's likely why the user subscribed to you in the first place, because he enjoys your content.

Create good content

Which brings us to creating good content. Good content means creating content that is relevant to your target audience. Your content might be good but if it’s not relevant then it’s not good. Your content should help your audience grow in some way, or it should give them some sort of new insight or perspective on things they did not know before. People tend to respond a lot better to content that focuses on helping them grow (infuse your product here) rather than directly try to sell them a product or service.

You don’t have to send an email

I can’t stress this enough, but if you don’t have anything to say then you don’t have to send one. Time is valuable and your audience will prefer you email them only when something important comes up (your audience will appreciate this). Sending unnecessary emails will send you straight to spam after some time.

Engage their mind

Statistics, numbers and facts gives your audience some thoughts to ponder on, you can use that to your advantage to attract and hold your reader’s attention. Use facts where possible, and ensure that you do proper research so you give the right thing. Trust me, you don't want to look like the blockhead that said rubbish about something I care about.

 

Unique discount

You can use this medium to offer discount and promo codes that can only be got from clicking out directly from the newsletter. Or give something totally free in the same manner. Make sure you deliver on such and that'll set the stage for further interaction and increases trust.

Simplicity

It is possible to attract attention with clever headlines, but you need to keep it simple to hold their attention, be effective and stay on the topic. Also, keep it short and sweet. Take Hygeia's email subject line for example, (In less than 15 seconds) just sells it to me

hygeia-subject-line

Learn from others

Subscribe to other few good email list (not necessarily competition) preferably a global brand and do your best to emulate them. Using them as a yardstick will help you get better.

Don’t be too salesy

You know your TA (target audience) and which type of marketing approach works best for them. When developing your content remember not to overdo the selling pitch, take it from an angle that will either enrich, entertain or improve their lifestyle. When last did any of you open Konga's email with these kind of headlines? In my head I'm saying "errr... what deals? Cornflakes?"

konga-subject-lineSpell out benefits

“What is in it for me?” That’s the question on most people’s mind. From the start speak to them as if they asked you directly. Most times people are concerned with how it benefits them directly. Writing along those lines will ensure you tap into that self-interest pool.

Here's an example from iThemes Security, a WordPress security plugin

ithemes-proNudge a little

Try to develop a sense of urgency when writing. Offer them something then set a limit or times they have to respond, this will push them to make a decision faster than when you leave it blank. Here's an example from Shoptomydoor

urgencyEmbed Links

By inserting links and hyperlinks throughout your email will increase the probability of one of those links getting clicked and bringing you a new client or customer. But this doesn't always work. One school of thought is to include a single Call-to-action (CTA) for better engagement. To determine which works better for your brand, run A/B tests.

Use a P.S (Photo Script) Line

A P.S line help drives home the point you were trying to make all through your email or serve as a reminder or summary of your whole email. It should also contain your call to action and not be more than one paragraph. P.S lines can help build the desire for the product you are marketing and create and an additional sense of urgency.

Email marketing requires research and lots of patience. You might not get it right the first few times but realize your mistake from each attempt and make it better on the next. A good email marketing campaign can produce traffic, subscribers, and sales. If you don’t take shortcuts you’ll be glad at the result of your efforts.

Let us know what your experience has been like with email marketing.


payment-gateway-solutions

Top 5 ecommerce payment systems for Nigerian online stores

*Update - There's an updated version of this post with much more information on online payment gateways. Check it out

If you just got into ecommerce, I must say that you came at the right time. I remember being in 500 level in college and dreaming of starting an ecommerce website. It was such an exciting time for me because I was exploring all kinds of things. The most daunting of which was payment processing.

I remember reading about Eyowo at the time on Techloy and thinking to myself "Yes! This one would probably work". Fast forward into the future and we don't have that again. That's how demanding and competitive things were in the past. And although they still are now, the technology is way more advanced and much better than we had it back then. In this post, we'd go through some of the most popular options for online payments in Nigeria today.

Interswitch WebPay

Accepts: Mastercard, VISA, Verve
License Fee: N160,000
Commission Fees: 1.5%

By far the most popular payment option of them all. Interswitch's Webpay has been around the longest and is now seen as a dinosaur of some sorts. The platform might be functional, but not progressive enough. And if you haven't heard of Interswitch, perhaps you've heard of Quickteller. Same company, different front end purposes.

I'v had to integrate a WebPay gateway into a simple CMS platform before - WordPress. It cost me and my client about 3 weeks and N160,000 to go live, with about 40 emails back and forth between myself and the Interswitch team. But while they might have drawbacks in technology, their popularity helps them remain relevant.

Click here to get started with Interswitch's WebPay

PayStack

Accepts: Mastercard, VISA, Verve, International
License Fee: FREE
Commission Fees: Fixed N100 charge + 1.5% for local cards and 3.9% for international

If you want something more futuristic / modern, PayStack is it. I mean, just look at its homepage, that kinda sells it right?

paystackPaystack is backed by companies like Flutterwave and Andela, and it has the love of the developer community. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to implement an integration myself, but I have opened an account with them. Going to the "Request go live" tab shows me a simple form

paystack-go-liveAnd considering that this is step one of two, I'm guessing that it isn't a lengthy process. Unlike some other platforms ;) . Please drop a comment below if you've had a chance to complete integration. Let us know what the process was like and how long it took.

GTPay

Accepts: Mastercard, VISA, Verve, International
License Fee: N75,000
Commission Fees: 1.5% on local cards, 3% on international cards

GTPay was one of the earlier entrants into the market, right after WebPay. The platform - owned by GTBank - was built to help SMEs avoid the high cost of Interswitch's WebPay. GTPay is essentially WebPay on steroids, with easier implementation guidelines and about half the license fee for WebPay. Integration is also much simpler

gtpay-payment-gateway

SimplePay

Accepts: Mastercard, VISA, Verve
License Fee: FREE
Commission Fees: Fixed N10 fee + 1.9% on local card and 3.5% on international cards

Perhaps the payment gateway with the most visible improvements is SimplePay. I started using SimplePay a few years back and although it wasn't all bad, there were flaws. But the brand has received a total overhaul and now looks sleek and works quite well. I have successfully implemented SimplePay on about 4 websites within 1-2 days. The team is super responsive and the dashboard is intuitive.

Customers are provided with a simple popup to fill in their card details - similar to the one below - and enter a One Time Password (OTP) to complete their transaction.

simplepay-payment-gateway

Paga

Accepts: Mastercard, VISA, Verve, Paga wallet
License Fee: N25,000
Commission Fees: Fixed N20 + 1% on local cards

Paga is first a mobile money company before anything else. And according to its website, it boasts over 5 million customers. Paga also has additional services, one of which is a payment gateway system. I must confess that response from the Paga team while implementing can be quite slow and frustrating, but the platform works just fine.

It also lets you accept payments without a website. A feature which can come in handy if you don't own an ecommerce website yet.

paga payment gateway

PHOTO CREDIT: www.africanbusinesscentral.com

While this is a good list to start with, it is important to note that there are many more payment systems out there for Nigerians today. A simple Google search usually turns up quite a number. This list represents most of the gateways I've had to use myself.

On a side note, I tried VoguePay quite a number of times for different clients and it just didn't work. Most clients will come back after a few weeks to complain and we'd have to take it down and look for an alternative. Might be bad luck with me personally, but it was one too many.

Have you had any experience with these, or any other, payment gateways? Let us know in the comments box below.


facebook-video-metrics-wrong

Facebook reported wrong video stats for over 2 years

PHOTO CREDIT: www.digitaltrends.com

A lot of digital media buyers have been shifting more budget to Facebook over the past few years. And some of the reasons are quite simple

  1. Better audience targeting and segmentation
  2. Good reach on and off the Facebook platform
  3. Interactive ad formats like Facebook Canvas
  4. Reasonably low costs per result..

The list is endless. And recently, video ad results became another reason. With advertisers seeing huge numbers  of video views and good watch percentages, more and more people utilized Facebook video ads.

However, in a post on Facebook's help center, the company has mentioned that some of these stats were wrong. The "Average Duration of Video Viewed" stat had been inflated by 60% - 80%.

wrong-video-metric

According to The Wall Street Journal, some ad agencies have been reached out to to confirm this issue. One of such agencies is the Publicis Media, a division of Publicis Groupe SA. Publicis was responsible for purchasing roughly $77 billion in ads on behalf of marketers around the world in 2015, according to estimates from research firm Recma.

What's the fallout like?

Naturally, advertisers are now beginning to dig deeper into their Facebook statistics. Some advertisers have started raising complaints on the same help thread about other stats.

As pulled from the Wall Street Journal

On Friday, Facebook apologized. “The metric should have reflected the total time spent watching a video divided by the total number of people who played the video. But it didn’t,” said David Fischer, vice president of business and marketing partnerships, in a Facebook post. “While this is only one of the many metrics marketers look at, we take any mistake seriously.”

Facebook had said in an earlier statement: “We recently discovered an error in the way we calculate one of our video metrics.” It added: “This error has been fixed, it did not impact billing, and we have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach. We also renamed the metric to make it clearer what we measure. This metric is one of many our partners use to assess their video campaigns.”

While the effect on small businesses and advertisers with smaller spends might be minimal, it is worth noting for agencies that would likely have boasted great results to clients.

We will update this post if more news on the issue comes in.


google-analytics-assistant

Get automatic insights & suggestions with Analytics

One of the things I love the most about digital marketing is data analysis. It is the single most important factor that differentiates online from offline in my opinion. And it's one heck of a time and money saver for brands.

In one of my many analytics classes as a trainer, I once helped a leading directory listing website solve a complex problem they couldn't figure out. All through Google Analytics. You know when you use a search bar on an ecommerce site, there's usually some placeholder text. Something like "type here to search". For these guys, they tracked everything that happened on the website with Google Analytics. Including search queries happening on the website. But for a lot of their queries, the placeholder still stayed. So they saw searches like "type here to searchplumber in lagos" or "type here to searchcake delivery yaba". You get right, the placeholder, which should have erased itself on click, still stayed.

Someone brought this up during the class and we decided to check it out. We checked for the search queries that contained the placeholder and broke it down by device. No desktop device had this issue, which meant it was a mobile problem. Further breakdowns suggested it happened on both Android and Blackberry devices. Which meant it was something that cuts across both, the browser. Turns out it was Opera Mini. The search bar used a script to clear the placeholder but this script didn't run on some versions of Opera Mini.

That's why my love for data analysis runs deep. A problem that lasted for over a year was figured out in a few minutes using web analytics.

But you see not everyone can be that granular and technical, sometimes as a small business you just need to know that customers are coming to your website.Which is why Google's announcement of automated insight explorations made sense to me. Now you can download the Google Analytics app on Android and iOS and get suggestions that are performance related.

analytics-assistant-works-for-youI tried this out for the Localized Digital website and could already see some performance suggestions. Here's how to use this feature

Go to the Google Analytics assistant tab

analytics assistant-menu

Check out automatic insights

check-out-analytics-insights

Click on insights to get more details

get-details-from-insights

And just like that, without stress or fuss, you get insights about what's going on with your website. Try this out on yours and let me know what you think about the findings.


product-ideas

Finding Ecommerce Product Ideas for the Nigerian Market

With the ecommerce space becoming populated in Nigeria, chances are you may need more than low prices to drive traffic to your site. One of the ways to maintain relevance is by your unique product offerings. So how do you come up with a product idea? The first thing to note is that coming up with a great idea for a product to sell online will occasionally strike when you least expect it. Many times though, it’s something you need to be proactively on the lookout for. The internet contains a wealth of ideas and inspiration, but as a new entrepreneur, where do you begin? We have compiled a list of some of the best places to get product ideas. However, it is important to note these two points;

  • Look beyond the Product: while searching for new product ideas, make sure to look beyond the products themselves. There is heavy competition in the most common and popular product categories, if you go to Jumia or Konga, you’d see almost exactly the same product categories, no difference. Choosing a different or unique angle can be instrumental to your success. Try not to just look at products, rather look for potential in the product category. Consider new markets, new features and new ways to use the products. 
  • Smaller Product Categories: Don't be afraid to look at smaller product categories and niches. A niche product might get small traffic, that's granted. But it makes up for that by way of less competitors and a more targeted audience. Less competition makes it easier to get to the top of Google, and is usually more cost effective and efficient to advertise to your customers.

Once you’ve got these two points factored in, here’s what you need to do next!

Start With What You Have

Before you begin searching the depths of the internet and the ends of the earth for product and niche ideas, it’s always best to start with the ideas you already have. Maybe it’s a product or idea you have had for years. Maybe it exists in a half written business plan sitting in a folder somewhere on your computer. You can simply start by asking yourself one question; what products, niches or industry are you and your friends particularly passionate about or interested in?

Local Community

Sometimes, you don’t need a new idea at all. Traditional brick and mortar businesses have been around much longer than their ecommerce counterparts. Paying attention to trends in brick and mortar retail and adapting them to ecommerce can be just the ticket you need to create a profitable and unique business. Look around your community and take note of what new or interesting retail concepts people are talking about. Take Debra's Grace for example

Debra's Grace, Yaba

PHOTO CREDIT: amillionstyles.com

Online Consumer Trend Publications

A great place to start your search for product ideas is to look at some top consumer product trend publications. Following trend publications is great way to begin getting a sense of the direction consumer products are going and the ideas other entrepreneurs are introducing to the market. These publications can also expose you to new product categories and industries that you previously didn’t know about. It can helps you to dream up new goods, services and experiences for your online business. There are several popular trend publications online to follow, like Techpoint if you’re into Technology; StyleVitae if you’re into Fashion, and a host of others.

Here's a post on Osaze's website for example, that talks about some of the most popular products being searched for on the web. Here's a small snippet from that infographic

infographics

 

Industry Leaders

If you know the industry or niche you would like to be in you can use various tools to discover the influencers in the industry. Following the right people on social media can help inspire new ideas via a constant stream of carefully curated content from the people in the know. It’s up to you to uncover the opportunities. Our digital sphere in Nigeria is pretty much enclosed, so it’s easy to follow anyone across their channels.

Product and Trend Discovery Review Sites

Product review and discovery sites can also be a fantastic source of ideas and inspiration. Sites like Techcabal (technology) and StyleMeAfrica (female fashion) are great ways to see new curated product trends daily. What better way to get inspired than to get a daily glimpse into the new and interesting products other entrepreneurs are bringing to the market. Here's an idea from TechCabal, it kinda suggests that the Note 3 is probably in trend now

techcabal

 

Online Consumer Marketplaces

Another rich source for product ideas are online consumer marketplaces, like jiji.ng, OLX, Efritin, Jumia Market, etc. You’d find millions of products on these sites so you may want to begin your search with some of the popular and trending items and branch out into other interesting categories that catch your eye from there. Here's an example from Jiji

trending-on-jiji

 

Instagram

Instagram isn’t just pictures of food and dogs, it is also an interesting option for inspiring product ideas. Because it’s photo based, it makes it easy to scan through many ideas and photos quickly. There are a few ways you can use Instagram to search for product and niche ideas:

  • Hashtags: Once again, if you have a particular interest in a product category or industry, you can try searching for applicable hashtags. Another great option is to do a search on Instagram for applicable hashtags that insinuate buyer interest and intent like #want and #buy. Here's an example of what I get when I search for #iwant
    instagram-hashtag
  • Product Curation Accounts: There are many accounts on Instagram that post curated product content. Like many other examples above, you'll likely want to search for and find accounts within the niches you are particularly interested in. As an example, there are food blogs all over IG, may be worth keeping an eye on if you’re into the Food industry, it might just provide the idea or spark for your next product.

Go through this list and you're sure to get at least one idea that's in trend. Do you have any other way to get product ideas? Let us know


social-media-calendar

How to Create a Social Media Calendar + Free Template

Managing your social media page can be challenging! Building an audience and keeping them engaged is even more challenging but definitely not impossible. You just have to find a way to make it work. And one of the most efficient ways is through a social media calendar. A social media calendar is not the solution to all your content management problems but it will definitely help you get a clear handle on things as well as give you a clear direction. It also helps if you need someone senior to approve your content.

A social media calendar is a pre-planned line up of your daily conversation starters for the various social platforms you have a presence on. It is built for the duration of one week or one month depending on the agreed frequency of post and relevance. The aim is to carefully craft your post in advance so that you can always have content ready to share and with very little or no errors because it will have gone through editing and proofreading.

Here's how to Prepare a Social Media Calendar

Create Broad Categories

If you’ve not already identified categories or content pillars you want to work with, then it’s time to start doing so. It is helpful to come up with a list of post types that you would like to share on a regular basis, especially if you share many different types of updates. Here are some post categories you can use:

  • Conversation starters, Lifestyles
  • Fashion, style and entertainment
  • Blog Post
  • Re-shares of interesting content
  • Quotes and Tips
  • Images/Videos — Various Multimedia Content
  • Promotion and Brand talk
  • Announcements and Events

Category Placement

Now that you have a list of the categories you want to talk about, it is good to streamline this to about 5 or 6. That will help make sure you are not just talking about everything and anything, and you also won’t run out of content fast.  You have to decide when (what days/times) you would like to share them. For example events on Mondays, Blog post on Tuesday, quote and tips on Wednesday, conversation starters on Thursdays and so on. Decide what goes where by studying the various platforms.

Update Copies

Come up with all the content you will be sharing under the various categories in the coming weeks. Also remember that your update copy will vary on different platforms. Although you’ll be saying the same thing, it can't be the same for twitter because if its character limit and the short live span of a tweet.  So if you post once or twice a day on Facebook you should post at least 4 times on twitter. Saying the same thing but in a different way.

Special Events

In addition to regular posts, the year is full of special events. It might be great to plan ahead for them so you can make sure not to miss them and create as much excitement and opportunities around them. Some android and apple calendars provide the international holidays and days worth mentioning like International Youth day or Mothers day. You also have National holidays like Independence Day, New yam festivals and so on (the date may vary) but try to accommodate this holidays so you don’t skip them or start running around on those days

Content of a Social Calendar

I mentioned earlier that your calendar can be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Depending on the frequency of post; if you post as much as the example above which is GTB’s social media calendar, then you might want to do it weekly or bi-weekly because it'll require some time. It’s best to keep it to bi-weekly if you post at this rate. No matter what format you choose to present your calendar there are certain items to be included, which are:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Update copy
  • Creative copy (the text on your visuals)
  • Link (if need be)
  • Character count  

That way anybody can post if the social media manager is not around and also for consistency in the pattern of post. This also makes it easier, because if every single post you prepare contains all this information, then all that’s left for you to do is copy/paste it all.

What To Track/ Evaluate

Once you have your calendar all set and have gotten into a posting rhythm, another element that you might want to add to your calendar is a way to track performances for your posts so that you can update your sharing plans accordingly. Although the various platforms offer insights and analytics on your page activities, but it’s a lot of stress having to go from one platform to another. There are third party tools that show you all of the actionable insights in one dashboard. As a social media manager, the insights you should be bothered with are:

  • Gender of your followers

    If you have 80% male followers and 20% female that should determine the type of content you should put out there, also the age group (are they your right Target Audience (TA) or not).

  • Reach

    Sometimes the time of posting affects the reach. Take time to study the various times you post and see which has the best reach and engagement. So experiment with posting at different times before you pick the best pattern.

  • Tools

    Two popular tools to create social media calendars are Microsoft Excel and Google sheets (works just like excel).That been said, it’s not easy having to go from one platform to another to post daily or schedule post. What happens on Friday night when you are out with friends or on Tuesday mornings when you are stuck in traffic? You need a tool that not only schedules, but also monitor posts on various platforms at the same time. There are a lot of them, some are paid tools while other offer free services. Here are some few popular ones;

Part of the time-consuming aspect of sharing on social media outside of coming up with the updates themselves is finding the perfect images, GIFs, or videos to share. If you have a creative team, then ensure you have like a week’s creative ahead of  time. If you have all the images, save them in a folder for easy access. Ensure you name the folder right so you don't post a different image for a different update copy

Are you in need of a social media calendar template for your brand? You are just in luck fill out this form to download your free social media calendar template!

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR TEMPLATE

Download this free social media calendar template to plan all your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn posts easily!
DOWNLOAD
Created by the Localized Digital team.

snapaya

Why I think Snapaya is a great idea and why you should contribute

If you run a blog you already know that getting images can be a downer. More so when you're not in the right position to get some yourself. Either because you don't own a good camera and your phone camera is wack, or because you're just not that creative.

You're not alone.

At Localized Digital we have to search all through the web for Creative Commons Zero images to use for posts. And the search can be daunting, because not many people take nice pictures of black dudes. They're all white and funky and fine. But on one of my many trips to Techcabal, I found out about Snapaya.

snapayaBasically, Snapaya is a website that allows Nigerians upload pictures they have creative rights to. Which allows people like me get high resolution images with no obligation to pay for using it :D. At the moment, they're only a handful of images there, but I see it growing over time. Already suggesting to a few friends to upload stuff on the website.

Submitting Photos on Snapaya

The terms for posting an image are pretty simple and straightforward

submit-to-snapaya

Here are some submissions so far

If over time Snapaya gets more people submitting awesome pictures like these, I think that in the next few years a part of the image problem would have been solved.


how-to-drive-customers-engagement

Why Unhappy Customers Are One of Your Most Valuable Resources

Unhappy customers can be of great value to your business. To have Happy customers or clients is a very important factor or metric for the success of your business. Happy customers patronize your business and they work as influencers and advocates for your brand. Their testimonials and reviews also go a long way. It gives your business the social proof, trust and relevance it needs in a highly competitive market. When your customers are happy they remain loyal, which is very valuable for your business in terms of awareness and sales yielding to a high revenue turn over.

It’s quite obvious that happy satisfied customers is what increases sales and keeps your business on track. But what about the other guys, the unhappy customers :( who necessarily don’t think your product or brand is so fantastic. Well believe it or not, unhappy customers are equally as useful and valuable for the growth and success of your business.

One thing to keep in mind about these unhappy customers is that they're unhappy because you let them down. Think back to when you were little, there some uncles and aunts that came by the house and you didn't expect jack shit. So you were never let down when they came empty handed. But that one uncle that always brought candy and biscuits was the most memorable. And you were probably really excited when you heard he'd be passing by. And on the days he came empty, you didn't even remember that he probably brought you a ton of free stuff last week, you felt let down.

That;s exactly the same way to think about unhappy customers. The guy who expresses deep dissatisfaction was expecting a lot more from you. Which is a good thing. Because immediately you show him he was right all along, he starts to sing praises for your brand.

Unhappy customers play one of the most critical roles in the success or total ruin of a business. However when unsatisfied or unhappy customers are properly attended to and managed, a large percentage of these sects turn out to be extremely valuable to your business. Here are some ways unhappy customers can make your business even better

1. Unhappy customers provide you with honest insight on how your business can improve.

Don't let the criticism and negative feedback weigh you down. One way to stay relevant in a highly competitive business world is to continually innovate and focus your change on things that cater to your customers need. The feedback gives you real insights on how to improve your products and services. Some spark up innovative ideas which can be game changers for your business. Also, data collated from customer feedback can be used to make important decisions to spur the growth of your business.

*Note if many of your customers are complaining about the same things, you should quickly do something about it.

2. Unhappy customers provides you with an opportunity to improve your customer service skills

If you're a business owner, there's one thing I'm certain you've experienced. You would at some point have a disgruntled customer who swears heaven and earth not to use your product again, and promises to give you bad PR. Now, how do you deal with this kind of angry customer?

Most businesses just choose to ignore out of not knowing what to say or do which is really dangerous if the customer really keeps to his word to escalate. Anytime a customer offers you negative feedback, it’s an opportunity to turn that negative experience into a positive one. I must say, it is easier said than done,  but it’s also going to be a learning process for your business' customer service team.  Put practices and processes in place to deal with the these kinds of customers, this would give you an impressive customer care culture that shines.

*The key to calming angry customers is to let them know you're on their side. If you just listen to the customer and calmly explain the problem and solution, you'd be shocked that most of them apologize for their outburst. We're all humans in the end, we're not wired to be rude to one another, we just need to be sure that the person on the other end of the line understands out pain.

3. Unhappy customers help you manage and improve your reputation online

An angry or unsatisfied customer is sure to go on social media or review and feedback forums to vent. When you tools like Google alert to get notified of feedback like this, take the time to reach out to customer on these forums. If you do, other online users know your brand takes customer satisfaction seriously.

Also go a step further to reach out to the customer personally, i.e outside of the forum and make sure you go beyond fixing their problems, offer discounts and offers they cannot decline, give them free tickets to shows and events. Or just have drinks.

Anything to show your business is really sorry for any inconvenience caused. Your customer service effort would go a long way in this world of social virility, everyone would see, including potential and future customer.

In Conclusion

*I remember one case at a logistics company in Nigeria where a guy ordered for his engagement ring from the US. The company's job was simple, get the ring in before D-Day. But customs operations can be disappointing. The delivery got delayed and he didn't have a ring hours before the proposal was to be made.

The customer service team at this company took it on themselves to salvage the situation. They personally  ensured that the item came out quickly from the customs office same day, stayed back at work till about 8PM to sort out items received and get the ring. Then took it to the venue of the event, all without management's knowledge. That's going above and beyond for your customer

It's almost inevitable for a business to have  no negative feedback from unhappy customers. But every negative situation can be worked out to become useful for your business, take advantage of the feedback, renovate and keep getting better.

Have you had a good experience with any Nigerian customer service team? Let us know in the comment box below.


How to create the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

How to create the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing goes beyond written words which is the first thing that comes to the mind of new business owners. Content is an umbrella word for every piece of information you dish out for the purpose of marketing your brand. So it needs to be strategic and carefully thought out. Depending on the goal of your business you should ask yourself what you want to achieve based on the type of content you push out. That brings me to giving out a few tips that can help you make a very effective content marketing strategy:

The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek

The Golden Circle consist of 3 basic questions. Why, How and What. Let’s address each of these questions

  • Why (The Purpose): Very few organizations know why they do what they do. Why is not about making money. It's about the vision or purpose which is the very reason your organization exist in the first place.
  • How (The Process): Some organizations know how to get stuff done. These are the things that make them special or set them apart from their competition.
  • What (The Result): Every organization on the planet knows what they do. These are the products they sell or the services they offer

Answering these 3 questions clearly determines the nature and priority of your business. The idea of answering these questions also helps you come up with content aligned with your goal. So if the content you create is to help raise awareness about your brand/business or help increase sale, you know which section of the golden circle you need to tap into.

Type of Content

Depending on the message you want to pass, think about how best to catch the attention of the audience. As earlier stated content does not necessary have to be a history lesson (boring). It could be represented in a number of different ways which include:

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Animations
  • Newsletters
  • Blog post
  • Webinars
  • Case studies
  • Pictures and so on

 Getting the best from your content

Content marketing isn’t a one man job. It requires a full creative team or a genius. But usually you need a team including a graphic designer, blogger, copywriter, community manager, SEO specialist, and a web designer. Each member of your team is required to use their expertise to contribute immensely on the best way to push out content and what content goes out. Basically you have to make sure each member is competent and understand their roles in creating a good content. Sometimes one member of the team is OK to push the content other times you need every member of the team.

How, When & Where to distribute Content

Creating great content is the first step of a thousand miles. The real challenge is in the distribution of your content. Knowing the perfect time to share them, the best performing channel for your content (putting into consideration your target market), number of page views and engagement rate. You need to work out a plan to make sure your content meets its KPI (Key Performance Indicator).

If the content is based on a trend, season or event then its best shared around that time unlike content that is evergreen.  An example is “how to save your phone battery” This type of content will be relevant any day anytime. That brings us to

Metrics to look out for

There are four (4) types of metrics to look out for when setting the KPI for a content marketing strategy. They are consumption, sharing, lead generation and sales metrics.

  • Consumption Metrics: This measures how many people saw your content and engaged with it. Statistics on consumption comes in page views, link clicks, video views, downloads, sign up, time on page, behavior on page and so on.
  • Sharing Metrics: This measures how many of those who consumed your content reacted to it. This metrics includes likes, shares, retweets, +1’s, pins, repost, forwards and inbound links.
  • Lead Generation: This is a measure of how many people can be re-marketed to or looks like potentials for a future purchase. This is measured by form downloads and form completion, email subscriptions, blog comments and conversion rate.
  • Sales Metrics: Did you make any money based on the content? Measure this by online sales, offline sales with a discount code unique to the content you shared. E.g Sales that have promo codes like IG234 says consumer is making purchase based on the content on they saw on instagram and BB123 says purchase is based on content on bill boards etc.

Measure and analyse

The rate of engagement on your content is what determines its failure or success. So there is need for you to measure and analyse your content to give a clear picture If your strategy was good and how to re-strategize and make it better. Measuring and analyzing helps you keep track of your content to ensure you are not just putting out great content that nobody is seeing or can relate to either because you are reaching out to the wrong people in the right way or talking to the right people in the wrong way.

Evaluate and Re-strategize

In a simple sentence “if it worked make it better, if did not work then find a way to make it work”. After measuring and analyzing, draw up a conclusion as to whether your content did well or not and in most cases do a SWOT analysis. If it’s the latter, find out the reasons why based on type, target audience, time, and platform. And if it’s the former focus more on your strength and maximize it, see how you can improve your weaknesses, what open opportunities are you not exploring and finally see how you can minimize your threat since you can completely eliminate it.

Content marketing is not a campaign you run for a while and stop. It is a continuous commitment. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. Set up a system that works for you and use available tools to make it easier to track your success and failures. Get them!

How do you currently create your content marketing strategy? Let us know in the comment box below.


Good customer support service

Customer Service Tips for Small Business Owners

Small business owners encounter several struggles in the course of running their business. Unlike the big companies who have the luxury of making decisions at the flick of a switch and still maintain the core of their business. Small businesses are not afforded that kind of luxury, as even the smallest decisions can have a huge impact on their business. Despite the obvious advantages big companies have over small businesses, research has shown that customers keep coming back to small businesses rather than the big ones. Why? Customer Service!

Small businesses are known for treating customers as individuals rather than numbers, with the latter akin to bigger businesses and companies. One of the major keys to success as a small business owner is your Customer Service. The success of your business is directly tied to how you treat your customers, for small business owners struggling to offer top notch customer service, follow these laid out tips which would set you on the right path!

Technology

Technological innovations in the business world are becoming more cost effective and very efficient. Today, your small business can offer a lot of benefits that previously had been affordable only for large companies. The aim of using technology is to make life easier for your customers. POS machines make sales quicker and swifter, a digitized inventory system reduces the mental strain on your staff. Be careful though not to complicate issues, if you must adopt technology, go all the way in!

Technology

Avoid offering your customers a cashless payment option and then tell them to pay cash or make them stand in queues. Digitize your business as much as possible, it helps your staff become even more productive. Keep looking for ways to evolve with technology, that way you keep your customers satisfied.

 Personalized Feedback

Another problem with most small businesses is that they keep placing square pegs in round holes; this is excruciating as they end up spending their meager resources on unnecessary things. Don’t do stuff because your “competition” is doing the same thing. Most businesses don’t know where to focus their efforts at improvement on their own.

One of the ways to resolve this is by getting personalized feedback from customers. Feedback from customers is the best way to know which changes might be the most productive. This shouldn’t be a problem as customers are well known to enjoy being asked for feedback. It makes them feel “involved”.  Make the feedback personal! You could do it face to face, via a phone call or via a personalized email; note the word “personalized”. People avoid spam mails. Asking questions shouldn’t be the end of your support, also ensure you acknowledge a customer’s response and be sure to act on their responses and effect the relevant changes immediately.

Make an appearance

Until recently, Bill Gates was involved in the day-to-day running of activities at Microsoft, even Dangote attends business meetings himself. Don’t start running your business as a Donald Trump-style boss, at least not in your early days. Avoid the temptation to hide behind your employees. Customers love the ability to reach management easily with their questions, complaints, and concerns. Appearing in person in your physical store shows a dedication to your business and the quality of customer experience you embody. You should be involved in your firm’s day-to-day operations, both for your customers’ and your employees’ sake. Failing to appear can make you seem aloof.

 Hire people who care (and treat them well)

Many small businesses have a high turnover rate for employees, and don’t tend to hire people who care about their products or their business, they just go for the cheaper options most times as they are desperately trying to reduce their capital expenditures. This makes some sense; I mean, you’re a small business, you don’t want the bulk of your revenues going back into your staff. I totally get that, but I can assure you that in the long run, that method becomes counterproductive.

When hiring, you should be on the lookout for only employees who buy into what your business is all about. Clients should see how much your workers care about the business, the product, and customer experience. And ensure to pay your employees well and treat them with respect to ensure their commitment to your success. If you’re struggling as a business, don’t make the treatment of your employees low priority. You need them, and you need the best they can offer. Your employees should be happy to work for you. Be interested in their well-being beyond the job; create mentoring programs to allow for personal advancement within your business.

 Don’t neglect your Internet presence

One major similar trait about big businesses is their heavy investments towards having a dominant web presence, and we can all understand why. In today’s business environment, small businesses must have a strong internet presence as well in order to reach their target market. I mean, that’s where you're bound to find of them in this digital age – everyone’s on the internet! You can always create a social media account and build a full website.

If you choose to build a website, your website must be user friendly and provide basic information your customers want. Your website is often the first face a new customer will see of your company. Don’t just have a website sitting dormant out there, creating high quality content is important as well, regardless of what your business is about. Your business should also have a social media presence, most of your customers spend their time on social media, go get them!

Overcompensate for mistakes

The fact is “awufu dey run belle” hasn’t stopped us from enjoying any awufu that comes our way. Every customer should leave your store happy. If you or a staff member makes a mistake, the customer should still be satisfied. It’s your obligation to overcompensate – resist the urge to act defensive. Many customers want nothing more than to vent their complaints. Listen patiently and offer sincere apologies. As a small business, you are trying to build a customer base so always consider the way employees and clients like to be treated, and don’t neglect vendor interactions. Happier employees are infinitely more likely to provide stellar customer service, so make it your goal to treat everyone the way you would like to be treated, ultimately, you’ll provide better business across the board.

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