verve spam message

When does marketing become spamming? A case study with Verve

On June 14th, I got a strange email, apparently Verve said I got a credit alert of ₦5,000.

verve email closed

First reaction was, bloody hell, more spammers! And why are they using Verve? I mean, there are other people to pose as, like banks.

I always open these mails, if not for anything, to see what the new spamming tech is like. But today I was in for a shocker, I got this

verve mail opened

Apparently, someone at Verve had thought it OK to send a mail, as a financial institution, that read "Transaction Alert".

I swear that I typed out a response to them on Twitter, but I had to keep a good front for my future employers, before they think I'm a horrible person.

Fast forward two months later, and I get another mail

accessbank spam closed

And although the content wasn't promotional like in Verve's case, do you see the dangerous similarity in subject lines? Needless to say, this was a scam. I don't have a Access Bank account, neither do I have a Verve Card.

At what point does marketing turn into full scale spamming? When you think a financial brand can "try" to be witty by faking a credit transaction.

And we see this all to often in Nigeria, mostly because there are no laws in place to penalize brands. We need to be more socially responsible to our customers.

I really wish I saw the guys who crafted (and approved) this, I'd love to know what they were thinking.


3 ecommerce sites using cms

3 popular Nigerian online stores that were not built from scratch

In an earlier post, we talked about Content Management Systems (CMS) and whether or not you should use them. Today, I'd walk you through a few popular Nigerian online stores that use these CMS platforms.

Remember that as a business, your priority is to find a solution that works best for you. Not what everyone else says is OK, but what suites you the most.

What I'd like to show you in this post, is that CMS platforms can be as dynamic and powerful as any website built from scratch. In some cases, even better. Lets deep dive into the list.

Konga.com

konga CMS

The Konga platform uses a highly customized version of Magento, an ecommerce CMS platform.

Magento is a multi award winning platform that boasts some really impressive features. They recently acquired RJMetrics to introduce cloud based analytics right inside the software. Magento claims to have over $50 Billion in annual transactions.

Payporte.com

payporte.com

Payporte is another popular ecommerce website that runs on the Magento platform.

 

Yudala.com

Yudala.com

Yudala.com is yet another ecommerce website using the Magento platform.

Although the general trend that you see here is that Magento is used by all three of them, there are many more online shopping CMS platforms out there.

Do you currently use a CMS platform for your online store? Share yours with us in the comment box below.

 


CMS Platform

What is a Content Management System & when should you use one?

Image Source: bkacontent.com

Have you ever had to build a website before? Maybe for your business or a personal website?

At some point during your project, you were probably speaking with a developer, or if you're like me and you're kind of a jack of all trades, you did it yourself.

In almost every case, the question you're asked is if you want to use a Content Management System (or CMS). Some of you were never asked, a CMS was used for you irrespective.

In some cases, people feel cheated when this happens, your friends tell you that you've been ripped off. You read a ton of stuff online about the CMS you've just been given. You see some good stuff, and you see some bad.

I'm here to help provide some clarity and also help you make a choice (if you have one) on which to use.

What is a CMS

Abbreviated as CMS, a content management system, also called aWeb management system is software or a group or suite of applications and tools that enable an organization to seamlessly create, edit, review and publish electronic text.

- webopedia.com

Simply put, a CMS is a platform that helps make complex tasks a bit easier. This task could be selling a product online, publishing content (blogging) or more complex functions.

The most popular example of a CMS is WordPress. WordPress runs about 4.5% of all websites around the world. This comes to over 15 million websites. So I'm guessing you've heard about it somehow in the past.

What a CMS does for you as a business or brand is to provide a framework for common web based platforms. As such in some cases it is not needed. Lets take a look at how you can decide on whether or not a CMS is good for you.

Do you have programming expertise?

If you have some knowledge of programming, its obvious that you have some more options available to you. Building a website from scratch could be a possibility for you.

However, if you are like most people, you don't know jack shit about programming. You nearly got an F in the course that involved code in college. And now you just get a little sick when you see all those random letters flying around on a programmers screen.

If you fall into the second category of people and you do not have the budget to get a developer, you're better off with a CMS.

What sort of website are you making?

This is the second most important thing to check off your list if you're looking to use a CMS. Content Management Systems are designed to serve pretty straightforward purposes. So if you'd like to build a complex ride sharing application for example, ditch the CMS idea.

The more complex your website needs to be, the less you need a CMS. However, if you need to do any of the following, you're in the clear with getting a basic CMS to work with:

  • Ecommerce website
  • Company website
  • Personal blog
  • Business blog for monetization
  • Event website
  • Community forum

And much more!

Notice a pattern here? All these websites have very simple functions that a lot of other websites around the world already use. So as against reinventing the wheel every single time a new one has to be setup, a framework (or CMS) is built.

What is your budget like?

Building a website from scratch usually costs a lot more than using a CMS platform. If your project needs more than one developer to work on it, even more so.

Working with a CMS platform on the other hand reduces development costs. So if you're a small business looking to setup a simple website so customers can see  your contact information, you have no need to build from scratch.

Think about these points next time you need to build a website, it'll help you decide which to go with.

Do you already have a website? Did you use a CMS platform or you built from scratch? Let us know in the comment box below, and also tell us which CMS platform you currently use.


improving website speed

3 free tools to measure your website's speed & fix issues

How fast does your website load? Do you know?

And I'm not talking about what you think, like "I think it loads fast enough". No. I'm talking down to milliseconds.

If you don't know that, here are two of many reasons why you should

  1. Website speed impacts your organic search ranking
  2. Most users wouldn't wait around for a website that doesn't load in a few seconds (5secs is more than a few)

When it comes to web speed, there's a general rule of thumbs. Anything more than 2 seconds is a little too much. But I've seen sites take as much as 16 seconds to load. Think about what you can do in 16 seconds. Watch 3 snapchat videos? Go to the loo? Boot up your laptop? And all this time, a website is trying to open the first page.

Research shows that 47% of people expect a web page to load in under two seconds, and 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes 3 or more seconds to load.

Checking your website speed is not a thing for the "techies" or developers, anyone can check any website's speed. Lets see a few tools that can help you with this.

Pingdom Tools

Pingdom tools is my go-to for instantly checking how fast a website loads. Lets take this website, localizeddigital.com as an example. To check the website's speed, simply visit https://tools.pingdom.com and type in the URL of your website.

pindgom tools - localizeddigital

And that's the result for localizeddigital.com.

Note that sometimes to get the actual record of your pagespeed, you need to run the test twice from the same test server location. You'd also note that the total page size and number of requests is displayed. This can help give you pointers as to some reasons why your website is slow. Ideally, your website shouldn't be more than 1MB. And although we tried to work on that, we still haven't nailed that sweet spot.

GTMetrix

This is my next go-to for website speed. It gives you a more detailed analysis of your website based on multiple criteria.

To use GTMetrix, go to https://gtmetrix.com/ and type in your website's URL. Here's a result of ours

gtmetrix - localizeddigital

The most important things in this report are the PageSpeed Score and the YSlow Score. Once you have your results, scroll down to see tips on how you can make your website speed better. The last on our list is

Google PageSpeed Insights

This guy is the mother of all strict tests. Google Pagespeed insights, as the name suggests, is powered by Google. They have a more stringent set of criteria to grade a website's speed, and most websites fall short, including ours sadly (although our developers work hard to fix this)

Google Pagespeed Insights - localizeddigital

If you have better results than ours on Google PageSpeed Insights, be sure to let us know in the comments box below.

If you use these three tools combined, I can guarantee that you'd have a pretty good idea of how fast your website loads to the rest of the works. Go ahead and check out your website and see how fast it loads, remember, more than 2 seconds is a little too much.

Have your checked your website out yet? let us know what your results are like in the comments box below.

 


learn digital marketing free

5 places where you can learn Digital Marketing for free

With the steady rise of online marketing in Nigeria today, more and more people try to get into the industry to learn, practice, or earn a living. And as brands decide that traditional methods of advertising aren’t enough, and they place higher demands for online media, we are gradually creating an ecosystem for both demand and supply of the online marketing skill set.

In light of this, the typical aspirant runs amok online, looking for all the best resources out there to arm them with the knowledge that they need to break into this new and exciting world of online marketing, but in most cases, we get fagged out, nothing seems to make sense and it’s all just too much information. I understand that first hand :)

From my few years of following the Nigerian digital space, I’ve done a lot of reading myself, both professionally with standard courses and unprofessionally on random websites and blogs, I’ve seen a lot of resources and downloaded way too many ebooks. But I’m here to save you all that stress, and if by any chance you think I’ve made things more complicated for you after reading this, just give me a shout out in the comment box.

Here are a few sweet spots for learning online marketing.

1. Quicksprout

Quicksprout.com is a company/blog owned by Neil Patel, a markting expert by normal standards and a good read on almost any day. I love quicksprout because of Neils easy to consume content, and the nicely put together guides that he publishes from time to time. And above all I love the guides he puts together.

Head over to Quicksprout today to read up on all 12 guides by Neil Patel
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Price: Free

2. Copyblogger

Today's world of marketing is hinged on content, like they say, content is king. And the reasons  are simple, content can give you free traffic from SEO, and it's also one of the easiest ways to convert leads to customers, that's why Copyblogger is so relevant. The Copyblogger blog is filled with articles on how to get content right and how to copywrite for the web.

You'd want to also check out their ebooks, my best is "A business case for agile content marketing", that book blew my mind open, practically.
Check out Copyblogger now for the best content marketing tips.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Price: Free

3. Think with Google

Can't go too far without mentioning Google right? You remember when I said content is king? Well, Google is the king of content so... I guess they're the real king, lol.

Think with Google discusses today's digital landscape and shares important research material based on surveys carried out by Google and data from its platforms. The best series I've read on the blog was on the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT.

Get a chance to Think with Google, checkout the blog.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Price: Free

4. Moz Beginners guide to SEO

Ever heard of Search Engine Optimisation? It's simply the process of getting your site to show up more on Google search results pages, put another way, it's a great way to get free traffic. Every good online strategy includes SEO and it can drive business revenue especially for bloggers like Bella Naija and our very own localizeddigital.com.

On my personal blog, I don't get so much traffic, mostly because I talk about a niche topic and I'm not very consistent there, but in the last year alone, I've made millions in job contracts from free traffic I get from Google search.

Understand the value of SEO yet? The moz beginners guide is a 300 page eBook that explains everything about SEO. This is definitely a must read for aspiring marketers. Check it out here
Level: Beginner
Price: Free

5. Practical ecommerce

Do you own an ecommerce site? Or you want to start one? Ecommerce isn't as easy as it seems from the outside, but having enough information on how to operate one definitely helps make the job easier.

For example, do you know about drop shipping? A simple technique that could save any ecommerce business hundreds of thousands in logistics. Or why it might be better to use a CMS platform for your ecommerce store rather than building from scratch.

Practical ecommerce, like the name suggests, is a blog dedicated to the ecommerce industry. It provides ideas and suggestions including research data to help you better operate your ecommerce site.

If you have an ecommerce business, this one is a must, check out the site here
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Price: Free

The secret extra resource

A lot of foreign website talk about digital marketing in a foreign way. They talk about technologies only available in developed countries, and user patterns only white people follow. That's one of the major reasons why localized digital was started. We want to help you learn and understand digital from a local context. That's why we're the last and most important resource.

Check out all our blog posts here. And don't forget, you can always ask your questions on the community forum

That's a wrap on the short list, these websites will help you get started on the right path to learning Digital Marketing. Let me know which other websites you know in the comment box below.


Its travel season! 4 ways travel agencies can get more clients

A warm sunset seen in South Africa's Kruger National Park. Getty Images
Even with the crazy dollar exchange rates and harsh economy downturns, Nigerians will still travel out for the holidays, its just a fact, might be less than usual, but we still have to see the world right?

With the season also comes more business for travel agencies, then the real question becomes "How do I get more customers this year?". If you're asking yourself the same question, you've come to the right place, we're going to explore the quick ways you can get customers in the next few weeks as a travel agency. Lets dive deep.

Get testimonials from previous customers

Nothing sells like social proof. If agency A publicly says it has served over 10,000 Nigerians and helped them get to over 100 travel destinations with smiley happy faces of 100 of those 10,000 customers at places like Seychelles, New York, Zanzibar, Dubai... (you catch my drift), it will likely get more attention than agency B who never mentions it - even though agency B might have done more than that.

Be sure to ask your customers to show their appreciation of your good service by sending in written or video testimonials, including pictures, that you can put up on your website or social media page.

Reach out to existing customers

If you read our post on getting better results from SMS marketing, you probably already know that you should be collecting your customers phone numbers, and also their email addresses, for marketing purposes. As a travel agency, this should be done by default considering you need these details to get your client's flight schedule in the first place. Be sure your existing users know about ongoing promotional offers by sending out emails and SMS messages regularly to them, and like we always say, segment those messages to make them more relevant.

Run a referral program if you can

One of the easiest ways to get high converting users is to ask already converted users to refer their friends. Think about it, if I travel to UK often for summer vacations, there's every likelihood that my friends do same, and if I can sell your business to them, I can almost guarantee that you'd be getting customers from them too.

Referral programs can come in multiple forms, think about the best way to reward your customers for referring friends.

Get customers from Facebook & Instagram

Because the travel industry is a very visual one, my best platforms for advertising in this industry are Facebook and Instagram. These platforms also give you extensive demographic segmentation, which helps you as an advertiser reach out to the right set of people.

Here's an example of a travel ad on Facebook by a foreign brand.

Carousel-Ad-Travel

 

Notice how they use images to sell the experience?

There are certainly more ways to get customers as a travel agency, leave a comment in the comment box below to tell us what you do.


SMS marketing

Take these 7 steps to get better results from SMS marketing

As marketers and customers we've all been there, either having a client tell you they want to send messages to 100,000 phone numbers that they bought from the shady looking guy they met through dealdey Read more