The first mistake most African entrepreneurs usually make is not being strategic about customer attraction. It has simply become the mannerism for these entrepreneurs to create a Facebook fan page, Instagram business page, Twitter handles and sometimes Linkedin profiles for their businesses, they believe the social media myth is broken and all is set and done by believing it is time to sit back and wait for customers to view their posts and start patronizing. More often than not, they get more viewers than customers and little or no returns.
Activity isn’t productivity and it pays more to be strategic in your efforts than energetic.
It is a fallacious innovation to upload an avalanche of about 200 pictures on Instagram without a strategy. The result you will get is a very good Instagram page with a lot of information. That is not a bad event, but the sad truth is that you need actual customers not just viewers.
If you must get actual customers and not mere viewers of your posts, you need to take the process of customer attraction as serious and strategic as you took the process of building your business in the first place. Here are a few tips:
DO A MARKET RESEARCH
You must know the market trend. The custom pricing policies, you do not want to ward off customers with your inexplicable higher price rate for arguably the same product/quality. You also do not want your customers to be suspicious of your ridiculously low pricing. There are other factors to also take note of; therefore it is important you do your research and find out what your competitors know and what you know that they do not.
￼STUDY YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS
Before you launch your business or at the point of launch, endeavour to know the kind and class of people that would be interested in your service/product. Find out what they look like and possibly how they are likely to think in terms of your service. What do they think of the service you’re about to render? How much are they willing to pay for services of that nature? You do not want to be discovering these facts after a year anniversary of the business.
MAKE YOUR SOLUTION APPEAR DIRECT
The potential results of many marketing efforts become diluted due to over generality. You should identify your customers’ particular needs as it relates to your products and present the solution (your brand product) directly to address the identified need. Also, be sure your product delivers on its promise. Your brand can easily lose its value when your customers complain that your product does not meet their expectations. Remember, they got these expectations from the way you outlined your product as a solution to their needs. So, if you market your product with a largely general approach without identifying the particular needs to which it relates, customers may not get the “gist”. This may lead to them believing that your product delivers less. Invest in developing a good brand identity.
KNOW WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE
You do not want to find yourself sulking that you have put in so much efforts and resources in trying to attract customers online, when you are more likely to secure customer patronage better if you focus more on ground. Everything cannot be done online so do not get too comfortable because you have made three posts on Facebook this morning that are well written. Digital marketing is a skill that takes study, practice, and strategy. If your customers are in the universities, you might want to actually go there with an on-ground marketing strategy and take a break from too much reliance on Instagram at the early stages. Attempt to dish out a piece of your Ads in places where your customers are likely to visit. Online and Offline. The more your customers come in contact with your brand in different places and occasions, the more curious they become about what you can offer them.
GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME
Borrowing this point from a colleague, it is important to invest in a great first impression. If they do not like the customer experience the first day, they are likely not going to fancy you again. But that is not the real damage; the real damage is when they share the bad story with friends, family, and colleagues. One customer is usually the door to many others. You want to treat that one like your only customer, then see yourself get publicity free of charge.
That is a marketing strategy that you cannot do on Instagram. Interpersonal relationships still matter so make efforts to build them with your customers.
The author is Alex Chisom Nwakwo, a Nigerian legal practitioner passionate about the corporate practice.