Online marketing has evolved over the years. It continues to be a huge part of developed countries and now it is about to play an integral part in developing countries. This means Botswana businesses must move with this wave as an effort to expand their marketing in and out of the country as a growth strategy.

The 21st century has diversified and brought out the biggest online community which is a globe on its own. We have passed the times where paper was the easier way of spreading the word about your business and the services you provide. Use of posters/flyers, billboards, newspaper adverts, direct mail and “tell-your-friends-to-tell-their-friends” strategies are no longer reliable if you intend to build a strong good customer base.

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Why online marketing? Everyone uses the information superhighway nowadays. More than half of the world’s population possess smartphones, tablets and laptops and mostly have access to the internet through mobile networks and Wireless network connection through internet service providers. New media can no longer be considered new (sub-sector) as it is becoming a preferred platform for many around the world. Even with limited access to the internet, Africans are also becoming significantly digitally active, thus placing your customers in this one, and currently more affordable, marketing platform.

Digital/online magazine, social networks, networking and promotional websites are the new craze, efficient and futuristic. The tools that you use daily on your smart devices can expand your business horizon and build a greater client base.

Time should be invested on strategic and creative activity on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter by entrepreneurs. These are just a few of the leading platforms were you can interact, observe and analyse how your audience engage with your messages and business. You can also use social media to develop marketing strategies. You can observe trends and patterns allowing you to learn so that you can provide the relevant market with a relevant service or product.

www.internetsociety.org

www.internetsociety.org

Another great option for online advertising is Google Adwords but other sites to consider include Bing Ads, Stumbleupon Ads and Pinterst Ads. You can pay for “Sponsored” post on social media but with AdWords you will be enhancing your digital presence on the internet.  Depending on your type of business, relevance, potential of effectiveness, you might want to consider using AdWords in order to promote your business and be more visible than your competitors online.

You can even go to an extent of placing an advertisement on online newspapers, magazines and other publishers. Publications are seeing a great shift of readership switching to their online websites for the latest news. This presents an opportunity to reach the audience that used to be largely reached through print publications. Online publications offer advert banner spaces similar to advert placements in print publications. They also offer different ways of advertising such as sponsored content.

Your business sector, size, location, target market, message and budget determine which method you should consider for your business. With a large population always glued to their mobile devices, this is becoming a more attractive option for marketing. There is no denying that the internet is an information super highway, and you want your business to be on that lane.

By: Gaone Abigail Moalosi