Asides a lack of skill set, capital and electricity, one large aspect of business that affects the success of startups is marketing. People create awesome products with amazing designs but aren’t just able to sell them. This is largely due to the belief that they might go viral.

But most content and products don’t go viral, they have have to be marketed and sold to specific audiences. Here are 7 marketing tips for Nigerian startups.

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1. Nomenclature

A generic name will hurt you in the search engines. If you Google your proposed company name and someone else has the domain/name you wish, think up another name.

After selecting a name, acquire as many public web properties related to that name as possible. Setup a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr account with the exact name of the company. Link all of them back to your website. Create a Google Place.

2. Targeting

I was speaking to a client a few weeks ago and it turned out they were running an online campaign targeted at the whole of Nigeria while their service was only available to Lagos residents. They had wasted thousands of naira.

If your company has products for teenagers, target users between the age of 13 and 21. Not all 10 million Facebook users.

3. Marketing Budgets

As you budget for your Internet plan, diesel and salaries, don’t forget to put some money aside for marketing. $5 a month on Facebook goes a long way when you do it right.

4. Engagement

10,000 Facebook fans but your website doesn’t get up to 1 visit a day? First of all, people need to stop the habit of acquiring followers for the sake of numbers. I’ve realised that these numbers only matter when you’re in constant engagement with your fans/followers. Publish content that you think your fans would like to relevant social networks and include a link to your website occasionally.

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Be funny. Remember that people don’t live in a world that’s closed to your industry. Ask what they feel about Ronaldo’s win of the Ballon D’or. Don’t tell me you’re selling an iPad and link me to your homepage. I’ll never click any link you post again.

5. Search Engine Optimisation

People need to be able to find your T-shirt selling website if they’re looking for T-shirts to buy. The title of each webpage should contain words you think a person would search for if they were looking for your product.

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Make a list of 10 or more keywords you want to show up for every month and insert them in the title tag when you’re linking to the page. If you’re not sure what keywords you want to show up for, Google one keyword or phrase and scroll to the bottom to see related terms.

Something like this works –

<a href=”http://www.konga.com/men-s-wear/darcy-mens-long-sleeve-shirt” title=”Men’s wear: Darcy Men’s Long Sleeve Shirt in Nigeria”>Darcy Men’s Long Sleeve Shirt</a>.

Konga and Jumia do this very well. No wonder they show up for almost anything you want in Nigeria. Asos shows up for almost any clothing term you search for.

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Create a Google+ page and link to all your top-level categories with the keywords and phrases you want in the about section. Submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster tools.

6. Start A Blog

Share pro tips around your service. Blog about your industry’s successes and challenges. Blog about experiences in Lagos traffic.

7. Start A Newsletter

Newsletters are great because they bring users back to your website. When you start blogging, add a banner to every page on your website asking people to sign up. Send a newsletter that links back to your website at least once a week. CreateSend and Mailchimp are great tools. They come with Analytics too.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Feel free add an eighth, ninth or tenth.

Disclosure: Olabinjo was a social media manager at Hotels.ng for 3 months.

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds and alphadesigner via Compfight cc

Binjo Adeniran | Author

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