We’ve been looking at various aspects of running an online business in South Africa. And today, I take you one step further to teach you how to market your business online in South Africa.
If you have been following our guides, by now you understand the difference between online and offline business.
Offline business is also known as brick and mortar. It comes with a physical location in most cases.
A good example is an electronics store in town. You customers come and go (you have foot traffic).
Online business is based online. Most of its transactions are conducted online.
If you own a website where you exclusively sell clothes, that’s an online business. Or you are selling digital products like courses and e-books.
The traffic is online (people using devices to access the store and make purchases).
Now, if you own an offline business, you can still market it online.
In this article, I will introduce you to four proven ways to market any business online in South Africa.
How to market your business online in South Africa
#1. Have a website
A website is the first way to market your business online in South Africa.
As of January 2020, there were 36.54 million internet users in South Africa!
That means that over 56% of the country’s entire population is using the internet.
Do you know what that means?
It means that if you do not have a website, you are missing out on the potential to reach over 36 million potential clients.
A website is like a 24/7/365 employee. She works all day, night, and day without pay.
Tell me this;
Who is willing to promote your business 24/7 without pay?
How to get a business website in South Africa
To get a website in South Africa, you need two things;
A domain name
This is the address people will use to access your website.
Without it, you don’t have a website.
Good thing is, you can use the name of your business as the website name.
If your business is called Sihle Electronics, you can create a website called www.SihleElectronics.co.za
Here so guides you need about domain registration in South Africa;
Go through them to get a better understanding.
Web hosting account
A hosting account gives you everything you need to create a successful website for your business.
Moving on with showing you how to market your business online in South Africa.
#2. Content marketing and SEO
Content marketing is the use of content (articles, videos, images, and audio), to market your business online.
The article you are reading now is part of our strategy here at Truehost Africa to reach people like you.
By reading this post, we teach you valuable tips, and who knows, you might end up buying our services.
You can apply the same in your business.
Think about how you can weave in content to help market your business online in South Africa.
If you have a boutique business selling women’s shoes, you can create video content reviewing some of the shoes in your stock.
Then upload the video online (YouTube, Facebook, or WhatsApp).
Now, if you decide to blog posts like the one you are now reading, you will need a way for people to find them.
That is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
It is a way of making sure that the blog post shows up when someone searches for related queries.
I have optimized this article to show up on Google whenever someone searches; how to market your business online in South Africa.
What goes into doing that is something you can learn here in detail.
#3. Search Engine Marketing
Since I introduced you to SEO, it feels right to further tell you a bit about search engine marketing.
See, search engines, like Google are free to use, right?
Users like you and I can search anything on Google for free.
Question is, how do they (Google) make money?
Through search engine marketing.
Here is how it works.
Google ranks web pages according to relevance to your question (keyword). The most relevant one comes at the top, others follow.
And how they determine which one to go to the top is through SEO.
SO, you go to google and search, domains in South Africa.
The first results are ads (well, depends on the keywords anyway). They come here because they pay Google to be there.
And then followed by ‘organic’ results.
These guys got here through SEO.
Now, an assumption is that the user is more likely to click on the first result whenever they search for anything on Google.
This explains why people are fighting for position one, others willing to pay their way up there.
When to pay your way to #1 on Google
Question is, when do you decide whether to pay or go the organic way?
You alone can answer this question.
Because you have to figure out what’s important to you depending on what your target audience is searching online.
I’ll use our example here at Truehost Africa.
Since we sell domains, two people go to Google and perform a search;
User A: Free domains in South Africa
User B: Where to buy domains in South Africa
We’d be willing to pay to be the top result when user B searches for that exact keyword.
It has to do with buyer intent.
The search engine marketing topic is long and complex, which is why you just need to understand this;
You can pay Google to show your website when a specific query is asked.
#4. Join Google My Business
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.
To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information.
When you search ‘Salons near me,’ Google shows you businesses near you.
You wonder where Google got the information from.
They pulled data from businesses around you who have created Google My Business profiles.
All you have to do is provide information about your business. Things like your location, business name, and contact information.
And whenever someone searches for queries on Google related to your business, you are more likely to show up. That is how to market your business online in South Africa.
#5. Join Facebook Groups
By January 2020, there were 22.00 million social media users in South Africa.
And out of that, over 38.76% are on Facebook.
All you have to do is join groups related to your business.
If you deal with Fashion, join fashion related groups and promote your business.
I have taught you how to market your business online in South Africa.
While there are other ways to do that, these are the ones that you get to see results fast.