Digital marketing in Africa: The ULTIMATE guide
With the rise of the internet and social networks in Africa, buying behavior has changed significantly. Even if traditional marketing remains rooted in African cultures and traditions, digital marketing is becoming more and more important in the budget of the continent’s businesses. Despite the lowest internet coverage rate in the world, estimated at around ten percent, Africa offers great opportunities and prospects for digital marketing. In this guide to digital marketing in Africa, We explain how to take advantage of the opportunities that digital marketing offers.
What is digital marketing
Before we unpack all the reasons you should use digital marketing, let’s agree on a definition that most professionals could give you.
Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing refers to any marketing action done online to promote a brand, a service or a product. Even if the use of search engines and websites seems low in Africa compared to other continents, it is still there. In addition, African populations have completely adopted social networks. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or YouTube users are not rare in Africa.
This is why digital marketing is becoming more important than ever for companies wishing to support their growth in a sustainable manner.
Digital marketing for an African company
For companies that promote products or services in Africa, the goals can be different depending on the type of customers.
If your customers are also companies (B2B), you must use digital marketing for prospects, in other words companies likely to be interested in your products or services.
If your customers are individuals (B2C), your aim will be to attract them to your website and convince them to buy your product or subscribe to your services.
Digital marketing for an African professional
If you are a professional or an individual, digital marketing can help you to :
- Improve your personal branding
- Enhance your expertise and attract the eye of recruiters towards you
- Increase your expertise on one of the web marketing levers
What are the main digital marketing levers useful for Africa?
In this guide about digital marketing in Africa, it is important for us to specify that the web marketing actions you will undertake depend mainly on your goals: awareness, loyalty, traffic generation on the website, etc..
Each lever has a specific purpose. For African countries, the most interesting levers of digital marketing are:
- the website
- search engine optimisation or SEO
- online paid advertising or SEA
- social media marketing
- content marketing
- Email marketing
The website: an essential lever now in Africa
Whether you are a professional or a company, the website becomes one of your pillars.
Available 24/7, it is your store or your digital showroom. Your website allows people to know a little more about you, your offers, products and services. Whatever acquisition strategies you will implement, many of them will generate visits to your website, and go further in trying to engage and retain your target.
Nowadays, user experience is an important element for the SEO of a website. That’s why when creating your site, you must pay attention to your graphic charter, usability and friendliness, etc. In addition, with the rise of cell phones on the African continent, many of your target prospects will access your site via their cell phone. That’s why you need to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile.
SEO Africa: position your site permanently in the search engine results pages
In Africa, like everywhere else in the world, the reflex of a person is to type a word or a group of words in the search bar of Google, then to click on the first results.
This means that if you can’t give the link to your website to all your prospects, which is impossible, your goal must be to position yourself as high as possible in the results pages. To succeed in doing this, you must position yourself on keywords that your potential customers are likely to type to find you.
According to Statcounter, Google is the leader of the search engines in front of Bing or Yahoo. This means that if you want to make your site visible, you must first try to get it listed on Google. On the other hand, as I often explain in my tutorials, a site without natural SEO is like a store hidden deep in the forest that no one will visit. Another thing that is important to tell you is that SEO can take a little time to take effect. The time it takes depends mainly on the effort you put in.
Paid Search: generate visits to your website immediately
Since as mentioned previously, depending on your efforts, the ranking of a website can take time, there are alternatives to generate visits very quickly on your website. Among them, there is paid advertising.
Online paid advertising works on a cost-per-click system, where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Google being the leading search engine, Google ads has become the most used platform in terms of online advertising. If you are not able to position your site quickly in the Google results pages, Google ads will be very useful. When they are well structured, Google ads are positioned at the top of the Google results pages.
I know you’re wondering why you have to pay to be visible on Google. Let me explain why.
As discussed above, with Google ads you have the opportunity to position your site at the very top of the Google results pages. And that’s not all! The good news is that you can position yourself on keywords that are interesting for your business, i.e. keywords that your prospects are likely to type to search for what you offer as a product or service. The image below shows you how an ad appears in the Google results pages.
And thus by investing in Google ads :
you attract almost immediately visitors on your website;
you are sure to have qualified visits on your site because the people who click on your ads are only those who are likely to be interested in your product or service.
Social media marketing: stay in touch with your target audience.
Today, in most African countries as well as in the world, about one person out of two has a social account. African populations have for the most part adopted social networks, especially Facebook. Social accounts are on the rise. This has forced companies to start using social networks in their digital strategy.
By definition, social media marketing consists in producing content on social networks in order to interact in a sustainable way with a target.
As an example, as part of our personal branding at Webfirstrank, we produce infographics and carousels on my different social accounts. These different contents serve to maintain the interaction we have with our target audience (digital enthusiasts, learners, entrepreneurs, etc.). we noticed that when we stop for a long time because of lack of time, the interaction rate of our following posts decreases. On the other hand, when we have more consistency, the interaction rate is better. The moral here is that if you want to thrive on social media, one of the keys is consistency.
Thanks to Social Media Marketing, you can :
- install and develop your brand awareness
- attract prospects
- establish your digital presence
- have a lasting interaction with your customers
- increase the engagement of your audience.
In fact, social networks allow you to multiply the points of contact with your target. Because when they are not on your website, your target is on social networks. The average time spent on social networks is increasing in all parts of the world. That’s why you should not neglect social networks in your digital strategy.
However, each social network has its own followers, codes and audience. If you are targeting professionals for example, you should turn to a professional network: LinkedIn. If your audience is disappearing, Facebook could be the key. For a younger audience and focused on the visual, you will turn to networks like Instagram or Snapchat.
Email marketing is an unsuspected performance lever of digital marketing. In our African countries, email is considered just as a means of intra-company communication. For a company as well as for a private individual carrying out a freelance activity or a side activity, email marketing allows to :
- keep in touch with your audience;
- strengthen your brand awareness;
- Share articles and news;
- promote new products or services.
It all depends on your objectives. It is from your objectives that the emailing campaigns that you will set up will be derived. In any case, there are a multitude of scenarios in which you can use email marketing. Nevertheless, here are the most common ones:
- You offer your current customers your new products;
- You inform your customers on the occasion of a contest that you want to organize on social networks;
- You thank a visitor of your website who subscribed to your newsletter;
- Periodically, you share articles and other tips with your audience.
As you can see, several scenarios can arise.
Content marketing to inform your target
The role of content marketing is clear. Use content to :
- Attract a target
- Inform them
- Convert and engage them
- Build loyalty.
To do this, you have a multitude of content types you can use:
- white papers
- case studies
- photos and impactful visuals.
Before using these content formats, you need to ask yourself several questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What type of content is likely to interest them?
- Does my content allow my target to move forward in his conversion path?
These different questions will allow you to make the most of the potential of each type of content.
What are the main benefits of digital marketing?
After reading everything above, you are probably wondering what benefits you can get from digital marketing. What I can tell you is that digital marketing is :
- efficient compared to traditional marketing techniques
- allows you to reach a larger audience
- Measurable with different digital tools.
Bottom line for this guide to digital marketing in Africa
Digital marketing is a vast theme around which revolves many sub-themes. If it is true that traditional marketing is still rooted in the cultures, we must not neglect the many opportunities that digital marketing offers. Today, we can no longer do without it. To take advantage of it, here are the main levers that we advise you:
- Your website as the main lever of your strategy
- SEO to generate traffic on your site from search engines
- Paid advertising or paid search to help you position your site at the top of the search engine results pages
- Social media marketing to multiply the points of interaction with your target
- Email marketing to keep in touch with your target
- Content marketing to inform your target and help them progress in their conversion process.
If you need help with any of the above, please feel free to contact us. Our digital marketing team will reach out to you for a FREE consultation, in order to help you with your digital marketing strategy and achieve great results.