Best marketing tool for modern businesses
Zimbabwean business's might be tempted to think that websites sites are more effective in the first world than here. In 2008 this might have been a pretty accurate way of looking at the internet, but a lot has changed:
- There more than 8 million internet users in Zimbabwe
- Children are being taught computers at young age thus increasing computer literacy
- Email is now one of the most used form of business communication
- Websites are fast becoming the most used form of marketing tool to reach a wide audience
Although we are still far behind the developed world where up to 70% of the population in first world countries have internet access, a large percentage of the economically active people in Zimbabwe do have internet access: a sizable and very important market. Perhaps even more significant is that these internet users can (and do) influence the purchase decisions of their unconnected friends and contacts - because they are often asked to "research" companies / goods using the web.
Potential customers do company and product research on the internet.
When asked to decide between two competing companies with roughly the same product and price, the customer will most likely pick Company A where lots of quality information is available on their web site - above Company B where he has to wait till Monday to get detail and quality information, or where the sales person is not knowledgeable or persuasive enough.
Your customers look for you on the internet
Internet users in Zimbabwe use search engines (google.co.zw) to find products, services and companies several million times per day. Most of these people are in search of a solution to a problem. Not having a web site is the equivalent of hiding. Not a good strategy for a business.
Quality information sells
It is either impractical or very expensive (or both) to provide your potential customers with the product (or service) information they want when you use traditional mass media like print, radio or TV. With a web site you can identify what your customer's interests are and lead him directly to the right page with heaps of quality information. Educate your potential customer on why your product or service is the best.
Build a relationship with your market
Your web site allows you to build a trust relationship with your customers - if you supply good quality (honest) information on your product or industry. You can do this by using discussion forums on your web site, email newsletters, how-to-guides, evaluation guides, surveys, ratings, etc. As an honest provider of quality information (of direct help to your potential customer) you automatically build customer loyalty - which supports the long term growth of your business.
The most cost effective way to reach your market.
Compared to the miniscule investment in running a web site, all other forms of marketing is over priced and ineffective. Not paper flyers, radio or TV ads, classified ads in the paper - nothing - is as cost effective as an efficient web site to drive sales and retain customers. A business can only survive if it markets effectively - and for this a well designed web site will do that.