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The Effect of eCommerce on Intra-African Trade

The Effect of eCommerce on Intra-African Trade

The Effects oF eCommerce on Intra-African  Trade

 

According to a report, just over a fifth of the population in Africa uses the Internet compared to two thirds in Western Asia. The African continent even though endowed  with  evenly distributed natural resources, has a relatively impoverished groups of people compared to other continents, many of its inhabitants are located in rural areas, where the benefits to be derived from ICT and e-commerce have not been felt. The sparse nature of ICT infrastructural development in most countries of the continent has resulted to the major differences in the sizes of the overall economies, in the level of expertise available, and other development issues.

The obstacles to e-commerce are many and varied.
Legal Frameworks: Most countries are yet to institutionalize legal frame works   that will handle issues concerning Intellectual Property Rights, and Consumer Protection in the digital arena, digital signatures and contracts on the cyber space.

Financial Environment: e-commerce is yet to take its proper shape in Africa due to skepticism on the use of Credit cards for online transactions and payments. Major gaps exist in most African countries. While some economies in the African continent have embraced the cashless society as experienced in developed countries, many economies are almost entirely cash based. In such cash-based economies, credit cards are virtually non- existent and central bank clearing facilities are very limited.

Information Infrastructure: there is high cost of equipment and connectivity of e-commerce as relates to physical goods or teleservices in the African continent. Limited bandwidth adds to the problem of providing off- line teleservices and online teleservices as such services demand high quality fast network access.

Transportation and Delivery System: The placing of an instant order (and perhaps the equally quick debiting of appropriately quick delivery of the goods. While this is eminently feasible for virtual goods such as music files, it is far from that when it comes to physical goods. Airfreight is risky, infrequent and expensive in Africa; customs clearance procedures are long and complex; local warehousing facilities hardly exist.

Human Capacity: brain drain has become a major setback in the attempt to bridge the digital divide among countries in the African continents and the western world. The right people required for effective implementation of e-commerce must be ICT compliant, deeply oriented towards the digital economy and conversant with web languages and technologies. Most people who have these skills leave their countries in search of greener pastures in Europe and America. And undoubtedly these challenges have marred the positive results e-commerce is projected to have in Africa.

Yeah, there are many issues to be redressed and proper energy must be channeled towards exploring e-commerce to Africa’s advantage considering its resources and potential as a continent. In spite of her challenges, it is imperative to highlight some positive effects e-commerce has brought to the continent: In the past five years, Africa has had the most rapid Internet growth rate in the world. In places like Kenya and Nigeria, consumers and sellers have enjoyed convenience in online transaction: The rapid growth in internet connectivity has led to consumers and producers seeing the advantages of e- commerce with convenience forming the major enticing factor for online businesses. Furthermore, people living in Africa can also now buy and sell goods from anywhere on the globe by placing orders and paying over the Internet. Also, product advertisements, shipments of these goods can now be done electronically providing a leeway for African entrepreneurs to tap into the vastly larger markets for their    goods

Trade in Online service: Online Forex trading, online airline ticket booking and reservations, online banking services, online taxi/bus booking services, online auctions and supplies have become fully operational in African countries facilitating efficient trading by providing timely access to vital business information. The massive deployment of globally accepted electronic payment cards (MasterCard, Visa card etc.) by African banks and fintech solutions providers has bridged the gap in trade and payment methods between the continent and the western world.

It is observed that the global growth rate of e-commerce is rate of 25.8%. Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya are the top three countries that shop online which has contributed immensely the growth of their economies. E-commerce has come to stay and the Africa continent cannot work in isolation. There is urgent need for a paradigm shift in our approaches to business and methods of business transactions, to conform to the modern way of transacting business, which is more efficient, timely and globalized. Investments in ICT infrastructure and appropriate legal framework to guide and protect the emerging e-commerce in the continent have therefore become inevitable. For effective development and utilization of e- commerce potentials in Africa, the following issues have to be addressed should be made affordable and available even the remotest parts of the region literacy training programs among producers and users (consumers) effectiveness and use of Electronic payment systems to boost their level of confidence on the system.

local content to ensure easy maintenance of the systems. countries should be well branded and recognized globally transportation) should be   highly efficient and less expensive. Monitoring and  taxing of  transactions legal framework to build trust remove or avoid trade barriers Chambers of Commerce, Cooperative societies, and NGOs in Africa can bridge the economy of scale on the technology required for e-commerce by setting up online malls showcasing a pool of their members’ sites, products and services. With the following measures, it is certain Africa would enjoy the complete benefits of e-commerce and manage the risks well prepared and better.

How to Spy on Your Competitor’s Online Marketing Strategy

How to Spy on Your Competitor’s Online Marketing Strategy

How to Spy on your competitor’s online marketing strategy

In business, “spying” is understandable and acceptable. It means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor. This will help you with your business goals and allow you to plan out your next move. In today’s world of vast technology, spying means checking what your customers are digitally doing right and introducing such rewarding measures in your business. Below are some ways to spy on your competitor’s online marketing strategy:

1. Use social listening to monitor your competitors
Social listening tools can be used in a variety of ways, from market research to discovering relevant influencers from your niche. And another great way to use them is, of course, to monitor your competitors and their online mentions. Many social listening tools let you monitor pretty much the entire web, not just social media but also blogs, forums, news sites and other online publications.

Below are steps you can do with social listening:
Set up searches of your competitors’ names and websites to find all online mentions: this can help you uncover some interesting things, such as what mentions they’re getting in top-tier publications – how can you get a mention for your brand as well?
How many mentions are they getting: are they getting more mentions than you?
What is the sentiment behind their mentions?
What is their share of voice – and what is yours?

All of this information will help you benchmark your own business against your competitors, but it also helps you see a picture of their overall strategy – and the results they are getting in return.

Of course, generating traffic back to your website is no easy feat. There are so many things that you need to do, so many different tactics that you need to use – and you’re also competing with countless other websites at the same time for the attention and time of the same audience. In this case, understanding what your competitors are doing to drive their traffic can massively help you improve your own.
. How much traffic are they getting?
. Where is their traffic coming from?
. Which keywords are they ranking for?
. What sites are linking in to their website?

There are some tools you can use to monitor traffic and SEO – one option is Alexa, which you can use to:

a. See any websites’ traffic stats, including engagement (bounce rates, daily time on site), how many unique visitors they have and where their traffic is coming from (including the percentage of search traffic)
b. Find new competitors based on how their audience is overlapping with another competitors’ website (or your own website)
c. Compare your website stats against your competitors and compare traffic sources to discover new traffic opportunities
d. Find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for and discover potential low-competition keywords that you can rank for

2. Use Social Media
Social media has become one of the most important marketing tools we have available at our disposal; it helps boost brand awareness, customer engagement, website traffic and even conversions and sales – if used the right way.

Monitoring your competitors’ social media presence can help you a lot when putting together your own strategy; here’s what you need to find out: Which social networks are your competitors using? Simply search for their brand names on all major social networks to see where they have accounts; which ones are the best performing? Where do they have the most followers and engagement? This can help you choose the best platforms for your own social media strategy.

3. What is their content strategy like? What types of updates do they post on each social network and how well are they performing? This can help you understand what types of updates work best for your target audience, both in terms of content formats (videos, Stories, images and so on) and in terms of the topics they choose to cover. Use this information not to copy their updates but to understand which updates work and which don’t and use that knowledge to inform your own content strategy for social media.

Who are their followers? Who forms their target audience? Where are they from? Monitor their followers to find opportunities to connect with more people
What social media ads are they running? Should you use the same platforms for your own ads?

4. Monitor Your Competitor’s Email Marketing
Analyzing emails is as difficult as it sounds, but there are tools like MailCharts to simplify things a little bit. MailCharts aggregates emails from competitor campaigns to help point you in the right direction. They gather subject lines and also data like send frequency so you can see whether you measure up to the competition or not. The tool also compares your campaign to its own massive library to make sure you are sticking to best practices like timing, subject line length, frequency, and so on.
Another great tool is Owletter which aggregates competitor emails, analyzes them and presents the data on a simple dashboard for your spying pleasure.

In conclusion, it is important you diligently implement the information you have garnered from your competitor. With proper application, it is certain you will have an edge than your competitor.

YouTube Launch New Dedicated Fashion & Style Content Hub

YouTube Launch New Dedicated Fashion & Style Content Hub

YouTube Launched new dedicated fashion and style content hub

Whether it’s for music, entertainment or tutorials, just getting lost in a video hole, YouTube is a platform we are all familiar with. However, the media platform, which heralds the title of second biggest search engine in the world, is launching a new channel Youtube.com/Fashion, which aims to bring unfettered access from not just the fashion front line, but deep into the industry.

YouTube Fashion will be a hub a content where you can find live streams of the most talked-about fashion shows, insider interviews, fashion how-to tutorials, closet tours, red carpet style and creator content from the biggest names in the industry.

Derek Blasberg, who serves as director of YouTube Fashion and Beauty shared the following.

“Top shelf content on the site during the next four weeks will be fashion shows from New York, London, Milan and Paris. There will also be a series called, ‘Stories of Style’ – which acts as a behind the scenes look at the fashion industry. There is a vertical devoted to model, which we have coined ‘the model army’, another devoted to careers. Publishers like Stylist and other magazines will also have a vertical where they can create content and publish articles for their readers. So instead of this kind of content being dotted all around the YouTube.com site it’s in one channel dedicated to you, where algorithms will pick up what you like and bring you more of that type of content.”

“What we see doing really well on the site is slight longer piece – between six and eight minutes – that has a narrative structure and is personality rich. So, whoever in the content is someone super charismatic or witty or someone that holds your attention. Also, I think people come to YouTube to learn something. It doesn’t have to be as descriptive as like five tips for the perfect little black dress, but I think when people are watching

YouTube, they want to learn something or discover something or find a practical method that they can apply to their stylish life.”

YouTube has announced the launch of its all-new ‘/fashion’ hub, that will showcase style and beauty-related content by luxury fashion brands, beauty creators, industry collaborations, publishers, as well as live runway shows, and more. The new section is accessible now at YouTube.com/Fashion In addition, as explained by YouTube,

“[YouTube.com/Fashion will] feature original content from the biggest names in the industry, as well as the popular content that users have come to expect from the world of YouTube. Each shelf is chock-full of compelling videos from fashion and beauty creators, industry professionals, publishers, and luxury fashion brands.”

It is quite interesting to see social media platforms growing to meet the growing needs of consumers. What are your thoughts on YouTube launching new dedicated and fashion style content? Please feel free to share your comment.

How to create Awesome Shareable LinkedIn Content

How to create Awesome Shareable LinkedIn Content

How to create shareable LinkedIn Content

What do you understand as LinkedIn? It is a social media platform that allows members (both workers and employers) to create profiles and “connections” to each other in an online social network which may represent real-world professional relationships Members can invite anyone (whether an existing member or not) to become a connection.

Below are how to create shareable LinkedIn Content:

1. Know and understand your target audience
Before you start writing, take a moment to identify your target audience. It is difficult to get people to share your content if they don’t care about it, so it is important to figure out who you target audience is and cater your content to them. All you need to do is ask some basic questions.

Who: Are you targeting artisans, students, retired couples, teenage girls, marketing professionals, engineers, musicians, or scientists?
What: What does your target audience need? Create something that will help them.
When: When is your target audience online? Publish with those times in mind.
Where: Where do they live, work, and play? Someone who lives in Egypt doesn’t need a list of Spain’s best restaurants.
Why: Why is your audience online? Are they looking for specific information, socialization, entertainment, or validation?
How: How does your target audience experience the internet? Are they using a computer, or do they do most of their browsing on a smart phone? Make sure your content is compatible.

2. Use a headline that attracts attention:
First impressions are essential. It doesn’t matter how good your content is if no one bothers to read it because it is unattractive. There are many different ways to write an engaging headline, and the following are some useful tips.

  • Include a promise in your title: Everything You Need to Know about Star Wars
  • Numbers let your reader know what to expect: 7 Reasons 80’s Kids Love Star Wars
  • Ask questions to stimulate curiosity: Which Star Wars Character is Your Soul Mate?
  • The Ever Popular “How To” article: How to Become a Jedi

3. Include an image with a call to action
When sharing an article in a group or on your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn will automatically pull in the featured image from the post. This shows up in the preview to the left of the text. This image is a great place to add a call to action telling the reader to click for more information. Here is an example of how we use this feature here on the GuavaBox blog.

4. Share your guest post, less spammy
On social media, particularly in LinkedIn groups, slimy marketers have ruined the fun for all of us. By “spamming” groups with links back to their website, they have made community moderators extra wary of any links shared back to a user’s website. It doesn’t matter if your article is extremely valuable, there is still a good chance the moderator will flag it as spam. One way to share your content and still make the moderator happy is to focus on sharing your guest posted content.

5. Make it useful
Content that recognizes and solves problems is also more likely to be shared. Although an article about fixing your bathroom sink may not seem very interesting, it is a common problem many people have to deal with. If someone finds your content helpful, they will share it with others who face the same problem. If you run a business that sells clothes, write a blog post with ideas about how to accessorize an outfit. If you sell compost, share an infographic with the best times of the year to plant a garden. If you sell craft supplies, share a video that demonstrates how to make your own wreath or decorative pillow case. Give your customers content that helps them use your product or service, and they might just share it with friends.

6. Make information accessible
There is a LOT of information online. When people are reading online, they skim the page to see if the content they need is there. If a reader doesn’t find what they are looking for at your site, they will move on quickly. Here are a few tips for making information accessible:

  • Use headings and sub headings to clearly identify your topics.
  • Use lists to make information easy to organize.
  • Write short paragraphs. Shoot for 3-4 sentences.
  • Use straightforward language. Your vast vocabulary may be impressive, but that doesn’t make it accessible to the average reader.
  • Use images to illustrate your points.
  • Create an infographic to explain complicated data and statistics. Infographics like the one in this post are easier to understand and more fun to read.
  • Use white space. Giant blocks of text are intimidating, and it is difficult for readers to quickly identify the information they want in long passages.
  • Creating content that people want to share is hard work, but it will pay off when the traffic to your website hits a new high. Use these tips to create high quality content that your users will be compelled to share.

Effective Tactics To Generate Leads

Effective Tactics To Generate Leads

Effective Tactics to Generate leads 

As a digital marketer one of the many questions that may cross your mind could be how do you generate leads, and what are the available tactics one can use to generate leads. These questions may be bother you, however do not be worried because you are about to get answers to your questions and possible solutions to your lead generation problems. There are various tactics one can use to generate leads which I will list and explain to you in the next few paragraphs. 

Defining your audience: 

The first tactic we will be considering is audience definition. Before you get started with lead generation process, you need to first define the kind of audience for your brand. The reason you must do this is to ensure that your marketing gets to the right audience. One may spend so much time and money trying to convince an audience but it will not pay off if such an audience turns out to be the wrong one. 

Now how do you define your audience, to do this, you must come up with a customer persona which is based on their locations, behaviors, demography, and interests. When you do this, you can then build your target audience, reaching your audience will therefore be precise and your time and effort in marketing will not be in vain. 

Blog regularly 

Most customers will only trust a blogger who is regular in his/her blogs. To earn the trust of your customers you need to ensure that you blog regularly. Also, you must create related and highquality content. Your content should be able to engage your customers and this will encourage them to always come back to your blog for more. This continuous tactics in promoting relationship between you and your customers makes regular posting of highquality content one of the best tactics of lead generation. 

Social media marketing: 

Social media marketing plays a huge part in attracting new and returning customers to your brand and the valuable content you create on your website. Content marketing although is not sufficient alone but promoting your content will give you a better result 

To get the most out of your time, you need to do some research to find out which social media channel is being used by your customers more frequently. If your target customers are more active on Facebook than on Instagram, then use Facebook to communicate with them more, drive followers to your website and initiate the lead generation process. 

Search Engine Optimizer (SEO): 

SEO is a powerful tool in the digital marketing arsenal that you can easily take advantage to drive your inbound lead generation campaign. It is an important traffic channel in any online lead generation plan. Three are some effective ways to use SEO for a better lead generation result these are: 

Optimize your homepage and inner content. 

Optimize for mobile users 

Get local 

Avoid SEO errors 

SEO revolves around optimizing the structure and content of your website and receiving relevant external links to your website. To be able to get business you must be found on the internet which is why SEO is one of the most important tactics in lead generation 

Affiliate marketing: 

To boost your lead generation further, you could implement affiliate marketing. These affiliates will send traffic from their websites to your own landing page. In return, you can give them a commission based on the number of leads or sales they generate. You could also ask them to drive conversions and boost your revenue. If your affiliates work more effectively, they will get higher commission and you will get a higher number of leads. Therefore, affiliate marketing is a cost-effective tactics of generating leads. 

Organize competitions: 

One tactical way of generating leads is by contest or competition organization. You can decide to organize a small competition with a reasonable prize attached to it. So many people like free things, therefore they will love to participate in the competition. In this process you can get their demo graphs, email account, phone numbers, address and even their pictures. You can also award runnersup of the competition to increase the number of contestants and therefore more leads. Mind you, why you are attaching prize to your contest be very careful not to make it unrealistic and ambiguous, because this will not only make your leads to lose trust in you but it may also chase them completely away. Be moderate and precise!  

10 Tips To Help You Drive More Leads Conversion

10 Tips To Help You Drive More Leads Conversion

10 Tips to help You Drive More Leads Conversion

  In leads conversion, most of your leads won’t automatically convert into sales by simply sending it through your conversions funnel. It will often require additional help to produce the conversion. Below are some tips to help your business convert more leads into sales.   (1) Use visuals: A very high population of the audience are visual learners. So, it is not surprising that articles with visuals get 94% more views than the ones without and thus drives more leads conversion. Although, it is not just enough to just have any image on your site, they should be of quality and should send the right messages. Occasional use of graphs and charts to display the advantage of the product is also a welcoming idea. The use of videos is also important.   (2) Offer specials and Incentives: Offering of specials like incentives can also convert your leads into sales. If I may ask, is the someone in this 360degree world that does not like free stuffs? I guess the answer is “no”. Note that the discount doesn’t have to be something outrageous and the free gift doesn’t have to be of high monetary value. Just be moderate in the offer.   (3) Develop a great FAQ page on your website: Many leads won’t convert because the potential still have questions that they need answered before they can become your customer. For one not to lose this kind of customers, you must answer and reply these FAQs and make them prominent on your website. Ensure that your sales and customer service team put together a list of these frequently asked questions.   (4) Teach Your Audience: Today’s buyers are more sceptical and difficult to convince. They are highly informed and can easily get prices and learn everything about a product even before been approached by a sales person. Also, with the advent of the internet, most of these customers get almost all their information online. Therefore, it is important to be the one to reach your prospective customers. You should help customers make their decisions through sales enablement white papers, videos, infographics and other content marketing practices to better inform the customer.   (5) Ask for the next action: To convert your leads to sales, it is important to make information available to help the prospective buyers take the next step in the sales process. The customer is invited to learn more, download a report and request on more information. These online interactions help in converting leads into sales by showing which leads are ready for the next step and which is still in the research phase of the buying process.   (6) Monitor your sales pipeline: Your sales pipeline gives you a unique overview over the prospects you are working with. You should monitor which stage of the sales process the prospects are in and the activities that are done. This can be done by each individual salesperson and the sales manager to get a complete overview   (7) Qualify the lead first: To provide a valuable first impression, it’s important that you qualify the lead first. This can be done through an assigned coordination or by the sales team. Perform a quick google search on the person or the company or search for the company in your CRM software. find out if the lead has already performed an action such as attending a conference, events, workshop, etc.   (9) Get contact’s information: Most times websites alone cannot do everything, humans too can be very important. Even if most of the information are on the website you it may not be advisable to rely solely on it. You should get the contacts of these customers to continuously be contacting them, especially in reaching the targeted sales leads.   (10) Call as soon as possible: Now that you have their contacts, call them as soon as possible. This can also be referred to as follow up. According to research most firms fail to follow up with 70% of their leads. A simple call back within two minutes or less increases the likelihood of purchase by four times.   And here is a bonus tip (11) Score your leads: Now that you have enough leads, it is good you score the leads. Not every lead should be added to the sales pipeline. Implement a quality control system by allowing only the high score leads in and nurturing the rest. Qualified leads will have similar traits to previous prospects. They should have the right title and budget authority with a serious need and interest. When you have a lot of leads not ready for sales, do not ignore them, just nurture them in their decision-making process pending until when they will become sales worthy.

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