The Future of Online Marketing in Kenya
As a web developer and local online marketer in Nairobi, I have seen tremendous growth of Internet usage in the last 2 years. Almost everyone I meet has set up a website, is in the process of setting one or is considering doing so. Those who are not in a position to set up a website are either using Facebook or blogging to market their products and services. I have also worked with a number of clients who want their websites redesigned while others are looking to add interactive features on their websites. All these are signs that the market is experiencing a shift that will only grow as more businesses use the online space to reach their customers and engage with them.
Compared to growth trends in the West, however, the Kenyan market is limited by finances. Most businesses are looking for cheap ways of going online, either by having cheap website services or trying to do it by themselves. While this is understandable, considering the economic restraints that most startup businesses have to go through, this could also result in poor results when websites do not deliver. Most of these businesses are just starting out in the online space and to many, just having a website is enough to get people visiting your store and buying. When this doesn’t happen, most end up going to the traditional media that has a more visible return on investment (ROI).
Kenyan businesses, nevertheless, need to realize that just like any physical store needs to market itself, websites also need to do the same. Nearly 100,000 websites are created everyday and standing out will require more than just setting up a website and waiting for people to visit it. You need to be proactive when it comes to your website and that includes pushing out regular blog updates, sharing informative content with visitors and engaging with your Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Most business owners however, barely have the time to even go through and respond to their emails. As a result, proactive businesses will outsource what they cannot manage in-house.
We live in exciting times when large corporations and SMBs have a level playing ground, thanks to the Internet. Only businesses that leverage the online space now can remain relevant in the future. As Kenyan businesses evolve and adapt to new media, we can expect this growth to only accelerate. There is no denying that it will take time for online marketing to really kick off in Kenya, but all signs point to that direction.