Before Building Your Business Website

Today I’d like to talk to you about your company website. We get calls all the time from potential clients and the calls usually go something like this;

“Hi, our company needs a new website, we do XYZ, please send us a quotation?”

Well this is really the wrong approach to developing or designing your primarily digital property for your company. And when I get that question I always push back and ask, “Tell me more about your company, what you sell, what are your business goals, your current customers and who is your target audience” Because this is the information you need to keep in mind when building your website.

Whether you are an e-commerce company looking to sell products online or a non-profit looking to engage with donors and/or your constituents, you always need to keep in mind that your company or organization has a specific goal or objectives and your website will have to play a very major role in helping you achieve those objectives.

Your website is a very key piece in your overall marketing and communications strategy and unless it is directly helping you achieve your business goals, then you might as well not even have one.

You don’t just need a website, you need an effective website.


So before you start the process of identifying someone, or a marketing agency to build your website, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do we need a website
  2. What business purpose do we want it to achieve: Conversion examples – Hotel rooms, Online sales
  3. Who is our website’s target audience – who is your target audience as a company
  4. How do we want our website to serve them
  5. What is the success criteria for our website
  6. How will our website help us achieve our business or organizational goals

Remember, your business has, or should have a business plan that is reviewed and updated annually. And included in that business plan is a marketing plan that hopefully includes a digital marketing strategy. Therefore, with the cost of smartphones and data dropping, resulting in more people getting online in huge numbers, your website is actually the backbone of your business growth and marketing strategy. At least for most organizations. That’s how important it is to your overall success.

So, when the time comes when you are ready to build your company website, be sure that you work with a partner who takes the time to understand your business, understands the importance of your website to the success of your business, and is able to guide you through the process of not just building a website, but building an effective business tool.

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A Walk Down Memory Lane: What Makes An Advert Special?

Nafurahia, undugu na uko wetu, Nasherekea, kazi na bidii yetu,

Tuvute pamoja Tushirikiane, Bega Kwa Bega tujikaze tusaidiane.

If you were born and living in Kenya back in 2010, you probably sang these words out loud. You probably visualized the T.V advert displaying the beautiful Kenyan scenery; the mountain caps, hills, oceans, and valleys. You probably even pictured some of the faces behind the advert. If, for one reason or the other, you don’t remember the advert, then here it is. If you do, here is something to reminisce about.

What’s your most memorable Kenyan advert, and what characteristics make it memorable? Is it the effort displayed, the aesthetics, or the music? Is it the location, the characters, the contextualization, or the relatability? I would argue that it’s a myriad of factors. Marketing in general is extremely delicate because the best kind of marketing does not actually feel like marketing. The irony, right? People do not buy goods and services. They buy relational stories and magic. They buy the stories you tell them through the advertisements.

An article on Forbes emphasizes the need to pay attention to the slightest detail when it comes to advertising. Advertisements can make or break a product especially in today’s highly competitive markets. Creating the best commercial is vital to getting one’s product out there.

I see colors, the wonder of colors in everything I touch, in everything that reminds me of a world of beauty, a life of plenty…

Do these words immediately ring a bell in your mind? Do they remind you of Crown Paints? If they do, then the brand probably did a fantastic job of curating the content. This advert was not your regular T.V commercial. The music is catchy, and the brightly coloured images make it almost addictive.

But we’re not just talking about Television Ads. Let’s not forget all the Duracoat billboard Ads by the famous Peter Marangi. In this case, the advertisers used him as a brand ambassador to push forward their product. Whenever you saw him on a billboard, you could almost hear his voice as displayed on T.V and radio commercials. Years later, people still associate Duracoat to Peter Marangi, meaning that the advert indeed had an impact.

Let’s not forget the “Share a Coke” advertising campaign by the Coca Cola company back in 2015. We were probably more drawn towards the product because of the name tags. Most of us were excited to find our names and buy the drink for our loved ones because of the names written on the bottle. This advertising campaign was extremely successful and for a simple reason: It was relatable. Consumers were able to interact with the brand on a personal level. The essence of marketing is in relating to your target audience, and therefore, an advert will only be successful if the people can relate to it.

But beyond the actual content, and perhaps the most important, is the quality of the audio-visuals. In fact, a study carried out in the U.S concluded that the most effective “brand assets” in making the spots more memorable are audio cues and characters.

As the world moves more towards the digital space, the advertising scene will not be left behind. In fact, it becomes a little more demanding. Online adverts and especially those on social media, need to capture the attention of the users and make the advertisement memorable within a few seconds. Just recently, a study by Microsoft found that the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. Online content needs to be tweaked to capture the audience’s attention within these few seconds.

As a brand, memorability may not be your only goal when it comes to advertising. How do you measure its success rate? Well, that is entirely dependent on you. What benefits are you aiming to reap out of it? Is it consumer awareness, an increase in sales, or promotion of the brand image? More often than not, the aim of the commercial should determine how it is arranged and produced. However, if you can make an advert memorable, more and more people will be drawn to purchasing the product. A memorable advert can translate to increased awareness, sales, and a good brand image. A memorable advert may just be what you need for your brand.

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The Frequency Illusion Theory

You can be in any part of Kenya – Nairobi, Kisumu, Nyeri, Mombasa, Embu, or even Meru – but the minute you see a lime green poster or billboard, you will immediately associate it with Safaricom. Similarly, you can be in any part of the world, but that candy red hue will forever be associated with Coca Cola. Why? It all started with the Frequency Illusion theory, and it’s time we harness its power in our marketing strategies.

Our brain has an incredible talent for pattern recognition. This is the basis of the theory, which occurs when the thing you’ve just noticed, experienced or been told about crops up constantly. With time your brain makes permanent associations with that thing.

The theory is also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. While this may sound like the name of a brilliant philosopher from the 1920s, it was actually the name of a German extremist group in the 70’s. The “nick-name” came to be after someone expressed an unsettling feeling of hearing the name Baader-Meinhof more than twice in less than 24 hours. You can come across the name Ashley or John ten times a day without realising it, but a name like Baader-Meinhof? That’s definitely something surprising. 

We have all been there. You are shopping for a branded handbag on an E-commerce website, and for the rest of the week, you keep seeing that particular brand everywhere you go. You are on the phone talking to a friend about a trip to Watamu, and suddenly everything you see on the internet is Watamu-related. More often than not, your first instinct will be that your phone is ‘stalking’ you, but you may in fact be experiencing the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

How can businesses leverage this as a marketing tool? It’s the ever-glorious C word- Consistency! Make sure that your audience is seeing your content as often as possible to a point where they associate certain colours, patterns, shapes, and even sounds with you. To trigger Frequency Illusion, make potential clients aware about you. Use a variety of marketing techniques, and do not be shy to repeat yourself. After all, only repetition can put the “frequency” in the frequency illusion

Now, go forth, and don’t be surprised if you keep coming across the words Baader-Meinhof today. It’s just the Frequency Illusion theory in play.

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You’re Doing It Wrong

Digital marketing, you’re doing it wrong. Let’s talk about some of the common mistakes people make in their digital marketing and how to fix them.

Here are 10 common mistakes that businesses and agencies make when carrying out their digital marketing.

1. Forgetting Mobile Users 

When designing a website, it is common for marketers to design a website that looks good on a computer but completely forget about designing it for mobile phones. Last year in Kenya, 87% of all web traffic was on phones, with an average of 3 hours 48 minutes spent online on phone per day. With numbers like that you cannot afford to have a website that does not give a good user experience to a phone user. In fact, with numbers like that, you should build your website with the main focus being a great mobile user experience.

2. Not Measuring ROI

No matter whether you are doing the digital marketing yourself, or if you have an entire marketing team dedicated to it, digital marketing takes time, money and effort. Sometimes we end up putting in more effort and money than it’s worth without knowing it. Always measure the return on investment of your marketing efforts and see if they are actually worth it. If your business sells products directly online, it’s a pretty simple process of tracking sales points. If not, follow up on each lead by asking them how they heard about your business.

3. Targeting Everyone

When we believe in a product, we often think to ourselves, “who wouldn’t want to buy this?”, and that is how we end up targeting our marketing efforts. We end up casting a wide net because we think it may yield the most results. Sadly in digital marketing this is one of the worst things you can do. Casting to wide a net ends up expending valuable resources. Instead it is best to carve out a niche segment of people who NEED your product. Change your mindset from “who wouldn’t want this” to “who can’t live without this”.

4. Not Personalizing Their Communication

We have all received those marketing emails that start with “Dear sir/madam” from an email address like, and more often than not they either sit unread or get deleted immediately. That’s largely because of the cold detachment with which they are sent. Without the personal touch, nobody cares that much about what you have to say in an email. Next time you have an email campaign going out: address the recipients by name; make sure the content is for their benefit, not yours; and have the email come from a person.

5. Being Anti-Social on Social Media

A lot of older more established companies join social media and use it like a billboard or a newspaper ad; as a channel to pass on information and that is it. The beauty of social media is the ability to interact. If you just use it to share information and ignore comments and messages, people quickly see this as bad customer relations and quickly switch to a more interactive option.

6. Focusing on Acquisition and Not Retention
Most digital marketing efforts by companies are geared at getting new customers, reaching new people and markets. However in most cases, your business is sustained by repeat customers. If you are a garage, you want customers who will come back every time they need your services, the ones who will always tell their friends and family about their go to garage. The ones who know all the mechanics by name. Do not neglect them, because they are the ones that keep the lights on when business is tough. Instead offer them more and more reasons to come back.

7. Doing It Alone

Hire people.
Work with an agency.

8. Poor Budgeting

You get what you pay for.

9. Not Setting Goals

Set specific & measurable goals that you can actually achieve.

10. Not Using The Data

You are making assumptions about your customers.

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Landing Pages: Why They Matter

The single sole purpose of an online Ad is to solicit a click

1. Make it campaign specific

  • A dedicated campaign about the offer
  • Should have the same creative/concept as Ad

2. It’s about Conversions

  • Don’t be shy, tell them what to do
  • Lead them down the path to conversion, literally

3. Keep it simple

  • Share the most important info and leave out the rest
  • Uncomplicate the conversion action

4. Focus on the Benefits

  • They have arrived. They want the product. Talk about the benefits

5. Make is user friendly

  • It must be mobile responsive
  • It must be easy to navigate
  • It must not be confusing

All the work you have done on the front end can go to total waste if you have a crappy landing page. If you are running a well-planned campaign, you must plan adequately for the traffic it will generate.

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Email Marketing In Kenya

Is Email Marketing still relevant? YES

Email, has now been around for over forty years. It’s a form of communication that many argue is outdated and irrelevant in this world of smart phones and social media that we live in today. Email has been used for many years for personal communication, business communication, and yes – marketing & advertising.

However, many people would relate email marketing with being interruptive, spam related, and often irrelevant & mass communicated information.

But the truth is, email can still be used as an effective and very powerful marketing tool. And today I’m going to share with you few but very important tips on how you can use email marketing to grow your business

In today’s world, the consumer is king – it’s all about putting the right thing in front of the right person at the right time, and using email marketing is lets you do that.

When someone fills out the information on your website, you now can effectively communicate with them through email and slowly nurture them through their purchase journey

And because they gave it to you, this person’s email isn’t from a random list of contacts you purchased online; it’s a real person with real interest in whatever it is that you’re offering. So Progressive companies can take advantage of that. They can use the power of email to start a conversation and build a relationship with a prospect over time.

There’s so much to cover on how you can use email marketing as a powerful tool to grow your business. But I’m just going to share 4 key areas that would make a huge difference:

  1. Build an Opt in list:

No one wants to receive emails from a company they don’t want to hear from. It happens a lot unfortunately and that’s one of the things that gives marketing emails a bad name.

An effective email marketing program is heavily influenced by the quality of your email list. And the more people you have on your list who want to and know that they are on your list, the better results you will get.

Here’s what I trying to say; give your current and potential customers an opportunity to willingly join your mailing list. How?

  • Make it easy for them to sign up from your website
  • Request them for their email addresses during your interaction with them
  • Let them know that you shall be sending them useful information about your products or services that could help
  • AND, make it easy for them to opt out of your list whenever they want
  1. Share content that is relevant:

Remember, it is a privilege to be given someone’s email address. We forget that an email address is actually personal information that’s unique to an individual so it should be treated with the sensitivity it deserves. When someone gives you their email address, they are basically saying, “I don’t go around dishing out my personal contacts to strangers. I am sharing this with you because I trust you, and I am giving you direct access to me and the opportunity to engage me one on one”.

Therefore, don’t abuse the privilege you have been given by selfishly sending out information that only benefits you. Share content that helps the customer first before it benefits you. For example:

  • It can be a discount offer that helps them save money
  • It can be a notification of upcoming service disruption to help them plan ahead
  • Transactional emails – Your order has been received
  • It can be info on a new version of a product they have that can be more useful to them

The more useful info they get from you, the more they trust you. Which means they will want to keep hearing you, and you can continue to build that relationship as you lead them down different conversion points in their customer journey

  1. Segment your email campaigns:

Segmentation is a huge driver for success in your email marketing efforts. You can now segment your database based on where the user, prospect or customer is in the buyer’s journey which further puts the right thing in front of the right person at the right time. You can have automated emails sent out to segmented groups of users who have certain characteristics and use those characteristics for dynamic email marketing.

Segmentation Examples:

  • First time buyers
  • People in the same industry – travel agents
  • Repeat customers
  • Based on gender
  • Based on region

We notice from the client email programs that we do that segmented emails generate more leads, lead to increased email open rates, and have lower unsubscribe rates.

  1. Personalize your emails:

Everybody likes to be addressed by their name. It’s like walking into your favorite restaurant and the hostess sees you and says, “Hi Martin, welcome back”.

You feel recognized and gives you a feeling that they know you and understand your needs.

Any credible email marketing application will allow you to personalize your emails for the most effective results. Based on how you engaged with your customer, you should at least have the user’s first name, last name, and email. And just like that, you can send a personalized email to every person in your database, and this does make a difference.

Personalized emails, e.g. addressing people by their first name, see improved click-through rates, increase in conversions and personalized subject lines always have higher open rates

So here’s my conclusion about email marketing:

I think we agree that email marketing is not as powerful in this part of the world (Kenya) has it has proved to be say in the US. BUT, if used and developed well, it can really be a differentiator.

And I would concur that the old way of doing email marketing no longer relevant in 2019 ; With purchased lists, non-relevant content, and spammy subject lines – you’re more likely to end up in a person’s junk folder than grabbing their attention in the inbox.

However, through the use of segmentation, personalization and a a true effort in understanding of your customers and where they are in their purchase journey, it’s now easier than ever to put the right thing in front of the right person at the right time through email.

People are still checking their emails more now than ever before and it’s undoubtedly one of the most profitable marketing channels out there.

One thing is for sure – email marketing still VERY relevant.

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