Gone are the days when launching and marketing your business online was simply a matter of putting together a static website, and expecting people to visit your online store. Today, because consumers are able to get information from a variety of sources and platforms, a successful online business launching and marketing requires an integrated approach.
Here’s a look at 19 essential online marketing apps and tips for making a budding Nigerian Entrepreneur’s business launching and marketing online a huge success.
- WordPress – this is a must-have complete content management system for any budding Nigerian entrepreneur to build relationship with his audience and customers. This software enables anyone in your company to quickly update and alter content efficiently and cheaply. The Standard version is free, all you need are; a domain name (e.g. yourbusinessname.com) which you can purchase for $10 or less from 007names.com, web hosting (plus free domain name registration) from syskay.com, basic design and plugins to customize your business blog.
- Google Adwords keyword tool – This app is used by your competitors to target their Adwords advertising at the right kind of people. This app also reveals loads of information about what different people want and how they are going about getting it. If your business is maintaining any kind of online presence, then keyword research is a must.
- Google Alerts Tool – this app is great for monitoring what people are saying your brand. Whether negative or positive, this tool will give you first-hand information.
- BBN SMS – this bulk sms solution helps Nigerian business owners spread the word about their products and services to prospects’ mobile phones. This Nigerian SMS marketing solution increases publicity, leads and sales.
- Google Analytics– This web analytics app helps a business owner to easily measure and qualify how current and potential customers and other visitors are using a particular website site. You can also get a complete demographic breakdown.
- Survey Monkey – these online survey apps helps you know what your customers or subscribers want and what they are doing by asking them directly, and by far the cheapest and most efficient way to do this is online. The various ways to go about surveying the market are on your blog, website or via email.
- Getresponse – this autoresponder app enables you as a business owner capture prospects’ contact information online and also set up a scheduled e-mail drip campaign at timed intervals that sends send permission-based, personalized and specialized email to people with whom you’ve already built relationships. It also allows you to offer a pre-order for your new product, exclusive only to e-mail recipients. Or, offer a sneak peek at the new product before it’s released to the public. This will help you nurture and reward your existing relationships and continue building on the trust you’ve already earned.
- Sharethis – these free apps are viral marketing tool that enables your happy customers or subscribers to spread the word about your business to their network of colleagues, friends and loved ones via their emails and social media profiles.
- Wowcity: is a great Nigerian version of foursquare and Google places geolocation app for connecting Nigerian shoppers with Local businesses. Therefore, if you have a physical location your customers frequent and want to encourage buying experience and increase sales, you can use wowcity to list your business online, offer deals, and promote your business to your influential customers. This goes a long way in closing the gap between online marketing platforms and a physical store, plus creating a lot of buzz for your new product.
- Twellow, Followerwonk and Klout – this app helps you to research, locate and understand the most active social media users in your target markets. These people have earned a large and tuned-in set of viewers, listeners and followers. Also, creating relationships with these highly influential people can lead to valuable long-term opportunities.
- Nutcache invoice billing software – if you are running a business in the service sector. This app enables you to send invoices to your clients’ email addresses on time. There are the free version and paid version, which starts from $5 per month and $50 per year.
- Dropbox – this app is good for online storage.
- Skype– this app is essential for international calling and instant messaging from computer to computer.
- Google Docs – this app enables you to create and share your work online. It also enables you to access your documents, surveys, spreadsheets, presentations from anywhere in real time.
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Youtube & Slideshare Pages – these social media sites allow you to build, strengthen, maintain, promote and stay connected to your business, brand and personal contacts no matter where you are in the world.
- Cash Envoy or Vogue Pay – is a payment system that allows you to monetize your website store and collect credit card payments from anywhere in the world.
- Socialoomph, Twitterfeed, & Posterous – these apps are very essential for automating your content or rss feed submission and sending instant messages to contacts in your various social media profiles such as blogger, twitter, facebook pages, youtube etc.
- GotoWebinar – this web conferencing tool saves the budding Nigerian business owner the financial headache that comes with organizing a seminar. Thanks to GotoWebinar, you can now host an online seminar and talk to 100’s of online attendees from the comfort of your room. All your attendees need are a personal computer with headphone or speakers to listen and watch you speak.