Online Marketing in The Gambia had been nearly an unheard of concept up before 2005. Now however, more and more companies, especially those looking to attract overseas markets are waking up to the incredible benefits and potential of using the internet for business.
So what is online marketing? If you are a marketing director for an energetic company you probably already know. For everyone else, online marketing is simply using the internet to distribute information about your business and products. More importantly, it is by far the most cost effective way to reach a vast audience both regionally and internationally.
Rhythm has expertise in all areas of online marketing, from website design approaches through international branding. We offer packages for both "Branding" and "Traffic Generation" and we gauruntee all our packages by only charging you when your advertising works.
Rhythm provides services to both international and Gambian clients.
There are two principal reasons why a company would choose to implement an online marketing campaign.
To help create a wide scale recognizable brand image, much the way billboards, TV advertising and Radio work. This form is called "Branding".
To drive internet traffic toward a website with the intention of selling or promoting products or services. Much like handing out brochures or making active sales calls. This form is called "Traffic Generation".
In the "Branding" form an online marketing firm such as Rhythm will strategically place image or moving flash advertisements on carefully selected websites where the advertisement will get the most possible viewings by the intended (targeted) audience. These advertisments can also and often do link to the companies corporate website.
With "Traffic Generation" the goal is to drive targetted internet users to a carefully designed website where they will be able to read more about the product or service available and preferrably be able to purchase right on the website.
In both cases, one of the most important advantages of internet marketing is that the audience of the advertising can be much more carefully targetted. Unlike TV, Radio, or billboards where the audience is extremely general, online advertisements can be placed on websites which are viewed by people who already show an interest in a specific topic, product or service.
For example if you put a billboard up in London, England advertising your hotel in The Gambia thousands of people might look at that and say, "Where is the Gambia?" and not think of it again, certainly they are unlikely to contact your hotel. Only an extremely small percentage of the audience may be interested. Conversely with online advertising, you can put your advertisement on a website which talks about The Gambia, or has hotel information for west africa and so the advertisment for your hotel is very relevant to the viewer.
It is this audience targetting that makes internet marketing so effective and so cost advantageous.
What Steps to Take
In most cases (though not all) online marketing starts with having a carefully designed website which will promote consumer confidence in your brand, provide usefull information to the customer and make it clear how to purchase or utilize your products or services. You can think of the website like an interactive brochure which enables the user to learn about you and your products. In many cases you can then extend the brochure to include purchasing online. Once you have your website you are ready to begin your marketing campaign.
First, define your goals and audience. Determine what you are trying to achieve, whether it is branding, or traffic generation, where you want the traffic to go and who you would prefer to market to.
Second, you should choose a good online marketing partner. The marketing firm should have expertise in online marketing tools and strategies, be able to help design effective visual and text advertisments and be able to provide advise, feedback and statistics during the entire campaign.
Third, set your budget. Online marketing can help significantly at any budget and you can get started for as little as a few dollars a day. To determine your budget consider the amount of traffic you would like to generate or how often you would like your ad display. The number of times your ad is displayed is called "Impressions". Consult your marketing partner for the expected costs of advertising in your business space and the likely results.
Lastly, just get started! Unlike many marketing styles online advertising can change quickly. Once you start you should be able to see immediately which types of advertisments are working and which ones aren't. The campaign can be actively managed and adjusted to maximize the return on investment.