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What Kenyan Digital Marketers Wish You Understood

How does one become a digital marketer in the first place?

My career in digital marketing started quite haphazardly. Back in 2014, I used to create SEO-optimized content for clients at iWriter.com. The rates were great, and I could always work in my pajamas but, there comes a time for change and growth.

what Kenyan Digital Marketers Wish You Understood

Two years later, after taking an online course on Inbound Marketing and Sales, courtesy of Hubspot, I landed my first full-time digital marketing job at Legibra. Admittedly, I still miss working in my pajamas, but the exposure and exchange of ideas I experience working in an office is a fair trade . But perhaps what I miss most about working on iWriter is the fact that clients could only ask for one thing- SEO-optimized content.

Working as a full-time digital marketer, however, means that when dealing with a client, our conversations are not limited to content alone, but span over the whole digital marketing gamut, from email marketing to PPC.

That said, over the year I have received a lot of strange questions and comments- in fact, some would comfortably fit into a meme. These comments range from ‘can you fix my laptop?’ to “Please change our Facebook page color to match our brand color’’.

what Kenyan Digital Marketers Wish You Understood
“Please change our Company Facebook page color to match our brand color’’.


Granted, such questions are always genuine, from business owners who want to harness the power of digital marketing, but quite often I can’t help but wonder whether working in pyjamas is better.

The Top Five Things Kenyan Digital Marketers Wish You Understood

1. “This person has 20,000 followers, let’s pay them to push our product.”

In this age of influencer marketing, paying a ‘big wig’ to push your services or product may seem ideal; but, keep in mind that just because an Insta-model has 20,000 followers doesn’t necessarily mean the 20,000 followers are interested in your products and will ultimately buy. So it’s important to look at what matters, like what is their engagement rate? Do they influence your target audience? What image do they portray? Most importantly, how effective are their previous campaigns? Towards the end of 2017, we have seen influencers losing their edge as more people become immune to their ‘powers’. Therefore, the real question should be, “Is it worth the risk just because they have 20,000 followers?”

2. We have a low Digital Marketing budget, so we only need a Facebook Page

Unless you have a time machine to teleport back to 2009, Facebook marketing is currently not free. You will need at least KES 10,000 a month to boost your posts and serve ads if you want significant returns. Surprisingly, the same people who make this remark are usually the same ones splurging on billboards. While we may lack data to compare the effectiveness of a billboard ads against PPC -especially in tracking results- I’m willing to bet the latter would perform better given adequate resources and the right strategy. But I digress.

3. We Will Fix The Website Later, Let’s Do this Adwords Campaign First

Look at it like this; if you had a brick-and-mortar store with paint peeling off the walls, coffee stains on the floor and a bunch of clutter on every corner, would you spend money cleaning and fixing the place or advertising to drive more foot traffic? Similarly, there’s nothing as cringe-worthy as seeing a company spend thousands on driving traffic to their clunky and outdated website. If you have a budget for SEO and PPC, then you should have budget for ensuring your website is up to scratch.

4. So when will Google Put My Website on The First Page?

If I knew what Google knew I wouldn’t be here writing this post, I would be cruising on a yacht in Diani paying someone else to write this. As hard as it may be to accept this; it’s impossible to predict Google’s algorithms. In my experience, it may take anywhere from six months to two years for Google to rank you on the first page. What’s more, Google requires a set of requirements to be met before they even consider ranking you on the coveted first page. So if your website isn’t mobile responsive, doesn’t have an SSL certificate and takes forever to load, don’t even dream of ranking on the first page.

5. Can you fix my computer?

This one always gets me… My response? “Of course I can fix your computer, just email it over.”

Moving Forward

With the advent of online business, digital marketing has become a mainstay for the majority of business owners, especially, SMEs who want to reach a broad audience at lower costs. As we continue working together to tap the online market, I hope you won’t have to ask your Kenyan digital marketers the questions mentioned above, but, instead, discuss strategies for leveraging latest digital marketing trends and best practices.

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