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How to win the African market

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Are you a manager or business person and you want to sell your services or products in Africa? Or are you planning on settling on the continent and creating a company? Thanks to the user-friendly online platforms like WordPress and social media, where small businesses and startups can tap the same powerful sales channels and marketing tactics used by big-budget players. In fact, brilliant entrepreneurs regularly outperform major brands by creating attention-grabbing content that attracts vast audiences worldwide.

The key to your success will be: selling well. The majority says, “It’s like everywhere!”, but the reality differs from that. In other markets, it’s just about recruiting the right people and doing some market analysis. Africa has other particularities you must consider as to win its market namely:-

Know your product and your target

Knowing who is most likely to buy your product is step one in winning the African market. The whole point of learning how to market a product effectively is to connect you with your audience and convert them into paying customers. To achieve this, you first need to identify and define who is looking for and most likely to buy your product. Having your ideal buyer in mind helps you develop an engaging product story that will make them want to buy and target your tactics to the channels they’re most likely to use.

Assuming you know your product well or you are already very familiar with the service you are going to offer. It is essential to identify your target accurately:

  • Region (Central Africa, West Africa, East Africa, etc.)
  • Country
  • Language
  • Cities (ports, capitals, etc)
  • Socio-professional categories

Checkout detailed information about these:-

  • Region

Identify which section of Africa you are more interested in for your particular product or services. Could it be in the West, East, the north, south or central of Africa?

       About Africa
Africa is the world’s second largest and most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million square km (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth’s total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world’s human population. Africa’s average population is the youngest among all the continents, the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos with Algeria as its largest country by area, and Nigeria as its largest by population. Africa contains 54 fully recognized sovereign majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. More about Africa. So, with this in mind, choose a region(s) that will best suit your product or service.

  • Country

After identifying the region, it’s also vital to be specific with the particular country/countries you’re targeting within that region. For-instance, in East Africa, it could be Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi! Choose one or those that are most compatible with your products or services.

  • Language

I believe that it’s hard to find even a single country in the universe using a single language, right! Usually countries use various languages lets say French, Ganda, Swahili, just a few listed. If Tanzania (northern) is your focus country, it would be brilliant for you to localize your product content to Chaga language, and other dialects such as Kivunjo, Kimarangu, among others. Localizing your product content into your target country’s languages can work like magic.

  • Cities

Within the country that you yarn to win market, it’s important to identify which cities you hope to put more emphasis. For example in Uganda one can base on cities like Kampala, Jinja, Mbarara, among others depending on what you’re willing to offer and the environment. Now, one may wonder why these among the other cities? Personally I’ve never seen or heard of any business person aiming at being average, have you? We all aim at excelling beyond. The above cities have got the largest population with both business people and final consumer, in such a way that people travel from wherever to reach these cities for their desired products or services. So be critical about that as well.

Research the competition

Studying your competition can tell you a lot about the customers who buy similar products, where they shop, and how much they’re willing to spend. Many business marketing classes teach participants how to perform a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threads) analysis. You have to start by taking a serious look at your competitors. Make a list of the businesses that offer products or services similar to the one you plan to launch. Even if you think your new product or service is entirely unique and without existing competition, it’s important to put yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes and imagine what they might buy in place of what you plan to offer. Once you decide who your competitors will be, take time to review their marketing materials, including their websites, brochures and ads. Gauge how your new product or service will stand up against what’s already being offered, in what ways you’ll excel, and which companies or their offerings pose the greatest threats to your success.

Define your marketing tactics, tools and channels

Once you know who your customer is and what your competition is up-to, you’re ready to choose your sales and marketing channels to reach buyers. Will you market online, via catalog or through dealers, for example? Generally, multi-channel marketers achieve the greatest success because customers who can shop when and however they like tend to spend more and shop more often. Suppose your strategy is to market a product to people who can’t afford high-priced home equipment. You might choose traditional direct marketing plus online sales as your primary channels, and employ tactics including direct marketing plus online sales as your primary channels, and employ tactics including direct response TV spots and online ads and email solicitations that link to your website.

Craft up a compelling story

A product story that solves a problem or elicits an emotional response is what resonates with shoppers, converts them to buyers, and makes your brand memorable. At this stage, you should have a clear understanding of what you must offer in order to stand apart from your competition and who will want to take advantage of your offer. However, do you know why customers will want to buy from you vs. the vast field of competitors out there? What benefits and features will you provide that your prospective customers will value most? All in all, make sure that your product or service “bundle” is unique and meets the needs and desires of your best prospects.

Localize your website/ content

Localization simply refers to the process of making something local in character or restricting it to a particular place. Many companies have realized a boost in global sales, have won a global brand presence, and have generated product acceptance as a direct result of their localization efforts.

As you wish to grow and look to expand to Africa, localizing your website or content is crucial to ensure successful market entry. While the World’s Internet usage has increased since the year 2000, most of the world market, in terms of internet usage, still has not been tapped leaving immense room for growth. You must look at localization as not only a strategic advantage, but as a necessity to capitalize on your growth opportunities in Africa.

Here are some of the changes that you need to make to your websites: rewriting text and translating text, modifying graphics and creating new graphics, changing colors and layout, and modifying tables, forms, databases and database fields.

Plan for long-term success

Successful product marketing is a pursuit with intermittent spirits, so planning includes a mix of long- and short-term sales channels and outreach tactics.

Test your concept and marketing approach

With all the money it takes to bring a new product or service to market, it’s risky to rush into the launch phase foregoing testing. What should you test? It’s best to examine your product or service bundle plus your marketing message and your marketing materials. Depending on what you plan to market and your budget, you can use formal focus groups or simply host round-table discussions with members of the target audience, employ online research or marketplace confront studies, or distribute your product to a select group of users for testing. Only after testing is complete, should you proceed to the final creation of your marketing tools and materials.

Unveil your campaign

Public relations often play a vital role in the launch of a product or service. You can use media relations to place articles and win interviews, get coverage by allowing key press to review your product, hold a launch event, or use popular marketing to build buzz. But no matter what publicity route you choose, first make sure your product or service is completely ready and available for purchase in order to maximize returns from the coverage you receive. And your other marketing efforts should follow closely and the heels of your press unveil. Monitor the results from all media, and in the first weeks and months, be prepared to adjust your campaign to take advantage of what’s working best.

Know your product’s life-cycle

The campaign you use during the introduction and education phase of your product or service launch will need to be updated as your product or service matures. If you’re monitoring your marketing results carefully, you’ll begin to see diminishing returns that will indicate when it’s time to revise the product or service itself, alter your media message, or even phase out this particular offering and lay the groundwork for the launch of your next great idea.

In conclusion

We’ve talked about the many product marketing tools and tactics at your disposal. However, to maximize these efforts, you really must start at your product marketing journey in Africa with a good understanding of your target buyer and competition. You can certainly consider “a know how to win market in Africa for a new product”, right; but above all, you must start with good fundamentals. Good-luck as you bundle to stow the African market.

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