10 tips on how to successfully market your products online: OLX's head of business development Priscillah Muhiu

Priscillah Muhiu

Priscilla Muhiu is the OLX East Africa's head of business development and marketing at OLX, a global online marketplace.

In Kenya, the platform is mainly used by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with over 100,000 users selling on the platform.

Muhiu gives Jacqueline Mahugu tips on how you can succeed in online advertising.

1. Learn your target audience

Know who your customer is first. Do your research. Look at where they are, the platforms they visit and the strengths of those platforms. For example, the Twitter audience is very different from the Instagram audience. Instagram, for instance is very good for a fashion businesses because the people who go there are fashionistas.

2. Ensure that your product is relevant

You need to know what people are looking for. For example, if your consumers are price-sensitive and you have high priced products then it will not make sense. Your product needs to be relevant to the people you are talking to.

3. Understand your value proposition

Why you? Why should a consumer go for your particular product and not those of your competitors? What is so unique about it? You have to be clear to the consumer about the value proposition of your product.

4. A picture is worth a thousand words

The visuals of your advertisement are crucial. You need to showcase. Focus on showing samples of your products because at the end of the day they will know your business by buying things from you. People do not buy your company, they buy what you are selling.

At OLX we always emphasise on what we refer to as content quality and we are very keen on photographs. We always recommend that people take at least four photos of the item they are selling on our platform.

Our data shows that people who have more than four photographs of the item increase their chances of selling by five times, compared to people with less pictures or none.

5. Show, but also tell

When describing your product, be crystal clear. Describe it very well. Make sure you entice the person looking at the ad to buy your product. Grab their attention.

This principle applies in any trading situation. Even at Gikomba, the person who shouts the loudest and has the best price is the one who sells the most. They are likely to have more people surrounding them than the quiet ones.

6. Do not make any assumptions

Sometimes businesses assume that the buyer knows them, their location, how to get the products or services that they can deliver. Highlight all these key things.

Find out how easy it is for your customers to find your product online. Provide clear contact details.

7. Use the targeting methods provided online

There is no need of showing people advertisements that they have zero interest in. Facebook, for instance, has refined targeting, where users see only ads that are tailored to what a specific user is likely to be interested in.

For example, on OLX if we want to showcase mobile phones, the right people to talk to would be aged between 20 and 30 years.

Facebook very enables you to target your audience in versatile ways such as by age, location, interests and proximity to you.

8. Keep track

When you advertise online, you can very easily assess whether your advertising campaign is working for you or not. It is very easy to track, so you can calculate your return on investment.

You can tell the number of people who clicked on your ad, visited your site and if you have an online form you can tell the number of people who filled it.

This is unlike any other media where you cannot easily tell if people came to you after seeing a television or print ad. It is very easy to attribute the success of a campaign to a particular advertisement online. Facebook gives you the tools to see what is going on.

There is a report for every digital campaign.

9. Timing is everything

Most products have seasons where demand peaks. Watch the trends. You can advertise a great product but at the wrong time when few people would be interested.

For example, if you are a real estate agent, you would know that people tend to look for houses at the end of the month, so that would the best time to be talking to people.

10. Where do you stand?

Advertising for huge corporates works differently from that of small businesses. Even on OLX, big companies ideally use banners while smaller businesses or individuals advertise each product.

Figure out what works best for your particular business based on what you have to offer, your budget and the value that you gain from using a particular advertising mode.