Growth and survival of Nigerian small businesses on the web

Consider this, how many people do you know that have never made a purchase online? quite a few and even if they haven’t made one yet, they most likely would have done some research online considering a product or service.

You may not plan on selling online but as a business owner you need a website where people can  go for information on your business

A growing number of Nigerians are becoming more open to shopping online and the number is on a steady rise as the younger generation is already growing up in an internet dominated world. Despite this, only a few small businesses have websites and others simply believe their business is too small to need a website.

This is odd because the two most important pieces of information a business can display are its address and other contact details.

This belief goes against market research, even the smallest business can benefit from an online presence.

The internet has without a doubt forever changed the way we do business both offline and online.

However, we understand that it’s not an easy task and despite the benefits to be derived from aligning your digital business strategy to your target audience, doing so can be like walking through a minefield as regards cybersecurity, marketing, and overall user experience.

Also with the outbreak of COVID 19 it has become necessary for Nigerian businesses to take full advantage of the web.

Getting the most for your business despite COVID 19

growth and survival of Nigerian small businesses on the web

  • As a rule, your website page load time should not exceed 4 seconds, preferably 3 seconds on mobile and desktop. If it takes more than that you stand to lose 25% of visitors.

  • A person’s first impression is basically influenced by the design-related elements of your site which is the foundation of a person’s judgment of your credibility.

  • 88% of customers will not return to your site after a bad experience

  • 60% of users will not recommend a business that has a poorly designed website.

  • 85% of people think a mobile site should be as good or better than the desktop version.

E-Commerce and Online Shopping

Most Nigerians are getting adjusted to shopping online so it’s only logical to take your business online even if you have a physical location so as to reach as many customers as possible.

Previously e-commerce had a lot of hitches in Nigeria but now with the growth of indigenous payment solution companies like Paystack and Flutterwave, businesses can easily receive payments online.

However, there are also risks in e-commerce and by understanding them you can take the right actions. You can reduce situations where customers do not complete transactions, leaving items in cart or users who leave their devices mid-transaction.

Tweaking the checkout flow and design can actually make up for lost revenue. It is very important that your online store is user friendly as more than half of online purchases are done on mobile.

Also, 80% of smartphone users carry out shopping research via their mobile phones and an even higher number go ahead to check reviews before making a purchase.

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Your website design should incorporate your organization’s values, identity, and message,

and help to establish your online persona as a unique and cohesive entity.

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Cybersecurity and Nigerian small businesses.

It is generally thought that only big organizations are targeted by cybercriminals but hackers also target small businesses.

It may not be quantified what this amounts to but small businesses in Nigeria, while they may not be the target of syndicate criminals they are at risk other intrusions like spamming, data breach and other disturbances.

Cybersecurity should not be overlooked by businesses for the reason of them being too small.

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Digital Marketing and Small business in Nigeria.

How do you get the word out about your online business in Nigeria?

The answer is simple. Marketing.

However, just as the internet has changed how business is being carried out, It has also disrupted marketing too.

80% of small Nigerian business owners report facing major marketing challenges and with the rise of digital marketing, space has become even more confusing. Digital marketing done properly can give you an unfair advantage over competitors.

The majority of small businesses currently carry out their own digital marketing themselves but considering the possible returns it may be worth the services of professionals.

Lead Generation

An important aspect of marketing is lead generation, and what this generally means is the process of attracting and converting prospects of those who have already expressed interest in your business.

These leads can be generated from advertising campaigns or organically. sources of leads could be from search engine results, phonecalls, personal referrals, and events, especially ones that are industry related.

Lead generation isn’t an easy task especially as you have to use multiple channels like email, social media, etc.

What makes it even more difficult is the most difficult aspect of this the fact that engaging content requires you to focus on the customer experience and to make it effective you have to make it a personalized experience. You cannot send the same message to different people and expect to succeed.

One of the biggest hurdles in lead generation is the lack of data. you need a sizeable amount of accurate data to effectively generate quality leads.

This has brought about the rise of many tools designed to capture important data such as HubSpot, Salesforce, and a host of CRM’s (Customer relationship management).

A growing number of Nigerian businesses are currently using or planning to implement a marketing automating solution to leverage automated prospecting.

Automated lead generation helps you generate lead data, capture contact details, and score your leads.

If the above sounds overwhelming, don’t worry:

  • Content is still king and its the fresh original, personalized, customer-centered content that gets noticed. Those that create more of it will definitely reap the rewards. it is estimated that content marketing is 3 times more effective than conventional marketing techniques
  • If you sell physical products or services, customer reviews, and third party reviews are also a good source of leads
  • Social media is still working especially when you can partner with social media influencers.

Mobile Marketing

Smartphones have become an essential part of our existence, a report has shown that at least 75% of people take their phones along with them to the bathroom.

Considering the frequency by which people access the internet using mobile, it a no brainer to find a way to get more customers using mobile technology.

The type of mobile strategy you decide to adopt depends on the nature of your business, your target audience, and whether you just want an online presence or an online store.

For mobile marketing, you will at least need a website, preferably one that is responsive and mobile-friendly.

Also, you need to understand the mobile experience, for example, the importance of apps.

You can also leverage the use of mobile apps for your marketing like WhatsApp, Telegram, and so on.

It is quite expensive to build native apps now so you should consider the nature of your business and target audience before going into that.

growth and survival of Nigerian small businesses on the web

Search engine optimization and pay per click (PPC)

You most likely have heard a lot of talk about search engine optimization and PPC

What they basically mean is positioning your business to rank high in search engine results. Search engine optimization is done by tweaks you make on the design and content of your website that makes it rank higher on search results, while Pay per click is paying to rank top in search results.

Both methods are efficient are not mutually exclusive, you can do both.

These methods are one of the most time tested and efficient methods for increasing leads and sales on the internet. Typically users searching for a product or service usually use search engines and not social media and they rarely scroll to the bottom of the page not to talk of the next page, they believe the high ranking results have more credibility.

Spending on search engine marketing is within the region of $40 billion. and the reasons are

  • Businesses using Google AdWords make an average of 1200 Naira for every 400Naira spent
  • The first ad position has an average click-through rate of 8%

In search engine marketing google is clearly the leader with other search engines like bing following suite.

Finally, it is important to remember that customers who search for local business information using mobile phones are intending to make a purchase. this is one aspect you should consider especially if you run a physical storefront.

Content Marketing and Blogging

If we go by the numbers, a lot of companies are spending big on content. on average 32% of company budgets are allocated to content worldwide with B2B businesses leading the pack with 88%

One funny thing is that despite the money spent on content marketing a sizeable chunk of that money is lost to adblockers, people do not like invasive advertising all the time and actually pay to block ads.

With this information, what are the alternatives? despite the fact that a lot of companies are spending so much on content marketing, only a very few have a laid-out content marketing strategy. Which means there is a possibility of more yield with a planned effort. Here are some methods to consider.

One is video, a lot of marketers and agencies attest to the efficiency of video. The second is dedicated blogging.

With all the buzz about social media and other digital trends, remember the more humble ways you can engage with your customers.

People like it when they can engage directly with a business and are more disposed to companies that releases quality custom content.

One easy way to do this is through blogging and note that regular blogging is way more effective than seasonal blogging.

Lets talk

Get professional web design service

Your website design should incorporate your organization’s values, identity, and message,

and help to establish your online persona as a unique and cohesive entity.

Lets talk

Email Marketing

In Nigeria, 134.5 million people access the internet and the basic requirement for most internet activities is an email address. To set up your android phone or iPhone you need an email address.

Email marketing when done correctly yields very high returns. Worldwide companies return a 4300% return on investment using email marketing, and B2B businesses say its their top grossing revenue generator.

When it comes to communicating with customers, majority of the customers prefer email over all other communication tools when communicating with companies and brands.

However you need to make sure you use your professional domain name that’s consistent with your brand, your emails should be personalized and free of typos and errors. One reason customers prefer email is the ease to referring to it and the amount of information that can be contained in an email.

Social Media Marketing

When it comes to social media marketing, the sheer amount of social media channels can be confusing, knowing which social media channels to focus on really depends on your target audience.

A lot of Nigerian small businesses have at least one social media account and about 20% percent of consumers admit to have been influenced by social media recommendations.

In Nigeria like the rest of the world Facebook is the most popular social media platform as at December 2019 it was reported that there are 27,120,000 Facebook subscribers in Nigeria. Many Nigerian businesses have taken advantage of this large population of users and right now Facebook takes almost 50% of business digital marketing budget.

However Facebook is not the only social media platform that yields results, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter are also doing great numbers for Nigerian businesses.

One thing you should note is that, social media has really upped the speed in communication so you should have provisions to be able to respond on time.

B2B and Social Media

If you are engaged in  B2B (business-to-business) marketing other than the more common B2C (Business-to-customers) you can still leverage social media for your marketing, one place for this is LinkedIn, LinkedIn is more focused on businesses and has been very effective for B2B marketing. It is still of benefit to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for your marketing as a lot of your target audience are there.

The relationships you develop on these platforms are very important as many businesses follow other businesses.

You should also remember that a lot of B2B buyers search for product/vendor information on social media and a lot also use social media when making purchasing decisions.

Lets talk

Get professional web design service

Your website design should incorporate your organization’s values, identity, and message,

and help to establish your online persona as a unique and cohesive entity.

Lets talk


If you’re thinking of launching a small business, or you already have one you own, you can use this information to make better decisions and plan for growth.

Technology is constantly changing and affecting the way we do business, those who learn and adapt will always thrive over those who don’t.

Please if we left out anything please fell free to comment in the comments section below.

Photo credits:
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels