Tuesday, January 24, 2012


One mistake that small business owners in Nigeria usually make is saying “whatever is left over, we’ll use for advertising”, assuming they have such plans to advertise at all. Advertising is an investment, not an expense. Although it may seem like an expense when you have to count up the Naira notes to pay, but, trust me, it is not and will be exceedingly useful to your business in the long run.

Before we go into our tips, let us look at some basic strategies of successful advertising that you can apply:
1) In order to be successful, your advertising must provide a consumer benefit or solve a problem. In other words, your advert must present your product in a way that creates a need for the product. A wonderful example to note here is Dettol advert. Dettol soaps and disinfectants are advertised in a manner that alerts the consumers of the presence of dirt and germs everywhere and that a constant use of Dettol soaps and disinfectants will clear the germs and protect the household from any infections.

2) That benefit or solution must be wanted by the consumer. The need your advert creates in the mind of the consumer must be something they can relate to. As discussed above, everyone in Nigeria knows that germs will cause sicknesses which will lead to hospitals, so a cheaper alternative is to use antiseptic solutions that have promised protection against germs, and in this case, Dettol.

3) The product or service you are offering must be tied directly to that benefit or solution. Your product must be able to address the need that you have created in the minds of the consumers. Nigerians are very skeptical consumers; our word-of-mouth testimonies can either make or break the success of a product. So regardless of how much money you have spent on adverts, if your product or service does not deliver the promises made in the adverts, you may not make a headway in your business as far as the Nigerian market is concerned.

4) The benefit or solution must be distinctly communicated through medial advertising. In other words, be clear, do not add too much glitz and make sure the message isn’t lost in the advert. In Nigeria, we don’t have a flair for long or over-glamorous adverts. Don’t use too many big words to describe what a simpler word could have said. Avoid too much drama. The golden rule: Keep It Simple.

Now that you are familiar with what it takes for your advertisement to make a meaningful impact, let me run you through the tips that can make your business grow and ease your pockets at the same time:
1) The first thing you should be aware of is the fact that in Nigeria, nothing helps you sell faster than good customer service. Even if your clientele is low at the moment, why not take the very best care of them and offer them services fit for royalty? You’d be surprised at how fast word will travel about your good customer service, and before you know it, your clientele grows! It sure works like magic because one satisfied customer will inform ten about your business, and ten satisfied customers will of course spread the word further than you can imagine.

2) Who are your very best customers? Aim your adverts to talk directly to people like them. A good example of a brand that does this is Indomie Noodles. Because the largest consumers of their products are Nigerian kids, their adverts are usually packaged in a way that appeals to kids, and most times, takes a while to be forgotten.

3) Small businesses can seldom afford saturation advertising. You must be selective in the media that reaches your customers. Consult your advert agencies and make them show you exactly how their media reaches your target audience.

4) Exploit the media you use to the fullest. If your message is verbal, you don’t need TV. Use radios, handbills, fliers and even complimentary cards to the fullest.

5) Some national chains like Nestle Foods, De United foods, Coca-Cola and a host of others provide outdoor signs for small and medium businesses around the country. You could also create indoor signs that you write on with special markers to advertise your special offers.

6) Try finding out from your suppliers what you can get by way of point-of-sale materials, e.g posters, handouts, etc. Some companies like Nestle, CWAY, MTN, Airtel and a host of others use this medium to promote small businesses in Nigeria. If you find a poster outside a store that says “Thirsty? Quench that thirst…Coca-cola sold here”, it gives you an idea that Coke is sold in the store. Some have excellent display racks that you can use e.g Dettol, Always, etc.

7) Can you sponsor or partner with events? Take your time to scout and study events that can fit into your budget. Sponsoring events or programs that enjoy radio, TV or press coverage is also a good way of advertising your products without spending too much on either medium. Even if you cannot compete with the big shots like Skye Bank that sponsors Celebrity Takes Two, or Malta Guinness that sponsors the Malta Guinness Street Dance, you could partner with events like Dynamic Awards, This Day Awards, or even Easter or Christmas Children Funfairs. Your name may not be prominently displayed but in most cases the positive exposure will bring in more customers.

8) Also reduce the size of your advertisement or length of your radio spots. A 60 second spot is obviously twice as much as a 30 second spot but you won’t get twice as many customers for a 60 over a 30. Going with small adverts or shorter spots in our radio stations will allow you to do more adverts which normally interest more customers and will bring them to your doorstep.

9) Always give the customer more than you promised and more than they expected. Be careful not to over-promise and under-deliver. Because we have the ‘jara’ (extra) culture in Nigeria, go the extra-mile to put that little ‘something’ that will get you the needed loyalty from your customers. Maybe this last tip is the one you really need.

I hope these tips will help your business grow, although not all may be relevant to your particular situation. If you need more advice on your low budget adverts in Nigeria, please don’t hesitate to mail me. And if you have tried all these and you still need more help in getting customers, please contact me to plan your advertising campaign. My contact is on the lower side of this website. Good luck in running your low budget adverts.

Written by:
Adekoya Oluwatomisin - PoiseMedia Communications Ltd

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