Across the globe, the face of business and economic opportunities is rapidly changing. And there is no doubt about this.
And these new business opportunities are not in the traditional areas of making money. In Nigeria, whose economy has been largely dominated by the oil and gas industry and the sector contributes about 85 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, the new riches are being found on the Internet.
The new attraction to Nigerians, like thousands all over the world is network marketing on the Internet. Statistics reveal that income from Internet economies, in the country is on the rise just as Nigeria crude oil production was on the decline around 1.8million barrels per day.
Nigeria today has one of the biggest internet economies in the continent with the number of online marketplaces in Nigeria more than 58, with online marketplaces open to foreign sellers about 32.8 per cent.
Also, the number of social media users in Nigeria as of January 2021 was 15.8 per cent of the total population of 208.8million.
Nigeria, no doubt, is on the rise in the digital economy community, hence creating platforms for new dimensions in the socio-economic life of the populace. With a cell phone and Internet connection as the basic tools for this new ‘oil well’ business, it is fast becoming a panacea for job creation.
Online marketing is the practice of leveraging web-based channels to spread a message about a company’s brand, products, or services to its potential customers. The methods and techniques used for online marketing include email, social media, display advertising, search engine optimization, Google Adwords and many more. Some of the top digital marketing resources include: blogs, online courses. workshops, seminars, social media communities, online forums. e-books, and webinars.
Some of the noticeable challenges of online marketing are social media management, getting value from SEO, Multi-Device usage, optimizing the mobile experience, competing with the noise, bonus round, that is proving ROI of marketing activities, and managing our website.
Opportunities in online marketing are vast. There is a wide range of digital marketing jobs out there such as video/audio production, interactive technology (such as AI, Mobile marketing, Search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media, e-commerce. and email marketing.
Kenneth Morgan, a seasoned banker and online marketer, advocated for the teeming unemployed and underemployed Nigerians to exploit the opportunities in network marketing online.
“It is a universal truism that expecting one situation to change without putting forth any effort is like waiting for a ship at the airport, which for sure will never arrive. It is high time Nigerians embraced the reality on the ground and put an utter end to the blame games”, he stressed.
Morgan gave insight on how best to maximize the avalanche of opportunities in the business. He explained that it all starts with the mindset.
“When you get into the business of network marketing, see yourself as the CEO of your business. And as a CEO, you take charge of the business. And remember, when you start a new business, whatever you do in your first or second year in that business will determine if the business will stand the test of time. It’s a foundation stage. Use your 1-2years in your business to build and structure it intentionally”, he said.
The network marketing business is a great equalizer. It has levelled the playing field business-wise. Anyone can start a money-making online business, provided he has a cell phone that is internet compliant. Virtually no technical skill is needed in most cases provided one can operate his cell phone. There are many tools one can use to build an online business that makes the technical work a lot easier.
Besides, you can also live anywhere you want, set your schedule, and work as little or much as you want, depending on how fast or big you want your business to grow. No business or marketing experience is needed either. It is practically a truly democratic medium for entrepreneurship
Best of all, unlike most traditional businesses, you do not necessarily need a lot of start-up capital. You can get many internet businesses up and running with no money at all because so many free services facilitate the possibility. For instance, one can set up a website or blog for free using WordPress. Better still you can leverage on a third–party site like Amazon or eBay to sell goods with no inventory costs.
Moreover, one can easily maximize the services of drop shipping. The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that as a small business owner, you do not have to maintain a large inventory of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That ordinarily eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell.
The only thing you have to focus on is marketing and advertising to find the customers and make the sales. Once the sale is made, the rest is handled by others. Your only cost is the expenses of marketing and advertising to acquire a new customer.
One can also embrace the affiliate marketing option available. You pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. This gives you low business risk because no initial investment is required. However, it comes with its challenges, which is that you are required to drive the web traffic to the affiliate link; bearing in mind that no traffic equals no money.
Okey Anyanwu, a digital marketing expert, could not hide his regrets that many Nigerians are neglecting the window of wealth embedded in network marketing.
“You can easily use your smartphone or simple video camera if you want to go for online video approach, as it is with other aspects of digital marketing. But make sure the lighting is good, the audio clear and you can use simple editing software like iMovie to achieve this”, he explained.
Anyanwu explained that the reason many people are running away from online business is the fear of the unknown and unwillingness to suffer loss.
“The best way to succeed is to be willing to learn and act on what is learnt. Make mistakes too and learn from your mistakes. Do not try to fake perfections. No one is perfect. The mistakes you make today, you will use it to teach and encourage your team tomorrow”, he stated.
In network marketing, just like every other endeavour of life, there will always be challenges. Players in the industry point out rejection by prospects as a major challenge, which can demotivate a person, with no strong will.
“People will insult you when you start. Bring yourself low, be a servant, be humble enough to know that there will be lots of challenges, etc., there are people who will join and will not take the business serious at that time. Do not take it personally. It could be because of low self-esteem. Give them time, they will come around,” an online marketer said.
The advice is to be always bold, prospect as many people as possible to tap from the law of averages and break even.
“Go out there, offline and online, talk to people, get a lot of numbers even rejections every day. It is all part of the journey. It takes just one, yes to change your story. Keep talking to people, don’t give up till you get the yes! Look out for strategic people who are serious and passionate to do the business with you,” an expert said.
Team building and playing in a team are also essential. Learn to build your team. If you build people, they will in turn build your business. Like it is said, the only way we rise is by lifting others. Encourage your team, love them, find out what is going on in their life. Have a good team spirit and a culture.
Be consistent, keep showing up every day. Even if you fail or do not do well, get up and do it again and again. And even if you succeed, to remain at that top, you also have to keep being consistent. Marketing on the Internet is a great equalizer. Online marketing might be tedious and not perfect, but it is worth it.