Market your business the Yoco way: inspiration for African entrepreneurs

If you want to scale your business across Africa and beyond, one thing that you will need to get right is your digital marketing strategy. With a lousy strategy scaling your business will be though.

But when it comes down to actually crafting your digital marketing strategy you’ll realise that it can be a complex and difficult task. That’s why it can be helpful to get some inspiration from other companies that do their digital marketing really, really well.

One such company is South African fintech startup Yoco. Besides revolutionising the fintech space, the company is also teaching African businesses a thing or two about digital marketing.

Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this post to analyse their entire digital marketing strategy. But a few key elements stand out which business owners and marketers across the continent can draw inspiration from.

‘Besides revolutionising fintech, Yoco is teaching African businesses a thing or two about digital marketing’

The power of video

One of the first things to notice about Yoco’s digital marketing strategy is their clever use of video. Video as a building block in any digital marketing strategy is growing in importance.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), South Africa has one of the fastest growing online video consumption rates in the world with 42% of South African reporting that they watched more videos online in 2014 than in 2013.

It would be foolish not to take advantage of video marketing. As such, it is not surprising that video plays a major part in Yoco’s digital marketing strategy.

The company has produced a variety of different videos serving different purposes. One of the most important videos is their explainer video on their homepage. It explains to new visitors immediately what the company is all about.

This is very important, as 55% of visitors will leave a website within 15 seconds, if the value proposition is not clear immediately. That’s where an explainer video like Yoco’s can be incredibly helpful.

Yoco explainer video

Yoco are not just content leaving their customers with one video. They have produced a number of different videos serving different purposes like showcasing in a story format a bit about their various customers.

This is really clever. Firstly, it does not feel like “in your face marketing” and secondly they get external validation from customers who confirm that their product is good. What more do you want?

Using the second biggest search engine in the world

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google?

The reason why this is relevant for your business is because as mentioned earlier the role of video is becoming more prominent. Sometime this year, video will represent 74% of all internet traffic, while four times as many consumers would prefer to watch video about a product than read about it.

So there is good reason to make use of YouTube as part of your digital marketing strategy. It enables you to build your own YouTube channel and in doing so, help organise and distribute your videos while building an audience.

That is exactly what Yoco are doing on their YouTube channel. While their number of YouTube subscribers is not that impressive some of their videos have generated over 25 000 views, which is more than many small and medium businesses can lay claim to.

At the time of writing, Yoco have over 30 videos on YouTube which range between a handful views up to almost 25 000 views. Overall, they have three videos that were viewed 20 000 times all of which are less than one minute long.

What you can learn from Yoco is that when you use video as part of your marketing, it makes sense to combine it with building a YouTube channel where you can organise your videos and distribute them to achieve wider reach.

Online customer reviews: A double edged sword

In an ideal world, all our customers would be raving about our products and customer service. In fact, our customers would be doing the marketing for us.

Reality is different for most businesses. Sure, it is essential to leverage the power of positive online reviews, let those do the talking and be proud of your company.

The cold hard truth is that most businesses face negative customer reviews in some way or form. That’s why you have to be vigilant about any online reviews your company receives and respond to it fast and respectfully.

Even Yoco get their fair share of negative customer reviews. Where you can draw inspiration from is how they monitor different marketing channels like Facebook, Google and others to respond to their reviews — be they positive or negative.

After all, it takes up to 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. On top of that, news of bad customer service reaches more than double the number of customers than praise for a good service experience.

Take a look at how they respond to online feedback:

The easy option would have been to ignore this kind of message. But Yoco did not, because they understand leaving such feedback unanswered and for everyone to see can backfire badly. 

Ignoring such comments will most likely lead to your current and even prospective customers ignoring your business going forward. Leaving a comment like this unanswered can give other users a bad impression and indicate that you do not care about customer concerns.

That is why, like Yoco, you should monitor your online channels and respond to any kind of feedback fast and respectfully as otherwise your business is asking for trouble. Show your customers that you care about their concerns, even if they as customers are wrong.

This was a short dive into Yoco’s digital marketing strategy to uncover some of their key marketing elements. Learning from others like Yoco can give you fresh insights in moving your business to new heights.

*This is an edited version of Digital marketing: 10 lessons African entrepreneurs can learn from fintech startup Yoco” which appeared on Morrison’s blog Rise Africa Rise.

Featured image: Supplied

Roy Morrison


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