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Tech4her Africa Won the Silicon Valley’s AngelHack Competition 2018 Hosted at Impact Hub, Lagos.

Tech4Her Africa, a social enterprise driven to raise the next generation Science and Technology leaders emerged the winner of the AngelHack Hackathon hosted at Impact Hub, Ikoyi on 28th – 29th July. They are shortlisted to represent Africa at the Global Demo Day taking place at Silicon Valley, US and are joining other winners from 50 cities around the world for the 12 weeks Angel Hackcelerator program. Announcement on AngelHack’s website here: http://blog.angelhack.com/meet-the-hackcelerators-2018-startups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AngelHack’s HACKcelerator program connects ambitious hackers with thought-leaders and experienced entrepreneurs to help them become more versatile and create fundable startups. With a startup portfolio valuation of $70m, acquisitions from tech giants such as Google, and industry innovators such as BOX, AngelHack is the highest valued pre-accelerator in the industry active in 106 cities around the world. This is the first Hackathon organized in Africa.

The team is led by Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards (also Founder, Tech4Her Africa).

Members of the team (some of who are students of the University Of Lagos (Adeola Akinwale, Dolapo Otufadebo, Chukwudumebi Onwuli, Chiamaka Eguzoro, Chidera Ofokansi);

Mentors on this team are: Mrs Fayo Williams (Certified Business Consultant)  & Dr. Roselyn Isimeto (Lecturer at Computer Science, UNILAG).

 

The team developed Tata App- Watson AI based app that helps university students access  information and resources instantly at a click.

In the mobile powered economy, University students need instant access to answers just like they can have on Google.” said Mrs ELizabeth Edwards (Team lead & Founder, Tech4her Africa).

 

Mr Yele Bademosi the CEO of Microtraction,

Judge and Mentor during the just concluded Angelhack Hackathon Lagos took to twitter to congratulate the ladies saying “ 5 years ago I went for my first tech event @Angelhack London 2013 and it changed my career path. Congratulations to the kick-ass female developers from Tech4her Africa who won the hackathon”

We hope this new achievement can further encourage others to join Tech4Her Africa, help them reach more of its target audience and foster new partnerships. Learn more about Tech4her Africa on their website (www.tech4herafrica.com).

The future is definitely Female!

Chatbots and The Future of Education

Ever noticed how quickly people learn when it’s something they’re truly interested in?

I for one only learned how to write songs because I was curious about how words and melodies can be put together to create something that has the power to make people happy or sad.

I didn’t go to music school to learn how to write songs. I simply listened to my mother while she sang, I played my father’s records while he was at work, and I watched my sisters whenever they got together to do something they called composing. I was eight years old at the time and I was fascinated by all this.

I wanted to know how it was done so I could do it too. Why? Because I wanted to see if my songs would have the same effect on people.

By the time I was twelve, I was using my own pocket money to buy singles and albums of artists I liked. I would listen to tracks over and over again, read the lyrics in the liner notes, and imagine myself writing them. At fifteen, I wrote my first song and at 21, I released my first collection of songs written and co-produced by me.

Self Education

What I’m trying to say is everything I know about songwriting is largely self taught. And I did it all out of curiosity.

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. It only killed the cat’s lack of insight and increased its appetite to learn more. Today, many people are educating themselves and learning new skills on the internet by watching videos and presentations on YouTubeSlideShare, and Lynda.com.

The beauty of teaching yourself is that you are motivated by your own interests and what you want to achieve.

Having these learning platforms on the internet is like having your own private teacher on demand. But it’s not so easy to get a real one-to-one session with these online teachers because they are far too busy creating more content.

So when people have burning questions about something they didn’t quite understand in the slides and videos, they ask their eTeachers in the comments section and hope to get a response.

Problems

This poses a real problem because it can have people waiting days on end for an answer. Sometimes, they don’t even get one. Some of these eTeachers have huge followings and it’s simply impossible for them to answer every single question.

This is a problem that educational chatbots can solve. A chatbot is simply software that simulates human conversations like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.

Today’s students are mostly millennials who love messaging platforms like WhatsappiMessage, and Snapchat. Wouldn’t it be more efficient if these eTeachers had messaging chatbots that could answer basic questions for their students?

Imagine a situation where a student is stuck on a particular aspect of Photoshop and needs answers there and then in order to finish a project with a close deadline.

That student could send a message to Lynda.com’s chatbot for instance, who will then search the platform and send the student a message with the most suitable answer.

Solutions

IBMs artificial intelligence technology is currently being used to power a teaching assistant for an online course at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jill Watson gives human professors and assistants the time they need to address more important issues while she answers routine questions from students.

While this is great for the university and its online course, it’s not so great for those who do not have access to that service.

I envision a world where a single conversational messaging app can pull answers from a host of educational institutions. You simply ask your question and the chatbot will search for answers from the online courses of top universities and all digital learning platforms.

Freemium or Premium?

This suggests that education in today’s world should really be free. But long established universities probably oppose this move because they’ve become accustomed to their ever increasing tuition fees.

Another approach might be to charge an affordable monthly subscription fee to access the library of information on the app, similar to the way people pay for music libraries on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Imagine a billion people or more paying £9.99 per month for access to the world’s library of educational information.

In this way, value will still be created and people around the world would have the power to truly educate themselves on any subject they might be curious about.

Chatbots have huge potential to make this a living reality. With their machine learning capabilities, they could even learn to teach post graduate courses.

The only time you’d need to see an actual human teacher would be to spend time on more complex theoretical or practical issues like philosophical discussions or physical experiments that require the knowledge, guidance, or supervision of an experienced expert.

Imagine what we can achieve when billions of people are liberated to learn in their own way, at their own pace, and in their own time.

Think of all the innovative ideas that will spring forth when anyone with access to the internet becomes empowered to educate themselves and learn about things they truly care about, in a seamless way.

It’s mind blowing!

6 Ways Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots Are Changing Education.

Chatbots are about to change the world in more ways than we can imagine. Already, bots around the globe can complete a diverse set of varying tasks. From ordering pizza online to mashing faces together in Project Murphy, chatbots are about to become a normal element in everyday life.

As the scope of chatbots becomes broader every day, there are new applications popping up constantly. Education has traditionally been known as a sector where innovation moves slowly. During the most recent years, there has been a large hype over innovative tools to enhance teaching and learning through educational technology.

The time has come for chatbots and artificial intelligence to meet the educational sector. Already, there’s a lot happening but there is no question technology will have an even deeper reach in the near future.

We’ve come across six applications of both chatbots and artificial intelligence within the educational area that could have an astounding impact on the whole industry.

1. Automatic Essay Scoring

Giving feedback on individual written essays is an enormously time demanding task that many teachers struggle with, and in massive open online courses, the problem is even larger. Because there are often over 1000 students in one class, there’s simply no realistic way to give individual feedback to written essays.

To combat this problem, innovators have been flirting with the artificial intelligence (AI) industry, and a solution is relatively close at hand.

By feeding a machine-learning algorithm thousands and thousands of essays, many people believe there’s a good chance of replacing human feedback on essays with AI systems. The project has made rapid improvement since 2012 when The Hewlett Foundation sponsored a competition between essay grading systems. The winner presented a 0.81 correlation, on average, with human graders.

Since then, researchers and scholars have continued accelerating and improving systems in full force. One report claims to have achieved a 0.945 correlation on the same data as in the Hewlett competition. Astonishing!

However, there’s also strong opposition towards relying on only technology when setting grades. Skeptic Les Perelman has set out to expose the true nature of grading algorithms and has successfully managed to point out weak points amongst auto-grading vendors.

How will auto-grading turn out? The future is not yet clear, but realistically there should be a chance of replacing at least one or two of the necessary graders with AI in a few years time.

 

2. Spaced Interval Learning

Repeating old lessons right when you are about to forget them is an optimal learning super-hack. It’s called TheSpacing Effect.

Polish inventor Piotr Wozniak has come up with a learning app built around the spacing effect. This app keeps track of what you learn and when you learn it. By incorporating artificial intelligence, the app is able to learn when you are most likely to forget information and remind you to repeat it. It only takes a couple of repetitions to make sure the information sticks for years to come.

Instead of students studying intensely before finals only to forget everything a few weeks later, schools and universities should aim for more lasting knowledge retention using this method.

Sadly, findings like the spacing effect have had a small impact on the educational system, which lives up to its reputation of being a sector of slow adoption of technology and innovation.

3. Conversational Course Assessments & Student Ratings

Student evaluations of teaching-surveys have been around for almost 100 years. Despite moving from paper to online surveys, there has been minimal progress to make the feedback process better in any way.

As student evaluations of teaching are often the most valued source of information, it’s obvious that they need improvement.

Because of modern day technology, such as AI-driven chatbots, machine learning, and natural language processing, there are lots of exciting opportunities to explore within the teacher-feedback-area.

Using a chatbot to collect feedback is the ultimate compromise between a qualitative and a quantitative research method. As teachers are normally way too busy to collect qualitative feedback from each student, an end-course survey is often used.

A chatbot can collect opinions trough a conversational interface with the same advantages as a ‘real’ interview but with a fraction of the required work. The conversation can be tailored according to the responses and personality of the student, ask follow-up questions, and find out the reason behind opinions. It’s also possible to filter out personal insults and foul language, which are sometimes present in teacher ratings.

Other than being a compelling option to surveys and with more qualitative data, a chatbot brings many other advantages for teachers who seek to improve efficiency in teaching. By involving more data sources such as self-assessment, grades, peer feedback, and the latest scientific findings on how to teach effectively, it’s possible to form a more nuanced picture of teaching performance. Comparing the data to that of other teachers around the world should make it possible for the system to suggest new and powerful ways to improve teaching and share findings throughout the teacher’s community.

4. Watson, the Teacher Assistant

At the Georgia Institute of Technology, students were charmed by the new teachers assistant, Jill Watson, who managed to respond to student inquiries in a fast and accurate way.

What the students didn’t know was that Ms. Watson’s true identity actually was a computer and powered by IBMs AI-system with the same name. Computer Science Professor Ashok Goel fed Watson more than 40.000 forum posts to get the system up and running.

Answering common questions is a perfect application for a chatbot and a much more interactive approach than using an FAQ-tab.

After getting huge publicity, Jill Watson is spreading her wings and is now being implemented in universities across the globe. One of the latest to be added to the list is BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Norway.

5. The Chatbot Campus Genie

At the Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, development is in full swing to complete the first ever chatbot campus genie. Just like in the case of the AI teacher assistant, the intelligence behind it comes from IBM’s supercomputer system, Watson.

 Once operational, the Deakin genie will be able to answer questions related to everything a student needs to know about life on campus. How to find the next lecture hall, how to apply for next semester’s class, how to submit assignments, where to find parking or where a counselor can be reached are all questions that can be handled by the genie.

When new students swarm the campus, they have similar questions every year which makes for a perfect application of a chatbot.

William Confalonieri is the driving force behind the genie-project and the CIO at Deakins University.

“The most promising opportunity to use this technology,” he says, “Is to support a much more personalized approach to on-campus services that still appeals to a large crowd. The system will also help lower the burden on stressed-out faculty, as they no longer have to explain the same things over and over to different students.”

Confalonieri hopes to be able to expand the capabilities of the system rapidly in the coming years and have it handle significantly more complex tasks in the future.

 

6. Student-Centered Feedback

The current educational system can, a bit maliciously, be described as a factory-line where the end-goal is to produce competent students to fill employee needs. The factory expects the same raw material (students), the same response to treatment (lessons) and the same result in the same time frame.

As human beings are complex beyond the reach of even the most advanced science, the factory approach is not ideal when it comes to transferring knowledge to a diversified new generation.

Entrepreneurs are now exploring a new take on the educational model. A student-centered system where student’s own personality and interest is the most decisive factor when it comes to curriculum configuration.

The content adapts to individual learning pace and can present gradually harder problems to accelerate learning as the student comprehend more and more. This way, both fast and slow learners can keep going at their own pace without being discouraged by other students.

It’s also possible for an AI-driven curriculum to foresee future trouble areas and present more problems related to it in order to prevent future struggles.

6 Storytelling Tips to Tell Your Business Story Like a TED Pro

“The greatest tool of communication given to us by Mother Nature is on the table,” says John Bates, CEO of Executive Speaking Success & Business Coaching. This tool he’s referring to is the power of storytelling!

Business Storytelling Ted Presentation

Image via Flickr

I recently joined John Bates and some fellow Boston professionals in a modern, glass-enclosed room at JLabs in Cambridge to learn how to tell a story like a TED Pro. Once I saw TED in the title I knew the talk had to be good (and I was right). John Bates has an impressive background actively coaching CEO’s and executives at big name companies like Motorola and Johnson & Johnson, training 100’s of TEDx speakers and “is considered one of the best communication trainers working today.”

The Importance of Storytelling in Business

So what does storytelling have to do with your business? Everything! If you can’t properly convey a story then your products are not going to appeal to your audience. Bates reminded us that we love stories so much that we have to be trained to not fall for anecdotal evidence. Why? “Because our brains value stories over anything else,” states Bates.

Stories can be incorporated into all your forms of content: blogs, e-books, whitepapers, and even your “About us” page to captivate your audience. The value of storytelling can also be transferred to other departments to grow your business – for example training your sales reps to tell the story of your company or product or using your story to captivate investors and bring in the big bucks $$$. Once you learn to tell a good story, your audience is always going to be wanting more, which will turn your readers into leads, your leads into customers, and your customers into loyal customers.

6 Key Tips for Business Storytelling

Well, what if you’re an awful storyteller? Then keep reading because I’m about to share some of Bates TED-worthy wisdom.

When Bates was young his dad, a Vietnam War veteran, would tell gory war stories and he would sit there bug-eyed with his jaw on the floor, mesmerized by every word that rolled out of his dad’s mouth. Little Bates asked himself, are all kids bloodthirsty, or is there something wrong with me? But as he grew wiser with age he realized that war stories have it all, which brings me to the first takeaway.

1. Every story needs the 5 C’s – Circumstance, Curiosity, Characters, Conversations and Conflict

So why was Bates fascinated by his father’s tales of battle? Because they always incorporated these 5 mesmerizing C’s. So when crafting your story lay out the circumstances. Set the scene and give the vital information that will provide context for your reader. Use curiosity to leave the reader wanting more (this trick works in headlines too). If there is nothing to be curious about then why would the reader keep reading? Characters and conversation go hand-in-hand. If you’re telling a story without any people and no dialogue your readers will likely doze off. And last but not least, conflict, which is easily the most important element. As Bates explains, “If there’s not any conflict then there’s not much of a story.”

2. Stop bragging and start relating to your audience

I can still remember sitting in the 90-degree heat draped in my black cap and gown as sweat dripped down my legs on the day of my college graduation. As I sat their impatiently twiddling my thumbs and trying not to pass out, I attempted to listen to the keynote speaker without throwing my Poland spring bottle at the stage. The speech was awful and resembled a laundry list of his accomplishments.

At the end of the day no one cares that you graduated top of your class from Harvard or cured a rare form of cancer in Africa. These accomplishments are wonderful and noteworthy and I would definitely recommend sharing them on your resume, but when it comes to telling a story, people want to hear about your failures. Why? As human beings we relate to your failures because we are all flawed. “People don’t connect with your successes, they connect with your messes,” states Bates. “Your message is in your mess.” Bates went on to explain that you don’t want to be the Luke Skywalker of your story, but instead be the Yoda: “You’re not the hero of your talk, your audience is.”

3. Spark the emotional side of your audience’s brain

For those of you that did not cry in HardBall when Baby G was shot or in The Notebookwhen Noah and Allie die holding hands, I have one question, what’s wrong with you? I’m kidding, but in all seriousness even if you did not cry during these heart-wrenching scenes, your heart strings were pulled and you felt something. Whether you feel sad, happy, scared, or content, feeling something makes us feel more alive, which is why it is critical to make your listeners or readers feel. “None of the facts and figures matter until you have some sort of emotional connection,” said Bates. “Stories are a great way to connect emotionally.” When crafting a story, Bates recommends thinking about what emotion you want to communicate and then provide information to support the emotion.

4. Get Your Readers Engaged Through the Senses

The smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies rushed into my nose the second I opened the door. The dimly lit Christmas lights gracefully draped across my warm basement apartment, and I could hear the sound of Carolers singing in the cobblestoned neighborhood streets outside. Do you see what I’m doing here? Did your heart just melt into a fuzzy ball? Appealing to the senses through your story immediately engages the reader. Set the scene by describing what it visually looks like. What sounds occurred? What smells filled the air? How did it feel? Appealing to these senses that the majority of your readers have experienced has a way of engrossing them into your story. As Bates stated, “Get the entire brain engaged instead of just a thin slice.” Bates follows the principles of VAKO: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Olfactory. With these four elements in your story, you’re likely to draw in and lock down your audience. But make sure not to overdo it, your story needs some meat (cough, cough the 5 C’s) to keep your audience interested.

5. Start Your Story in the Middle

Far too often storytellers or marketers give way too much detail upfront. They start their story in chronological order, putting the audience to sleep before the exciting stuff occurs. By the time you’ve reached the AH-HA moment, your audience members are synced into their Instagram feeds or in a deep-dream filled REM sleep. Perhaps they just clicked onto a new page, never to return again. If you are anything like me then your attention span is about as long as an inch-worm so snap out of it and get your audience into it. “Life happens in chronological order – that’s boring!” states Bates. “Start in the middle, where things are exciting. It’s much more interesting.”

6. Give Your Audience What Matters

Do you remember that time when you told a long, detailed story to realize your friends looked about as engaged as they do during their commute to work on a Monday morning? At the end you come head first with a sarcastic “Good story…Tell it again.” Your face turns as red as a strawberry and you immediately cross story-telling off the list of things to do in a social setting. I’m here to tell you that your story didn’t suck! Congratulations! The way you told it did. Why? Well, it might have actually been an awful story, but you likely included waaay too much unnecessary detail. No, we do not care that your alarm went off on-time as usual or that your bus was a few minutes late. We’re much more interested in the fact that your teacher was fired for a rumored relationship with a student or that your bus driver was drunk and knocked over 4 mailboxes before getting handcuffed in front of the principle. Bates said it well, “Give us what matters to us. Pick three points and don’t cram unnecessary information in. Bring just the key things to the top.”

So keep your audience on the edge of their seat with these tips to charm them and leave them wanting more. Before you know it they’ll be avid followers of your content.

These tips are just dusting the surface of what it takes to tell a good story, therefore I’m curious:

What do you believe makes a great story?

How do you incorporate storytelling into your content marketing efforts?

 

culled from wordstream.

How To Start A Successful Business In Africa With $100 or Less. Here Are 5 Entrepreneurs Who Did It!

There are two myths that are often associated with success in business. One is that you need a considerable amount of capital. The other is that it could take you many years to beat the odds of success when you start with nothing much in hand.

Here are five entrepreneurs who made it BIG in Africa with about $100 or less in hand and who now earn a considerable amount after just having started a few years ago

 

  1. From school drop out to insurance magnate (Kenya)

In 2007, Heshan de Silva dropped out of school and as things got worse for him in the US, he joined his parents back in Kenya to get his life back together.

Aged only 18 at the time, his parents gave him 10,000 Kenyan Shillings (US$116), which he used to start a new business. He targeted the bus travel sector in the country by selling insurance bundled with the bus ticket purchase. And it is widely reported in the media that by the end of the year, the business had made 90m Kenyan Shillings (US$1.05m). Isn’t that amazing!? Heshan has since invested that money in his new business, De Silva Group, a venture capital firm.

With an incomplete education, no capital, not even a great deal of life experience and yet Heshan made it in a short period of time. He was featured in CNN and Forbes Magazine as one of Africa’s most successful young entrepreneurs.

 

2)    From graduate to high-profile online marketing company (Nigeria)

Abasiama Idaresit graduated with an MBA at Manchester Business School and moved back to Nigeria in 2010 to start his own business. Today, he is the Founder and CEO of Wild Fusion, a digital marketing company.

Guess what? He started his company in 2010 with a gift of $250 from his mother and it took him 8 months to make the first deal. Just three years later, Visa, Vodafone, Samsung and Unilever as well as several large Pan-African corporations are his clients and his company is valued at over $6 million in revenue. Yes, you heard that indeed right; $6 million! And yes, he started in 2010. Wild Fusion has now become Google’s certified partner in Africa!

  

  1. From a broken iPod to a chain of mobile phone repair shops (South Africa)

Take Axel Fourie from South Africa. By the time he was 27, he had tried unsuccessfully to set up several businesses. When his iPod was faulty and he was told by specialists that nothing could be done about it, he searched for a YouTube video online and learned how to fix the iPod himself!

He then put an advert into a local newspaper and offered to fix faulty iPhones and iPads. The response he got exceeded his expectations as he was flooded with calls and requests from potential customers. He knew he was onto something!

Axel opened his company iFix and started fixing iPods and iPhones from his university dorm. This was in 2007. Today, Alex runs a chain of 8 stores and employs 85 people. He has since expanded his business into manufacturing mobile phone accessories which he exports into 12 countries across Africa. Oh, we forgot to mention the amount of his starting capital. Here it is: Zero! (unless he paid a little for that newspaper ad). 

 

  1. From 4 pigs to a commercial farm with 4,000 pigs (South Africa)

Anna Phosa started her pig farm venture in 2004 in Soweto with about $100 in hand. She bought four pigs with that money after she was introduced to pig farming by a close friend.

A little less than four years later, in 2008, Anna was contracted by Pick ‘n Pay, the South African supermarket and retail giant to supply its stores with 10 pigs per week. This was a first breakthrough and the request by the retailer grew quickly to 20 pigs per week.

But the really amazing bit happened in 2010 when Anna signed a breathtaking contract with Pick ‘n Pay to supply 100 pigs over the next five years under a 25 million Rand deal – that’s nearly 2.5 million US Dollars! She did not even have so much land or enough pigs! With a contract in hand, Anna received funding from ABSA Bank and USAID to buy a 350-hectare farm property.

Anna started with 4 pigs in 2004, today her farm employs about 20 staff rearing 4,000 pigs at a time. Her perseverance has made her a millionaire!

 

  1. From African backyard tree nursery to biggest garden centers (South Africa)

And now to one of my favorites, because it is really such a hands-on job anyone could start today, tomorrow or next week. It’s the story of De Fynne Nursery. I know what you’re thinking but this is not a children’s nursery. It’s actually a tree nursery! You have to be aware of this amazing story!

The venture started in 2001 by South African entrepreneurs, Jacky Goliath and Elton Jefthas, in Jeftah’s home backyard. I don’t know exactly how much they invested, but it must have been peanuts, because tree seedlings to get you started in Africa usually cost a few pennies. And then you just need a backyard and some plastic containers. That’s it for a start.

Back to De Fynne Nursery: market demand grew fast and steadily which meant that they moved the nursery to a 0.5 hectare land in 2005, and in 2008 had to move again to a 1.5 hectare area outside Cape Town where they hosted 600,000 plants!

Today, the De Fynne nursery supplies its products to retailers such as Woolworths, Massmart and Spar in South Africa and it was reported that they since moved to a whopping 22-hectare commercial property. This is a simple start up idea on a shoe string budget anywhere in Africa where you have a booming housing & hotel sector and expanding city areas!

Marketing Doughnut Series: 4 Steps To Marketing Your Small Business With Zero Budget.

Every small business needs to be focused on marketing at all times, even if you have a full order book and clients waiting, you must keep on marketing and the best marketing is creative marketing. It’s smart, very affordable and delivers measurable results. Let’s get started…

 

1) Facebook

Create a profile for your Facebook page.

You can use your existing personal facebook profile or create a new profile for this purpose. For instance if your facebook page is ‘Pearls Connect’, you can create a profile also called ‘Pearls n Pearls’ or something close.

Note that a profile is different from a page. Essence of this profile account Is to be able to tag your contacts when you post.

A Facebook page however will require you to have a budget to promote anything.

Smart thing to do is to make that profile the admin of your facebook page.

—– Another simpler method is to share posts from your page using your existing personal profile, then tag your contacts.

 

2) Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups such as ‘Sell and Buy anything’ allow you sell products and services to members of the group.

You can upload pictures, set prices of your products, receive direct messages from clients.

Very simple. Look for the groups tab on facebook page. Choose a group category that works for you. Look out for marketing groups.

It’s better to use your created company profile not personal profile to join the group. You cant join a group with your business page.

And be sure you are allowed to sell on the group.

 

3) Email Marketing

—Look out for all the business cards you’ve received at events.

— On a plane sheet/computer, create 5 columns: Client Name, Business Name, Product/Service, Email & Phone Number.

— Categorize these clients based on what you are offering.

— Don’t market first, share some useful tips, trends.

— Infact don’t SELL. Just pitch how what you have can get them what they need.

— Emails, SMS, Phone Calls work well.

— Follow up

— Make sure you have new entries on the sheet (5-10clients) weekly.

— Meet 5-10 potential clients weekly. Don’t just chat away, get their cards/email/phone nos. Add them to your list.

 

4) Online Directories:

For Nigerians try:

– Jiji.ng

– OLX.com.ng

– Vconnect.com

 

For Nigerians and other countries try:

….Take note of the featured products you see on the front pages.

… Identify the tags used.

…. Use these tags to set up your business ad.

…. On these directories, you can promote your product for as low as N800 for 7 days.

 

Further Reading:

Eight Creative Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Every small business needs to be focused on marketing at all times, even if you have a full order book and clients waiting, you must keep on marketing and the best marketing is creative marketing. But marketing doesn’t just consist of online advertisements, landing pages and selling. It actually consists of so much more, if you’re stuck with the same old marketing ideas, take a look at how you can make marketing much, much better with these strategies.

1.     Creative Marketing Best Tip Ever – Develop An Awesome Elevator Pitch

When people ask you what you do, whether you’re in an elevator, in line at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office with the kids or at a business event, it’s important for you to be able to explain to the people asking what it is that you do in a succinct way that invites more questions.

An elevator pitch isn’t just a 60-second monologue; it’s more like learning different ways to answer the same questions based on the audience you’re speaking to, so that they leave understanding what you’re about.

Let me give you my basic elevator pitch “I help businesses identify realistic online goals and then I help them achieve these using website design, content and online marketing”

I sometimes expand upon this however unlike most website designers, I’m trying to focus on the major benefit I give to my customers whilst also telling them quickly and in a way everyone can understand, this is one of the fundamentals of creative marketing, you tell people what you can do for them in a creative way they understand and that they can see the benefits.

 

2.     Get Involved Online and Offline

Get out from behind your computer and get involved in offline events. Go to meetings, business networking events, and conferences. In addition, participate in telephone conferences, webinars, and social media. But do it all in a proactive, involved way that advances your business goals.

Before doing any event, online or off, ask yourself which goal being involved in this particular activity helps you achieve. Then, base your participation and how you communicate with people at the event on reaching that goal.

3.     Develop Meaningful Relationships

Finding a person to collaborate with is a great way to improve your business and find new ways to market. By creating short-term joint ventures with individuals and companies who market complementary products and services to the same audience, you can expand your reach exponentially. Don’t form these alliances willy-nilly. Each venture and each relationship needs to have its own goals involved which align with your overall marketing goals.

4.     Write a Book

You’re smart and you know about your niche. You either know how you became successful, or you know a lot about a particular subject that you can share with others. Writing a book, and getting it published today, is a simple process. All it’s going to take is time. Be sure that your book has an ultimate goal aside from making money. It’s not likely book sales alone are going to make that much. But a book used as a marketing tool to sell other products and services can help increase your net worth substantially.

Alternatively you could incorporate a blog within your website and you could write and add content to it, the more content that you add and the more regularly you do this, the more visitors and the more successful your website will be and all it takes is a little creative marketing and brainstorming to get started.

5.     Speak in Public

Once you’ve written a book, you can leverage it to engage in public speaking events. Find events that are attracting your target audience and simply go tell them your story. Create a “one page” document/web page to market you’re speaking and subject matter to event leaders.

At first you may need to do some events free (get permission to record it) and later you can actually make quite a living out of public speaking if you desire to go in that direction. If not, the act alone can be a great marketing strategy.

6.      Give Your Opinion

Find ways to get your name associated with expert status. Use the service Help a Reporter Out (http://www.helpareporter.com/) to find people to pitch your articles, speaking, and answers to and who will use your quotes in stories. The more you’re quoted, the more you will become known as an expert. You can do the same thing with targeted and focused guest blogging, expert panels, interviews and more.

 

7.     Ask for Creative Testimonials

Go straight to your current customers and clients and simply ask them to write, record or make a testimonial for you. You can even have a contest to make it more interesting. For instance, “Create a meme about how awesome your product is, share it with friends, get the most votes, and win a $100 dollar gift card to use towards my services.”

8.     Break the Mold

If you really want to differentiate yourself from the crowd, find a way to break some rules. You don’t have to be unethical to push boundaries and break rules. Many people believe they have no right to take a leadership role without having first been a follower. That’s insane, because you can be a leader without having been a follower. If you are good at what you do, there is no reason you have to punch any cards or push any particular buttons in any particular order to be at the top.

Creative marketing means stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something different than you are currently doing. If you’re not doing something new every quarter at least when it comes to marketing, you’re not really trying.

 

Article by Elizabeth Edwards, Tech4her Africa’s Founder.