Tonye Solomon: How Entrepreneurs Can Re-invent Their Businesses Using Digital Marketing

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With the economic downturn is exacting its adverse effects on small and medium enterprises, businesses in the country have become financially stretched and are looking for creative ways to save money, time and other resources. Few of them are finding the ingenious way to keep their ventures not only afloat but to also make profits. In this interview, a successful and creative entrepreneur, Tonye  Solomon talks about what it takes for businesses to be successful and open more shops in Nigeria. To her, technology is not just a buzzword; it can be the lifeline SMEs will need in this age and time. She spoke in this interview to Bayo Akinloye

Tell us about your concept of digital marketing management.
We live in a digital age: a time when little kids who are unable to speak or manage their bodily functions handle digital devices with ease. Everywhere you look, ingenious businesses and profitable careers are sprouting up online that weren’t in existence five to 10 years ago. As a real estate consultant, I consider the Internet as a virtual real estate and anyone who is interested can get a slice of that pie for free. Actually, anyone running or who owns a business should as a matter of necessity, have a strong and easily recognizable presence online.

Why did you venture into digital marketing?
My foray into digital marketing was borne out of sheer necessity. As I mentioned earlier, we live in a digital age and as a result the world has truly become a global village of sorts. Being the owner of a number of small and medium enterprises, one of which manages and markets other SMEs, I was frustrated by my inability to translate my business ideas digitally. This frustration was compounded by the numerous delays and disappointments suffered in the hands of roguish graphic designers as well as the increasing cost of basic designs to my fledgling business budget. This led me to get educated about digital marketing and it has been a fantastic investment so far.

What has the experience been like for you personally?
As a small and medium enterprise owner, being a digital marketing manager has improved my business output tremendously. The advent of the social media as a tool for business means that content creation is a key factor needed to engage your audience and potential clients. Digital marketing specialists, social media managers and graphics designers are in hot demand and quite pricey for a small business owner. By training to become one I cut out the middle man, saved money and time for my business as I now create my own content for GidiRealtor and Tonye Signature Events. Inadvertently, now I have an extra source of income creating digital designs like logos, flyers and other contents for other clients.

How important is digital marketing management today?
I cannot explain enough the importance of digital marketing as it easily swamps other forms of traditional marketing which are even more expensive. Today, we have more people who possess phones that have access to the Internet irrespective of their economic status. In a country where electricity is erratic and almost non-existent, you find that people’s major source of entertainment comes through their phones and other mobile devices. This is unfettered access to millions of potential clients for any business that knows how to use digital marketing to their advantage.

People are looking for how to grow their businesses in the midst of economic downturn, how can this help?
I’m glad you asked this question. I’ve walked in those shoes before and I know how it feels trying to get your goods and services noticed by new clients on a shoe-string – and sometimes non-existent – advertising budget. This is why I want to share my wealth of knowledge and practical experience with SMEs interested in taking creative control of their businesses to achieve profit.

What exactly is involved in the concept you’re advocating?
When I invested in learning about digital marketing, I just wanted to be free from having to depend on another person’s creativity or lack thereof as well as save my business from heavy advertising and design expenses. Not only did I achieve my aim, I also was able to make money by providing the same service to others. Now I have created a CANVA workshop for SMEs to come and learn how to make their own logo and flyer designs amongst other things.
To be part of the workshop, no experience is needed. All that would-be participants need to do is come with their laptops and an open mind to create. We provide everything else. The workshop will hold between February 21 and 23 in Lekki, Lagos State. The workshop will give the participants the opportunity to learn in real time as well as create their own business logos, flyers and social media contents. At the workshop there will be free Wi-Fi for the duration of the course as well as a 10-day support after the training programme.

Is the workshop free?
It’s very affordable considering the value of what will be offered. There are group discounts for companies looking to train staff in digital marketing as well.