The Nigerian Export Promotion Council has identified some ways by which Small and Medium Enterprises can export through the internet and it’s simply called Digital marketing.
You don’t have to have huge finance to do that. With the aid of active e-platforms and interactions, you’re good to go.
According to the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC; Mr Segun Awolowo, with the aid of digital marketing, SMEs can do large-scale exports from the comfort of their homes.
He pointed out that the digital route made things easy for small business operators as they do not have to bother about money to load container or transportation cost of exporting their goods through the ports.
“The Internet is the trending medium for putting products in the international marketplace and we are trying to encourage SMEs to embrace it. The social media is very huge and millions of people leverage it to sell products.” He also said.
“Having a website is not enough, but getting the right impact from the website is an important thing. If they know the right thing to do, they can attract their target customers and also track them.
“Digital marketing also involves where the products are targeted at particular segments of the consuming public called market segmentation”
A digital marketing strategist, Mr Moses Ololo, shed more light on how small business owners could use digital marketing methods to export products from Nigeria to the outside world and also get the right focus and the right clients.
He said, “You have to have target consumers, people who want to buy the products. You cannot just target everybody. You should be able to know the tools to get your products to the countries that are interested in the products.
“If you are targeting a company, for instance, you have to target the procurement officer of the company. The tool you can use to get this, of course, is the social media tools LinkedIn, Facebook and others. You can search for them, get their information and send them e-mails or DMs.
The financial capacity of SMEs is too limited to accommodate large-scale exports in Nigeria.
To export to the international community, an operator needs a container load of products and the cost of exporting a 20-foot container load of goods runs into millions of naira, with challenges such as delays in getting goods to the port, cost of documentation and Customs Tariff.
These difficulties account for why most small business owners embark on ‘suitcase’ exports, sending their products in small packages through friends, relatives, local firms operating makeshift courier services, cross border trade, and others.
The SME sector is the bedrock of huge economies in Asia, India, America and other developed countries and a lot of investments are made in terms of low-interest loans and other incentives to keep the sector growing in these countries.
But small business operators cannot do business with the kind of loans offered in Nigerian banks that carry an average interest rate of 23 percent.