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SME Guide

How Digital Tools and E-Commerce Can Increase Sales for Nigerian Small Businesses

The digital age provides enormous opportunities for Nigerian small businesses to boost sales through online presence and e-commerce. With the right digital tools and strategy, small businesses can gain visibility, expand their customer base, and significantly grow revenues. This guide explores practical tips, digital solutions, e-commerce platforms, and marketing techniques for small businesses in Nigeria seeking to capitalise on the digital marketplace.

Leverage social media to build your brand and connect with customers.

Social media presents a free and effective way for small businesses to build awareness, engage customers, and drive sales. Strategically growing your following and engagement on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn can expose your brand to new audiences.

  • Create social media profiles for your business on relevant platforms. Craft an appealing design with branding elements, quality photos and videos, and engaging captions.
  • Post content regularly—share updates, behind-the-scenes, special offers, valuable content, and more. Post at optimal times when your audience is most active.
  • Use targeted hashtags to join larger conversations and get discovered by interested users. Identify relevant trending hashtags.
  • Run social media for your products and services to promote your products/services and target potential customers by location, interests, behaviours, and more.
  • Partner with influencers in your industry to collaboratively promote your brand and products to a wider following. Offer free products in exchange for sponsored posts.
  • Analyse performance using free analytics tools to identify the best-performing content and fine-tune your strategy.
  • Engage followers by responding to comments and messages, asking questions, and fostering community. This builds relationships and brand loyalty.

Harness the power of search engine optimisation.

Improving your search engine optimisation (SEO) can significantly boost organic traffic to your website from searches. Ranking higher in search results expands your reach and positions you as an authority.

  • Choose the right keywords.  – Identify keywords and phrases customers use to search for your products and services. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help inform your selections.
  • Optimise website content: Incorporate targeted keywords naturally throughout your site, page titles, headers, image alt text, meta descriptions, and content. Avoid over-stuffing.
  • Produce SEO-friendly content like blog posts and guides that answer audience questions and provide value. Embed keywords.
  • Get backlinks: Build quality backlinks from other websites to signal authority and relevance to search engines. Guest posts, partner with influencers, etc.
  • Improve site speed and mobility. Search engines factor page speed and mobility optimisation into rankings. Compress images, minify code, and use caching plugins.
  • Update the website XML sitemap to ensure search engines can easily crawl and index all pages.
  • Monitor positions for target keyword phrases using tools like Google Search Console. Identify new opportunities.

Enhance Online Visibility with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising lets you show up prominently in search results by paying when users click your ad. This is an effective way to drive targeted traffic and boost brand awareness.

  • Set up PPC campaigns on Google Ads and/or Facebook Ads Manager to promote your products, offers, content, etc.
  • Target your ads using parameters like demographics, interests, search terms, placement, and more. Show your ads to those most likely to convert.
  • Create targeted, engaging ads with compelling headlines, succinct descriptive text, effective calls-to-action, and eye-catching display ads.
  • Optimise for conversions: structure your campaign and landing pages to guide visitors towards becoming customers.
  • Analyse metricsclick-through rate like click-through-rate, cost-per-click, conversions, and return on ad spend. Refine the targeting and ads accordingly.
  • Use negative keywords to avoid irrelevant clicks and reduce ad spend.
  • Leverage remarketing to re-engage visitors who left your site with customised ads across platforms.

Launch an e-commerce store to sell products online.

An e-commerce store allows customers to conveniently browse and purchase your products online at any time. The global 24/7 accessibility of e-commerce can greatly boost sales.

  • Choose an e-commerce platform like Wix, WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, or Magento to create your online storefront. Evaluate costs, features, and ease of use.
  • Set up payment processing through payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe. Enable preferred local payment methods.
  • Optimise SEO elements like product titles, descriptions, alt text, site speed, etc. to improve store visibility.
  • Promote the store across your website, email, social channels, and paid ads. Offer special discounts and sales.
  • Focus on high-quality product photos and descriptions to engage customers and instill trust.
  • Provide excellent customer service via live chat, email support, an FAQ page, and clear policies.
  • Offer free shipping or reduced shipping costs and easy returns to reduce purchase friction.
  • Send abandoned cart emails to re-engage users and recover lost sales. Offer incentives to complete their purchase.

Leverage email marketing to build relationships and brand loyalty.

Email marketing enables more personalised engagement with subscribers to build lasting relationships that drive repeat purchases. Segmented emails based on customer data allow tailored communication.

  • Offer an opt-in form on your website to collect emails from visitors willing to subscribe. Offer an incentive, like a discount code.
  • Send welcome emails to new subscribers introducing your brand and linking to popular products and content.
  • Build segmented email lists to group subscribers by interests, purchase history, demographics, etc. Send relevant content.
  • Send promotional emails highlighting sales, new arrivals, special offers, etc. Use attention-grabbing subject lines.
  • Share valuable content like how-tos, tips, guides, etc. that’s genuinely helpful for subscribers. Build trust.
  • Automate email workflows like abandoned cart, browsing abandonment, post-purchase, etc. to engage users.
  • Personalise emails with first names, location information, purchase history, etc. Merge these dynamically.
  • Make it mobile-friendly. Ensure emails render well on mobile devices. Mobile opens account for over 50% of email opens.

Leverage chatbots to boost customer engagement.

Chatbots allow 24/7 automated communication with website visitors to promptly answer questions, qualify leads, and guide users. Integrating a chatbot can significantly improve engagement.

  • Choose a chatbot platform like ManyChat, Chatfuel, or Flow XO to set up conversational bots for your website, social media, or messaging apps.
  • Create dialogue flows with logical conversation branching to handle frequently asked questions, product recommendations, lead generation, and sales.
  • Offer proactive messaging based on events like on-site behaviour, abandoned carts, or application status changes.
  • Make it conversational with casual language, emojis, gifs, and personality to delight users.
  • Hand-off to a live agent when a conversation requires human nuance. Offer chatbot-to-human handoffs.
  • Analyse metrics like users engaged, questions asked, lead generation, and sales to optimise the experience.
  • Promote the chatbot with clickable messaging on your website and social media, inviting visitors to “Ask Me Anything!”

Run contests and promotions to encourage engagement.

Running contests, giveaways, and promotions piques customer interest, incentivizes engagement, and generates word-of-mouth referrals, ultimately driving sales. Promote these activities across all channels.

  • Product giveaways: Offer free products in exchange for social shares, email sign-ups, referrals, etc. It requires a minimal purchase.
  • Discount codes: Provide special one-time or limited-use promo codes for dollars or percentage off purchases. Share codes on social media, via email, influencers, etc.
  • Referral programmes: Encourage customers to refer friends for rewards like discounts, free products, or cash bonuses. This acquires new customers.
  • Photo contests: invite users to post photos of your products on social media using a hashtag for the chance to win prizes. Boosts user-generated content.
  • Newsletter quizzes and polls: increase email engagement by including interactive polls or fun quizzes with incentives for participation.
  • Giveaways: Offer free products, gift cards, or other prizes for actions like following your social channels, checking into your store location, etc.
  • Limited-time sales: Temporary discounted pricing or bundled special offers create urgency to buy and boost conversion rates.

Optimise your website for an exceptional user experience.

An optimised, user-friendly website ensures customers enjoy their experience and successfully find and purchase your products, enhancing sales potential.

  • Improve site speed: compress images, minify code, and optimise web hosting to accelerate load times. Faster sites perform better on mobile.
  • Enhance navigation: Include intuitive, consistent menus and sitemaps so visitors can easily navigate to desired pages and products.
  • Spotlight USPs: Communicate your unique value proposition (UVPs) prominently throughout your site to highlight why customers should buy from you.
  • Showcase visuals: Include ample high-quality photos, videos, and illustrations to engage visitors and showcase products attractively.
  • Simplify the purchase process: remove unnecessary steps, auto-populate data, offer guest checkouts, and ensure mobile-friendly purchase flows.
  • Include trust signals: feature customer testimonials, business credentials and certifications, secure payment badges, etc. to establish credibility.
  • Implement chat functions: live chat or chatbots provide instant support and guidance, improving conversions.
  • Optimise forms: limit required fields, use smart defaults, and offer clear errors and validation to maximise form completion.

Launch and optimise Google My Business Listing

Registering on Google My Business gives you an online listing that can appear prominently in local search results, driving in-store visits and calls.

  • Create your free listing with your business name, address, phone, photos, hours, services, attributes like WiFi, parking, etc.
  • Verify the listing by Google postcard or phone call to activate and optimise visibility.
  • Encourage customer reviews to establish trust and social proof. Offer incentives for quality reviews. Quickly respond privately to negative reviews.
  • Add engaging posts about events, offers, new products, etc. to increase visibility and clicks from searchers.
  • Monitor analytics like search impressions, calls, directions, and website clicks to optimise ongoing efforts.
  • Ensure accurate business information across directories like Facebook, Apple Maps, etc. to maintain consistency.
  • Publish FAQs, products, and services so users can learn more about your offerings.

Leverage influencers and affiliates to amplify reach.

Influencer marketing and affiliate programmes tap into the established followers and platforms of others to expose your brand to new demographics and expand its reach. This can be extremely beneficial for driving awareness and sales.

Work with relevant industry influencers.

  • Identify relevant influencers in your niche with engaged follower bases and positive brand associations.
  • Research influencer rates based on followed size, engagement metrics, and industry averages. Many work via sponsored posts.
  • Provide free products for reviews and social promotion rather than financial payments to stay within budget.
  • Leverage nano-influencers with smaller but highly targeted, passionate followings in your niche. Often more affordable to work with.
  • Negotiate usage rights for influencer-created content featuring your products so you can reuse it on your channels.
  • Track sales and conversions from links included in posts and use trackable coupon codes to measure ROI.

Launch an affiliate marketing programme.

  • Recruit relevant partners like bloggers, content creators, and brands with aligned audiences to join your affiliate programme.
  • Provide affiliate links and marketing collateral for partners to share on their platforms. Ensure thorough tracking parameters.
  • Offer competitive commission rates—between 5% and 20% on customer purchases driven by affiliates. Higher rates incentivize promotion.
  • Implement cookies to attribute late conversions or purchases to affiliates who drove initial site traffic. Expand commission potential.
  • Highlight top affiliates publicly to recognise their contributions and encourage further promotion by demonstrating value.
  • Send affiliate newsletters with new products, marketing materials, and programme updates to keep them engaged.

Track Analytics to Gather Data-Driven Insights

Analytics provide data-driven insights on how users interact with your digital platforms. Monitoring key metrics helps identify opportunities to refine strategy and optimise sales performance.

Website analytics with Google Analytics

  • Track traffic sources to identify the best-performing channels for acquiring visits. Double down on channel marketing efforts.
  • Monitor user behaviour flows—see common click paths taken through your site and where users exit—to improve navigation.
  • Identify the highest-converting pages to prioritise driving traffic to those pages and optimise further.
  • Analyse goal conversions for key actions like email sign-ups, purchases, downloads, etc. Enhance user journeys towards these goals.
  • Review demographics like location, language, device type, etc. to understand your audience makeup and ensure your site resonates.
  • Implement GA4; the new Google Analytics provides deeper insights into user behaviour across devices and channels.

Social media analytics

  • Evaluate best-performing content based on engagement rate, clicks, and conversions to inform future content strategy.
  • Analyse followers: monitor growth, geographic location, gender, age brackets, interests, etc. to refine targeting.
  • Assess engagement rates by day, time, and post-type. Identify when and what types of content resonate most with your audience.
  • Compare organic vs. paid reach and engagement to determine the ideal mix of paid support to expand reach.
  • Track conversions from social media using trackable links and promo codes. Identify platform strengths to allocate budgets.

Continually test and optimise.

An effective digital marketing strategy requires ongoing testing of different elements and metric analysis to continually optimise performance.

  • A/B test webpages, offers, email subject lines, and design variations to see what resonates most. Implement winning versions.
  • Try new channels like podcast ads, out-of-home displays, TV, etc. to expand reach. Analyse conversion metrics.
  • Monitor changing trends; stay on top of new features, algorithm changes, and platform preferences to remain relevant.
  • Survey customers for feedback on their needs, pain points, user experience, etc. Address these directly.
  • Track and switch underperforming elements—replace ineffective keywords, low-CTR ads, or low-converting pages.
  • Keep evaluating ROI on efforts and reallocating budgets towards the highest-performing initiatives.


Implementing the right mix of digital presence, online marketing, e-commerce, and optimisation strategies enables Nigerian small businesses to unlock new revenue opportunities online. As the country advances digitally, leveraging these solutions will become imperative to remain competitive, reach new customers, and significantly drive sales. The strategies outlined in this guide provide an actionable framework for small businesses to grow using digital tools and e-commerce.

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