Recently, we met and spoke to Clara Osemwegie, CEO, Real Homes Furniture in Lekki. She sells quality Italian leather furniture, and is one of the hundreds of small business owners in the growing business suburb known as Lekki 1. Like most other business owners, Clara has thrown herself passionately into Real Homes Furniture, and would like to increase sales.
Searching for quality Italian leather furniture
However, just like other small businesses in Lekki 1, Clara’s business struggles for visibility. She struggles to get market share. And this is in spite of offering quality Italian leather products at competitive prices. Clara has taken time and effort to stock Real Homes Furniture. Of that, there is no question. Clara fully understands the business, and understands the needs of her potential clients.
Lekki 1 is after all upmarket. If quality Italian leather furniture was going to sell anywhere, it would be in Lekki 1. The mix of old and new money – the legit and the not so legit, suggests that there should be no shortage of customers at Real Homes Furniture. Yet, as the proprietor herself noted, advertising, or better put, creating an awareness about the company, is one of her biggest problems.
Traditional advertising is expensive. By traditional advertising I refer to television ads, radio jingles, billboards (or more appropriately, Out Of Home – OOH), magazines, trade journals and of course, newspapers and other print media. To avoid the high cost of traditional advertising however, many small businesses use flyers. Unfortunately, people now consider flyers a nuisance in places like Lekki 1.
Getting away from flyers
Marketers shove in your face on the streets if you car window is wound down. Young people on roller blades assault you with their deft moves. And if you hit the up button on your window before they get to you, they stuff the flyers into your car door handle. If you leave your car parked, the roller bladders place the flyers under your windscreen wiper.
Frankly, the conversion ratio on flyers is low. So low, it does not usually justify the investment. People simply don’t care for them.
And just like the flyer, ALL forms of traditional media have one major drawback – to paraphrase Bolo Young in the classic Chinese film “Enter The Dragon”, “they don’t talk back”. It takes a typical buyer truly supreme effort to make the effort and actually call the number on a flyer. It has to be the rare case where urgent need meets available supply. In other words, the flyer must be exactly what the person is looking for to make them actually expend money on a phone call to make enquiries.
Enter, social media
The number of businesses currently utilizing just one or maybe two social media channels exclusively, for their marketing drive is amazing. Even more amazing are the results they get from these platforms. What might the secret be? Interaction. Engagement. People can query the seller inexpensively, and view actual products before purchasing.
So, the verdict is in, small businesses must better engage social media. Have a website. But link it quickly to Facebook and or Instagram. Actually, Instagram is the current winner by a long mile. But what many people don’t know, is that Instagram is owned by Facebook. What this means is that business owners can run a campaign on both platforms simultaneously, maximizing reach and therefore market.
And that’s about it really. We are going to try to improve Real Home Furniture’s sales of Italian leather furniture by putting the company online. Via video content.