Africa is undergoing a wonderful renaissance, driven by Internet and Mobile Technology. In just 10 years we have leaped from a 0.4% internet penetration rate to 13.5% internet penetration rate, according to Internet World Stats. We have embraced mobile technology, making it a part of our day to day business, at times setting the pace in innovation such as is the case with Mobile Money. True, we have a long way to go. 90% of African businesses do not have online presence, and only 2% of Global online content is from Africa. However at the rate we are going, this will change, soon.
Stories such as that of Grace Murugi and her Cakes.co.ke business not only inspire, but also shed a light on the opportunities available to African businesses if we embrace Internet and Mobile technology, be it in operations or in Marketing.
Her passion for baking Cakes and Pastries goes way back, but only while in campus did she commercialize it, albeit on small scale. It was a simple business model. She got orders from her fellow Campus students, did the baking at home and brought the cakes back to school for delivery. She posted a couple of posters and printed a few business cards but mainly relied on referrals and word of mouth to get her business.
Grace was pursuing a Computer Science Degree and had a career in Technology awaiting her upon completion in 2009. She however opted to continue Baking Cakes.
With a layman’s knowledge of Marketing and an appreciation of e-Commerce, she decided to use the Web in promoting her fledgling business. Her Computer Science background gave her sufficient skills to build a simple website as well as get herself website hosting and domain registration. She read online tutorials to learn some Search Engine Optimization and the basics of Social Media Marketing, and subsequently used the skills acquired to set up a Facebook page and a twitter Account. Since then, she has been posting daily photos of and updates about her Cakes.
For two years Grace has relied on her Website, her Facebook Page and her Mailing list to get new and repeat business. She now generates 60% of her Monthly revenue from Website leads, and wants to grow this percentage further. Her website is her ever fresh Catalogue, her Facebook page enables her to update her clients daily and get their feedback. She also sends out one Email update per month to her Mailing List of Eight Hundred clients. These are clients who are too busy to follow her on Facebook or visit her website every day.
Every morning, after ensuring that all her Baking needs are taken care of, she settles down with her iPad to check her email messages, respond to queries on her Facebook page and Twitter Profile as well as track the previous day’s traffic on her Website.
A beaming Grace proudly says that the strategy is working.
Cakes.co.ke is currently ranked no.1 on Google Search for Cake related Keywords in Kenya. Over time, she has mastered the art of Content Marketing. She says that her best kept secret to being ranked no. 1 is the daily updates on Cakes.co.ke and her Facebook page. The website is rich with information on her Cakes, and her happy Clients. The few minutes spent on her website and Social Networks each morning have brought her hundreds of clients each month through Search Engine Leads.