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Running your marketing and comms department can be strenuous and as a small businesses, your financial and human resources are tight! I am sure that you allocate most of your budget and time to operations and customer support, ensuring that your business is running smoothly and your customers have a response team, should they face any challenges.

I recently sat on a panel with 2 C-Suite executives at Ghanaian startups – Bezo Money (Diana Osei – Co Founder & CMO) and Bosea (Credify) (Paul Eshun – Co Founder & CEO) the main take home for me was that there is a lot of work to be done in this space in Ghana to fully allow Ghanaian startups and small businesses lift off in the most efficient way.

3 key points we noted from our discussion (digest version)

  • The research stage is extremely important – research on the industry, research on investors, your audience, your offering and your competitors
  • Comms and marketing is key to ensuring that you are presenting your offering in the right way to your customers and investors
  • Building a solid team covering different aspects is one of the main ways that you can move from ‘Side-Hustle’ to Startup

That being said, I have realised that the early stage where effort and emphasis needs to be placed on market research and building the internal workings of the business is being neglected by some businesses. It is painfully obvious that some of these businesses are in a rush to launch and base their projections on what similar companies have done or on what similar startups outside of Ghana have done. This is holding us back from realising our full potential as fully-scaled startups.

So I have complied a list of FREE tools you can use to start your research process or to point you in the right direction when it comes to certain aspects of your marketing e.g. your website development

  • Google Trends – Use this tool to get a sense of the level of interest in a particular product or service — as well as how that interest fluctuates over time and across regions.
  • Make My Personna – Intuitive and fun, Make My Persona is a seven-step process that walks you through the essential components of your target customer: demographic information, firmographic information, job title, pain points, and so on.
  • Hubspot’s Website GraderWebsite Grader is a free online tool that grades your site against key metrics like performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security.
  • HootSuite – Enhance your social media management with Hootsuite, the leading social media dashboard. Manage multiple networks and profiles and measure your online KPIs.
  • Answer the Public Answer The Public is a keyword tool that visualizes search questions and suggested autocomplete searches in an image called a search cloud.
  • Facebook BluePrint Courses – With more than 90 eLearning coursesFacebook Blueprint helps you learn the skills to move your business forward. 
  • Google Analytics Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
  • Hubspot Courses HubSpot Academy is the worldwide leader in inbound marketing, sales, and customer service/support training.
  • MailChimp Mailchimp is the All-In-One integrated marketing platform for small businesses, to grow your business on your terms. It’s easy to use – start for free today!

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we need to take the time to research the market, research the skills required for each department of our business and also research our audiences. This is one of the only ways we can stay ontop of the competition and ensure we are presenting our offerings to the right customer at the right time, using the right channels.