Internet Marketing in South Africa

Internet Marketing in South Africa

This article is on the problems facing South African marketers. As a South African, I have been trying to establish myself in internet marketing, for the last three years, but have come across a number of obstacles, which have proved seriously detrimental to my efforts. If you are South African, you can probably relate to this. If you have been battling what seem insurmountable odds, or if you are new to this concept, the message is the same. Stop wasting your time and your money on what is bound to be nothing less than – wasting your time and your money. If you are an internet marketer, who is not South African, you should also read this, as you are leaving money on the table.

South Africa is a part of Africa and is considered as a third world country, with the perception that the second largest continent is nothing more than a waste of time, in the field of internet marketing. I beg to differ.

Yes, Africa has not progressed as much as the so called first world countries, but it is taking giant strides towards that. The advent of internet is only just beginning and the vast majority of the population still have no access at all, but it is coming and it is coming fast.

South Africa is the most technologically advanced country in Africa and not far behind the standards of the other technology rich countries, but we are seriously lacking in internet technology. Internet is new to South Africa and has only just begun to catch on. It is experiencing phenomenal growth and more and more businesses and individuals are hooking up. All of the major cities are able to offer various means of connection such as ADSL, bluetooth, wireless and people are getting connected on their pcs, laptops and cell phones. A largely rural populace are battling to get connected and the only option available to them at this stage is the old antiquated dial up system using a telephone line or satellite. Promises have been made by government, that in a few years, everyone will be able to get a telephone and therefore, will have internet access available to them. Unfortunately dial up is not a very satisfactory method as service is erratic, expensive and very slow. Satellite is extremely expensive, but offers greater speed and reliability.

Recent political changes, have reversed the fortunes of the South African population, in that the previously disadvantaged black community, now have money and the fine things in life, including access to the internet. Whereas before they wouldn’t have been considered a viable market, they are now able to access the internet and dabble in small business. The whites on the other hand now find themselves out of work and desperately seeking alternative means of income. Both groups make good target markets. The internet is the biggest employer in the world and does not recognize age, color, education, physical disabilities, wealth etc. Everyone has equal opportunity, well, almost everyone. Not South Africa.

Something like 70% of the S.A internet community, access the internet on the computers at their places of employment and as much as two hours each workday, is lost to private usage of the internet. If the price of internet access was cheaper, all these people would use it at home. Millions are searching for opportunities on the internet and the fact that crime is rampant only makes them more determined, to start a business from home. This is a huge potential for marketers. So what is the problem?

For some reason, probably the old apartheid days, South Africa was boycotted by the wealthy first world countries and nobody has told them yet, that times have changed. South Africans suffer many discriminatory obstacles in the use of the internet and over the last few years, I have repeatedly been stumped by these. I have two messages of advice here. To the frustrated, aspirant South African marketers and those who will follow shortly, stop and listen. Do not waste more time and money trying all sorts of offers, you will not succeed. Rather use the time to brush up on your skills. Select a market niche and learn to use control panel, FTP, html, php, hyperlinks and all the other things, that will help you to run your business. Wait for the solution. I have enlisted the help of two of the world’s top marketers to find a way around the problems, for you. To the marketers who are knowingly, or unknowingly discriminating against certain countries, you are leaving money on the table and missing out on a huge potential market. But, that’s okay, I’ll take it.

You are probably wondering what problems I’m talking about and how they are affecting our chances of success. If you have been involved for a while, you have probably encountered a few and if you are a newbie, you are likely to come across these problems soon.

As the internet is still relatively new to South Africa, we don’t have many experts or experience in the field. Those calling themselves experts, have limited knowledge and are too expensive, when compared to overseas competitors. Simple things like service provision, web hosting, design and site building, software, tools, optimization and advertising, are grossly overpriced. In most cases, they are bought overseas and resold here. I was given a quote of R120 (17) per month, for basic, small web hosting, excluding the domain and excluding the ISP. That was only the hosting. I was quoted R6000 (857) for a designer, to look at one of my websites and to make a couple of small changes. It is crazy. We pay between R8 and R12 for an mp3 song, which costs from 10c to 90c in USA.

The state owned telecommunications company,Telkom, have the monopoly and squash all opposition. This has led to very highly priced access and an indifferent service. Nearly all packages offered by them, or sub contactor service providers, are restricted and capped.

Overseas companies, offering opportunities, services and resources require a fixed email address, at the time of joining. This is to prevent temporary accounts and others such as Hotmail, from being used, as it is very easy to cancel, or change, after joining and the marketer is left with a useless address, in his contact list. South Africans have another problem, in that most of our suffixes, such as.co.za, telkomsa, za, are not allowed. Usually your country is required and many of the drop down menus have small, insignificant countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mauritius, Ivory Coast listed, but not South Africa. Why?

We have no shopping carts and payment processors, suitable for international use, or integration, into overseas websites and the biggest culprit is PayPay. They are the first choice, worldwide and any marketer not offering PayPal, as a means of payment, is seriously disadvantaged. Why then, do they not deal with South Africa? Sure, you can make a purchase through them, but they will not collect monies for you, or allow you to make a withdrawal, if you are South African. Other smaller countries are catered for, but not S.A. There are other options, but none as popular. Most payments, affiliate plans and opportunities, pay through PayPal. I joined dozens of respected affiliate plans and spent a great deal of effort, on advertising, before I found out the truth.

There are no local, South African internet companies, for memberships, product sourcing, resources, search engine optimization etc, so we have to look abroad. Although these are offered reasonably, overseas, we are still subjected to the exchange rate. At present the rate is 7 to the $, 14 to the Pound and around 9 to the Euro, but even so, it is usually cheaper, than our own prices and of course you are spoilt for choice. I compared prices recently, on satellite connection. USA charges $40 per month for unlimited access, whereas Telkom charges R1700 ($243) per month, for a service capped at 3 Gigs.

With all the conferences, seminars, teleseminars, video training and group discussions unavailable to us in S.A, how are we expected to learn and to keep abreast of developments? Dial up is not powerful enough and anyway it is limited to times between 7pm and 7am, which is a bad time, as even if you stay up all night, it is roughly midnight to midmorning in the States.

Anyway, there does seem to be a solution for you. As I said earlier, I have teamed up with two of the world’s top marketers and together, we are trying to resolve these issues. We will put together a complete, turnkey package deal, a ready to run business, with domain, hosting, website, content, decent affiliate plans, a stream of products, an exclusive membership, a working shopping cart and payment processor, training and ongoing support, a proven plan, optimization, AdSense and other monetized methods for those poor South Africans, who want to be marketers. The hardest part of having your own business, is setting it up and getting it working. You will be able to enter the market place and do very well for yourselves, with our help, so in the meantime, there are a few things you must do.

Familiarize yourself with market trends and choose a niche market, in which you want to trade. Start practicing the basics and learn how things work. Get your mind sorted out. Tell yourself you can do it and will change your life. Sign up to our newsletter and mailings. If you really want to finally realize your dreams, give up the job, work from home, earn a good income, have flexibility and satisfaction, and be competitive in the international arena, then there is only one way you are going to acquire this – through us.