WAPI LIBULU MANZENGELE?
Marketing: Breaking through on a modest budget
As part of our new student intake process, our sales team asks how the students learned about us. "My friends" is the most common answer, followed closely by "Facebook."
Nothing works better than delivering a great product and having our students recruit their friends. But advertising is also essential to inform and persuade new people to come into our network. We see a directly correlation between Facebook advertising and enrollment numbers.
At the beginning we also tried radio, TV, printed flyers and recruiting events at university campuses. But they did not produce results sufficient to justify their relatively high costs. Facebook is extremely popular in Kinshasa and is by far the most cost-effective way to reach our new and former customers.
We have over 26,000 "likes" and followers on Facebook, providing a self-selected audience for special news and reminders.
Our Facebook campaigns became even more powerful when famous and respected comedian Roch Bodo joined our circle of friends and agreed to appear in ads in exchange for English lessons. In our most recent campaign, we paired him with ALI volunteer Claire Matheson in a couple of spots that play off local humor and reversed language roles. Jokes aren't funny if you have to explain them, but just take our word for it that our Congolese audience finds these short spots amusing and buzz-worthy.
Because of trades for office space with our filmmaker friends, we are able to produce these spots with no cash outlay. We pay only for a the actual impressions or click-throughs from Facebook. Our sales staff is constantly engaged with comments and messages on our page, answering questions and building their list of prospective students for follow-up.
Our profitability plan includes a budget for a consistent marketing presence on Facebook. We are very keen to begin advertising for a strong start to 2019.
The DRC government shut down the internet for 20 days to discourage unrest around the election, but it was turned on again as of Saturday 19 January. As soon as funds are available, we will start a new Facebook campaign as an essential step on the path to profitability.
Accel Academies of Congo ASBL is a non-profit educational organization supported by Congo American, a for-profit administrative services company.
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