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August 22, 2018

Connect & share: Digital Marketing 101 for start-uppers

ENL Property digital marketing expert Noor Sheriff spoke on Search Engine Marketing to aspiring entrepreneurs undergoing incubation at Turbine.

Adrenaline pumped through my veins as I watched my audience settle around the table. I had to admit, I was nervous. I mean, sure I have given presentations before, but they never lasted 3 hours, nor had I ever stood in the shoes of a trainer... Around the table were people from Mauritius Conscious, Fundkiss.mu, AVR Plato, Dodo Workplay, Fancy Dreams - all of them start-ups undergoing incubation at Turbine and/or working from its co-working space. My mission was to introduce them to digital marketing.

When Diane Maigrot, serial entrepreneur and now General Manager of Turbine, approached me to deliver the training, she was only making good her customer promise to open the doors to ENL’s pool of expertise to the incubates. Committed to help grow the next generation of Mauritian entrepreneurs and to encourage innovation in all guise and manner, ENL indeed invests much more than mere finance in its business incubator and accelerator.

I breathed in deeply and took the plunge. And amazingly, it all flowed naturally into one intense, interactive session with questions and observations shooting one after another. I realised that, although I had no direct expertise in their respective fields, the core principles of digital marketing were applicable irrespectively.

It is easier for start-uppers to tap into the unlimited digital potential, both for business-to-business or business-to-customer concerns. They barely have any traditional setting-up to invest in. And with the right guidance, they can dive directly into creating micro digital ecosystems that help them automate tasks and marketing functions.

So how does one go about owning the digital market place? Start by optimising your website for Search Engines, I advised. You want your company and your products or services to be found by anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world, right? Well, then you must build your website and write your content in such a way that Search Engines like Google and Bing find it easy to… well, find you. And to believe that you are a trustworthy source of information.

Think of Search Engines as the librarians of the world, accounting for every single word on every single page of every single website that exists. Knowing the not-so-secret ingredients required to make your website show up in the top results of Search Engine is, therefore, key to getting the best form of free traffic.

It’s all about providing helpful content to those looking for it:


  • Words used on your pages matter
  • Titles of each webpage matter
  • Links to your website matter
  • Words used in links matter
  • Using Google’s Search Console matters to help Google understand what your website stands for and what type of content you publish


Seems like a lot of hard work… why even bother? Well, digital channels can make your brand, increase your reach and grow your business. It doesn’t matter whether you are a mega corporation, a mom-and-pop or pet store, whether you currently sell online or aspire to. For it to yield optimal results however, it has to be thought through and applied methodologically. This is what the Inbound Methodology is all about, understanding your buyer’s journey to provide the right content in the right place to attract, convert, close and delight your customers.

Inbound Marketing is marketing focused on getting found by the customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in a customer’s buying journey.

Meet the Turbine crowd

The Turbine incubates are uniquely agile, adapting to new technology and embracing change under the expert guidance of the dynamic team running the show. Spending a few hours in their company is extremely energising.

Mauritius Conscious
, one of the start-ups incubated at Turbine, sells sustainable travel plans and promotes eco-tourism in Mauritius. They already show up in page one on “Eco Tourism Mauritius” terms – They know where they are headed and who their desired audience is. Romina, the founder, was ahead of the race in operating online and had already capitalised on one of my favourite recommendations, that of  using Wordpress as CMS and applying a templated website as a start-up rather than going for a custom tailor made website. I recommend WordPress due to the wide range of lightweight templates across industries, and its malleability in terms of plugins and integrations.

Fundkiss.mu is opening an untapped niche – the first alternative financing of its sort, proposing both licensed crowd lending and crowd borrowing in Mauritius. They recently completed the workings on their website and are now on the path of optimisation.

AVR Plato is creating a system for interactive learning using augmented and virtual reality technologies aimed at creating enjoyable and more comprehensive learning.


6 hacks to navigate SEM

Here are a few tips I shared with the start-uppers at the workshop:

  1. Use Google’s own free tools like Google Search Console as ways to tell Google’s referencing algorithm more about your website.
  2. Google Analytics is the first must-have on your website. It is Google’s free analytics tool to measure data from all your website traffic to give you insights, help understand your online audience and how your marketing strategies are performing.
  3. Webpage loading speed is a critical success factor. Market benchmark is 3 seconds. 40% of your traffic will leave if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load. (source: eConsultancy)
  4. Build trustworthy links to your website. When a website links to yours, Google sees this as a third-party endorsement. Leverage your network and the power of PR.
  5. Be thorough in the content on your site. Think of questions that people often ask prior to considering your offer and be super thorough so that people read your article and know what to do next.
  6. Search Engine Marketing is the best form of online advertising. A word of caution though: using Google Ads is like walking into a cockpit; either you have been to pilot school and know exactly what you’re doing, or you’ll end up throwing away money. It’s a full time job that requires planning, monitoring and optimisation.

About the author

Noor Sheriff is Digital Strategist, UX Architect & Growth Marketer. He is adept at creating effective digital marketing ecosystems for lead generation and conversion.


He has spent the past 8 years crafting and implementing marketing plans in banking, financial services, interactive marketing & real estate.

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