Entrepreneurship Project Topics

The Relevance of Online Marketing on the Performance of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises SMEs in Nigeria

The Relevance of Online Marketing on the Performance of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises SMEs in Nigeria

The Relevance of Online Marketing on the Performance of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises SMEs in Nigeria


Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of this study include to:

  1. To assess the impact of online marketing on the performance of SMEs in Nigeria.
  2. To identify the challenges faced by SMEs in adopting and implementing online marketing strategies.
  3. To recommend strategies for improving the effectiveness of online marketing for SMEs in Nigeria.



Conceptual Review

Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria

Small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria play a crucial role in the country’s economic landscape (Neti, 2021). These enterprises are typically defined based on factors such as their workforce size, turnover, and asset base. In Nigeria, SMEs are characterized by their relatively small scale of operations, limited financial resources, and significant contributions to employment generation and GDP growth (Omar et al., 2020). They form the backbone of the economy, comprising a diverse range of businesses across sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and services.

The importance of SMEs in Nigeria’s economic development cannot be overstated (Yasmin et al., 2021). These enterprises contribute significantly to job creation, poverty reduction, and wealth distribution, particularly in rural areas where they are often the primary source of livelihood (Oyakhire, 2020). SMEs also foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and industrialization, driving economic diversification and resilience (Mozammel et al., 2022). Furthermore, they contribute to export earnings, promote local production, and stimulate economic growth through increased productivity and competitiveness (Jagongo & Kinyua, 2023).

However, SMEs in Nigeria face various challenges that hinder their full potential and growth (Papadopoulos et al., 2020). These challenges include limited access to finance, inadequate infrastructure, regulatory constraints, market volatility, and low technological adoption (Njau & Karugu, 2022). Despite these challenges, SMEs continue to demonstrate resilience and adaptability, contributing significantly to employment creation and poverty alleviation, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2020).

The diversity within the SME sector in Nigeria is also worth noting (Parveen et al., 2020). SMEs vary in terms of ownership structure, business models, market orientation, and growth aspirations. Some SMEs operate as family-owned businesses, while others are partnerships or sole proprietorships. Moreover, SMEs range from micro-enterprises with minimal resources to small and medium-sized firms with more substantial assets and market presence (Roespinoedji et al., 2021). Understanding this diversity is crucial for designing targeted policies and support mechanisms that cater to the specific needs of different SME categories.

In recent years, there has been increased recognition of the potential of SMEs to drive inclusive growth and sustainable development in Nigeria (McLaren, 2021). Policymakers, development agencies, and financial institutions have implemented various initiatives to support SMEs, including access to finance schemes, capacity-building programs, market linkages, and regulatory reforms (Susan Ward, 2020). These efforts aim to create an enabling environment for SMEs to thrive, innovate, and contribute more significantly to the overall economic prosperity of the nation




Research Philosophy

The research philosophy guiding this study is positivism, which is rooted in the exploration of objective realities and causal relationships between variables, particularly concerning online marketing adoption and SME performance indicators. Positivism is well-suited for this study as it aligns with the quantitative research approach employed, emphasizing the measurement, analysis, and verification of numerical data to derive valid conclusions and test hypotheses. This philosophical stance is supported by scholars such as Saunders et al. (2019) and is foundational to the methodological choices made in this research endeavour.

Positivism asserts that knowledge can be gained through empirical observation and the application of scientific methods. In the context of this study, positivism guides the researchers to adopt a structured and systematic approach to data collection and analysis, emphasizing objectivity and the search for causal relationships. By employing a quantitative survey design, the study aims to collect numerical data on variables related to online marketing practices and SME performance metrics. This data-driven approach allows for the measurement of specific phenomena, facilitating the testing of hypotheses and the identification of patterns or correlations within the data.

The positivist perspective emphasizes the importance of validity, reliability, and generalizability in research outcomes. Through rigorous data collection methods, adherence to standardized procedures, and statistical analysis techniques, the study seeks to ensure the validity of its findings. Positivism also supports the idea of replicability, suggesting that similar research conducted under comparable conditions should yield similar results. This aspect enhances the credibility and trustworthiness of the research outcomes, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the field of online marketing and SME performance.



Data Presentation



Summary of Findings

The study aimed to investigate the role of online marketing in enhancing the performance of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. Through a comprehensive analysis of various factors and strategies related to online marketing adoption and implementation, several key findings emerged, shedding light on the current landscape and potential pathways for SME growth in the digital era.

Firstly, the study revealed a strong positive correlation between online marketing adoption and SME performance indicators such as sales growth, market reach, and brand visibility. The majority of respondents recognized the significant impact of online marketing on enhancing the growth and profitability of SMEs in Nigeria, emphasizing its role in expanding market share, improving customer engagement, and driving overall business performance. These findings underscore the importance of embracing digital channels and leveraging online marketing strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the digital marketplace.

However, despite the potential benefits, SMEs face various challenges in adopting and implementing online marketing strategies effectively. Limited digital skills and expertise among SME owners and staff emerged as a significant barrier, hindering successful strategy implementation and optimization. Additionally, insufficient budget allocation, inadequate access to reliable Internet infrastructure, and difficulty in measuring the return on investment (ROI) of online marketing activities were identified as key challenges faced by SMEs in Nigeria. Addressing these challenges requires targeted interventions, including capacity-building initiatives, financial support mechanisms, and infrastructure development efforts aimed at improving digital literacy, access to technology, and resource allocation for online marketing initiatives.

Furthermore, the study highlighted the importance of tailored marketing strategies and industry-specific best practices in optimizing online marketing performance for SMEs. Collaborating with digital marketing agencies or consultants, providing training and workshops on digital marketing techniques, and offering financial incentives or subsidies for digital marketing investments were identified as potential solutions to enhance SMEs’ online marketing effectiveness. Additionally, creating industry-specific guidelines and best practices tailored to SMEs can provide valuable insights and benchmarks for optimizing online marketing campaigns and achieving desired outcomes in terms of customer engagement, market penetration, and revenue generation.

Overall, the findings underscore the transformative potential of online marketing for SMEs in Nigeria, offering opportunities for growth, innovation, and competitiveness in an increasingly digitalized business environment. By addressing key challenges and embracing emerging trends and strategies in online marketing, SMEs can position themselves for sustainable success and resilience in the dynamic and competitive landscape of the digital economy.


Based on the results of the hypotheses tested in this study, several key conclusions can be drawn regarding the role of online marketing in enhancing the performance of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

Firstly, it is evident that online marketing has a significant positive impact on the performance metrics of SMEs in Nigeria, including sales growth, customer reach, and brand visibility. The findings support the notion that embracing digital channels and implementing targeted online marketing strategies can lead to tangible improvements in SME outcomes, contributing to business growth and competitiveness.

Secondly, a lack of technical expertise and resources emerged as a significant barrier to the successful implementation of online marketing strategies by SMEs. This highlights the importance of capacity-building initiatives, training programs, and collaboration with digital marketing experts to overcome skill gaps and enhance SMEs’ digital capabilities.

Lastly, the study found that implementing targeted online marketing campaigns tailored to the Nigerian market can indeed lead to improved outcomes for SMEs, particularly in terms of customer engagement and conversion rates. Tailoring marketing strategies to local contexts and consumer preferences is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of online marketing initiatives and achieving desired business outcomes.

In conclusion, the findings underscore the transformative potential of online marketing for SMEs in Nigeria, emphasizing the need for strategic investments, capacity building, and market-specific approaches to harness the full benefits of digital marketing in driving SME growth and competitiveness.


Based on the findings and conclusions drawn from the study regarding the impact of online marketing on SMEs in Nigeria, here are eight recommendations for policymakers, business owners, and marketing professionals:

  1. Invest in Digital Skills Development: Develop and implement training programs and workshops aimed at enhancing the digital marketing skills of SME owners and staff. This can include training in social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and digital analytics.
  2. Facilitate Access to Resources: Provide SMEs with access to affordable digital marketing tools, platforms, and resources. Governments and industry bodies can offer subsidies, grants, or low-interest loans to help SMEs invest in technology and software necessary for effective online marketing.
  3. Promote Collaboration: Encourage SMEs to collaborate with digital marketing agencies, consultants, or experts to develop and implement targeted online marketing strategies. This collaboration can provide valuable insights, expertise, and resources that SMEs may lack internally.
  4. Tailor Marketing Strategies: Encourage SMEs to tailor their online marketing strategies to suit the Nigerian market and consumer preferences. This includes localization of content, understanding cultural nuances, and adopting strategies that resonate with local audiences.
  5. Support Digital Infrastructure: Advocate for improved Internet infrastructure, reliable connectivity, and affordable data plans to facilitate seamless online marketing activities for SMEs. Access to high-speed Internet and technology is crucial for leveraging digital marketing effectively.
  6. Monitor and Evaluate Performance: Implement systems for monitoring and evaluating the performance of online marketing campaigns. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, conversion rates, social media engagement, and ROI to assess the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts.
  7. Encourage Data-Driven Decisions: Promote data-driven decision-making by encouraging SMEs to collect, analyze, and utilize customer data effectively. Insights from data analytics can guide marketing strategies, improve targeting, and enhance overall campaign performance.
  8. Create Industry Guidelines: Develop industry-specific guidelines and best practices for online marketing tailored to SMEs. These guidelines can provide practical recommendations, benchmarks, and standards for SMEs to follow, ensuring ethical practices, compliance, and effectiveness in digital marketing endeavours.


  • Adekeye, B. E. (2021). Evaluation of Small Scale Industries Performance (Unpublished B. Eng. Thesis), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure.
  • Amruta V. P. (2022). Study of the effectiveness of online marketing on integrated marketing communication. Unpublished (M.Phil Dissertation), School of Management, D.Y. Patil University, Navi Mumbai.
  • Anekwe, N., & Nwokediba, I. (2021). E-Commerce and Performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. International Journal of Academic Multidisciplinary Research (IJAMR), 3(12), 45-54.
  • Bansal, R., Masood, R. Z., & Dadhich, V. (2022). Social media marketing tool of innovative marketing. Journal of Organizational Management, 3(1), 2231-7228.
  • Bell, E. (2022). Business research methods. Oxford University Press.
  • Bell, E., Bryman, A., & Harley, B. (2019). Business Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bernard, H. R., & Ryan, G. W. (2019). Analyzing qualitative data: Systematic approaches. SAGE Publications.
  • Charan, J., & Biswas, T. (2019). How to calculate sample size for different study designs in medical research? Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 35(2), 121–126. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.116232
  • Cohan, M. (2020). Will online marketing work for your business? Article on Digital and Social. Retrieved from http://www.business2community.com/onlineMarketing/will-onlineMarketing-work-business-0946846
  • Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches (5th ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE.
  • Davis, H. (2022). Search Engine Optimization: Building Traffic and Making a Time, Doubleday Business money with SEO, O’Reily.
  • Dinehart, J. (2021). Internet’s impact on your marketing: Article on sales and marketing. Retrieved from http://www.business2community.com/marketing/theInternet%E2%80%99s-impact-on-your-marketing-064193.
  • Drozdenko, G., & Drake, P. D. (2022). Optimal database marketing: strategy, development, and data mining. Sage Publications.
  • Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., & Jackson, P. R. (2018). Management and Business Research. London: Sage.
  • Ejeh, A. N., & Omede, A. (2020). Level of success of e-business applications by Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Delta State, Nigeria. SAU Journal of Management and Social Sciences, 5(1). Retrieved from www.sau.edu.ng/colmassjournal
  • Etim, James, Nnana, Okeowo (2021). E-marketing strategies and performance of small and medium-sized enterprises: A new-normal agenda. JBMS, 3(2), 162-172.
  • Etim, O., Daferighe, E., & Ukpong, O. (2020). Financial reporting practices and sustainability of micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Akwa Ibom State. East African Scholars Journal of Economics, Business and Management, 3(12), 920-940.
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!