The Challenge of Marketing in 2018 and Beyond
Transforming to digital marketing is becoming an essential step for companies and small businesses in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East. The business environment in the region is becoming very competitive with more companies offering the same products from within the country or overseas.
The Paradox of Print Media:
Print media has formally entered the process of extinction as it is no longer driving the same amount of business as before.
The challenges faced by print media are:
- People are on their mobiles or laptops all the time. Less and less people in the Middle East and UAE are reading newspapers and if they are, they are reading it online.
- More people are reverting to Social Media as the main source of news, information, and update.
- Print media is not bilingual like digital, forcing companies to use different media channels to reach different language audiences, which is increasing the cost dramatically.
- Print Media doesn't offer businesses the level of measurement as digital media does where companies can track and analyze the metrics of their online campaign.
- Cost of printed marketing is becoming very high vs. lower return.
Digital Marketing, the salvation for UAE small businesses to stay competitive
In the Middle East, people are going digital and digital channels are becoming the new place to reach customers and drive brand awareness.
A digital revolution is taking place in the Middle East where businesses are converting to Online presence, Social Media, and Google to create brand awareness and drive leads to their business.Digital Media and Marketing offers several advantages to companies in the Middle East.
- Easy to measure.
- Cost effective: Reach 100 times more customers at the same cost of printed media.
- Engage and communicate with your potential customers.
How to Transform your business to digital marketing and start generating business online?
Transforming to digital marketing may look like a challenge at the beginning, specially for small business owners. However, with the right partnership & with the right digital marketing company, the process is straight forward. It entails four core steps:
- Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy.
- Build your online presence in all available and relevant online mediums (website and social media channels), and paid media channels (Google Adwords, paid Facebook ads, etc).
- Setup the process to create content, graphics and media like photos and videos.
- Setup measurement and analysis tools to continuously monitor your digital marketing strategy success and adjust accordingly.
1. Digital Marketing Strategy
Building a digital marketing strategy is the most essential step in the transformation process. We always advise business owners and decision makers to dedicate quality time at the beginning while shaping and directing the digital marketing strategy. A digital marketing strategy should include but not limited to:
- Target audience: Who are your potential customers? Examples are: middle class, rich, or low income, women vs. men, targeting based on nationality, etc.
- Target audience location: Are you planning to target customers in one city or multiple cities? We always recommend to start your channeling in a smaller location and expand with time.
- Which media channels your target audience are using the most? Are they on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. How much traffic is coming from Google for your target business?
- Campaign objectives: Do you want to do more of brand awareness reaching to thousands of people? or do you want to focus on generating qualified leads targeting hundreds of potential customers?
- Digital marketing campaign budget: How much budget should you allocate for the plan to succeed? taking into consideration that almost all digital channels are becoming pay-per-play (meaning you have to pay to the channel to guarantee reach), it is essential to balance a budget and its distribution among media channels.
- Do marketing in-house or outsource: For small business, outsourcing to a digital marketing company could be the only choice as doing in-house marketing is cost prohibitive.
2. Building online Presence
After the strategy is set, the next step is to start building online business, it includes, but may not be limited to:
- Design & build an Arabic\English website for your company. Take into consideration that the website should be responsive, easy to use, readable from mobile, and super super fast to load.
- Setup online social media channels on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Make sure to correctly setup paid advertisement account on social media.
- Setup Google paid ads campaign management with Google Adword tool to run google paid advertisements.
- Setup Google webmaster and Google Analytics to measure and drive your SEO company campaign.
- Setup other digital media distributions systems like SMS Marketing and Email Marketing.
3. Building Content, Graphics, and Media for your Company Digital Marketing
In the online world, what differentiate winners from losers is content. Interesting content, graphics, and videos that can go viral, your potential new customers would be interested in, and help you build a positive and authoritative brand. A lot of UAE companies are going wrong about social media. They are frustrated why they don't see results in spite of the effort and money they are spending. Some of the issues we face with new customers are:
- Buying fake followers on Facebook and Instagram which is very bad idea for your business.
- Overloading accounts with ads. The rule of thumb is 80% of the content should be none commercial and 20% online advertisements about your business
- Covering every picture and ad with the company logo. It is like telling social media users "I am an Ad, don't click on me!!!". Social media users wants more interesting contents and less advertisements.
- Copying content from other websites which would lead to Google penalty and low ranking in search results.
4. Measure & Adjust your company digital marketing campaign
The beauty of digital marketing is measurement, which is detailed and sophisticated. Once you launch your digital marketing campaign, you need to make sure to measure at all level of the marketing supply chain. For the companies that Storat manage their digital marketing campaigns, we have created 4 simple layers for measurements:
- Impressions: How many people are seeing your posts and advertisements
- Clicks: How many people are clicking on your posts and ads. While, it depends on the media used, this should be in the range of 1% to 10%.
- Leads: How many of those clicks are transforming to inquiries through phone calls, questions in social media or website, or email inquiries. This should be in the range of 1% to 10% from clicks. if you are getting more than 5% engagement, your digital marketing campaign is a smashing success. 20% and above, you are a star of digital marketing!
- Business: How many of those leads are transforming to real business, aka paying customers. A Healthy rate to target is 20%. Remember that transforming a lead to a paying customer may not be instant. So, it is important to attend to every lead in a reasonable time.
The Digital world is opening unlimited possibility for businesses to drive brand awareness, reach new potential customers, and win over competition. In couple of years, businesses with no significant digital footprint would face the threat of extinction, hence our motto: Go Online or Go out of Business!!