Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
You are reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Although it has fallen significantly in 2020, overall advertising spending is expected to recover in 2021 and reach a staggering US$630 billion by 2024. In the Middle East, the potential for digital advertising is enormous as local consumers, who preferred traditional advertising channels, turned to the internet en masse in 2020, with digital advertising accounting for 44.2% of total ad spend, while TV ads dropped to 30%.
In the United Arab Emirates, the need for digital marketing is also increasing. As Media Lab research reports, with a population of around 9.6 million, the country has around 9.52 million internet users. These numbers increase the role of digital marketing in the sales process for UAE businesses that want to communicate directly with their paying customers. Among the industries that choose digital instruments to promote their products, the real estate, food and beverage, retail, e-commerce and automotive sectors are the most involved in digital marketing. .
In general, the UAE market is quite complex as there is a mixture of different nationalities and cultures. Moreover, it has its own environment, climate and demographics. Moreover, the UAE is quite receptive to innovations, which allows the use of a wide range of digital instruments, as trends are developing very quickly. So, when launching an advertising campaign in the country, you need to take all this into account.
If you are a small or medium-sized business, here are four steps that will help you successfully launch a digital marketing campaign in the UAE:
1. Decide between doing it in-house or outsourcing When you start a digital marketing campaign, you must first choose how you want to do it, that is, either with the help of in-house marketing expertise or by using a professional contractor. I generally recommend that my clients use Internet marketing agencies because it’s at least 30% cheaper and more effective than having your own marketing department. Plus, they save you time and give you a better result, while designing a digital campaign on your own means putting everything in place – from launch to management – on your own. Some companies think that if they outsource digital marketing, they won’t be able to control it. But this is an illusion, because you can request a detailed report from the agency at any time.
2. Establish a digital marketing budget When you’ve decided how you want to run your campaign, you need to agree on a budget you can allocate to it. This year, the average cost of digital marketing for a small and medium-sized business in the UAE ranges from $2,500 to $12,000 per month, and from $30,000 to $145,000 per year, with monthly payments of around the amounts following:
$300-$5,000 for email marketing
$250 – $10,000 for SMM
$3,000 for content marketing
Prices for web design services start at several thousand dollars
The main factors that influence the digital marketing budget are the size of your business, the category of your audience, the reach and duration of your campaign. At the same time, you need to remember that digital marketing is usually a long-term process, so your budget may change due to new inputs, product line development, or business growth.
Related: Boosting Business: Four Tactics That Can Help You Boost Customer Acquisition for Your Startup
3. Choose the right digital instruments Along with determining the budget, you need to choose instruments that will suit your budget and your target audience. The most common digital marketing instruments for small businesses in the UAE are search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), email marketing, content marketing and affiliate marketing. SEO is the most popular tool among businesses in the UAE. According to Statcounter GlobalStats, over 90% of UAE internet visitors use Google as their primary search engine. Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo are less common, making Google the best possible choice. Another benefit of using SEO is that it easily combines with many other digital instruments, saving you marketing budget.
Email marketing is also prevalent in the UAE. This instrument is quite simple to use, easy to implement and always relevant for customers. However, affiliate marketing is a bit more complicated instrument to use, as you first have to establish partnerships with relevant companies and platforms, and define all the necessary conditions for potential collaborations. Later, these partners will help you sell your product through their networks and take an interest rate as a commission. Its privilege is that it does not require a lot of investment, and the affiliate culture is now flourishing in the UAE.
Content marketing helps companies to convey their company philosophy and tell interesting stories about it, as well as showcasing the product idea and product development as it is. This makes business reliable and fits perfectly with social media marketing as all stories can be distributed among potential customers via social media. Social media marketing also gives you the opportunity to communicate directly with your customers based on their preferences and feedback. It helps your business build brand awareness and spread through word of mouth. Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn, are widely used in the UAE to find product reviews, offers, and other contact information. Moreover, the latest social media presence statistics in the UAE revealed that more than 79% of UAE citizens regularly use Facebook, and most of them rely on it to make their purchase decision.
4. Track results Once the campaign is launched, you need to organize its process to follow up from the intermediate results to the final results. I suggest paying attention to the following metrics: traffic, clicks, dwell time, conversion, and return on investment (ROI).
Clicks is a metric that describes the percentage of users who clicked on your ad and users who saw your ad.
Dwell time is the average time users spend on a page.
Conversion shows how many people follow your call to action.
All of these metrics provide you with a detailed overview of your campaign and help you calculate its return on investment, which is a key metric. ROI compares the amount of money you spent on digital marketing with the amount of money you ultimately earned. It helps to estimate the results of your digital marketing campaign and understand its business effect.
To sum up, I recommend using a combination of two to three digital instruments to understand which are best suited to your budget and audience. It is also very useful to iterate during the campaign so that you can make quick changes. And, of course, always take a look at the intermediate and final results in order to understand which methods bring you the maximum return on investment and show the highest level of effectiveness for your clientele.
Related: How to Impress When You Have 20 Minutes to Pitch Your Case