June 22, 2021
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are yours.
You are reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Although it declined dramatically in 2020, total ad spending is expected to rebound in 2021 and reach a staggering $ 630 billion by 2024. In the Middle East, the potential for digital advertising is huge because local consumers, who used to preferring traditional advertising channels, they went en masse to the internet in 2020, with digital advertising taking 44.2% of total ad spend, while TV ads fell to 30%.
In the UAE, the need for digital marketing is also increasing. As Media Lab research reports, with a population of approximately 9.6 million, the country has about 9.52 million Internet users. These figures increase the role of digital marketing in the sales process of UAE companies 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.
Generally, the UAE market is quite complex as there is a mix of different nationalities and cultures. Plus, it has its own unique environment, climate, and demographics. In addition, the UAE is quite receptive to innovations, allowing the use of a wide range of digital instruments, as the trends expand very quickly. So when launching an advertising campaign in the country, you need to take all of this into account.
If you have a small or medium-sized business, here are four steps to help you successfully launch a digital marketing campaign in the UAE:
1. Decide between doing it internally or outsourcing When starting a digital marketing campaign, you must primarily choose how you would like to do it, that is, with the help of in-house marketing experts or through the use of a professional contractor. I generally recommend that my clients hire internet marketing agencies as it is at least 30% cheaper and more effective than having your own marketing department. In addition, they save you time and give you a better result, while creating a digital campaign yourself involves setting up everything, 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 it is an illusion, as you can request a detailed report from the agency at any time you want.
2. Set a digital marketing budget When you’ve decided how you want to campaign, you need to set a budget that 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 US $ 2,500 to $ 12,000 per month, and from $ 30,000 to $ 145,000 per year, with monthly payments of approximately the following amounts:
$ 300 – $ 5,000 for email marketing
$ 250 – $ 10,000 for SMM
$ 3,000 for content marketing
Prices for website design services start from several thousand dollars.
The main factors that affect the budget for digital marketing are the size of your company, the category of your audience, the reach and duration of your campaign. At the same time, you need to remember that digital marketing is generally a long-term process, so your budget may change due to new inputs, product line developments, or the growth of your business.
Related: Business Strengthening: Four Tactics That Can Help You Drive Customer Acquisition For Your Startup
3. Choose the right digital instruments Along with determining the budget, you need to choose the instruments that suit your budget and target audience. The most common digital marketing tools 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 UAE companies. According to Statcounter GlobalStats, more than 90% of UAE internet visitors use Google as their main search engine. Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo are less common, making Google the best possible option. Another advantage of making use of SEO is that it is easily combined with many other digital tools, which helps you save on your marketing budget.
Email marketing is also widespread in the United Arab Emirates. This instrument is quite simple to use, easy to implement, and always relevant to customers. However, affiliate marketing is a slightly more complicated instrument to use, since, in the first place, it is necessary to establish alliances with relevant companies and platforms and establish all the necessary conditions for possible collaborations. Subsequently, these partners will help you sell your product through their networks and will 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 convey their business philosophy and tell interesting stories about it, as well as present the product idea and product development as it is. It makes the business trustworthy and is perfectly suited for social media marketing as all stories can be distributed to 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 strengthen its reputation and spread it by word of mouth. Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn, are widely used in the UAE to search for product reviews, offers, and other contact information. Furthermore, the latest statistics related to social media presence in the UAE have revealed that more than 79% of UAE citizens use Facebook on a regular basis, and most of them rely on it to take their purchase decision.
4. Monitoring of results Once the campaign has been launched, you need to organize your follow-up process from intermediate results to final ones. I suggest paying attention to the following metrics: traffic, clicks, time spent, conversion, and return on investment (ROI).
Clicks is a metric that describes the percentage of users who clicked on your ad and the percentage of users who viewed your ad.
Dwell time is the average time users spend on a page.
The conversion shows how many people follow your call to action.
All of these metrics give you a detailed description of your campaign and help you calculate your ROI, which is a key metric. ROI compares the amount of money you have spent on digital marketing to the amount of money you have ultimately made. It helps to estimate the results of your digital marketing campaign and to understand its business effect.
In short, I recommend using a combination of two or three digital instruments to understand which ones best suit your budget and audience. It’s also very helpful to iterate during the campaign so you can make quick changes. And of course, always look at the intermediate and final results to understand which methods give you the maximum return on investment and show the highest level of efficiency for your customer base.
Related: How to Impress When You Have 20 Minutes to Present Your Case