Small businesses usually cater to the local market and are more inter-personal when compared to large establishments. They usually keep a relatively lower margin as well. The main sources of advertising for small businesses are print media and word of mouth. But the current pandemic has brought a standstill situation for many owners and has led to a temporary or permanent closure of their outlets owing to the sharp decrease in customer footfall. Businesses that had adopted an online presence early on have the upper hand when compared with those that have not. The new motto is “If the customers do not come to your store, then go where the customers are”- which is online now.
Digital marketing is the key to capturing the business back in this internet era. Although it may not replace the traditional marketing strategies altogether, more importance is to be given to digital marketing. Internet usage among Emirates has seen tremendous growth in the last year owing to schools and colleges shifting their classes online. Also, most banking transactions are done online or through mobile payment gateways. Below mentioned are few key points to be kept in mind by small business owners in 2021.
1. Refined Customer Targetting
The whole purpose of running a marketing campaign whether online or offline is sales. But not everyone who watches the ad will be interested in buying. So, why advertise the products to the whole world when you can target specific users? Social media platforms and search engines are updating their algorithms and also provide options to categorically target an audience based on age, demographics, industry, etc to make your ad appear to relevant and targeted audiences. This works very well with small businesses and companies with a low budget. Calculating monthly returns on investments is much easier in digital marketing than in a traditional advertisement.
2. Social Media is Key
Social media has garnered a lot of attention with so much idle time made available due to the lockdowns enforced across UAE. Irrespective of age, people have swarmed to various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social media platforms promote customer engagement, direct communication, and brand exposure. These factors lead to personalization and trust with your customer base. Customers respond better when they see advertisements on these platforms of brands they are familiar with. The interpersonal relationship built with local customers will come in handy on social media to increase the customer base as well.
3. Display Media Marketing
It is a type of online marketing that includes rich media, banner ads and unlike text-based ads, display marketing relies on elements such as audio, images, and video to communicate an advertising message. With the problem of insufficient internet data being solved by major cellular networks, video ads have grown in popularity. By creating heartwarming and catchy videos, ad marketing campaigns can do wonders compared to written content. If small businesses are on a tight budget, even homemade videos will do the trick if they fit their audience’s demands and expectations. The same is the case with high-quality images and photos which can help to reminisce fond memories of pre covid times.
4. Email marketing
Although Email marketing is old school, it still exists for a reason. Small businesses can leverage this to their benefit since it is cost-effective as compared to other modes of marketing. Regular follow-up and brand recognition can easily be achieved using email marketing. If you have a creative touch, personalized emails to your customers can guarantee better responses for repeated business.
5. Staff Optimization
With the current economy, salary cuts and layoffs are a common and unfortunate sight. Without a proper flow of income, maintaining existing staff members itself may be a difficult task considering the added expense of converting their homes to an office. It would be difficult for many business owners to hire outside help and will have to look within the company for added responsibilities. Using the in-house marketing team to develop strategies and implementing them will help to maintain the overall expense.
6. Partner with other small businesses
One thing that has to be remembered is that the current situation has affected all other small businesses and it would be better to stick together. Joining local business groups will enable you to meet up with other like-minded people who already share some common interests with you. There are a large number of business groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that you can join to boost your brand and provide value to each other. These groups provide an excellent opportunity to work on ideas with other smart people, discover talent, share referrals, and recognize new opportunities. Building a community relationship will help once the pandemic is over too.
7. Be Goal-Oriented
Without a proper goal in mind, an adequate effort will be missing in doing the market analyses and execution. Also, a proper growth rate cannot be understood without an initial reference. Defining a goal to measure the success of your digital marketing efforts is the basis of any successful entrepreneurs. Before considering a digital marketing plan, companies must determine their primary digital marketing goal. According to a recent survey, more than 75% of small businesses believe their digital marketing strategies are effective in fulfilling their company’s targets.
Intersmart Solution is a leading digital marketing company in Dubai, UAE with over 10 years of experience in the successful implementation of digital marketing strategies across the UAE and abroad.