Marketing tips: The guide for small business owners in the Middle East

6 min read
Selina Bieber

One of the biggest challenges that face small business owners is setting a marketing strategy for their business. Marketing your business may at first seem a complicated or impossible task, but in reality with a bit of research and dedication you’ll get to see great results from your efforts. Apparently, any business that doesn’t prioritize marketing may be in danger of losing leads and potential customers. So, buckle up, follow the marketing tips and trends and get ready to set a solid marketing strategy for your business this year.

 66% of SME owners are personally responsible for most of their business’s areas including marketing. 

As a startup or a small business owner, we know that you’re juggling several tasks at the same time. There are several marketing guides that promise you success in a couple of steps. Our marketing tips are specially tailored for startup/small business owners in the MENA region. Don’t waste your time any longer; let’s get you started!

Ultimate Marketing Tips

  1. Get to know your customers
  2. Invest wisely
  3. Focus on video and live streaming
  4. Invest in Arabic content
  5. Revamp your website
  6. Keep up with voice technology

Get to know your customers

Do you know who is your perfect customer? If the answer is no, then you need to start doing some research. Before setting a marketing strategy for your business, you need to research your potential customers. Or else, how would you set a strategy or a plan to target people whom you don’t know? Getting to know your customers help you tailor an effective strategy and saves up on your time and effort.

You can start by a demographic analysis: their location, gender, income level and educational background. Then according to the answers you create a buyer persona.

You can also use a tool that can help you develop a customer’s buyer persona, like Xtensio 

Invest wisely

We understand that as a small business owner you’re probably on a tight budget. So, when it comes to spending in marketing you may find yourself lost. The options are unlimited and new social media platforms are emerging and evolving.

Unfortunately, no marketing tips can provide a secret potion that can work for everyone. Well, since you did your research and you now know which platforms your customers spend most of their time on.

Do they use a search engine to look for your business or industry? If so, you need to focus on Search Engine Optimization and invest in ads on Google through Google Adwords. Are they always checking social media platforms? If so, you need to invest in ads on social media platforms.

Remember not to put all your efforts in one place. You can first breakdown and distribute your effort among several channels. You’ll constantly measure and test the return on investment (ROI). Start mixing and matching until you reach the perfect blend for your business.

Focus on video and live streaming

The hero for 2018 was no doubt video content and live streaming. You need to think how you can put these tools to your advantage.

Now that 74% of the total content on the internet is video, companies are relying more on video content 

First, most social media platforms and messaging apps now allow you to post videos and have live streams. Are you hosting an important event? Live stream it. Preparing a photo-shoot for your products? Post a behind the scene shots and teasers in a story. The options for being creative are unlimited, start thinking out of the box and stay connected with you customers.

marketing tips video iphone

Invest in Arabic content marketing

Although Arabic is the fifth most used language in the world – it’s used by about 250 million person around the world –  there’s still scarcity in Arabic content on the internet. Less than 1% of the total global content on the internet is in Arabic. Most users in Egypt and Saudi Arabia – two of the largest countries in the region in terms of population and opportunities – prefer Arabic content.

Over 60% of Arabic speakers prefer browsing internet content in Arabic according to Arab Media Outlook 2009-2013.

Brands and businesses that communicate with youth and mobile users in the region, need to put into consideration Arabic content that will attract this segment. So it’s not only about just creating content in Arabic. The quality of your content marketing has to be as good and as engaging as English content.

Revamp your website

You’re starting a small business and you think having pages on social media platforms is enough? You need to think twice. Building a website is as important as building a strong presence on social media. Think of it this way, if someone wants to buy a bouquet of flowers he will type “nearby florists” in the search engine and he’ll get a list of websites of nearby florists. You wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity of reaching these customers.

Moreover, there is a strong bond between websites and gaining customers’ trust. Whether you’re a non-profit organization looking for investors, a stay-at-home mother selling food online, or a university student artist who wants to show-off his work, building a website is very beneficial.

You might be thinking: I am not a web designer and I don’t have the budget to hire a professional. Building websites isn’t as complicated or as expensive as in the past. You can build a professional, easy to navigate, budget-friendly website and with a mobile-friendly design, all with GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing tool.

Her Health First GoDaddy Website Builder marketing tips - Copy
Her Health First: A women’s event website built with GoDaddy’s Website Builder

Keep up with the voice technology

Our last advice in this marketing tips guide is to check new technological advancements. Voice technology in particular. Users use voice technology either through their mobile phones, smart watches or voice assistants and you also need to listen your consumers. Voice Search uses the power of speech recognition to search the web.

25% of individuals ages 16-24 use voice search on mobile, per Global Web Index

You can check this guide and find out how brands are using voice technology for marketing.

 Marketing tips: Your next steps

As a small business owner, you might find yourself in the position where you are the content creator, marketing manager and the social media manager all at the same time. More like a superhero!

The marketing tips provided in this article can pave the way for a successful strategy. The Arab and Middle East region is huge, and each country's population acts differently. So, remember to accommodate your marketing tools accordingly.

And most importantly, don’t get too comfortable with what you’re currently offering. Strive to experiment and test, because the world of marketing is constantly evolving.