According to McKinsey, SMEs were hardest hit by the pandemic and its impact on remote working. With SMEs being the backbone of the UAE’s economy, accounting for just over half (52 percent) of the country’s non-oil GDP, it’s no surprise that the Dubai government is launching a Dh6.3 billion stimulus package for businesses announced. Measures like this, and the fact that their size and unique focus allows them to be agile and flexible, have meant that despite the challenges of the past year, small businesses with the right mindset still have opportunities.
As social distancing becomes a permanent part of everyday life, consumers are increasingly looking for companies that can engage with them in new and creative ways. Digital services are a priority, according to a Nielsen report that highlighted that prior to COVID-19, only 21 percent of consumers in the UAE shopped online, compared to 41 percent today. As this digital migration of consumers continues to accelerate, SMBs can take advantage of the opportunities that arise from new customer priorities and preferences.
For several small and medium-sized companies in the Middle East, navigation in the area of mobile commerce is new territory, but it can be mastered relatively quickly and relatively painlessly. What most small businesses also have in common is a very limited budget for communication and contact with their existing or target customers. So how can these companies do business in the mobile ecosystem without spending a large portion of their revenue on marketing budgets?
Manage the digital marketing mix
The good news for companies involved in mobile commerce, making sure customers can easily find and buy their products, doesn’t require too much technical know-how. A great digital marketing mix brings together paid, owned, and earned media into one comprehensive strategy. Mobile web-to-app travel, email, and social media are marketing channels that can greatly expand your customer base when used optimally together. This can result in customers getting where you need them to find your goods or services smoothly. This enables you to achieve your customer acquisition goals with little or no cost.
Convert web users into loyal app users
The smartphone penetration numbers in the Middle East are among the highest in the world. As a result, apps are an integral part of the mobile experience for many users. Taking advantage of this will open up new opportunities for your company. For SMBs with a website and a mobile app, it’s worth noting that nearly 90 percent of users discover brands on the web, while 70 percent of digital revenue comes from apps. So it makes sense to focus on getting users to your website and then creatively and seamlessly route that traffic to your app.
A best practice for getting users from the web to the app is to display banners prominently on your home page, as well as on major product and category pages. Another creative way that some mobile commerce companies ensure that customers are attracted to downloading their mobile app is to offer services or features that are only included in the app. However, it’s important to make sure that the app is easy to download, easy to navigate, and ultimately provides a better overall user experience than the website. In a Middle Eastern market where data is expensive and the competition for engagement is high, an app that takes up too much space or uses too much data is very quickly deleted to make room for something else.
Increase customer acquisition and visibility through social channels
Social media usage is deeply embedded in the culture of the region and a staggering 98.98 percent of the UAE’s population uses social media. Social platforms are just as important, if not more important than websites for brand visibility and awareness. Optimizing the use of your own media can produce great results.
Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok continue to be the top channels for user acquisition and retention. Most people access their social networks while on the move. Whether you’re looking to expand your app user base or connect with existing customers, it’s important to make sure that your social channels are shining with current, relevant, engaging, and exciting content.
Analysis of the effectiveness of mobile marketing
Whether you are using email marketing, a targeted SMS campaign, or social media marketing, understanding how effective each campaign has been in driving real customer growth and optimizing marketing ROI is important. It could be that your customer base is the best responding to SMS campaigns or that you are in a sector where customers spend more time on social media. How likely are your customers to open your email, and what motivates the recipients to take action for each campaign? To answer all of these questions, you need a good system that provides data and analytics that will help you better understand your digital marketing efforts.
Opportunities on the phone
Regardless of your line of business or your expertise, you need to be able to connect with the right customers for your goods or services. While print advertising, television, and especially radio, are very effective in the Middle East market, these marketing methods come at a cost to your audience that most SMB businesses cannot afford. The Middle East has some of the highest user rates online and on mobile in the world. This is a great and affordable way to use smart, targeted digital marketing approaches to find new customers and retain valuable customers.
It’s also relatively simple, and only requires a few clicks, planning, and continuous review to make sure the campaigns are effective.