A Digital Marketing Starter Kit for UAE Businesses

If you’re a small business owner who’s just now getting into digital marketing, it can feel like a sea without shore. Especially if you don’t spend much time online yourself. And that’s totally OK!

In this blog post, I tell you what digital marketing is, its components, and how it solves many of the problems facing marketers in Dubai. Ready? Let’s get started.


Why Digital Marketing?

  • Levels the playing field for all businesses: Digital Marketing offers equal opportunities to all businesses, especially small and medium enterprises that earlier didn’t have the resources to compete with big companies.
  • Cost effective than traditional marketing: Traditional marketing is generally an expensive affair, from buying space in newspapers, TV or even radio compared to advertising online.
  • Easy to measure performance: The best part of digital marketing is that you can track down your marketing efforts and know exactly which marketing channel you should focus on
    • How many website visitors are you getting?
    • How many new leads are you getting?
    • How many new customers are you getting?

In traditional marketing, it’s tough to know who changed the channel during your ad, who was paying attention, how many people read your ad in the newspaper, or even opened your direct mail.

Before we begin, here’s some marketing lingo you need to know.

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Understanding your buyers = more effective marketing. More effective marketing = more sales. Click on the button below to download your free copy.


Digital Marketing

This is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts.

Businesses leverage digital channels like search engines, social media, email, and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers.

From your website to your online assets like digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond, there’s a broad spectrum of tactics to consider.

The best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each asset supports their business goals.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound is a philosophy of marketing, as opposed to a tactic. You use marketing to bring your target buyers to you, rather than going out into the world and interrupting them.

By creating specific content to appeal to your dream customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.

Content Marketing

This is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience, the goal of which is to attract them to you by serving them, rather than selling to them.

The Buyer’s Journey

This is the process buyers go through when they become aware of a problem, evaluate potential solutions, and decide a course of action. It’s a 3-step process

  • Awareness stage: the buyer realizes they have a problem
  • Consideration stage: the buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it
  • Decision stage: the buyer chooses a solution

Objectives: How do you want to measure your success?

Now that you know what digital marketing means in a nutshell and what it encompasses let’s talk about what you want to achieve and how you will achieve them.

  • Brand awareness: Do you want more people to know about your brand and get your products and services more widely known?
  • Acquisition or lead generation: Do you want to reach people who’ve never bought from you before and bring them into your buyer’s journey?
  • Growth from existing customers: Do you want people who’ve already bought from you before to buy more frequently or a different kind of product?

Use SMART goals to help you set realistic goals with a metric to measure your success.

  • Specific: Visits, leads, customers
  • Measurable: Provide a number
  • Attainable: Understand benchmarks
  • Relevant: Relates back to overall end goal
  • Time based: include Time frame

SMART goal template: Increase _____ by _____ (starting at this amount _____ and go to this amount _____) by this date _____.

Example: Increase visits by 20% (5,000 per month to 6,000 per month) by May 31, 2018

Now that we’ve discussed briefly what digital marketing is and what it isn’t…

And what should your objectives be and how to set them using SMART goals and measure them…

Let’s dive deeper into the different digital marketing techniques.

Digital Marketing techniques

1. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

This is where you buy ads on search engines to get your page shown as the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd result. The most popular one is Google Adwords. SEM is a form of PPC (pay per click) marketing.

You can bid for keywords and have your ads shown to a particular region/area. You can have your ads show at a particular time of the day.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The best way to reach your customers is by solving their problems. Today, when people want to solve a problem, what they do first? That’s right, Google.

SEO involves optimizing your website using content and it’s backend code to rank higher on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Google is the most popular search engine worldwide so it’s a good idea to go through their SEO guidelines HERE.

SEO best practices:

  • Keywords: Finding relevant terms, phrases known as ‘keywords’ help generate traffic to your site.
  • Optimized for Mobile: Searches have moved from desktops to mobiles, make sure your website is optimized for mobile and tablet devices.
  • Relevant: You need to keep repurposing your information and keep its contents relevant.

Test your website’s performance here.

3. Social Media Marketing

Even if you’ve never used social media to market your business I’m pretty sure you have personal social media profiles. At least Facebook and Linkedin.

Social media marketing involves publishing and promoting on your business social media profiles to get attention, increase awareness in the market for your business, and generate leads and customers.

Social Media Marketing involves both organic and paid content (Facebook ads, for example.)

Social Media Marketing best practices:

  • Use analytics to refine the content you create: You can tailor content to your audience by considering factors like Behavioral (looks at the benefits sought, rate of usage,) Psychographic (looks at your customers personality, lifestyle and attitudes,) and Demographic (age, gender, occupation.)
  • Engage your community like a human being: People trust other people over brands. Let your employees create content and guest post once in a while, or better yet show your brand through your employees. It gives your brand a sense of credibility.
  • Optimize your publishing strategy: always tie your social media marketing to your business goals and optimize for results over vanity metrics (likes, followers, shares.)

4. Display Advertising

The modern form of print advertising or classifies.

Display advertising uses banners, texts, logos, animations, interactive elements, and so on, to convey a commercial message visually.

Google AdWords display ads appear on over two million websites and in over 650,000 apps, so your ad can show up wherever your audience is. The idea is to display your ad to all your potential audiences across all devices.

Display Advertising best practices:

  • Make sure it’s distinguishable from normal webpage content according to the display ad guidelines.
  • Dynamic content ads: Remember how you once visited souq.com and then you couldn’t stop seeing ads of the product you viewed and recommended ones across the web? Yep, that’s dynamic content ads.
  • Test your CTAs: Make sure your CTA button redirects to the correct landing page, don’t hesitate to experiment with the design and color, use an a/b test if needed.
  • Use re-targeting: Show your ads to people who have visited your website before. You can do this by installing a piece of code on your website that tracks visitors.

5. Email Marketing

With an ROI of 3,800% (that’s $38 in revenue for every $1 spent,) email marketing is one of the best converting marketing channels.

By sending regular updates to your email subscribers you can nurture your relationship with them and build trust. People who trust you will buy from you.

Email marketing best practices:

  • Email often: Don’t believe anyone who tells you email is dead. Everyone has an email address and the vast majority of people check it every day. Emailing every day is best. You want to stay top of mind. The bare minimum is once a week
  • Edutain your readers: Every email you send should educate and entertain (edu-tain) your subscribers. Don’t listen to anyone who says people don’t read long emails. There’s not such thing as too long. Only too boring.
  • Sell in every email: Ask your readers to take an action in every email. Whether that’s buying your product or service, reading a blog post, watching a video, etc.
  • Automate repetitive emails: You should use marketing automation tools like Hubspot to build workflows that nurture your subscribers and move them through the buyer’s journey on autopilot.

6. Mobile Marketing:

Mobile Marketing is an umbrella term for a multichannel strategy to optimize the way people interact with your business on mobile devices.

Mobile is disrupting the way we search for information and even engage with brands. Look at these statistics:

  • 80% of internet users own a smartphone
  • 51% of all digital ad budgets in 2016 were spent on mobile.
  • Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones
  • 80% of top Alexa websites were mobile adaptive.

As consumer behavior patterns have shifted from desktop to mobile more and more websites are optimized for mobile Google accounts for 96% of the mobile search traffic, followed by Yahoo (2%) and Bing (1%.)

7. Native Advertising

Have you ever clicked on an article that’s labeled “sponsored content”? Native advertising looks just like any other piece of content on the website, except that it’s paid for.

A good example of a website that uses native advertising as a business model is Insydo. We interviewed the founder on our podcast a few months ago:

Best practices for Native Advertising:

  • Integrate it with site content: Ads that blend in with the site get more clicks.

Tl;dr (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

Listen to our podcast, the 7 pillars of online marketing and how you need to make them all work together to achieve marketing success. It talks about everything I mentioned above and more.

How to integrate Traditional Marketing with Digital Marketing

If you’re a traditional marketer, then you already know the 4P’s:

  • Product: Product here can either mean a tangible product or intangible goods (services) that fulfills the needs and wants of your customer. I’m pretty sure you’ve done your market research and competitor analysis to know whether there’s a demand for your product.
  • Price: Decide on a pricing strategy, it could be cost leadership, premium pricing, price skimming, and so on…
  • Place: AKA your distribution strategy, outlines where your products and services are going to be available and what channels you can use for maximum distribution.
  • Promotion: Decide how you want to implement Direct marketing, Advertising, Personal Selling, Sales promotion and Publicity in your mix and whether you want them to be available online or offline.

Now that you have your product, price, place and promotion set, start building content for those channels and distribute them where your audience are.

Don’t forget to measure and audit your results, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again, change your promotion strategy and experiment a little.

Not sure how to create the best promotion mix for your business?

The image above shows you the pros and cons of each promotion method, and what they’re used for. Still unsure?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a new product you need to introduce to the market? Or a new company who wants to generate brand awareness (Advertising)
  • Are you struggling to compete with your competitors? (Sales Promotion)
  • Do you have a product that’s highly specialized and technical in nature? E.g.: Plants, Machineries or software’s (Personal Selling)
  • I need to correct the negative image of our brand, remember the Volkswagen carbon emission scandal? Yup, you may wanna go for Publicity/PR and do some CSR activities to gain your customers trust.
  • So, your product has new features that your customers aren’t aware of, what do you do? (Direct Marketing)


We’ve covered quite a lot of ground here, so let me summarize the main points:

Got any questions or is there anything you’d like to add? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you. 😉

Before you go, get your FREE Buyer Persona Guide + Templates

Out of everything I wrote about in this blog post…

If I could emphasize ONE thing that will give you the best results for time and energy invested…

It HAS to be understanding your target audience / ideal buyers.

And I mean a deep understanding. Not in the superficial age/gender/relationship status/job role way, but in the “my buyer is a real, living, breathing, 3 dimensional human being” kind of way.

Because when you understand who you’re marketing to, you’re able to make better decisions, spend your budget more efficiently and, most importantly, sell more of your products/services.

That’s why I created a FREE GUIDE on how to create buyer personas for your business AND given you some handy templates to do it.

Click on the button below to download your free copy.