Digital marketing in the Middle East is growing at a rapid pace and it can be rewarding for those who are active in the region. This is because a lot of niches are opening up with little competition and huge returns. In spite of this, a lot of internet/digital/performance/affiliate marketers still make a lot of mistakes that can be avoided.
This affects their profit base and could also tarnish their image and that of their brand. Thus in order to help you navigate their marketing in the Middle East, we have outlined 5 points that you need to look out for.
1. Not translating your site into Arabic
The chances of gaining getting the conversion on your site will be very low if your site doesn’t have an Arabic version because that is their first language and doing this will bring you closer to the people in the region. Regardless of whether or not your audience speaks English in addition to Arabic they most likely prefer reading content in their native tongue.
2. Not Optimise Your Website for Mobile
The mobile phone market is growing quite fast in the Middle East than any other region in the world. For example, in Saudi Arabia, more than 60% of the whole population has and use smartphones. So it will be a huge marketing mistake not to make your website mobile friendly in both English and Arabic
3. Not Taking Culture and Religion Into Account
A company can face major repercussions from forgetting to pay attention to local culture and religion. Just because a product or service you offer doesn’t raise any concerns in Europe or the United States doesn’t mean it won’t in the Middle East. With many countries in the Middle East holding strongly to conservative values and traditions is not that hard to offend someone in the region. Channel, for example, faced criticism for creating a low cut dress with Arabic words from the Quran on it. Nike had to recall a pair of shoes that they made that unintentionally appear to have the name Allah written on the back of the shoes. Cross-cultural specialists should always be consulted with to avoid these kinds of mistakes.
4. Not Doing Thorough Research
Did you know that in many Middle Eastern countries it is extremely rare to see a snack or soda vending machine? So offering products like this might not work because they have a lot of man power. This goes to illustrate a point that a product or service that may have a great market in other regions of the world may not have much appeal in the Middle East. The opposite can also be true. Many products and services that have little to know the market in the Western countries do well in the Middle East.
5. Not Adopting Different Strategies
It is easy to put all the people in the Middle East under one bracket because they speak the same language and practise one religion right. Well, this a huge marketing mistake because even though they share a lot of things in common. They are different in a whole lot of ways. For example, The GCC consists of several oil-rich Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These countries have a large middle class who demand high class and middle-class products and services. Egypt, on the other hand, is the most populous country in the region and has a much larger lower class. Though both markets are viable and thriving online markets taking the same approach to both for all kinds of products would be unwise.
There are a lot of money to be made in the Middle East but before you embark on a campaign, ensure you do enough research and product testing. You need to understand the culture and the various parts of the online market in the region.
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