SMEs Wasting Money on Digital Marketing in Singapore?
What a Digital Agency in Singapore tells you
“You have to agree. Today, everyone is online. Digital marketing in Singapore is important! Your business must on Google and social media!”
You hear that from every digital agency in Singapore. But deep down, you’re curious.
Well, I disagree with that statement. Any businessman will know it is false.
You don’t always need to be on Google or Facebook. There is no hard and fast rule in business. And you shouldn’t let a random digital agency in Singapore scare you into believing your business needs digital marketing.
I can find hundreds of businesses that are not on Facebook or Google but still make profits every month. This would sound strange coming from a leading digital marketer in Singapore, but I did NOT run a single digital ad back when I started my consultancy business.
There’s a right time and place for everything.
Digital marketing in Singapore isn’t what grows your business. Your CUSTOMERS are the ones that grow your business.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been approached by businesses for help after they got persuaded by a digital agency into spending thousands on digital marketing with zero results.
Many of them share one thing in common. Their product or target audience simply weren’t suited to digital marketing in Singapore.
So how do you know if it’s the right time and place for you to start digital marketing?
Step 1: Ensure Your Product Is Attractive Enough
A few years back, my friend’s father approached me for help to do digital marketing for his company’s product. Their business environment was changing and the company was eager to try digital marketing as a means to boost sales and keep up with times.
I’m sure many of us older folks have seen these colorful bottles before.
However, minutes into the conversation, I discovered that the company’s main source of revenue was from distribution to hair salons. The salons then sold directly to Chinese-educated housewives, usually aged 45 and up. It became clear that the product’s main target audience wasn’t on the internet and the younger generation couldn’t connect with the brand. Hair salon bosses are not going to spend time searching for products on the internet.
This was a business model that required building personal relationships instead of digital marketing. In short, they’d be wasting money on a digital agency in Singapore.
So ask yourself, is your product attractive to younger people (40 and below) or the more educated, savvy older crowd?
In the earlier example, the company needed to change the product image and adapt to the competitive environment before spending big on digital marketing. They weren’t ready for that so I turned the deal down as it would only waste their marketing budget. It wasn’t as straightforward as “turning on Google ads and getting customers.”
Take note of this if your business also targets the Chinese-educated segment aged 40 and above (Fengshui, traditional health food, hard-sell beauty salons, sacred ornaments etc).
Having said that, how do you effectively change your product’s image?
Step 2: Digital Marketing to Connect With Customers
Content marketing, when done correctly, will always the best form of digital marketing in Singapore for any business.
Depending on your customer base, you will want to spread your content through Facebook, ad networks and selected placements at very relevant websites.
The above is an example from a local jewelry store, JannPaul. I’ve seen them go from being relatively obscure to the most recommended brand in Singapore for proposal rings. Because competitors failed to keep up with their content marketing, they’ve now become the dominant name in their niche.
This is a good example of how a small player used hard work to beat all the big names. Wouldn’t you like to do the same?
By giving value to your main customer segment, you’re building up trust within your industry and establishing yourself as a thought leader. Along the way, you win fans and advocates, who will help in word-of-mouth marketing for you. It takes a lot of work, and results aren’t immediately, but if you truly have passion for your business, it is worth it.
Don’t be afraid to share your expertise and give value. Enjoy sharing. Enjoy helping others.
Now that your people love your product, it’s time to finally see how you can reach them.
Step 3: Decide On the Digital Marketing Tactic
Know where your customers are and how you want to reach them.
Facebook = Great for young people, couples, females who love beauty products, tech savvy people
LinkedIn = Content marketing here is good if you do a lot of sales, especially to MNCs and corporates
Google AdWords = Awesome if people search directly for your service (towing car, plumber, dentist)
SEO = Good after you’ve figured out your money keywords from AdWords etc
Web Banners = Great for niche audiences
Google Display = Remarketing gold-mine
And the list goes on. We usually end up with a combination of a few things. Look at factors such as short-term vs long-term, your business life cycle, your target audience’s online behavior, your budget, the cost effectiveness of various channels etc. There are multiple factors to consider before making this decision.
But it isn’t wrong either if you realize that you don’t need to be on Google or Facebook! Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a really good digital agency in Singapore helping you. Need help figuring your plan out? Ask me.
In conclusion, there are no hard and fast rules in digital marketing. Everything depends on your business.
So the next time someone says, “You have to agree. In today’s world, everyone is online. Your business must be found on Google and have a presence on social media!” By all means, go ahead and disagree.
Author BioA leading digital marketer in Singapore, Nate has beaten professional benchmarks for Google SEM by 400%. Previously a Vice-President of Marketing in his corporate career, he's worked with American Express, Yahoo, Starhub, Genting. Trained people at Facebook, Google, Starcom. Approached for strategic insights by IDC. Helped a bank save 98% on marketing. Increased user revenue for Deloitte's fastest growing tech startup in Singapore by 4,400%.
Currently offering free consulting for charities, social causes and start-ups with shoestring budgets. Also works with private clientele at That Web Consultant.