With bustling economies and business-friendly policies, Middle East attracts many new entrants, whether startups or established businesses. If you’re one of them, how do you get a head start?

The region is home to one of the world’s largest smartphone- and internet-using population. According to recent reports, digital advertising in the region is soaring while digital ad spend has crossed nearly $6 billion and continues to grow.

Clearly, it’s a heavily competitive market and in order to gain a foothold you need to be armed with an appropriate digital strategy.

Here are three tips to keep in mind while creating your digital marketing plan for the region.

1) Make Your Website Region-Specific

It’s surprising how many businesses step into the market here but don’t have a website dedicated to their operations in the region. Gartner reports that only 15% of businesses have an online presence in the region. So here’s an opportunity for you to gain a competitive edge by creating a local-specific website.

If you run multiple offices across the globe, making region-specific websites make even more sense. It’s far less frustrating for the customer to simply browse your website and find your local address, contact information, opening hours etc. than having to pick the info they need from a global site.

Plus, a region-specific website allows you to target the local traffic that matters.

2) Target Locally

Local targeting is the name of the game when you’re trying to build your presence in a specific region. Not just your website, everything — from your SEO to social media to content marketing —should be tailored to the interests and preferences of your local audience.

Depending on which country (or countries) in the Middle East you’re targeting, you might need Arabic language translation services or hire a translator to make sure your brand message is conveyed correctly. A digital ad survey found that 96% of consumers in Saudi Arabia prefer Arabic, while 60% in UAE prefer English. Because the success of your campaigns rest largely on your content, your first step should be to research your target audience and gain a deep understanding of the market you’re trying to capture.

3) Understand the Consumer Behavior and the Culture That Drives it

It’s almost a no-brainer that as a business, you should spend time knowing the people and the culture of the region. Your services, business strategies, decisions, and campaigns — all should be aligned with what is acceptable and would work with the local consumers.

Flawless communication is key to building a positive image and credibility for your company. If you fail to understand the cultural differences and the unique consumer behaviors in a new market, you could end up making blunders that can damage your reputation and hinder your business efforts.

Establishing your presence in the Middle East can be a bit challenging, but it’s worth all the effort given the huge revenue generating potential of the region. The digital marketing tips above will help you get a solid start.

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