Digital Marketing for Local Business in Singapore

digital marketing for the singapore SME

Research conducted by Deloitte Digital shows that consumers are relying more and more on their mobile devices and PC’s when making their everyday buying decisions. This is especially the case when it comes to Singapore, where shopping is viewed as a national pastime. By 2015, Singapore had the highest mobile use. And by 2025, experts say that the eCommerce market will be worth an estimated $5 billion U.S. That is why digital marketing for local businesses in Singapore will become of paramount importance.

However, it’s important to note that these types of increases are affecting brick and mortar businesses also as online and offline worlds continue to merge. Local business owners are starting to carefully consider how they can reach a compromise that will help them cater to both worlds. As retail costs rise and Singapore’s labour market becomes tight due to government policies, many are seeing how beneficial digital marketing can be for their local business.

But what strategies are the most effective? The digital consumer is becoming skilled at finding the best deals and in the shortest amount of time. How can local businesses get their attention? Getting local business has a lot to do with the way a business is positioned online. Below are 6 online elements that you can leverage in order to improve digital marketing for local business in Singapore.

Leverage Websites

This may seem like the most basic advice, but surprisingly, almost 50% of small businesses do not have their own website. Unfortunately, this means that those companies will miss out on a lot of new business. The good news is that companies who do take the time to develop great websites will stand out from their competition.

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Though a website should be well-designed there is more to it than looks. It should be well branded so that customers get a consistent idea of who the business is as well as its personality. It should be fully responsive so that it will be easy to navigate, no matter what device a customer accesses it from. It should be well-optimised so that it is easy for the target audience to find. It should load very quickly, ideally within 2 seconds, so that customers are not tempted to navigate away from the page. The website should also offer customer support.

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When considering the amount of business a website can bring in, hiring a designer is a very small investment. However, even if a local business owner cannot afford the cost of hiring a website designer, there are plenty of templates available online that make it easy to customise a site.

Leverage Social Media

While most businesses use social media to advertise their newest products and build a community among their followers, social media platforms take on a whole new meaning for local business owners who want to attract local residents. The key to getting the most out of any platform is to focus on content that is relative to the location of the business.

For instance, the average online company offers giveaways that can be mailed to the winner. While the local Singapore business may do this as well, they can also offer coupons that are localised. The great thing about this type of giveaway is that not only does it gain attention from potential customers, but it also gets the attention of search engines and improves the overall ranking of the business.

Another great way to market a local business on social media is to post about the company’s upcoming events. This gives the search engines something else to pick up on. Businesses can also publicise the events of other businesses in the same location. The benefit of posting events that are being held by other companies or charities is that there is a good chance that they are already being highly searched and publicised by individuals in the Singapore area. And these rankings will have a positive affect on the brands that promote them.

Leverage Online Reviews

Word-of-mouth can have a huge impact on a business. In fact, more than 2/3 of customers depend on the advice of others when it comes to their buying decisions. So needless to say, word-of-mouth is considered the most powerful metrics as it concerns new and repeat customers.

And this is why many business owners are acutely aware of their online reviews. They know that even one negative opinion can possibly put an end to their current venture. However, what most are not aware of is that these same online reviews can be used to spread awareness about your local business. Reviews should not only be used as a way to affirm your business practices, but also to let potential customers know that the business actually exists. And the more reviews there are, the more attention the business gets.

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Most businesses register their website with Yelp, Google Places, and similar listing sites. They include their contact information as well as their hours of operation. However, most simply wait for the reviews to come in. They do not proactively work to get their customers to leave reviews.

This is where Singapore businesses can stand out among their local competition. Instead of waiting for the reviews, they can actually create in incentives for people to write them. For example, the business could offer a 10 to 20% discount on the customer’s next purchase.

Leverage Shopping Opportunities

Believe it or not, even though online shopping has gained a significant amount of popularity over the years, brick-and-mortar shopping still continues to outperform it. However, if businesses would like to get the most out of their online presence, then they can easily do so by creating window shopping opportunities.They key is to make the user feel as if they are getting an insider’s look or are getting privileged information.

For instance, businesses can give a sneak peek into a collection that has not yet been released. Not only can this be done on the company website, but also on social media pages. The cool thing about this strategy is that if a business debut’s next year’s collection, the company can get ahead of next year’s competition in the search engines.

Another great way to create window shopping opportunities is to ask your customers to post images of themselves using or wearing your product or service. People enjoy showing off how happy they are with their newest product. And this will give potential customers a chance to imagine how successful they will feel.

Leverage Email Marketing

Believe it or not, email marketing is good for more than just alerting customers to the newest products. It is another great way to promote a business’ latest event and offer local coupons. The key to marketing your local business through email marketing is to develop a strong relationship with individuals on the mailing list. And this takes time.

Leverage Local SEO

Perhaps one of the most important part of digital marketing for a local business is local SEO. 78% of small businesses feel that their new customers find them through the search engines. Though the best way to be found on search engines is through SEO, there is a very big distinction between SEO and local SEO.

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While SEO revolves around the website itself, local SEO takes geography into consideration. It highlights the actual location of the brick-and-mortar business. For example, if a business owner runs an online jewelry store, his or her SEO strategy may include keywords such as ‘best watches’, ‘best necklaces’, or ‘best bracelets’. However, if a business owner runs a brick-and-mortar business, he or she wants to gain customers that are located near their store. Their Local SEO may include keyword phrases such as ‘best watches in Singapore’, ‘best necklaces in Woodlands, Singapore’, or ‘best bracelets in West Coast, Singapore.’

There are several things business owners must take care of if they would like to ensure that they are fully optimised for their location. They must claim their Google My Business page and Bing Places for Business. Another important part of local SEO is ensuring that title tags and meta description are customised to reflect your location as this is the information that will show up in the search results.

Perhaps one of the most important parts of local SEO is becoming a resource for information about the location that the business is located in. Sure, a business can generate a lot of profits by discussing its own products, but it can also bring in a lot of traffic by discussing the surrounding area and scenery. What is the business location famous for and what is going on in the local news?

The Takeaway

Local businesses are very similar to online businesses in that they require a great website, a strong social media presence, awesome online reviews, a creation of opportunities for the customer to view products and services, and a solid email marketing strategy. However, what local businesses in Singapore must focus on is geography. Unlike the average online business, the majority of customers must come from the surrounding area. This means that local businesses can use the same platforms that online businesses use, but that they need to be more creative when it comes to promotional measures.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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