Tips For SMEs To Find, Win, Keep Clients In Competitive Singapore

Tips For SMEs To Find, Win, Keep Clients In Competitive Singapore

Singapore is a competitive marketplace that prides itself on offering world-class services and products at competitive prices. If you’re looking to grow your business and find a new market, you might wonder how to succeed in Singapore.

While it’s always good to aim for the big city, you might not make it there alive if you don’t know how to position your business for maximum effectiveness. So, in this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to operate your business profitably in Singapore.

There’s no question that technology is advancing rapidly, and having an online presence is becoming an essential element of any business.

Whether a one-person band or a multinational corporation, you must effectively adjust your approach to engage with customers across different platforms.

Here, we’ll highlight the fundamental changes businesses should make to ensure their strategy is up-to-date and effective. We’ll also give top tips on improving their customer experience (and boosting their sales, too!).

From Face-To-Face To Online Customer Engagement

You might be used to having face-to-face customer engagement if you’ve ever been to a retail store. But today, customers increasingly use digital channels to find, research, and compare products and engage with businesses and customers worldwide.

In some industries, such as retail or financial services, it’s essential that customers feel valued and heard. But in others, such as B2B information technology or hospitality, you might not need to be as engaging as face-to-face because customers can find the information they need online.

This trend is driven by various factors, including the rise of the sharing economy, online marketplaces, and even email.

What does this mean for business? Customers can (and often do) engage with brands online instead of in person, particularly if they want to research products or find similar brands or deals.

This presents unique challenges for businesses — how can you ensure that your brand is represented accurately online and that your employees are interacting with customers correctly?

Customer Engagement Through Social Media

While email still plays a significant role in customer engagement (and sometimes, it’s the only form of contact available), social media is becoming an essential aspect of marketing and customer communication.

Most consumers globally use social media to research products and compare prices. It’s the #1 source for consumers, and many of them use social media to learn about special offers or discounts!

Not only is social media opening up new communication channels for businesses, but it’s also creating new ways for customers to engage with brands.

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The most prominent and successful businesses in the world today use social media to engage with customers effectively. From Airbnb and Tesla, who have over a million and a half and 500,000 followers, respectively, to Nespresso and L’Oréal, who have over 100 million and 60 million followers, respectively, to Uber and Xiaomi, who have over 60 million and 49.3 million followers, respectively, these businesses understand the power of social media. They use it to communicate with customers, discover new concepts and trends, and encourage and empower entrepreneurial thinking.

Customer Engagement Through Blogs And Websites

Even before the rise of the internet and social media, businesses (particularly larger ones with multiple locations) regularly engage with customers through company websites.

However, the internet and social media have changed all that – it’s now easy to have a blog or website to tell customers everything they need to know about your business without ever leaving the comfort of their homes.

This is why content is becoming so important – not only does it provide customers with helpful information, it encourages them to trust you more and become regular customers.

For example, if you run a retail store and want to encourage customers to come in and browse your products, having a blog post explaining different garments types and why certain items are more popular than others will surely help.

Further, if you own a clothing brand and want to share the popular trends or the celebrities wearing your clothing, a blog post can help with these.

Mobile-First Customer Experience

Even if you don’t own a business, you’ll probably have heard of the importance of mobile-friendliness in web design. After all, global consumers use their smartphones to navigate the internet, and most of these customers have a mobile-only user experience.

This is vital because it means customers can easily access your website or app even when they don’t have a stable internet connection. It also means that customers can easily access your business’s details, including address, phone number, and website or app URL, even when they don’t have a stable internet connection.

If you’re serious about engaging with customers, developing a mobile-friendly website is a must. Not only will it make your site accessible to all the smartphones and tablets used by your customers, but it’ll also increase your Google rankings and drive more traffic to your site. This, in turn, can lead to more sales.

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Furthermore, global consumers use their phones to research products or deals online. So making sure you’re listed on multiple platforms, including mobile, will help prove your credibility as a brand and encourage more people to trust you.

Marketing On A Budget

As we’ve established, developing a mobile-friendly site is vital for customer engagement. But how can you get the most out of your limited budget if you’re limited on funds?

One way is to use tools that will help you target specific groups of people based on what they’re interested in. For example, if you’re marketing a luxury goods brand, you might want to consider using tools that will allow you to target female customers between the ages of 18 and 24. On the other hand, if you’re marketing a tech brand, you might want to consider using tools that will allow you to target male customers between 45 and 54 who are interested in self-improvement and lifestyle.

These are just some demographics that may be more or less interested in your brand. So by identifying these groups of people and tailoring your marketing to fit their needs, you can improve your return on investment and gain more confidence in your marketing strategy.

Expand Into New Markets

When deciding to set up shop in Singapore, you might be tempted to immediately look towards the city-state’s thriving economy and attempt to replicate what you’re doing back home. However, this can quickly lead to losing out on a potentially huge market. Singapore is a very competitive place, and although there are a lot of opportunities, you need to know how to play the game if you want to succeed.

Instead of looking for your closest equivalent, find out what other industries are booming in Singapore and see if what you’re offering is desired or needed. If you’re able to satisfy the need, then great! If not, you might need to consider relocating to another country that’s more your style.

Avoid The Huge Banks And Stay In The Safe Hands Of Local Firms

Although the city-state of Singapore is well-known for being a financial powerhouse, this doesn’t mean that all big banks are necessarily your friends. If you want to do business in Singapore, it’s important to remember that not all big banks are created equal, and it’s not always wise to put your trust in a stranger. It’s important to remember that even trusted banks can turn malicious if they feel threatened by your business. A good rule of thumb is to look for small local banks that can provide you with the security and stability you need for successful operations.

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Hire The Right People

Even if you’re an experienced business owner who’s operated in multiple countries and cities, you might be tempted to come to Singapore with overconfidence, often believing that you will pull off the same kind of aggressive growth that you’ve experienced elsewhere. While this might be true to an extent, Singapore is a very different beast, and you could find that you lack the proper personnel needed to expand your business there effectively.

If you want to find qualified employees who can help you operate in Singapore, look for active businesses in the region. You can also ask other businesses in your network for referrals, as they might know of someone who’d be perfect for the job.

Register With The GOZ

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For any business looking to expand into the region, it’s important to remember that Singapore is very bureaucratic, so doing business there can sometimes feel like a hassle. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Singapore to waste time simply navigating the government’s regulations and permits.

One thing that can help you avoid unnecessary delays and find your way around the bureaucracy is to register with the government. Many firms in Singapore that do business with the public have to register, and since you’ll be operating within the city-state, it’s in your best interest to do the same. Registering your business gives you access to a whole world of government support, from finding an office space to obtaining visas and working permits.

Consider Relocating To Another Country

It’s important to note that Singapore is not your only option for finding a new home for your business. Some other cities and countries might be a better fit in terms of offering a more welcoming business environment. If you want to find a place ideal for growing your business, then it might be wise to consider moving there. Many large companies have branches and offices in places like Malaysia and Indonesia, so if you can get there and operate without hassle, then it’s a place you might want to look into.

In conclusion, the business world is continually changing with the rise of the sharing economy, the gig economy, and online marketplaces. It’s essential to remain vigilant to engage effectively with customers across different platforms.

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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