It is undeniable that the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia is growing exponentially. An article by Wall Street Journal has even stated, “Online shopping in Southeast Asia only accounts for 0.2% of all recent retail sales. If it rises to 5%, the market could be worth some $21.8 billion.” By comparison, e-commerce accounts for 8% of retail sales in China – essentially attesting the fact that e-commerce is set to boom. With a relatively low barrier of entry, there are plenty of opportunities for smaller e-commerce players and startups to enter the market. However, the key to success here is for these new players to explore all available channels by testing and measuring different options to determine what performs best for their business.
In this article, myths and facts about the right online marketing mix are cleared and discussed to see how startups can kick off their growth by taking the plunge.
Myth: Our product/ site is so good; we don’t need to do any marketing at all! Our work is done.
While your product may be great, revolutionary even, that may not be enough to get the worldwide recognition it deserves. In the beginning stage of any business, some level of marketing is necessary to get the audience to know of your product and business. Even if you get lucky and recognition is secured, why not be the jack-of-all-trades and infuse some stellar marketing into your list of successes. Once recognition is secured, marketing is still needed. Why? People, including your competitors, are constantly innovating new things and coming up with new ideas. It is absolutely important that you show your audience that you are too. If innovation isn’t in your plan, it should be as there is always room for improvement and growth. There are plenty of approaches you can choose to undertake for online marketing, such as utilizing visuals. A post in Curata concluded that visuals on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn get higher engagement from its respective users.
Myth: Social Media marketing is all about getting likes on your Facebook page
If you play it right, social media marketing could be a great tool to understand and engage with your audience. With recent changes that Facebook has made to its algorithm, which shows your updates to your fan base, buying fans or likes on your Facebook brand page will have more negative effects than positive ones. As a business, it is important for your credibility that your Facebook fans are actually true supporters and not people who were paid to. A focus should be made to create engaging content and to regularly connect with your social media audience. This will make it easier for you to earn the Internet users’ trust, which in turn, will increase the chances of converting these users into your customers.
Myth: Setting up affiliate marketing is complex and is not for startups with less manpower
Affiliate marketing is a profitable and effective strategy in attracting the right customers for your business. It is perceived to only be suitable for established businesses with great resources and manpower. This was true 10 years back when affiliate marketing was catching up but given the advancements the field has undergone, there are plenty of SAAS tools that help make integration processes much easier and faster. “We have successfully integrated companies like Zanado.com in Vietnam within a day,” says Sandeep Raj, Vice President of Business Development in iPrice Group. According to eMarketer, 46% of marketers consider affiliate marketing to be “very cost effective” as it relates to customer acquisition, second only to email. It is advisable to engage with a marketing affiliate organization to boost the growth of your business. There is not harm in experimenting to get the best result.
Myth: Google AdWords is the only way to grow fast
Google is dominating the online advertising space because it functions as a bidding auction platform where the more the advertiser pays, the higher the ad will be placed at the top for a given search. However, it is a misconception to say that investing Google AdWords is the only source of growth. There are other potential tracks businesses can explore, such as ExactSeek Traffic Program, Facebook Ads, and Clicksor. A business should also consider driving organic traffic via SEO as ignoring it may lead to huge risks without having a proper strategy in place.
Myth: Banner ads are good enough
Banner ads are a good source of traffic if you are looking to create awareness about your product or services. However, banners are turning out to be one of the worst performing online marketing campaigns. This is because customers nowadays are getting increasingly blind to banners and their online usage path is getting significantly more complex than just the news site>banner>purchase path. According to Digiday and Adobe, ad blocking by Internet users have grown by more than 400% in the past two years because they find it extremely intolerable. Adding to this, 54% of Internet users do not click on banner ads because they do not trust it. Banners still may work but it is important to frequently monitor the conversions that you get from this type of ads and evaluate its payback.
Myth: The right online marketing mix is 50% Google Ads, 25% affiliate marketing, and 25% SEO/Social
There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer when it comes to the right online marketing mix. The good news is that unlike traditional marketing methods, online strategies can be measured easily. The best suggestion is to keep on trying and measuring the performance, and adjust accordingly. “For some niche market players, Google Adwords could be a great and valuable source of traffic. While for others, typically in the more competitive spaces, reliance on alternative sources of traffic is a must,” shares David Chmelař, CEO of iPrice Group.
Myth: No Money, No Successfully Promoted Content
While money can play a part in a successful online marketing campaign, it isn’t impossible to have a successful online marketing campaign with zero budget. There are plenty of sites that discuss zero budget content marketing strategiesfor your perusal. One of the ways to do so is to, as Kabbage has eloquently put it, publish or perish. You should publish relatable content that is of interest to your target audience and preferably something your business is an expert in so that it will further benefit your readers. Next, connect with the people through online communities and publish your posts on blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t end here, though. Make an effort to communicate with your readers, to discuss and to help them. It’s the relationships you build that can help make your content successful.