Middle East & Arabic Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing can be one of the most effective ways to reach Middle Easterners and Arabic speakers today.
What is inbound marketing
Definitions of inbound marketing vary to some extent across the marketing world but we tend to prefer this definition by Larry Kim at Wordstream:
“Inbound marketing is any kind of marketing that reaches customers when they go looking for something to buy.”
What falls into this category?
- Content marketing
- Sponsoring events
- Public relations
- Building a community
- Public speaking
- Building a social media following
- Opt-in email marketing
- And more
Inbound meets the client or customer where they are and helps nudge them in the direction of buying something. This is different from Interruption marketing which forces itself in front of someone to grab their attention and breaks them out of the flow of whatever activity they were engaged in.
What makes inbound marketing unique in the Middle East?
It may go without saying but language is key to reaching any audience and this is no different with the Arabic language. If you want to meet Arab consumers and potential clients you have to earn their attention by talking to them about what’s important to them in the Arabic language.
Many of the inbound marketing tactics that work well in other regions of the world may not work as well in the Middle East, whereas other tactics may be much more effective than they are in other regions of the world. For example, social media community building can be and extremely powerful tool for inbound marketing in the MENA region as Arabs spend great amounts of time engaging on social networks like Facebook and Youtube.
With over 22 countries that speak Arabic and a large Arab diaspora around the world the same approach to earned marketing may not work across all these countries. Depending on a company’s marketing budget and goals there are several ways they can approach inbound channels. Here are the three main options we typically look at, but depending on the client with there could also be other options.
- Country specific targeting – This option is made up of a unique online strategy for every country in the MENA region. This is probably the least common option as it is the most expensive and time consuming. For large enterprises that seek to have the widest reach and to be the most relevant in each country this is the ideal option.
- Region targeting – This option includes having a unique strategy for each of the broad regions in the MENA region. In most cases this would mean creating a separate inbound strategy for the GCC, the Levant, and the North Africa respectively. This option costs much less than targeting every country uniquely but still takes into account regional cultural similarities.
- No targeting – This option consists of having one strategy and set of tactics across all Arabic speaking countries. It doesn’t take into account dialectical differences or differences in culture across the region. It is lest costly than the other options so it ends up being the most common option. Despite what many in the industry say this option can still be very effective in certain niches.
An important item to note is that inbound marketing can be much more effective in the Middle East than in many other markets due to the lack of competition in many niches. As one of the fastest growing online markets in the world companies can see huge returns on their marketing investment in the region when it is done correctly.