Many businesses across Malaysia have adapted to new forms of selling and customer outreach since the Covid-19 pandemic. And as we approach the tail-end of MCO 3.0, it still remains clear that we won’t be returning to the textbook definition of “business as usual” anytime soon.

For small F&B businesses such as mom-and-pop shops who rely heavily on foot traffic, the current state of things has shifted their focus towards the online space to increase sales. 

For many businesses, this shed light onto the benefits of digital marketing. A year and a half into this, the goal is no longer about temporary fixes. This time around we’re looking at long-term and sustainable strategies that can be adapted to the changing tides.

To further elevate your digital marketing plan, we have compiled a list of online marketing ideas that will help small businesses sell more effectively throughout the MCO period and beyond. 

Employ a Content Marketing Plan

Digital Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses to Increase Sales

Content marketing is a must-have for businesses that want to engage with their customer base, boost sales and increase brand loyalty. At its core, content marketing is about creating value.

It allows businesses to step away from purchase-driven, hard-sell techniques and instead, connect with customers on a more personal level. 

Content marketing lets businesses take on the role of a trusted provider or subject expert. By redefining that relationship, it creates room for customers to be more receptive to brand messaging and will potentially convert them into loyalists. 

One of the first things to consider for your content marketing strategy is your target audience. Once you have a clear idea of who your audience is, you’ll be able to develop valuable content that is relevant and meaningful to them. This is essential to building trust and ensuring return customers.

Aside from amplifying your presence in the mind of customers, content marketing is all about communicating your brand and its values. This might involve demonstrating your expertise on certain topics related to your products or services through online video tutorials or blog posts. 

Tip: For restaurants, it might involve organising limited-time online promos and contests to create hype around new products or menu items.

Blog articles for instance, lets you engage with your audience through thoughtful and informative pieces. 

For example, say you currently own a fine foods grocery store and want to find a way to promote it to your customers. Publishing a step-by-step tutorial on preparing a recipe using ingredients that can only be found at your store will be a great way to generate buzz and also educate customers about your products. 

Another great example of content marketing is testimonials. 72% of customers say they are more likely to trust a business if they receive positive reviews and testimonials from other customers. And with the amount of social media channels online, businesses have more avenues to share this with their customers. 

Tip: Encourage customers to tag your business on platforms like Instagram and create a Highlight reel for new users to check out when they visit your profile.

Three Tips for Your Content Marketing Strategy

  • Create original content. Publishing original content sets you apart from your competitors and positions you as an authority in the industry. Creating content that addresses your customers’ pain points also shows them that you are listening to them and addressing their needs. 
  • Use analytics to track your performance. Analytics is important as it allows you to track what is working for you and what isn’t. This insight can help you refine and improve your marketing strategy as you progress and focus your attention on areas that are generating the most traffic. 
  • Be consistent and up-to-date. Publishing content consistently helps you establish brand credibility and create a better customer experience. It’ll also improve your SEO and help you rank better on Google’s SERPs. 

Develop a Solid Email Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses to Increase Sales

Email marketing allows you to send out targeted and personalised content. This means you can reach them wherever your customers are. 

However, this does not mean you should be emailing your customers everyday. Take the time to craft effective, creative and relevant emails and send them out on a regular enough basis. This is so that your network can look forward to hearing from you without being overwhelmed by a barrage of messages every time they check their email. 

Email marketing is also relatively inexpensive. Small businesses with a limited budget or businesses that are newly experimenting with digital marketing can easily tap into email marketing. The fact that it can all be automated with the use of email marketing softwares also means that you can reach thousands of people at a minimal cost to your business.

Some of the most common formats of email marketing include: 

  • Welcome emails to initiate the first point of contact you have with your new customers upon them signing up for your website or your company newsletter.
  • Email newsletters as a tool for educating your customers about your products, services and sharing relevant information on a regular basis. This can cover a broad range of content topics ranging from a roundup of your business’ best-selling products of the week to announcing any in-store or online-only promos.
  • Dedicated emails for one-time announcements such as creating awareness surrounding new payment methods your online store is now accepting.
  • Drip campaigns, also known as lead nurturing involves sending out a series of closely related emails over a predetermined period of time. This is often done to slowly guide your prospects (leads) through the sales funnel and towards an eventual conversion (sale).
  • Re-engagement emails are sent out to re-establish connection with an inactive subscriber and remind them about your business. This might involve sending them a limited-time discount code to encourage them to  visit your website. 

When planning out your email marketing strategy, always remember to:

  • Segment your target audience into groups with similar attributes and create personalised email messages for each one.
  • A/B test multiple email subject lines and copy to determine what resonates most with your audience and make improvements as you progress. Using power words in your subject line will also motivate readers to take action and help to increase your open rate. 
  • Combine different content formats in your email messages. Promotions are great but sharing too many discounts may ruin brand perception. . Instead, get creative with your email messages and use it as a medium to share useful tips, tutorials, brand stories, fun infographics and much more.
  • Pay attention to the name in the “Sender” field of your emails. We suggest using an actual person’s name instead of the one belonging to your business. You can even combine the two! From a customer’s perspective, receiving an email that comes from a person feels a lot more personal than it would from a brand or company. 

Improve Your On-Page SEO 

If you already have a website, optimising it should be a high priority on your online marketing to-do list. 

As businesses cannot depend on foot traffic during these periods of uncertainty, now is the time to elevate your online presence by organically increasing your website’s online traffic. 

How do you do this? By using SEO to make sure that you appear at the top of the search pages when customers Google your products and business.

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation and it is an important digital marketing tool that can help customers easily find your website . This process involves carefully building your website and using the right keywords to help drive traffic to your page. 

To make it easier for you to get started on this, we’ve rounded up some of the most important things you can do to optimise your website.

  • Use the right keywords. Think about the words your customers are using when looking for your products online. Make a list of these keywords and use them on your website pages to help them rank higher.
  • Pay attention to link building. This process involves making sure your website contains links to other high-authority websites. For example, if you’re a restaurant that has received a positive online review from a popular food blog, you could include a link on your website to direct readers to the review. Also ask the owners of the food blog to feature a link to your website as the more inbound and outbound links your website has, the higher you will rank.
  • Improve your website’s load speed. This often overlooked detail can have impactful results. On top of making it easier for your customers to navigate through your site and find the items they need, Google also factors in a website’s load time when it crawls your page so be sure to speed up your load time to raise your ranking.
  • Set up a Google My Business listing for your business’ website. This  is a quick and free hack to get more eyeballs onto your website. Not only will it let potential customers easily find your business hours, contact information, directions and web address, but it’ll also provide them with more insight into your business in the form of customer reviews, photos and peak hours.
  • Optimise your website for mobile. Search engines penalise websites with poor mobile display,which can negatively affect your rankings. Google’s Mobile-Friendly test is a super helpful tool to inspect your webpage and improve your site’s mobile optimisation. 

Augment your Digital Marketing Strategy with Social Media 

Digital Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses to Increase Sales

Almost any article you read on how to increase sales online will have some mention of social media and it’s easy to understand why. Social media is one of the most effective tools in your digital marketing plan. It is an excellent medium for interacting with your audience and keeping them engaged with snappy and easily digestible content. 

We suggest these approaches to making the most out of your social media channels:

  • Going “live” on Facebook and Instagram. Numerous Malaysian SMBs have hopped on this recent e-commerce trend. We’ve seen livestreams ranging from houseplant businesses to online vintage boutiques hosting live sales for their products. Not only does this create a sense of urgency around a product, but it also facilitates branding and allows businesses to interact with their followers in real time. 
  • Run social ads. Social media advertising enables businesses to efficiently reach anyone outside of their existing followers, making it easier to increase their inbound traffic and grow their customer network. It is also versatile and its adaptive features lets you identify and target specific audience personas, test multiple creatives, and gather and analyse your data to continuously improve your strategy. 
  • Set up a WhatsApp Business account. According to Nicole Tan, Country Director for Facebook Malaysia, 175 million people globally message a Whatsapp business account daily and over the last year, the daily interactions between individuals and business accounts have grown by over 40%. This figure is predicted to increase over time as preferences shift from email and phone to social messaging apps. To further simplify the shopping experience, businesses can now take advantage of the Cart feature and give customers the option to browse your full product catalog, edit their order quantity and place their orders directly on WhatsApp.

As of 2021, 86% of Malaysians are active social media users and with the limitations imposed upon physical interactions, more businesses are relying on social media to reach their customers and increase sales via platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

“We are in a new era of commerce. One thing remains constant – people prefer interacting with businesses in ways that are human, personal and seamless”, says Tan. As product and brand discovery continues to become a more social experience, small businesses who leverage this trend ahead of time will stand head and shoulders above the rest. 

Increase Your Sales with Dropee

As more businesses go online, the importance of digital marketing will continue to grow as they compete to attract and remain relevant to the discerning consumer. While it may be overwhelming at the beginning, having a solid digital marketing strategy laid out will prepare you for the challenges that arise as you venture forward.

For B2B businesses that want to expand their online efforts, Dropee’s network of solutions can support you in various ways. 

Our Marketplace is fantastic for businesses that want to reach new customers, connect with sellers as well access thousands of products across various categories including F&B, health & beauty, household supplies and more. 

On the other hand, our e-commerce solutions are designed to support businesses in streamlining and managing their inventories and customers via cutting edge technology. 

Contact us today for a free consultation with our sales team and get ready to kickstart your digitisation journey.

Leanna Seah

Leanna is a writer who honed her skills in the world of e-commerce. She has collaborated with numerous publications to produce content across a diverse range of categories including tech, finance, travel and lifestyle.


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