In Singapore, 88 per cent of consumers used a store locator on Google to find a business, and look to the Internet to find a place to dine at or to purchase a particular product. With the growth of search and social, it has become increasingly important for SMEs in Asia Pacific, to leverage the digital platform well to increase their scale and reach.
Google has shared some tips with Digital Market Asia on how SMEs can reach new customers in Singapore and export their products and services globally.
1. Get online
The most important step in going online is to make your business discoverable by your customers. Google My Business, a tool by Google, provides SMEs with a free listing and simple website that will help them show up on Google searches and drive traffic to their stores.
2. Make your mobile experience great
According to recent research, 50 per cent of people expect a site to load in less than two seconds. In Singapore, the average site takes 9.32s to load on mobile, which puts Singapore behind the rest of Asia Pacific at 8.48s. Not having a mobile-optimised site is like shutting the shop front door to customers, just because of the device they’re using. Google’s Test My Site is a free, online tool that provides businesses with a detailed report and specific steps on how to make websites faster.
3. Keep an eye on the trends
When it comes to content – be it for marketing or for information, it is important for SMEs to know what’s popular. Google Trends allows SMEs to see what people are searching for in Singapore and worldwide, which can help you understand the popularity of different topics and products.
4. Broadcast your business
Three out of five users in Singapore find YouTube useful to search for products and 41 per cent are influenced by YouTube on which brand to buy. With the growing popularity of videos, it has become a useful medium for SMEs to engage and find new customers.
5. Invest in paid ads for new customers
After a business has established an online presence, many will want to promote it. Paid ads on platforms such as AdWords can help businesses reach potential customers worldwide when people search, watch videos, and browse online content relevant to their business.
6. Promote goods to customers using e-commerce sites
Google’s Shopping Ads are image-based ads that help shoppers find the products they’re searching for and quickly connect with the merchants who sell those products. Small businesses that don’t have an e-commerce platform on their website can partner with online retailers to list their products for them.
7. Identify new markets for expansion
Google’s Global Market Finder tool analyses data from Google Search, Translate and AdWords to help SMEs compare the cost of acquiring a new customer and helps them to determine if exporting to a new market is a good idea for their business.
8. Measure your online marketing
It is also important for SMEs to measure their marketing activities to know what works and what does not with tools such as Google’s Analytics.
9. Training for digital leaders
Google has launched Squared Online for SMEs as a training programme developed by Google and AVADO covering topics across social media strategy, digital advertising and data analytics.
With support from SPRING Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority, SME-sponsored trainees may claim up to 90 per cent of the course fees on successful completion of the course.
10. Join export masterclasses
Small businesses looking to expand their footprint overseas can sign up for free export masterclasses led by Google and its partner agencies.