Digital Marketing - Hong Kong Small Business (Best) Strategies
Digital Marketing is more than getting web traffic or visitors to your website (or any Hong Kong small business with a website).
The typical digital marketing (or internet marketing) strategies that we used to know is typically to get people to visit the company website, and the process ends there.
The new internet marketing (or digital marketing) strategies (for a local market such as Hong Kong) should include not only getting web traffic, but must integrate web traffic channels with the audience, company website and/or landing pages, email list building, and marketing automation.
This is the exact strategies how most small businesses should embrace digital marketing in Hong Kong should embrace.
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Digital marketing in Hong Kong (or any other local markets) always involves knowing the audience.
Let’s consider the three major audience groups in Hong Kong. The groups can easily be split by their languages.
Local Hong Kong Chinese / Hongkongers
The first audience group is the local Hong Kong Chinese / Hongkongers.
Local Hongkongers consume online content and receive information in Traditional Chinese (which is the written language). The default spoken/verbal language is Cantonese Chinese.
In the Hong Kong market, the majority of audience can be reached on search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc) and social media (Facebook). The main content of the official small business company website, social media marketing materials and emails must be created in Traditional Chinese.
To optimize your small business website’s search engine ranking towards Google’s mobile-first indexing, refer to my mobile SEO best practices guide.
Expats & Foreigners
The second audience group consists of expats and foreigners (i.e. people who are of non Hong Kong origin) living in Hong Kong.
English is always the first main language when targeting foreigners and/or expats. The company site (for Google’s English query searches), social media marketing (i.e. mainly Facebook), and emails should be created in English.
Only when you have plenty operating resources or marketing budgets available, then you can consider targeting audience speaking other western or European languages (e.g. French, German, Spanish, etc) and potential customers speaking South-east Asian languages (e.g. Indonesian, Vietnamese, etc). Projects that are to expand to other languages than English and Chinese should be placed on the lowest priority.
Refer to my article to successfully engage and nurture prospects in Facebook groups.
Mainland Chinese (who live in HK)
The third group is the population who write in Simplified Chinese and speak in Mandarin Chinese. They are not the majority in the Hong Kong market, but are mainly people who have relocated from Mainland China to HK.
On social media and instant messaging, this group of Mainlanders are expected to mainly rely on China’s WeChat.
Content on your company website should be created in Simplified Chinese to capture the keyword searches on both Google and Baidu.
I have written this Baidu SEO guide to improve your understanding on Chinese search engine optimization.
Priority Among Audience Groups
Some products or services are designed for the local Hongkongers, but others may be more suitable for expats and foreigners in HK.
Your priority (on internet marketing) depends on your exact product or service that you can offer to your customers. It is important to match the language to your website, content, marketing messages, and more.
As a local small business, online marketing (i.e. digital marketing) in Hong Kong is not only about getting traffic (i.e. free traffic sources). The next immediate stage is to create a company website.
The first method is to develop the website from scratch which is the most difficult method and is not recommended.
The second and the preferred method is to use one of the many website builders that are available. This makes building websites much simpler.
Two types of website builders are:
Example type 1: Weebly, Wix, Shopify, etc.
These website builders all let you using your custom/own domain name when you create and launch your website.
- When using these website builders, you’ll have to pay a subscription fee (such as a monthly or yearly fee).
- The upside is you won’t have to understand any web hosting setup, as website builders (such as Weebly, Wix, Shopify) would take care of all matters regarding web hosting issues, etc.
- The website builders do have some limitations. Your website is created based on a template. You won’t be able to make 100% full changes to everything on your website, including some appearance, hosting configuration, etc.
- Some website builders offer higher plans but require higher fees. The higher plans may allow more flexibility and custom changes.
Example type 2: WordPress (i.e. WordPress.org, not to be confused with WordPress.com).
WordPress is a free software that you can download and install on your chosen web hosting service. (How to install WordPress on Siteground?)
- With WordPress, you’ll always be able to use your own domain name for your website.
- You’ll have to subscribe to a hosting plan from your web hosting service. Many hosting plans come with built-in WordPress software. With a few mouse clicks in cPanel, you would have already successfully installed WordPress on your purchased domain name.
- WordPress is extremely plugin-based. Different plugins come with totally different functions/features. WordPress plugs actually let you extend the capability of your website. Some plugin examples may be for SEO, file caching, image compression, responsive tables, web form builders, etc.
- With the plugins, A single WordPress site may end up installing and running 20-30 plugins.
On your company website, the one most important page type is your product page (or service page). Based on your products, you’ll create your entire company website.
When you have 1-2 products or services, your target should be to build a company website with 5-10 pages.
- Homepage: 1 page
- Product / service pages: 1-2 pages
When you have more products such as between 20 and 40, your company website will have more web pages. e.g. 20-60 pages.
- Homepage: 1 page
- Category pages: 3-10 pages
- Product: 20-40 pages
When your marketing strategy includes content marketing, a blog can be added to your company website.
- Publishing blog articles that are related to the topics of your products would improve the visibility of your products and brand in long term.
- From the beginning when you integrate SEO into your website and blog, you would have done a good keyword research to identify all the niche topics and articles that are required for your blog. Through regularly blogging, you blog posts will start getting Google organic search traffic through long tail keywords.
When you build your landing page, it will be mainly used for your social media campaign (i.e. Facebook advertising), and sometimes your Facebook organic posts. i.e. In your Facebook organic posts, you can include the link (URL) to your landing page.
Besides showing the product details including product name, description, attribute and photos, the main goal of this landing page should be for new lead generation.
On the landing page, it should:
- Capture email leads with a lead magnet and a web form.
- Provide super obvious and easy contact information for visitors to reach you i.e. Direct phone number, Whatsapp group, Facebook group, etc.
You should also have one or more landing pages specifically created for paid search campaigns i.e. Google Ads. With Google Adwords (or AdWords), people would search using different keywords before clicking your ads on Google and arriving on your landing pages. When keyword A and keyword B are two keywords in two different topics, a landing page should be built for each keyword.
The actual SEO work would cover your entire website. This would have already covered the landing pages for SEO.
You have your website created and published, and your landing page is ready. Now your ready to bring in the traffic i.e. web visitors through digital marketing
Marketing your small business and/or products (or services) to the Hong Kong market on the Internet requires you to focus on a few major channels (or traffic sources).
The major channels are:
- Search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo & Bing)
- Social media site (i.e. Facebook)
The strategy is to first identify your audience groups (which have been explained previously in this article). It should be followed by the second stage below.
Search Engines: Google, Yahoo & Bing
The 1st step of the second stage is to create your company website for both users (your potential customers) and major search engines, and integrate the SEO strategy with your website.
Search engine optimization takes time to yield results (i.e. get the higher SERP ranking). During the initial stage, your company website is a new site and will most possibly not having any keyword ranked higher than position 50 on Google. For some very competitive industries, your website’s SERP may even be below 200.
When you have plenty marketing budget, set up a paid search campaign on Google Ads (AdWords).
You will have ads appearing above the fold and above Google’s organic search results, provided you have bidded your ads or keywords high enough, and satisfied other criteria (such as AdWords Quality Score). Refer to this Google AdWords optimization checklist.
Your ads will start receiving clicks and people would land on your website or landing page.
During these 2-4 initial months, Google Ads would be a substitution before your SEO work blossoms in 4-6 months.
After 4-6 months your SEO has implemented onto your website according to plan, your website’s ranking should start to appear higher up for many keyword searches on Google and Yahoo/Bing. The organic search results on Yahoo and Bing are identical because they do synchronize.
Social Media: Facebook
The 2nd step is to set up your social marketing campaigns which should include paid advertising campaigns and organic posting campaigns.
Build the landing page specifically for your social media campaigns and have it integrated into the paid advertising conversion funnel.
Email List Building
One traditional option is to display your company contact information (i.e. phone number, WeChat ID, Facebook group, Whatsapp group, etc) on your website and landing pages.
But the improved and better method is to get/capture the email addresses of the people who visited your website or landing pages.
Let’s consider the scenario when you have a landing page for one of your advertising campaigns whether it is for Facebook Ads or Google AdWords Ads.
Include the four elements on your landing page:
Assume your service is to provide legal advice. You would include all the necessary content to describe the summary of your service on the landing page.
A lead magnet is an offer and is needed to get your visitors to decide taking an action. A example with the legal service is to provide one-time free consultation to anyone who apply for it.
The call-to-action is a strong reminder telling your visitor that they must take an action. A example is to offer the legal service for a limited time (i.e. Only for today).
The web form is where the action takes place. On the web form, usually you would require your visitors to fill in their name (first name, and sometimes full name), email address, phone number, and some other fields (that can indicate to you whether they are qualified leads or not).
A simpler web form requires visitors to provide their first name and email address.
The simplest web form requires only the email address of the visitors.
I have written a guide with 31 list building strategies for your reference.
After the visitors have given you their email addresses through the web form, they have effectively become your subscribers (to your content).
The subscribers are also your leads – If you use the right method to nurture them, a portion of them may start purchasing products from you.
The next immediate stage is to start considering how to nurture your leads and get them to buy. i.e. Convert them into paid/new customers.
Obviously email is now the only channel to reach your subscribers (or leads), and that’s where the nurturing process (or the final stage of the conversion funnel) starts.
Here are the two major types of email campaigns that you can start for the objective of nurturing your leads.
Standalone email campaigns
The most common email campaign that everyone knows how to do is when you set up, schedule, and send the one time email to your leads.
You can send multiple emails to the leads. But each email remains their own standalone email, and has no connection (based on actions taken by the leads) to one another.
The standalone email works only when you know exactly what your leads want. But you don’t.
That’s why you should go one step further by launching the action-based emails campaigns (or automated email campaigns).
Action-based email campaigns
The action-based emails are a series of “action” connected emails or marketing automated emails.
You start with pre-configuring the rules (that are user actions), and the emails are triggered and sent to your leads.
Example of email marketing automation
An example is your lead has opened the first email that you have sent to him/her.
Under your marketing automated rules, you have configured your “email software” to “automatically” send a follow-up email two days after your lead has opened that specific email.
Why? Because for you, when anyone of your leads open your email, you believe they have showed interest to the first email you have sent to them.
Of course, you can set up less lenient rules such as when a lead clicks a specific link in a specific email, he/she triggers this rule where your lead will receive a product recommendation email.
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