Ramadan’s almost here!

And along with it an amazing opportunity to market your brand that you should be making the best of.

Ramadan is a time when Internet and TV consumption are both at an all-time high. So, businesses should be taking advantage of this by focusing on their marketing and ensuring that their brand is at the forefront of the consumer’s minds. Especially since the pace of E-commerce shopping generally grows by 60% in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during Ramadan.

In fact, searches for Ramadan are usually as high as searches for Black Friday- MENA’s biggest online shopping moment.

However, this year things are different.

Muslims around the world are bracing for a completely new type of Ramadan and this could result in different consumer buying patterns. Digital and media consumption is already at an all-time high due to the curfew and lockdowns around the world, but the sales may not continue to be as high. So we have scoured the internet to give you some actionable tips on how to best leverage this time to ensure that your business is equipped for Ramadan 2020.

Strengthen Your Online Presence

We’ve said this time and time again, and it continues to remain a priority. Having an online presence for your business has become the most important thing you need to do to ensure that your business survives this pandemic, as well as make the best out of the Ramadan sales.

Online sales increase before, during and after Ramadan with a growth of about 50% by the third week of Ramadan.

So make sure to create an online presence for your brand as soon as possible. This could not be any easier today with a varying range of options based on your business model, such as:

  1. Social Media Store: If you want a quick online store without committing to a website, you can easily create one on Instagram, Facebook, or even Pinterest. All you need to do is to build a catalog of your products and services and market it using organic and paid ads! With an app like goCollect, you could even send bills on the same social media platform and collect online payments, making it easier for you to close your sales quickly and for your customers to have a contactless delivery.
  2. E-Commerce Platforms: The growth of E-commerce in the last decade has also seen a growth in E-commerce platforms locally and regionally such as Zid, Zyda, Salla, and many more. These platforms are a step above website builders in that it’s created with e-commerce in mind, making it that much easier to set up your website. Some of these platforms can get you up and running in less than 48 hours and comes with their own ecosystem of payment partners, shipping partners, and everything else you would need to create an online store!
  3. Custom-built app or a website: If you require more customization, you could also enlist the help of developers to create your own unique website or mobile app. This would take a little more time and resources but it’s a better solution for those with a strong brand following, looking for greater flexibility and ownership. If needed, at Tap, we have SDK kits and a JS Library to ensure that you can easily integrate our payment gateway, goSell, to these custom-built mobile apps and websites making online payments one less thing to worry about.

Greater Emphasis on Customer Service

This Ramadan, with the spread of coronavirus, people are feeling more isolated, worried, and uncertain than ever before.

This is why there is a greater need for stronger customer support teams, live chat support, and an actual customer service plan to reassure when things go wrong or help guide them through the final steps to purchase or be onboarded. Businesses must take these times as an opportunity to improve their customer service and focus on building customer-forward companies for success in the days after coronavirus.

If you don’t have live chat support, prepare for possible questions and requests with email templates or set up instant-reply messages to commonly asked questions easily with Whatsapp Business. Even working on a FAQ section on your website could help reduce some of the worries your customers may have before they click to purchase.

Do not forget that online shopping is still not something that the majority of people in the MENA region trust, so it’s your job to ensure that the transition is as intuitive and as seamless as possible so that they will return to your online store- even after the pandemic.

Develop Your Promotions Around Ramadan

As with any other festivals or celebrations, you should lean into the Ramadan theme with the promotions and focus on highlighting the products and services that would most likely be purchased during Ramadan.

Considering that everyone’s practicing social distancing now and under curfew, you could also help provide distractions. You can run Ramadan-themed quizzes, giveaways, and discounts on your social media platforms ensuring that you remain in your follower’s minds.

Stories and long-form content are generally more preferred during Ramadan. So this would be the time to focus on web-series, tutorials, and video ads based around storytelling and the Ramadan values of family, community, forgiveness, patience, and kindness. A great example of this is the Ramadan campaign Careem ran last year in the UAE, where they managed to advertise Careem Go while also encouraging everyone to give back to the community by agreeing to pick up donations to the UAE Food Bank for no charge.

Now, in these trying times of COVID-19, we can expect to see brands base their storytelling around the pandemic and the suffering it has caused to people around the world. If you are considering this as well, you need to make sure that it is empathetic to the realities of others but at the same time genuine and heartfelt.

Targeted and Customized Marketing

For Ramadan marketing campaigns to be successful, it’s not just important how visually appealing it is. You need to consider what platforms the ads will be shown, the timings it’ll run and the message you’re promoting.

Digital use in the Middle East traditionally peaks from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am while TV consumption peaks from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

So this is generally a good time to run your ads and any marketing campaign you’re planning on social media or TV- but you must also consider that this year (unlike the others) everyone is working from home so these peak hours could change a little.

Consider posting about topics that people actively search for on Ramadan which according to Google trends are generally related to cooking, beauty, fashion, gifting, and arabic shows, amongst others. Try to consider how you could relate your brand to this. For instance, when you look up Ramadan cooking recipes, you can see that the first search result (even if it’s a paid ad) is that of Maggi Arabia promoting their Ramadan recipes using Maggi products.

Moreover, in the past, sales conversions have been higher during the third and fourth weeks of Ramadan since Eid-ul-Fitr is soon after and there is a culture of gifting that surrounds this celebration. You can use this information to better understand when to run digital marketing campaigns focused on increasing impressions and brand awareness, and when to run campaigns focused on conversions.

You also need to think about the platform you’re using to run these ads. Youtube is a great platform to focus on since it’s one of the most popularly used platforms during Ramadan, with the watch time increasing by 40% during Ramadan. Considering that users are spending more time than ever on social media, ensure that your marketing strategy doesn’t ignore any of the other platforms as well

CSR Is Now More Important Than Ever

We spoke in the last post about the importance of associating your brand with good. In times of crisis, people are looking for support and kindness but in Ramadan during crisis… people are expecting it.

Ensure that you do whatever is possible from your end whether that includes reducing fees, donating meals and food supplies to those without jobs, or even partnering with a charity.

Apart from Zyda, mentioned in our last post where we delved into ‘Marketing Strategies in the Midst of Coronavirus’, another company doing this right is Ajar Online who has started a rent assistance program in Kuwait and UAE for tenants who can’t afford their rent anymore. This shows their commitment towards giving back to the community at a time when there are people losing jobs and being evicted because of their financial circumstances.

It is understandable that not all businesses would be able to afford this but every little bit of genuine effort and positivity will help towards enhancing your brand strength even after this is all done.

This year, Ramadan will not be business as usual. Instead, you have the opportunity to build deep, long-lasting connections with your customers rather than focus on the high sales volume this month generally brings. By creating awareness, providing stability, and enabling trust in your products and services, we hope that businesses in the region can get through this month and the pandemic stronger than ever. Ramadan Mubarak!