Digital Marketing Strategy for New Businesses in the Middle East

Shannon Correia October 22, 2021

Business entrants to the Middle East can grow brand awareness and reach new audiences online. The GCC market is among the world’s best for digital marketing with high internet and social media usage. In this article, we’ll be delving into the need-to-know strategy tips that’ll help your new business find its roots in the Middle East. 

New Businesses in the Middle East

Before we begin, let’s clarify - the Middle East is an expansive region with many disparities. For that reason, we’ll be focusing on the GCC countries in particular. This band of nations (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar) is also home to many new businesses expanding in the region. A new market entrant may also be entering one of these countries or several, though it is worth noting that each of these will require localization strategies, since each country is distant politically, economically, and socially. Since the Golf countries have one of the wealthiest markets in the world, it’s no wonder businesses jump at the opportunity to expand in the region.

This does not mean that doing business in the GCC is easy. In fact, these consumers are brand loyal, so entering the right way and building your brand’s visibility and credibility is required. One of the best ways to do this is through digital marketing. It is a way to build upon the traditional way of doing business in the region which required long-term networking and relationship building. The market itself is competitive, however many of the countries in the GCC are looking to expand beyond their oil industries, making it a business-friendly market to be entering into. 

When it comes to digital marketing, we’ve got to discuss digital ad spend in the region. It continues to grow, with over $6 billion spent in the MENA region, with the bulk of that coming from the GCC. There are a number of digital agencies in the region that have made a name for themselves by servicing clients around the world with top-class marketing techniques and strategies. Another noteworthy development has been the development of the eCommerce industry. This is growing despite the renowned mall culture in many GCC nations.

digital strategy for new businesses in the middle east

Digital Marketing Strategy for the Middle Eastern Market

Here are some tips to keep in mind when developing your digital marketing strategy...


Research is a necessary part of any new business endeavor, and if you’re entering a new market, we’re sure you’ve been working on this. Be sure to get first-hand insights from the market you’re trying to enter. It should be in-depth with key segments and personas identified. This forms a crucial part of developing your localization strategy, which will need to take differentiation in language into account, for example. This will also ensure that you steer clear of misconceptions, and are able to build your base in the region with the help of an ally. This can be crucial for finding success here. 


Once you have fully understood the environment and culture of your target audience, it is time to determine your digital marketing strategy for the Middle East. To do so, you need to set a budget, allocate resources, and plan campaigns. Since this is a market of generally wealthy consumers who are used to being exposed to digital marketing, your content creation needs to be high-quality. Depending on who you’re targeting, you may well need Arabic translation services to ensure your message is received. Another approach is to build your local presence physically, since having a local identity can help increase trust in your business. The digital marketing strategy needs to fully encompass all opportunities in the region, which includes:


To ensure your marketing stretches as far as it can, optimization is necessary. This simply means that every chance to improve your reach should be taken, as this will help your content to be indexed and shared accordingly. Each platform for digital marketing will have its own optimization guidelines. It is most extensively applicable to content marketing, which will include helping search engine crawlers categorize the content. You can also make your content stretch further by finding creative ways to repurpose content. There are numerous benefits and opportunities to grow through Arabic SEO which is a widely under-utilized space. 


Since the GCC is highly advanced when it comes to all things digital, it’s best to keep an eye out for trends. This is likely where they’ll first break, so successful marketers need to aim at being first adopters. It is also important to have a holistic range of marketing collateral to cover all your bases. 

Grow Your Business with Digital Marketing 

When you incorporate the above into your digital marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to finding your footing in the Middle Eastern market. It can be tricky to navigate, but once you do, keep tracking the performance to further improve. Be sure that your business is patient as it can take a while to establish your brand here, but it will be well worth the wait once you do. 

Work with us at Nexa - we’re a digital agency based in Dubai with close to two decades of experience helping businesses from various industries to expand within the GCC. Speak with us to find out what we can do for you.