How can I use online marketing to promote my services?
– A new entrepreneur in Thimphu
Online marketing is indeed a powerful tool. Let’s start with the obvious: Facebook. The world’s largest social network is very popular in Bhutan – there are around 118,000 accounts in the Kingdom – and so a free Facebook page for your new venture is a natural place to start your experiments with online marketing. Go to www.facebook.com/pages/create and follow the instructions. Add your business information, then invite your friends to “Like” the page. Make sure that you regularly update the page with relevant photos and new posts – a stale page is as attractive as a dusty display window.
You can also experiment with Twitter (twitter.com). Although the number of tweeple (Twitter people) in Bhutan is still relatively small, many of them are social influencers and can help spread the word. Linking your two accounts (Facebook and Twitter) will make sure that Facebook posts also appear on Twitter, saving you work (facebook.com/twitter).
If you have earmarked some real money for marketing – and have access to an international credit or debit card – you can increase your visibility using online ads. Facebook advertising (facebook.com/advertising) is one popular option. People see these ads when they use Facebook. You can target a specific audience, for example Bhutanese users (in case your business is for the local market) or any other country or countries (for example, if you are a tour operator). Another popular option is Google Ads, which appear when people search for information on Google, but they are more complicated to set up (google.com/adwords). Barring international payment cards, your best bet is advertising on popular local websites, such as KuenselOnline.com or thebhutanese.bt.
Lastly, here are a few more tools to consider. Mass email and online forums can be helpful, but use with care, as spamming will create a negative effect. Online surveys (surveymonkey.com) are a low-cost way of conducting market research before launching your business. And while not exactly “online” marketing, taking advantage of B-Mobile’s Cell Broadcast Service can help your message reach the 80% who are not online.