How to Start a Business in Cambodia with Online Marketing?

The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on many aspects of our lives. The number of new businesses that could not operate as usual, in isolation increased dramatically. For those looking to enter or expand in a new market, opportunities had to be found online.

While some industries, like travel and hospitality, benefitted from more leisure time and the ability to work remotely, others, like business services and legal, were impacted significantly.

The opportunities to work remotely are now being fully embraced by businesses, whether small or medium sized. One area that saw a significant uptick in interest was online marketing. With the world now virtually connected, the ability to market a business, product or service, on the internet, became highly accessible. Individuals and companies could now operate, without restrictions, across international borders, engaging with customers and suppliers wherever they may be. This new normal, enabled businesses to flourish, creating thousands of new jobs worldwide.

In light of the pandemic, it is a great time to be an entrepreneur in Cambodia. However, starting a business in the country comes with its own unique set of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is gaining credibility and trust. Customers will not enter into a business relationship with you, unless they know, you will stand by what you say. This is where online marketing, and specifically digital marketing, plays a crucial role. It is a great tool to establish credibility and trust and, in the process, gain new customers and grow an existing business.

If you are considering entering the Cambodian market, whether for trade or investment purposes, you must be prepared to embrace and leverage the opportunities that online marketing can provide. With few to no restrictions due to Covid-19, the world’s fifth-largest economy and consumer market is now open for business.

Why is Online Marketing Important for Cambodia?

Cambodia is one of the most technologically advanced countries in Southeast Asia. It is officially a low-waste economy, and much of its infrastructure was built with Chinese investment. The country became a member of the WTO in 2017 and made impressive economic gains during the pandemic. It is ranked 154th in the world for ease of doing business and 190th for regulatory environment. These indicators paint a positive picture of the country and its willingness to engage with new business.

The government invests heavily in digital infrastructure, with over $500 million in 2020 alone, focusing on improving connectivity, expanding broadband access, and creating online marketplaces. This is in addition to the $75 million budgeted for the development of the 5G network.

One of the main reasons why marketing online is so important for the country is that over 95% of its population has mobile phones. In 2021, there were more than 45.5 million mobile phone users in the country, with an upgrade rate of 27.4% and 10.2 million users signing up for a mobile wallet. This is comparable to the rest of Southeast Asia, where online marketplaces allow for easier business-to-customer engagement and faster growth.

Another advantage of online marketing in Cambodia is that it allows for brand awareness to be established without having to spend millions on traditional advertising methods. According to HubSpot Blogs research, only 7% of global brands currently have an active social media presence in Cambodia. The good news for entrepreneurs and businesses is they can now establish a presence on a variety of platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn, for free.

How to Market an Online Business in Cambodia?

Since there are few restrictions on working remotely as a result of the pandemic, many entrepreneurs have sprung up to take advantage of the situation. This has created a new niche in the Cambodian market—the ‘online marketing consultant’. These are individuals or businesses that provide a range of online marketing services to local businesses. They can help establish an online presence, create content, analyze performance, and implement marketing automation.

To effectively market an online business in Cambodia, one must understand the language and approach of the country and its inhabitants. One of the best resources available is the Mekong Learning Group. The organization provides an extensive suite of Vietnamese-taught English courses, with certificate and degree certifications. Their online marketing specialization alone features 15 different courses that cover SEO, website design, social media, and paid marketing.

The main challenge for online marketers in Cambodia will be gaining credibility and trust in a country where many businesses operate under questionable practices. One must carefully consider the type of customers they will attract, as well as the services they will provide.

Who is Your Target Audience?

Since the majority of the population enjoys connectivity and has access to the internet, marketing a business online means attracting the attention of local consumers. The most efficient and effective way to do this is through SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO allows web content to be ranked higher on search engines, such as Google, and ensures that potential customers can find your website when they search for relevant keywords.

In order to determine the correct keywords for your SEO strategy, it is paramount to learn about the online behaviors of your target audience. This is where detailed market research comes in. With more people switching to digital marketing and SEO becoming more accessible, one must establish oneself as an expert in this space. Keywords are considered ‘long-tail’ search terms, meaning that they are more specific and help to attract a narrower audience. For example, “SEO services for lawyers” will be more effective than “SEO services.” The first term will pull up results for numerous local firms, while the second will return only one result, hopefully leading to a win-win for both the business and the consumer.

The Digital Marketing Specialties Market in Cambodia

In 2021, the Cambodian market for digital marketing specialties is set to hit the $75,000 mark, a significant increase from the $34,000 it was valued at in 2019.

The market is currently dominated by international staffing agencies, with local businesses, including digital marketers themselves, acting as middlemen, recruiting virtual assistants, social media coordinators, and SEO specialists to handle local clients’ online marketing.

The major challenge that these businesses face is finding enough skilled labor and retaining qualified staff, as well as ensuring that their clients have the necessary systems in place to manage their online marketing campaigns, and measuring the results of these efforts.

The Rise of the Virtual Assistant

Since the world’s fifth-largest economy has largely moved to the online sphere, businesses are now seeking to automate as many tasks as possible. One of the most in-demand jobs in 2021 will be that of a virtual assistant (VA).

A VA is an individual or company that provides administrative support to businesses, usually via the internet. They can research information, communicate with customers, and manage email campaigns, among other things. While some VAs are completely virtual, having no face-to-face interaction with customers, the majority, like those at Blue Planet, carry out tasks on behalf of a business, working from home, while monitoring emails, handling phone calls, and completing other tasks.

The demand for VAs is largely due to the increased use of automated email campaigns and website builders. Businesses can now build an entire website, with all the content provided by a VA. They can also set up automated email campaigns, which can be personalized and sent to defined lists of people. Those seeking to enter the market should certainly consider the skills required as well as the opportunity for growth.

Key Takeaways

Since the majority of the population has access to the internet, marketing a business online means attracting the attention of local consumers. The most efficient and effective way to do this is through SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO allows web content to be ranked higher on search engines and ensures that potential customers can find your website when they search for relevant keywords.

Since the world’s fifth-largest economy has largely moved to the online sphere, businesses are now seeking to automate as many tasks as possible. One of the most in-demand jobs in 2021 will be that of a virtual assistant (VA). A VA is an individual or company that provides administrative support to businesses, usually via the internet. They can research information, communicate with customers, and manage email campaigns, among other things.

The demand for VAs is largely due to the increased use of automated email campaigns and website builders. Businesses can now build an entire website, with all the content provided by a VA. They can also set up automated email campaigns, which can be personalized and sent to defined lists of people. Those seeking to enter the market should certainly consider the skills required as well as the opportunity for growth.