In the 21st century, most small & medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia are still relying on traditional methods to market their businesses. According to AmBank group CEO, Datuk Sulaiman, only 20% of the total SMEs in Malaysia have implemented digital marketing to improve their market base. This article investigates how SMEs in Malaysia respond to the digital and e-commerce business. This includes the benefits of taking a small company online and identifying if it is feasible to keep the company online.

Why Digital Marketing is Important

Malaysia has a high internet and smartphone penetration rate. The large use of the internet and availability of gadgets like personal computers and smartphones makes the process of accessing the online market easier and efficient. The productivity increases since digital operation play a vital role in management that include the ability to manage and manipulate a large volume of data. The factors of production like material and labor would be easier to control and manage using the digital production method, thus increasing the production volume.

Although not many SMEs in Malaysia have implemented digital marketing in their business, nearly 80% of SMEs in Malaysia have started to recognize the benefits of taking the business online. Some of these according to the small companies include:

Reach out to a broader market

Taking a business online/ Digital Marketing will help a SME to reach out to a broader market base that would otherwise not be possible. Malaysians prefer to find essential information from the internet. When a business utilizes the internet, automatically their market base would increase. For example, if Ali wants to have a coffee in Kepong, he will google ‘best cafes in Kepong’. If the café is listed on Google Business or have a Facebook/ Instagram page, it has a better chance to stand out and out beat its competitors.

Same goes to SMEs that are selling products. For instance, If Ali wants to buy a watch / a pants, he will google “watch less than RM XXX” / “RM 50 khaki pants”. If the SME has an online presence and pay attention to digital marketing, it has better chance to sell the products as compared to the competitors that do not take their business online.

The shift of the shopping behavior

A lot of Malaysians are shifting their shopping behavior and routine. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping is the new norm for Malaysians. Even without the pandemic, Malaysia’s internet economy has already shown a steady growth at a 21% annualized rate. A recent study claimed that Malaysia ranks first among its ASEAN neighbors in terms of eCommerce sales growth. It is forecasted to grow from US$8.3 billion in 2019 to US$12.9 billion in 2022.

71% of Malaysians will compare reviews from various social media sites before settling on the company that they would like to work with or buy its services. As a result, only those businesses that maximize on making their online presence worth will carry the day. Therefore, it would an excellent opportunity for SMEs to have their online presence as well as improve their general ability to convince their viewers that they are the best company or site to work with. To start, create an official Facebook Page will be a good initiate for SMEs to take their business online.

SMEs that are working on expansion plans should include digital marketing when developing the business. While planning for an expansion may be a hassle, Paul Hype Page has the necessary market in-sights in the digital marketing aspect. If you are looking to consult a professional, we can assist you in your business development plans.

How Digital Marketing Helps Businesses

There are several ways in which digital marketing in Malaysia is useful over traditional marketing.

Facilitate Communication

The most advantageous factor that digital marketing has is its ease. Digital marketing aids organizations to communicate easily and on time. Digital marketing enables SMEs business owners to communicate with their clients and customers, making them receive quick feedback. The faster they receive feedback from the customers, the faster they can improve their services or even the quality of the products they are receiving.

Digital marketing plays a vital role in creating a unique environment for businesses to improve their prospective market base. It does so by increasing the market base and offer closer customer relationship management.

Global reach

Digital marketing helps companies to increase their market base by reaching a relatively large number of people at once. A company can communicate and get feedback from its customers from overseas that helps make it improves its general products and services. Besides, digital marketing is cost-friendly and can reach a relatively large number of people across the globe. Malaysia is one of the Asian countries leading in technology, taking its business to digital marketing is one of the ways that it can capture the global market.

An instrument that Malaysian digital marketers frequently use is email marketing. One main reason that email marketing is so impactful, is because it provides a global reach at a low cost. The average email open rate for Malaysians is 16.52%. This allows businesses to keep close contact with the customers by providing relevant information through this platform.

Paul Hype Page has also worked with clients that engage with email marketing often. If you are seeking information on how to build your global reach, speak to one of our consultants and we will assist you in your digital marketing needs.

Digital marketing is Measurable

Unlike with traditional marketing, digital marketing is measurable. A company can know the level of their success using analytics, which is not always the case with traditional marketing. These will be important as the management of the company will know what to improve and how to make those improvements and the areas that require immediate attention to enable the company to perform better.

Targeting your ideal buyers

With traditional marketing methods like buying billboards, it is like taking a shot in the dark in terms of finding your audience. Digital marketing, on the other hand, will enable you to hit your target audience by enriching your website with relevant SEO articles. By increasing the size of your audience, your business is most likely to get more clients, leading to its success.

For example, a recent survey reported that 87 of Malaysians had purchased something through apps like Facebook, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp. This data shows that these channels are worth exploring for Malaysian consumers. Thus, it’s worth to allocate the marketing fund to these platforms instead of other social media platforms.

So, what’s the use of buyer persona? It’s very useful after understanding your buyers and where they are online; you’ll get a better sense of the channels that will work best in advertising or marketing to them. For example, if your buyers are young ladies aged 20-30+ in Malaysia; Instagram is a good platform to reach them effectively.

To know more about the Malaysian consumer’s demography, the Department of Statistics Malaysia provides relevant information to support digital marketing such as:

  • Population & Demography
  • Household Income & Expenditure
  • ICT Use and Access by Individuals and Households


Generally, digital marketing is not only responsible for increasing sales, but it will also be beneficial in reaching the target audience as well as enable the SMEs to build long-lasting relationships and loyalty with the customers and clients.

When someone is interested in buying or knowing information about a product, the first thing they will think of is to search for it online. Digital marketing is likely to take over traditional marketing and general business solutions. It is essential to take advantage of social networks and digital marketing to capture and retain a global market. If you cannot afford to hire a digital marketing manager for your business, then it would be advisable that you learn to do the digital marketing management by yourself as the returns will be realized after a short period of rolling your online marketing.

Digital marketing and SMEs of Malaysia FAQs

What is the most important element I should know about digital marketing?2020-12-14T09:34:31+08:00

One thing you should focus on digital marketing is your content. Content is the king, if you have the right content, you can reach out to more potential customers, which can result in building more brand awareness or closing more deals.

Do I have to hire a professional to handle my digital marketing platforms?2020-09-09T16:36:10+08:00

While you can pick up digital marketing on your own, it is advisable to engage a professional with relevant market insights. This enables you to target your target market easier, as professionals have experience when pin-pointing the right clients for you.

How do I find the right target audience online?2020-08-05T17:16:04+08:00

Understanding where your targeted audience frequent online and focus on targeting them through these platforms. (e.g. social media, newsletters, websites)

Is it better to engage traditional marketing or digital marketing?2020-08-05T17:15:18+08:00

By understanding who you are selling your business to, you can weigh the differences based on your target market. This gives you a better insight when choosing between traditional or digital marketing.

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