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Make Yourself Heard: Four Communications Tips For Entrepreneurs In 2019 The good news about communicating with your customers is that you don't need big budgets to do that.

By Alex Malouf

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


We all love communications– for those without a sizable marketing budget, communications is the best way to get your story spread among as wide an audience as possible. But how do you communicate clearly and effectively, especially with all of the noise today, both online and offline?

The good news about communicating with your customers is that you don't need big budgets to do that. You literally won't need to spend a dime to reach thousands, even millions of people. You can communicate for free. And here's some tips on how you can do it, as well as advice on a number of sessions you can attend at EMENAComm, the region's largest communications event for 2019 happening in February in Bahrain.

1. Define your goals Exposure is great, but what's your purpose? Where are your customers? What are they reading, watching, listening to? Pitching takes time, and creating content also takes time. Know where you want to be, and what you want to achieve. This doesn't only save you time, but also makes your outreach more strategic.

For example, if you're looking to be ranked higher on internet search, seek out a publication with a strong Alexa ranking, and ensure that your content is on topic, including with keywords your customers use. Jan Spence will be talking about goal-getting success at EMENAComm; she will be sharing a fresh, innovative perspective on how to develop a game plan, and maintain momentum to achieve goals and objectives.

2. Listen to your customers It's an obvious point, but in our eagerness to talk, we've forgotten the other element of conversation. If we're to build trust and communicate more effectively, we must become better listeners (both in person and online), and listen to hear and understand, rather than simply to respond. It also helps us understand what matters to our customers, and how we can best reach them.

At EMENAComm, three leading experts will run a workshop designed especially for the conference. The session will help communicators understand what listening really means for individuals and for organizations- why listening is a crucial tool for the communicator and is key to transformation, as well as tips, tools, and ideas to improve listening, insights, and to generate change.

Related: Good Full Circle Communications Strategies Start At The Top (Really)

3. Explain what you stand for You're an entrepreneur, and so? Why did you become your own boss? What's your passion? In today's world, values are more important than ever. You need to define your purpose in a manner that people understand and will want to hear about. How does your purpose help others, and how are you giving back?

All brands are responding to shifting demands from consumers, policymakers, and the media. At EMENAComm, Matt Painter, the Managing Director at Ipsos MORI's Reputation Centre, will be sharing finding from the company's 2018 Reputation Council study, exploring the views and priorities of brands from 100+ of the world's biggest brands, interviews with politicians and journalists in key international markets, as well as influencer and general public polls. He'll show you what consumers care about, and what they want their preferred brands to do.

4. Stand up and inspire Nothing beats addressing an audience faceto- face. It's your time to win over hearts and minds, to sell yourself, and to leave a lasting mark. And yet, speaking in public is what most people fear more than anything else (more than skydiving, swimming with sharks, and getting divorced, apparently). If you want to get noticed, both by your customers and the media, then get ready to stand up and inspire.

Speaking in public is like any other skill; it can be learned and practiced. At EMENAComm, former BBC journalist and media trainer Jon Hammond will explain how you can transform your on-stage presence. He will talk you through how to be totally comfortable in front of any audience, how to captivate and stand out from the crowd, and how to ensure your audience walks away "doing and thinking" what you want them to.

Remember, building a reputation in the market with your customers takes time. If you don't have the resources to hire a public relations agency, these tactics will set you up to start earning more visibility, and create a brand that will be trusted and sought after. Good luck!

Related: Why Local Knowledge Matters: The Importance Of Contextual Intelligence For Your Business

Riyadh-based Alex Malouf is a marketing communications executive and expert who has spent the last two decades in the Middle East. A journalist by training, and with a cultural mix that is both European and Arabic, Alex’s expertise spans communications and media, public relations, and marketing. He has led communications for multinationals in the digital, electric mobility, energy, sustainability, technology, and fast-moving consumer goods space, while also advising  ministers and entities in the Gulf's government sector.  

An entrepreneur in his own right (along with his wife, Alex founded the first business-to-business magazines in Saudi Arabia), Alex’s experience includes corporate communications, media relations and outreach, content development, crisis/ reputation management, and digital/social media. When he’s not putting pen to paper, Alex can be found advocating for the region’s media and public relations industry as the best way to tell the region's story and build national brands. 

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