The Iranian market is not one that you might consider when you think about expanding your sales internationally, but it is one full of potential.
The EU is in the process of developing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that would allow EU countries to circumnavigate the sanctions imposed by the US and trade with Iran.
The country’s young, tech-savvy and digitally-mature population means that, should the SPV go ahead, any EU company wanting to enter Iran should place digital marketing high up on its priority list.
Digital marketing in Iran, however, is very different from digital marketing anywhere else in the world, with the country having many of its own platforms.
This blog post will look at three key platforms that you need to be aware of when doing digital marketing in Iran.
Telegram is the most popular social network in Iran. Although it is officially blocked by the Iranian government, this block has been extremely ineffective, with 79% of Iranian Telegram users simply using VPNs to get around the block and access the social network. In fact, an average of 60% of time spent online by Iranians is spent on Telegram!
It is worth paying for paid posts on popular, relevant Telegram channels in order to promote your products/services/brand. If you choose to do this, remember that you can include your Telegram channel in the posts if you want to drive traffic to your own Telegram channel to build up a userbase.
Currently, Iranians cannot buy from Amazon or eBay. Instead, Digikala is the online marketplace that reigns supreme, holding 92% of the market share in Iran. 60% of products on Digikala are from foreign brands, which are very popular.
If you want to sell your products in Iran, I would highly recommend that you sell via Digikala to benefit from its huge number of users, same-day delivery, its price match policy, and the fact it offers free and easy returns.
3. Cafe Bazaar
Cafe Bazaar is an Android app store that is the local version of Google Play. It has been installed on more than 36 million smartphones. It is the most popular app store in Iran, as the Apple App Store is completely blocked and Google Play is difficult is use for various reasons (e.g. the inability to make in-app purchases, plus various apps such as Google Play Movies being blocked).
Therefore, if it is appropriate for you to offer your services via an app, it is recommended that you make this an Android app and that you upload it to Cafe Bazaar.
I hope this has given you a useful introduction to digital marketing in Iran. For more in-depth information, read my free, full-length guide here. The guide covers:
- an overview of the current economic and political situation in Iran
- the current digital landscape in Iran, including internet penetration rates, the dominant search engines, blocked websites and the impact of internet censorship
- mobile penetration rates and mobile internet speeds in Iran
- language and culture in Iran
- social media in Iran, including the most popular networks and most successful social media strategies
- e-commerce in Iran, including the most popular e-commerce websites you need to be on when selling in Iran