The marketing strategy chosen by a company depends on the size of it. Unlike large companies, there are a number of limitations that small businesses face that influence the type of marketing practices to choose.
Digital marketing for SMEs
The digital marketing of small businesses is a handful of strategies to register on the internet, to reach a wide audience and promote your services and products.
Today, small businesses are more likely to compete with big companies and big brands. Now you can easily build your brand on the net. But the key word here is “the brand”, not a product or a service. Digital marketing activities engage smart customers who can move from one brand to another in just a few clicks. Traditional forms of advertising have changed, and it’s opened a good opportunity for small businesses. Here are several rules to adopt and write on your cyberspace wall.
A large number of researchers have found that ideal marketing practices for a small business don’t work if they’re simply reduced versions of larger company strategies. The small size of a company needs to be positioned as a strength and promoted as an asset. Small businesses have great advantages like being able to know their customers personally and easily adapt their products and services.
Their marketing concepts focus on the relationship and customer satisfaction, which is key for long term customer retention (of course, the strength and quality of products is critical). This kind of close knit relationship marketing can lead to a better understanding of customer needs and loyalty through word of mouth.
Small businesses can target niche markets that can be very lucrative, since these specialized markets are usually neglected by large firms. However, if the niche becomes popular, small businesses can find it hard to defend against competitors. Bankruptcies are common for small businesses.
Marketing tactics like advertising are often not accessible to small businesses, which doesn’t give them as big of an impact on the market. That’s why they use tactics like Guerrilla marketing instead.
Marketing Guerrilla-style means looking for creative and cheap methods to promote a product or service. Since resources are limited, the key is to be creative and find unusual approaches. This type of marketing depends on not only advertising, but also on public relations and surprises or attention getting interaction. Instead of national or international campaigns, Guerrilla Marketing introduces personal communication. The business is trying to build a genuine relationship instead of simply announcing a message to their potential customers. A great example is the flash mob that always excites curiosity.
Social Media Marketing
This is when companies actively engage with their consumers via blogs and social media (examples: Facebook, Twitter) or videos and images (examples: YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram). Companies can get a lot of good feedback through social media. Consumer reviews on websites can be really helpful and impacting for the bottom line.
Online marketing is also used for social media advertising and email marketing. But these two tactics take more refining because the responses to emails are not high and advertising on Facebook is not always accepted by consumers.
A website for your customers
It’s essential to build a website for your customers and not for you! Your website has got to meet these standards: Have a responsive design for accessibility and communication on all screen types. Integrate good mobile applications that allow visitors to make or follow their purchase on the net. Be constantly improving the user experience for more sales.
Good ergonomics: Evaluate your site on the speed of opening pages and navigation. And remember to retain your visitors with good design, good navigation, and unique content.
Work on the content for the brand image
Today, more than ever, it’s important to develop engaging and unique content to engage viewers so they can enjoy and share your content. You need a content marketing strategy! Blog articles, infographics, and slideshows are good media for sharing original content and can be reused and shared again. Your content helps small businesses establish credibility and gain more public engagement.
Using a content strategy and an editorial calendar helps you figure out the types of content that work best for your brand and your customers and gives insight into what your future customers might need.
Heal your landing page
Design content for a good image of your business
Lots of companies want to present their products and services on their landing page… But visitors need to know your company before taking action. The majority of brands highlight their products and services, when the focus should be on the value and benefits the brand brings to customers, not on your offers. Customers want to know how your products and services improve their quality of life. They’ll be able to find product descriptions on other pages.
Build a good reputation
Your reputation should be at the heart of your marketing strategy, especially if you’re a small business, because you need to give this trust to your prospects who don’t know you yet.
Testimonials on your website go far in building your reputation. Testimonials quickly shows visitors your strengths and what they can expect from your company. You can also join a system of reviews that will appear on your site and on Google search results. Of course, this opens the gate for negative opinions as well, but it’s a good opportunity to deal with problems and improve your services.
SEO is essential for the presence of your website on the internet, it’s a complex process that takes time and requires a real strategy (indexation, content, code, keywords, web linking) If you don’t have the ability to do these tasks, entrust your SEO to an experienced SEO provider.
Know the expectations of your customers
You can’t offer a product or service without knowing the expectations and needs of your customers. Research the behaviors and buying habits of your customers online. Knowing your target customer inside and outside takes time and effort, but, you’ll save time and energy if you make this a priority.
Create a customer relationship
Good communication is critical for building customer relationships. Keep this in mind when deciding what messages and communication tools you use for online communication. Make sure they are consistent with your values. Be prepared to address the following:
- The writing and tone you use on digital platforms (website, social platforms, forums, blogs, social networks).
- The visual identity of the brand: logos, colors, fonts, the identity of the visuals used, advertising media (free of rights, dedicated photographer).
- Comments: Are you ready to respond quickly to Internet users?
Be prepared to represent your brand effectively and develop a good relationship with Internet users, so they become ambassadors of your brand.
Join your customers on social networks
Go to your customers via social networks. There are two types: Popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) that can reach a wide audience and get good visibility. And emerging new social networks that give better results if we adopt them first (Snapchat).
A good choice of presence on social networks depends mostly on your target. If you’re in the field of B2B solutions like e-mailing, online platforms like Google Plus and LinkedIn will make sense for you. In B2C it’s the most popular networks Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube that’ll be more effective.
Generally, being present on 2 to 3 social platforms is enough to quickly reach a large number of subscribers.
Establish your marketing strategy
To build a solid strategy, start by listing the marketing channels you’re already using and your future goals. A marketing channel is a method of communication that you use to make your products available to buyers. Social networks, emails and direct mail are common marketing channels.
Write down the number of leads you have reached across each channel. Some prospects can become good sources of business while others won’t lead anywhere. To find new prospects, think about where your customers go to get information. Does she do her research online? Does he request quotes by phone? Do they consult your content on social media?
Be realistic in your goals. Rely on past metrics to make a list of goals you want to achieve. If you get the interest of 50 people per month through LinkedIn, aim for 75 first. Your growth goals may also include:
- Your turnover
- The number of subscribers to your newsletter
- Customer recommendations
- Volume or amount of purchases by customer
Allow time to explore other marketing methods. Small business owners are often so busy with work that they stick to one or two channels, even when the results aren’t good. 16 percent of small businesses aren’t creating content to be shared with their customers. You can use types of content like blog posts, videos, e-books, reports, emails and social media posts to your advantage. Show your credibility as an entrepreneur and meet people who have never heard of your company!
Measure your results
A marketing plan has no value if you don’t measure your progress. According to Infusionsoft’s 2018 Small Business Marketing Trends report, 46 percent of entrepreneurs say they don’t know if their marketing tactics are effective. About 17 percent say their efforts are totally ineffective.
Measuring your results so you can clearly see what’s working and what’s not.
Your loyal customers are an excellent reference to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan. Answer some key questions. Here are some examples:
On average, how many leads do you get before making a sale?
How many exchanges do you have with customers before a sale?
How often do customers renew their purchase?
Which marketing channels bring you the most loyal customers?
What types of content help keep customers interested in your business?
How many visits does your website receive each month?
What are the deterrents to buying your products?
What are the most profitable marketing channels?
There’s no perfect marketing strategy. You’ll learn more about your company and your customers as you progress, and that’s good! Getting information specific to your business and your customers will help you refine your efforts. A small business marketing plan is always evolving and needs to be revisited from time to time as new goals or barriers are identified.
The most important thing is to budget enough money to cover your marketing goals. Once you’ve decided on the strategies to adopt, research the costs to make sure you don’t exceed your budget too quickly.
Mistakes to avoid in digital marketing
- Leaving too soon: Be patient! SEO results appear after several months. It takes at least 2 to 3 months to see progress. Have good presence on the social networks you’ve chosen. For the best interaction with your customers choose the social networks best suited to your brand and that best meet your objectives.
- Making a post that’s too commercial. Bring useful and interesting information to your customers according to the 80/20 rule where 80% is general content and 20% is promotional content.
- Respect the etiquette of individual social networks. Adopt the right number of sharing. On Twitter several times a day is ok, but on Facebook share only one or two publications a day.
Small businesses can compete with the biggest brands with a good marketing plan, by targeting the right customers, and by using the right media and social media. Concentrate your resources on promoting your business and the benefits of your services. And worry less about advertising your products. That’s where you’ll see strong ROI and results.