Regardless of your sector or industry, you are undoubtedly aware of the fierce competition in your field. While staying ahead of the pack may appear to be a difficult task, by harnessing the power of digital in the right way, you will be able to cut through the noise and grow your business one initiative at a time.
According to studies, 66 percent of SME owners are personally responsible for overseeing three or more areas of their organization’s activities, including marketing. And, of course, marketing is one of the pillars of long-term success in the digital age.
As digital technologies progress, there are more platforms, mediums, and touchpoints than ever before, providing opportunities to connect with your target audience on a deeply personal level.
By developing initiatives around even a portion of these touchpoints, you have the potential to increase brand awareness while also accelerating your company’s growth.
Here, we will look at how ambitious SME leaders like you can use digital’s all-encompassing power to engage and influence customers.
1. Concentrate on your marketing efforts
When you are running a busy small business, time is always of the essence. Having said that, the foundations of your digital marketing success will be your ability to select the marketing channels that will have the greatest impact.
For example, instead of spreading your efforts across multiple social media platforms, third-party eCommerce sites, and landing pages, you could focus on your email marketing communications and your Instagram channel, in addition to your website, which serves as your company’s headquarters.
Because digital is never static, these options may change over time, and as your business grows, so will your ability to broaden your marketing efforts. However, by organizing initiatives around two to three core marketing channels at first, you will be able to generate a focused buzz, potentially enticing droves of new prospects to your brand.
Building on this idea, we will now look at four key areas you can use to your SME’s advantage, beginning with social media.
2. Participate in Social Media Activities
95% of adults aged 18 to 34 are likely to follow and interact with a brand on social media. Furthermore, 73% of marketers say social media marketing has been a somewhat or extremely effective part of their business strategy.
Despite this clear cut for social media, roughly half of today’s SMEs aren’t taking advantage of this tried and true marketing medium.
As previously stated, in order to get the most out of your company’s social media marketing efforts, you should take your time deciding on one platform to focus the majority of your efforts on.
Different platforms will appeal to different audiences depending on the nature and mission of your business.
Facebook is still the market leader, and Instagram is growing at an exponential rate, with its visual nature appealing to younger generations. Then there’s Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, as well as light social media platforms like WhatsApp, to name a few.
Take the time to conduct research and create buyer personas to better understand your target audience. Examine your competitors’ social media efforts to see what resonates the most with their audience, and you will be able to make an informed decision about your company’s primary social media platform.
Once you have set up or optimized your social media accounts (selected eye-catching profile images, verified that all links are working, write relevant, punchy bio copy, etc.), you should begin building awareness by ‘listening’ to your target audience’s conversations on social media, participating in dialogues where appropriate, and using this data to create engaging, relevant content that will resonate with your customers.
3. Improve your email marketing efforts.
While many people believe that email marketing is a dying art, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Email, when used effectively, can engage and influence consumers in a big way, making it a valuable asset to any aspiring SME.
In fact, 73 percent of millennials prefer email communications from businesses. Furthermore, 99 percent of people check their email every day. Having said that, email communications have a lot of potential for connecting with your audience.
To create a successful email marketing strategy for your company, consider the following elements:
- Understand your audience.
- Plan your goals and campaigns.
- Choose the right email marketing tools and software.
- Create engaging, relevant and value-driven content for your audience.
- Monitor, track and measure your results.
Returning to content, your email marketing copy can frequently make or break the success of your campaigns, so getting it just right is critical.
To ensure that your content engages and influences your customers on a meaningful level that leads to a conversion, you should strive to be personal and focus on telling your customers an authentic story.
Strong narratives captivate readers on a deeply personal level, and as a result, telling a story with your emails increases the likelihood of attracting customers to your brand.
Consider the ethical cosmetics company Lush. Lush uses a seamless mix of visual content and well-crafted narrative based on its passion for environmental issues to communicate its core brand values to new subscribers – emails based on the storytelling featured on its website.
Lush’s inspiring email marketing campaigns, combined with its strong brand storytelling capabilities, have catalyzed the company’s recent growth, with an incredible level of the year on year growth.
As proof of the power of email marketing – and the engaging content that goes with it.
4. Small-Scale Influencers Should Be Targeted
Influencer marketing, in particular, is an effective way for SMEs to broaden their commercial reach and grow their audience. Typically, this is accomplished through the use of blogs and social media.
While attracting internally-recognized celebrities for marketing campaigns or initiatives is a relatively simple task for large-budget brands or organizations, it can be a little more difficult for a small or medium-sized enterprise.
However, when it comes to influencer marketing for SMEs, the true value lies in locating small-scale influencers in your industry or niche.
Currently, 94 percent of marketers believe that transparency and authenticity are critical success factors for influencer marketing.
However, by establishing relationships with smaller-scale digital influencers in your niche, you stand to cut through the noise and connect with prospects who are likely to be very interested in what you have to offer or say.
While this may be considered a large-scale influencer marketing campaign, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can learn a lot from National Geographic and Microsoft’s ‘Make What’s Next’ campaign.
This influencer campaign, which was launched on International Women’s Day, aimed to encourage talented young women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and saw the two brands posting images of relevant influencers across five of their most engaged social media accounts.
This innovative, emotive, and extremely niche influencer marketing strategy generated over 67 million social impressions, 3.5 million ‘likes,’ and over 1,000 pieces of content generated via Instagram using the hashtag #MakeWhatsNext. A fantastic outcome for an outstanding digital marketing initiative.
5. Accept Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is another option for growing your business as an SME. You will be able to connect with a larger online audience by embracing the potential of pay-per-click (PPC) through outlets such as Google, Facebook, and the recently regenerated Amazon Ads platform.
According to studies, 75% of people who click on paid ads agree that search ads make it easier to find relevant information. On that basis, a well-targeted paid ad has the potential to encourage a healthy level of conversions.
There are a variety of paid advertising options available, but Google’s paid advertising platform may be the most effective for increasing your search engine visibility.
The possibilities for creating engaging, inspiring marketing campaigns are limitless in the digital age. By taking the time to connect on a deeply personal level with your prospects, focusing your efforts, and taking a strategic approach to your activities, you will set yourself apart from the pack, cementing your success for many years to come.