Marketing as a little fish in a big pond can be tricky, especially when many businesses are still determining how to effectively reach out to their target demographics.
Over the last 20 years, digital has become the main choice for lead generation, expanding business reach worldwide as well as creating innovative displays. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs businesses have begun to realise how important integrating digital marketing into their strategy is in order to survive in the competitive retail market. SME businesses are now able to be a global business thanks to digital marketing, punching far above their weight and getting results in the process.
Here are the top 8 ways we’ve used digital marketing to grow businesses and gain results:
1. Keep it freshNot only should you try to keep up to date with everything new coming out of the tech world. You should also be watching what is popular in mainstream media and using it to your advantage, on social media, with brand ambassadors, and when creating long term content. Explore your personal voice on social media, after all SME businesses are quirkier and have stronger personalities than boring large corporations (people really respond to brands with strong, authentic personalities.) You may be used to doing all customer service at a desk or on the phone but social media has become the spot for new generations to ask for help, praise and even complain about a brand. Having a strong social media strategy is the first step. Snapchat has become the newest go-to marketing platform for events and local marketing, be sure to use the Geofilters tool to your benefit next time you have an event!
Example: Nasty GalStarting as an Ebay vintage store used social media to push their brand and grow across the world. Winning the award for fastest growing retailer in 2012, Nasty Gal uses its social voice to connect to its shoppers.
2. In-store innovationIt’s all about the wow factor! Your budget may not expand as far as big brands like, Apple, Mcdonalds or Starbucks but you can still create a fantastic display that offers visitors the experience they crave. Just remember interaction is key, getting customers involved is the best way to push a few more transactions. Marketing should be strong every step of the customer journey.Customers have more options than ever, showing off your product in a way that sticks in their minds can set you apart from competitors.
Example: We created a simple video of tips for creating effective touch screen content, check it out here.
3. Be mobileAs an SME business, you have the chance to directly know whom you sell to. It can be argued that big businesses have lost touch with the direct connection you get working on the front lines. It allows for more personalised customer experience, but it does offer challenges big business don’t have to face such as higher product costs and less return on investment. Offering your business strictly as a bricks and mortar location limits your profit exponentially.
As newer generations are given more options (cheaper options) brand loyalty becomes a thing of the past. Expanding your reach online can not only save your business but also market your business to people who otherwise would have never known about it.
Restaurants should consider app delivery services, Deliveroo, Just Eat and many more that offer customers a whole new way to discover your brand.
Retail locations should look into quick shopping apps and item marketplaces such as Etsy, to show off goods.
Example: Aheirloom Not only do A Heirloom have a successful website but they have a thriving Etsy profile full of items. Reaching buyers who may not have found their website otherwise.
4. Advertisement budget blessingIt’s not a secret businesses spend insane amounts on their advertisement budgets, Christmas alone is a battle field of commercials, promotions and marketing. John Lewis is a prime example of creating an effective advertisement marketing strategy that gets insanely profitable results. Of course we can’t all have the budget to make “Man On The Moon” but that doesn’t mean you can’t use Digital Marketing to your advantage. Quality video content shouldn’t break the bank, thanks to technology’s advances you can now create your own content straight from your cell phones, DLR Cameras and most handheld devices.
Example: Dollar Shave ClubDollar Shave Club become one of the most famous names in video content marketing, they also have a fantastic product to back up their content.
Cost and profit are the two biggest things when it comes to running an SME business, being able to sustain your business is the most common challenge. Those two numbers are the difference between sailing and sinking in business, but what if I could tell you there are other numbers just as important you should be focusing on.Your analytics can tell you a lot about the customers interacting with your product. The digital footprint your customers leave can tell you loads about who are involved with your business, not only online but offline as well. Data on customers can be analysed and leveraged to provide valuable insights into how online and offline sales worlds should work.
Example: Check out How analytics can save bricks and mortar stores.
6. VisibilityIt may seem harsh to say, but right now you’re invisible to the majority of your target market. In the past relying solely on local marketing would have been okay, but in the current competitive digital market ignoring your visibility is a death wish. The first step to growing your visibility using digital marketing is putting yourself into the mind of your buyer. Thinking about which social media platforms they would frequent and creating separate strategies according is key. For example if you were a bakery who specialises in wedding cakes, you should consider marketing towards visual outlets where brides or wedding planners may frequent such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook pages.
Example: Wayfair.comPinterest marketing has become the go to spot for not only big business but medium and small ones as well. Check out how Way Fair uses their Pinterest board to promote new items.
7. Content CreationHow many times have you shared a funny article on Facebook or tagged a friend in a post you thought they would like, countless right? Well it may be time you flexed your literary muscles. Content creation is a great way to boost visitors to your website and overall improve your digital marketing strategy. You’re an expert in your field; the best thing to do is pass your wisdom on to interested clients. Just remember this isn’t a place to brag, it’s a place to help give potential clients the information they are looking for and offering them a way to contact you using a CTA (call-to-action.) Content creation isn’t limited to writing, you may not have the way with words, but you could be great at making short informative video content.
8. Expert OpinionHave you plateaued? Or are you finding that you can’t really grasp how to bring digital marketing into your strategy, it may be time to bring in the big guns. When it comes to your business, you should never half ass it! Consulting a digital marketing expert is sometimes the right thing for your business. After all, a set of clean eyes can really give you a whole new perspective on things that may need a bit more work. An expert can also tell you what is working for you and make recommendations according.
By Matt Puttick, marketing and communications manager, Cranfield University
Previously posted here