In the last decade, India has emerged as a hotbed for innovation and start-up culture. Many new ventures have stemmed out (giving rise to a new industry altogether at times, example OYO Rooms – a hotel aggregator) which have seen phenomenal growth. But, not all have had the same success story, and many still loom in the small and medium-sized category. Though no small business plans to remain small forever, and thus in order to stimulate growth and build brand equity, it all comes down to how better such businesses market themselves.
Now, marketing has always been a very expensive function and if there is not rational and judicious use of resources (especially for SMEs as they do not have big budgets to execute ‘meatiest’ of marketing initiatives) it can very well lead to disastrous results. Due to this, marketing has been a huge struggle and a painful task for SMEs. But, thanks to digital marketing that they (SMEs) now have found economical and effective ways to do so and widen their reach by attracting all potential customers. It has helped the SMEs to improve business-customer interaction and relationship by providing them a unified and integrated experience. In other terms, digital marketing is essentially the new black! You can see almost every company (any size) around the globe doing it and rightly so. It has helped them generate more number of leads, increase conversions, even achieve two-fold increase in sales and revenues, and all of this by adopting a less expensive mode of marketing. Amazing!
I would like to share a success story here in order to accentuate the impact of digital marketing on a business. Coconut Bliss is an organic dessert company from Oregon, USA whose products are widely popular in the community due to the company’s social media practices. Coconut Bliss continually interacts with the customers through its various social media accounts. They have mastered the key customer-engagement elements which helps them establish a connection with the customers. Power of digital marketing I must say.
So, we now know that digital marketing is important for a SME, but, what should a SME essentially do for it? What should be its digital marketing plan?
Well, as a starter, below are few of the steps that a SME can follow.
- Determine your objective – Instead of directly jumping onto the ‘digital marketing bandwagon’, define what it is that you are trying to achieve. Are you aiming to increase the visibility? Are you targeting more number of leads? Or, a higher Click-Through Rate (CTR)? Having a clearly-defined benchmark will in fact even help you track your performance as you move ahead with the plan.
- Have a dynamic social media presence and robust CRM systems – Most of the SMEs just create their Facebook pages, Twitter handles, blogs, etc. and leave them there to never look back. This is completely unacceptable! You must use these platforms to foster an engaging business-customer environment and leverage their power to connect more with your target audience. You can communicate live with your customers, understand their needs better, answer their questions, share news with them, etc. Let your brand socialize!
- Take help of Content Marketing, SEO, SEM techniques – These are your best friends! Make sure your product turns up on the first page search whenever customers look up for their requirements. Keep updating the content on your site as per latest trends, have a mobile-friendly site. Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, create and disseminate keyword-rich fresh content, get quality back-links, etc. in order to reach out to as many customers as possible.
- Measure the returns – Last but not the least, always measure the returns from your digital marketing exercise. Analyse the output, and compare it against the input. Are you meeting the objective you set earlier? If the yield is not positive, try to understand the shortcomings. What should have been done better?
Your digital marketing plan can vary from the above as per your business needs, but remember not using any at all can be a big mistake. The statistic speaks for itself,
“Two-thirds of consumers say it is somewhat or very important that companies they interact with are seen as a technology leader.” (2014 Mobile Behaviour Report)
You can checkout some additional tips here as well. So folks, get ready, push the boundaries, and unleash the real power of your SME with the help of digital marketing!