Long before the days of Facebook statuses and the internet, marketing was a serious uphill battle for many SME’s and startups.
It remains an uphill battle for many SME’s even today. However, thanks to digital marketing it is a lot less intimidating to establish a strong business presence than ever before. Some would even argue that the playing field has been levelled and that it provides the little guy with the chance to shine in ways that large enterprises just can’t do.
Why Online Marketing Can Work For SME’s
There are several different reasons why online (AKA Digital) marketing will work better for the smaller and medium size businesses. As most medium-sized, small and start-up companies know, there is much to gain from having a well-planned out digital marketing campaign and every pound needs to be used wisely.
The following are five tips that can help you compete and gain market share for your business regardless of your size. Just a reminder that the usual definition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is any business with fewer than 250 employees. There were 5.4 million SMEs in the UK in 2016, which was over 99% of all businesses. This post is for you.
SME’s – Invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Were you aware of the fact that 81 percent of all shoppers start their buying processes by doing a Google search? Also, 35% of total e-commerce traffic is derived from the search engines.
SEO can be viewed as word-of-mouth marketing by the internet. It has replaced almost completely offline directories like Yellow pages and is THE primary way your customers search for businesses like you.No matter whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce platform, or both of these, investing in SEO is among the wisest business decisions that you can possibly make to get your company known.
No matter whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce platform, or both of these, investing in SEO is probably the wisest business decisions that you can possibly make to get your company known and your business found.
If planned properly, you can achieve an amazing ROI (return on investment) without having to break your budget. The reason that SEO is so effective is because the customer is searching for you already, or the services that you offer. That is where using the right keywords to target the right customers really helps. When used by an experienced marketer, tools such as the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer can be very beneficial in being able to reach your target audience.
The most important thing to be aware of when it comes to SEO is that you most likely won’t see amazing results overnight. How much visibility you can achieve will be connected to your budget, just like it is with a majority of paid options. SEO needs to be viewed as a long-term investment. If you aren’t successful right away, don’t give up. It may take weeks or months to start seeing results. Continue to invest and you will start seeing good results eventually and when you have those results, the ROI can be amazing.
Use Outstanding Content To Showcase Your Expertise
The major focus for the digital world has been content marketing for a long time. The foundation of any good brand messaging is content. The task here is to produce quality material in the forms of videos, infographics, blog posts, etc, that are well suited for your chosen platforms.
Content creation is an amazing opportunity for businesses of any size to really shine and tell the world who they are and what great value they have to offer. The trick to producing high-quality content is really knowing who your target audience is and addressing their most pressing concerns and questions.
Take your time when creating your content. The reasons why blogs work is because they have the ability to address the customer’s most pressing questions and concerns. Content is the SME’s best friend. The search engines really love relevant and fresh content. The higher the quality is, the better you can do in the search results. Everybody wins this way.
Look For Online Influencers To Connect With
Influencer marketing revolves around expanding your community. Basically, an influencer is a prominent individual who has a large following. Your goal is to find some that are related to your target market and find a way for them to speak to their loyal fans about your business. If you can find a good one, this can really do wonders for your business, no matter how small or large it is.
Begin by brainstorming a list of individuals who might make the strongest impression on your audience. It could be another business owner, Instagram model, politician, or blogger.
Work Hard To Get Some Online Reviews
These days it is very important to have online reviews. By some estimates, 90 percent of all shoppers use them as part of their purchasing decisions.
Customer testimonials and reviews can be a real game changer for small businesses and startups. What that means is an SME needs to make a big effort to obtain feedback from their customers. After a purchase, it is a good idea to send an email to encourage your customers to post reviews on sites such as Yelp, or send them a basic form to fill out about their experience.
If is a very easy task to ask for reviews and can bring you incredible results. The key here is to provide great service so that you will receive good feedback from satisfied customers. Also ASKING – most businesses don’t make this a habit. An unhappy customer won’t think twice about leaving a negative review, happy customers are just happy but ask them for their opinion and many will gladly help.
Always Continue To Track, Analyse and Improve
Maybe the most important component of the marketing process is to track your results. Unless you keep track of your analytics, you won’t really have a good idea of what is succeeding and what needs to be optimised or changed.
Keep a close watch on your targeted keywords and content performance. This will allow you to know what your next move should be. The process will also help you know how well you are spending your money.
One of the best things you can do to get ahead is back up every decision made with actionable data. Make sure you look into using a domain analytics tool such as SEMrush along with Google Analytics, to ensure that you are properly tracking all of your important business moves.
Powerful Position Through Pretty Pictures
Link building isn’t easy. It demands lots of attention and is time-consuming. You don’t always succeed with it either. One great link building tip is to focus on making sure that your content has very strong imagery. Make it very useful and strong so that other people will want to share it. This is especially powerful for explainer images and diagrams that are communicating a certain solution or problem.
Do a reverse image search using Google Image Search by uploading an image or yours, to find out who else it using it. As the owner and creator, you can contact those sites and ask for a credit link to be used in exchange for them using the image.
Most people will agree to do this, since the image is adding value already and it takes a lot more work to create one completely from scratch.
Optimise For Voice Search (Voice SEO)
Given the massive increase in mobile searches, you really can’t afford to ignore it any longer. According to recent findings, we are all become more savvy and confident in using our smartphones in order to find what we are looking for. More people these days are using virtual assistants like Cortana, Google Now and Siri in order to find the information we are looking for.
According to the data that is being collected, we tend to use more words whenever we are searching for something by voice. That is because we speak in a more conversational tone instead of using a short keyword search since this is a completely natural thing to do.
By answering questions that are frequently asked by your users on product pages or key services, you can capture some extra traffic from voice searches.
Pay Attention To Your Speed
One common problem that many small business websites have is not being aware of what their page speed is, and how this can affect your rankings as well as your users. Google has stated that page speed is one of its ranking signals. They offer a free tool called PageSpeed. You can use it to find out how slow or fast your website is, and learn what actions you need to take in order to improve it.
To begin with, make sure you optimise your images for the web using Pixlr (free), compressor.io, Photoshop or a similar service. Those programs help you with compressing image size with very little loss of quality. Many cameras (increasingly those on smart devices) take photos in the 3 to 8 MB range and you can slow your website down considerably if you upload those directly.
Another easy thing to do is to remove plugins from WordPress or other content management system that you are using. If you really aren’t using a plugin, then the best thing to do is get rid of it so you can save some loading time. You can also look for other plugins that load quicker but do the same job.
According to research, 40% of individuals leave a website taking over 3 seconds to load. and 47% of people expect that a web page will load in 2 seconds or sooner. That doesn’t leave you much room for error. But it is an opportunity for you to provide your users with a better experience to people than your competitors are offering to get you on the fast track to online success.
SME Marketing Tips – What Next?
That might seem like a whopping list but get those five areas working well and you are almost guaranteed to be ranking better and claiming more business than the majority of your competitors. If you don’t have the time as you are working in your business, then let experts take care of the heavy lifting for you. For every £1 spent on digital marketing services like SEO, you tend to get £6 back so it is a serious investment well worth considering if you don’t have the time to do the steps yourself.