SMEs face many obstacles on the road to success, one of the most common of which is getting results from your marketing despite the limitations imposed by your budget.
Preparing for this challenge and devising focused strategies to overcome it is vital if you want to maximize marketing ROI. Fortunately, today's increasingly diverse and dynamic marketing landscape means there are various tactics you can employ to get results despite budgetary restrictions.
Leverage social users
A strong, dedicated user base on social media can be a hugely valuable asset. Once you have customers on your side and earned brand loyalty through the quality of your product offering, the value they generate through advocacy and word-of-mouth recommendations costs you nothing.
One of the most valuable assets you can gain from a strong social following is user-generated content, which could be anything from customer reviews to videos of people using your products. Your social followers could even help you come up with fresh ideas for future marketing campaigns.
Nielsen research shows 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than traditional advertising.
Seize every networking opportunity
You never know where and when opportunities to make new contacts and expand your marketing network will arise. That's why it's always important to be ready to promote the business, even in the most unlikely or unexpected of circumstances.
Take some time to craft an elevator pitch - a short, impactful distillation of key features such as:
- What makes your business unique
- Your competitive advantages
- How well you know your audience
- Your industry expertise
The ability to market yourself this way could turn the smallest glimpses of opportunity into genuine prospects to make valuable connections and grow the business.
Start a blog
A blog is a fundamental promotional tool that every business should have in its marketing mix, regardless of your size or available budget.
Don't be put off starting a blog if you're not an experienced or qualified writer. Blogging in a simple, conversational style often works well because it makes the business feel more personal and relatable.
The most important thing is to ensure you have something relevant and worthwhile to say in your blog posts. People will keep coming back if you're delivering valuable content that answers their questions, entertains or helps them in some way.
One of the best things about being a small business is knowing there are millions of other companies out there whose ambitions and challenges are similar to yours.
The sheer size of the SME community means there will always be opportunities to form partnerships and collaborate in a way that delivers mutual benefits for all parties.
One approach is to seek out potential partners whose product or service offering complements your own. You can help each other through strategies such as each firm giving its customers coupons or discount codes for the other, or promoting each other to your respective email mailing lists.
Get active in the community
If your local audience is vital to business success, there’s a lot to be gained from building a strong presence in your area and earning brand recognition from local customers. This boosts brand advocacy and positive word of mouth, which could be the fuel you need to power growth.
There are many ways to play a more central role in your local community, such as:
- Hosting fundraising events
- Sponsoring local sports teams
- Participating in annual festivals or fetes
Don't overlook existing customers
Bringing in new business is a key goal of the marketing department, but it shouldn't be your only priority.
Engaging with your existing audience not only costs less than all the work required to win new business, but generally offers a higher chance of success because these customers are already familiar with your brand and have shown a willingness to buy from you in the past.
When someone makes a purchase from you, be sure to follow up by asking their permission to add them to your email list or sending them vouchers to get money off their next purchase. As well as boosting revenue generation, these sorts of efforts increase the likelihood that you’ll gain valuable customer referrals.