Controversial opinion: If you want your brand to make a big splash quickly, you should expect to have a pretty ample marketing budget in order to get you where you want to go. There are, of course, always exceptions to the rule, but despite what some startup agencies and over-zealous freelancers will tell you, growing your digital profile quickly is a heck of a lot easier if you’ve got a bit of cash to throw around.
For SMEs though, capital can be a precious resource and exploring new avenues of marketing can seem like a daunting task. The great thing about marketing though, is that for every expensive route there is a heap of cost-effective (and sometimes, even free) tactics you can employ to help achieve your marketing goals. Sure, it may take a little longer, but it’s all about the journey. With all this in mind here are a few methods that SME businesses can use to boost their marketing efforts without breaking the bank.
Invest in digital consultancy and/or
get a digital strategy
The great thing about working with an agency like us is that you can check in whenever you like for a digital consultancy session. This should give you a rundown of your current positioning, the state of your marketing efforts as they stand, and a few recommendations to move forward with. In most cases, you can instruct your agency (or us!) to create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for the foreseeable future.
A good strategy also includes keyword research, so you know exactly what your audience is searching for (it’s often different from what you think).
Once the consultancy session is over and you’ve received the strategy, you can run with it, using it as a guide to inform your digital marketing game and implementing its recommendations whenever and however you see fit. It’s a great way to get a roadmap for your digital marketing, and the best part is, it won’t blow your budget!
Set up your Google My Business profile
It’s incredible how many businesses still miss this step, even though it’ll do wonders for your click-through-rate and it’s absolutely free. Completing your Google My Business profile ensures your business will show up on Google Maps, and that all of your business information appears when someone searches for your company.
Google My Business profiles can include opening times, contact details, website links, events, even bespoke information and call-to-actions. It’s a HUGE contributor to your brand’s credibility, so be sure to make the most of it!
Try your hand at Email Marketing
Have you got a long list of email contacts? Put them to work, and start drip-feeding them relevant content by setting up some simple email campaigns. A lot of SMEs still overlook Email Marketing, but 78% of marketers that use it are still seeing increasing engagement. For more useful Email Marketing facts, check out Hubspot’s Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2021.
By now, you should have all your customer details stored within a decent CRM – if you haven’t, then what are you waiting for!
Most CRMs offer some integration with MailChimp or other email providers; some even have an email function built-in. Once you’ve created some interesting content, try emailing it out to your contacts – try to keep it relevant to services or products they have previously shown an interest in. If your content is up to snuff, you’ll be establishing your brand as an authority and providing those valuable touch points that keep people coming back for more!
Invest in long-form content
Google’s rich snippets have become a staple of search engine pages as a means of answering queries. Not content with just ranking pages, Google now understands and quotes from the best pages in order to more quickly answer certain questions. The lucky so-and-so who finds their web page quoted in these featured snippets can expect to see their click-through-rate soar, and enjoy all the benefits that come with it. The question is – how do you get there?
The answer, of course, is by writing. Lots. When it comes to ranking pages for search. Google loves detailed, in-depth content that helps it answer a particular question. For long-form content, think of anything that’s over 1000 words. Start a blog, fill your service pages with content, even write articles on LinkedIn and encourage your audience to share. It will only cost you time, it’s great for SEO and, if your content is good enough, you could soon see it popping up in that coveted snippet section.
Want to learn more? Check out our blog on why blogs and long-form content are here to stay.
When working with SME owners in the past, one thing that often came up during our digital consultancy sessions is the need to measure as many metrics as possible when running digital campaigns or trying new techniques. Google can be a mysterious beast at times, as can people, and what may result in a resounding success for one business could be a massive flop for another.
The remedy to this is to measure as much as you can – whether that’s social analytics, email open rates, hits on your landing page or just how people are finding you – pay attention to the numbers, decipher what works and use it to inform your next campaign. It’s the simplest and most effective way to discover what resonates with your audience, and it’ll very rarely cost you more than time.