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Digital Marketing in 2018: A Survival Guide for SMEs

 

As a small-to-medium sized business owner, you’re doubtless rushed off your feet with the various tasks and responsibilities such a role demands. From tracking sales and managing your accounts to overseeing employees and checking stock, running your own business can be taxing. Unfortunately, this sometimes means other tasks get pushed to the side, and it’s often marketing that takes the hit. 

If that’s the case, then you need to think about concentrating your marketing efforts instead. Time is a precious commodity, so focus it on the digital sphere. Formulating an effective digital marketing campaign can really give your SME the edge. Read on to find out how... 

Invest in social ads

With over 3 billion social media users around the world, you need to target your marketing to where your customers are active. Most social media platforms offer advertising opportunities for businesses, paid content which is seen by users directly in their feed.

 

Image M.Gemi 

Social ads have the advantage of reaching your customer naturally. As they scroll through Facebook or Twitter, status updates and photos of friends are nestled side-by-side with advertisements. This creates a seamless integration of paid marketing and normal social content. 

Instagram is particularly good for this. As users tap through the Stories feature, businesses can insert their own Story in between those of their friends. When done right, the customer will hardly realize they’re seeing an advertisement! 

Social ads have the added benefit of advanced targeting. Businesses have a wealth of customer data on hand through social media, such as their age, gender, location, birthday, interests, behaviors, and more. Armed with this information, you can target your ads at users who are more likely to engage with your business. 

The power of retargeting

It’s worth mentioning here the benefits of retargeting. Retargeting works by pushing your brand to users who have visited your online store or website once, then navigate away to other sites. When they visit other sites, retargeted ads are placed on those pages to chase up potential customers. 

Retargeting is a great way of going after customers who might be shopping around. It keeps your brand in their mind as they look at other products or prices, and is a great tactic well worth investing in. 

Content marketing is king

No digital marketing campaign is complete without an editorial content strategy. In fact, it’s crucial

Posting regular blogs or videos is crucial in engaging with your customers, as well as boosting your SEO. It’s also a great way to keep people locked into your business. If you’re regularly providing useful or interesting content related to your product or service, it’ll make you a one-stop shop for people looking for tips or advice. 

The key to content marketing is selling to the customer without them knowing it. Why not create an instructional video on how to use your product, or make a style guide featuring your spring/summer collection? Producing useful and informative content will keep customers flocking to your site, and lets you sell your product in a natural, oblique way. 

Automate your way to a great content campaign

But managing your own business takes up a lot of your time, and it can be hard to keep up with your content campaign. This is where automation comes in. 

There’s a variety of tools out there which let you schedule and post your content automatically, such as Hootsuite. It’s one of the most popular social automation software out there, and with just a few clicks, you can create a timetable of pre-made content to be posted on a set schedule. It saves you time, and gives you one less thing to think about. 

Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing

While the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the social platforms of the moment, the humble email still has its place. 80% of retailers say that email marketing is their best source of customer retention, so you need to make sure it’s yours as well. Not only is it cheap, it’s easily scalable. Once you have a customer’s email address, you’ve got a free pass to their inbox. But don’t overdo it! Tailor your emails to their specific needs based on your customer data. For example, if you know a customer’s birthday is coming up, send them a discount code as a little gift. Personalized emails increase click-through rates, so be sure to add a personal touch. 

As with your content, you can use marketing software such as Moosend to create and automate your email campaigns with custom automation recipes. At the touch of a button, you can schedule your emails to run at certain times, and easily target customer segments based on thousands of different identifiers. Automation reduces the time you need to spend on email campaigns, letting you focus on other parts of your business. 

Reach out to influencers

Have you ever gone to see a movie just because your friends wouldn’t stop raving about it? Or bought a jacket because you saw it on an A-list celebrity? We’ve all done it, and with good reason. It’s called social proof, and it’s a useful tactic in the marketer’s arsenal — and can be done relatively cheaply, too. How? Through the use of influencers. 

Image YouTube 

Influencers are individuals with a significant online presence and huge social media followings. Think Zoella and Chiara Ferragni. These influencers have made careers out of sharing their opinions, and savvy brands have capitalized on that and getting their products seen by hundreds of thousands of potential customers. The benefits of influencer marketing need to be seen to be believed though. When Häagen-Dazs partnered with New York-based influencers for their #HDOpenContainer campaign, they generated a whopping 14.3 million impressions and 27,400 social engagements! 

But what about the cost?

I know what you’re thinking. How can I afford $250 per Instagram post? The good news is: you don’t need to. Small businesses can use platforms like Unity Influence to reach out to individuals that are specifically related to their product or service. For example, if you sell handmade baby clothes, you can partner up with a mummy blogger to ensure that your product gets seen by an audience with a higher probability of buying. And with campaigns starting from as little as $199, it’s still considerably cheap! 

If you are managing a small or medium sized business, then embracing digital marketing is the way forward. Ramp up your social media strategy and crack on with content creation that dazzles your customers. Implement automation to create an email marketing campaign that engages your audience. Be ambitious! Use all that the internet has to offer to give you a significant advantage over your competitors, and soon your business will really be going places.

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. For all the latest on ecommerce, marketing, and design, check out her blog, Victoria Ecommerce. Victoria is passionate about helping store owners get the best return on their ecommerce venture.

 

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