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Business without boundaries: Digital marketing for SMEs

Business without boundaries: Digital marketing for SMEs

Marketing

Rahul Kharnokhya

Rahul Kharnokhya

18 Jun 2018, 09:00 — 7 min read

Summary: In the last few years, how we consume information and act upon it has drastically changed. The digital world has reshaped how we interact even with the physical realm. Appreciating the impact that the the boundless frontiers of the online space can have for your business is key to growth. An excellent online strategy can really boost growth of your Small & Medium Enterprise (SME). Rahul Kharnokhya shares tips.

 

Information availability and decision-making is becoming increasingly dynamic in nature. This constant state of change has impacted customer expectations and many organisations are grappling to keep up. Amidst this chaos, a few companies have found opportunities and strategies to leverage this change.

 

Most companies which are successful in understanding and fulfilling new-age customer expectations have exponentially grown and created very strong value propositions and brands in the minds of the customers. Customer experience has taken on greater importance.

 

Some proponents of change defining the business ecosystem today are big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobile and content. Digital Marketing as a science, art or technique sits right in-between all of these factors. Is digital marketing complex and difficult to understand? Is it a type of marketing that only large companies with large budgets can afford to execute? You might be mistaken here.

 

In many ways digital marketing has democratised business reach to consumers. It has presented a level playing field for small to go out and compete with them. This is one field where intellect and ingenuity trumps over age and experience of large companies.

Applications of digital marketing are aplenty – from exploring new markets to growing a stronger brand in existing markets, all in a budget that you can decide and control in real-time enabling you to be flexible.

 

In this day and age, the question isn’t whether you should do digital marketing, but rather, the pertinent questions are “how” and “where to start from”. Following are five simple things small businesses can implement to mobilise their digital marketing:

 

1. E-commerce website and digital product catalog

A website is just like a salesperson. It may need attention and hand-holding early on, but over a period of time, it becomes independent, yielding a steady stream of income on an autopilot mode. Having an e-commerce website to sell your products can yield even more dividends in addition to understanding your customer’s behavior. Do bear the following aspects in mind while building your website:

• Does your website have all the information that you would like your customers to know?

• Does your website provide your contact details in case the customer wants to place orders or make enquiries?

• Is it easy for the customers to navigate and find information about your brand and products?

• Is your website persuading customers to take specific actions?

• Is it easy to update information on your website?

• Is your website transactional?

 

Once you have all the content ready for your website, you can use one of the many website builders to set-up the framework. Most of these builders offer plenty of templates and customization options. In case you plan to sell your products online, some of the payment gateway companies can offer to set up the infrastructure for free. Sounds complicated? It’s not. You needn’t be a software geek to implement a fully-functional website.

 

2. Create local awareness about your business

It is quite possible that some of your prospective customers, even though located very close to you, may have never heard about you. Even if they have heard of you, they will resort to searching information about you on the internet.

Facebook and Google provide you with options to create local awareness and an identity on the internet. You can even place your business on Google maps to help customers locate you. All of this at little or no cost.

 

3. Catalyse word of mouth with referral schemes

Very few marketing campaigns can outshout the voice of a customer operating as a brand ambassador. While social media can intensify word of mouth, it takes experimentation and genius to go viral.

Win-win referral schemes help you achieve similar results with greater certainty.

There are plenty of plug and play tools which can help set up referral schemes, leverage your customers’ social network and give your brand a fair chance of going viral. You can track and manage these schemes on the go. Much like your website, these tools are very easy to implement.

 

4. Advertise on digital media

It would be wise to advertise online if a good portion of your customers reside on the internet. Digital advertising unlike conventional advertising is highly targeted and permits small spends. You can choose from promoting your brand in existing markets to exploring new opportunities in new locations, all at the click of a button. And the good news is, all major online advertising platforms provide advertisers with account managers to help them set-up and run marketing campaigns. If you are lucky, you may even find free coupons to run your campaigns.

 

5. Email marketing to connect with your customers

Emails are a very convenient and effective way of communicating to your customers. You can use emails to inform your customers about new products, features and offers. Free guides and manuals can help your customers use your product better.

Email provides for two-way communication; feedback enables you to know if your email was received with a smile or a frown.

 

Much like this article, you will find plenty of guides, free tools and services that can help you execute digital marketing. It may be tempting to do all of the above or possibly more to join the digital business bandwagon, but begin by evaluating your options and strategising accordingly. If executed well, one or two targeted options are likely to provide better results rather than a scatter-gun approach.

 

Hope these points demystified digital marketing for you. So go on, roll up your sleeves and get ready to build a business without boundaries.

 

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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