Being a SME has its own share of thrills and challenges. With limited financial resources, SMEs need to do out of box thinking to market and promote their business. So what can SME owner to take the business to the next level?
Having a clear competitive positioning as well as having processes in place to measure the response to every marketing dollar being spent is key.
A lot of time SMEs do not have processes in place as they feel it requires a lot of effort and capital while that is not the case.
My top ten tips for successful marketing of SMBs on a shoe string budget
1. Be accessible: A lot of SMB businesses build web sites with little relevant contact information. In order to contact the management team one has to search through the site to locate the name and email id of the person. One key thing is to have the contact details in the footer of every page. In case the web site has About us section, the email of the senior management team should be mentioned. It shows to potential customers and partners that the business is easily accessible and it increases the confidence of the people. Easy accessibility is also a great marketing tool as people find it easier to get in touch as well as give feedback.
This bring me to the second point
2. Be in Customers shoes: Think and act like a customer to analyze all strenghth and weaknesses of the business. Things like the way phones are answered to the impression your web site/ reception gives is critical.
3. Do a benefit analysis of the company’s products/ services: Like comparative ads run by big companies, SMBs can use the strategy to clearly articulate their benefit vis- a- vis other competitors’ (either big or small companies). And remember, a benefit is something that directly gives the customer something; saves money, saves time, provides emotional satisfaction etc
3. Try out your competitor product/services: The best way to check out competitor service offerings is by trying them out. Buy something from two or three competitors and document the pros and cons of the process. If one can’t do this because these companies know you, get someone else to be the ‘Mystery Shopper’ on your behalf
5. Talk to your customers: Meet the CEOs of five customers on one to one basis, without any of your sales people. Ask them about their business and find ways you can work as partners to help them grow their business(and don’t make this a sales pitch)
6 Look for opportunities where you can work together with your customer at an early stage and give real value add to your customers. This way one can out gun the competition
7. Create unique marketing ‘Hooks’ that will give enquirers a clear ‘Call to Action’. One of things we created at Biz2Credit is to for people to get information about credit products and ability to apply for them instantaneously. Get ideas from the networking events you attend and research what are your competitors are up to. Explore other markets to find transferable ideas
8. Check these different hooks can test through the different marketing channels you use. These might be price, buy one get one free; extended warranty; bundled product offerings as well as value added services at the click of the mouse. Alternatively purchase could be linked with a promotion or competition. Link these ‘Hooks’ with a Social Networking Strategy to build advocates for your organization.
9. Measure Everything: All the marketing channels and strategies should be measured and compared thus helping to gauge the efficacy of each channel. Conversion ratios are key and one needs to discard the less effective marketing channels and strategies quickly.
10. Follow up and be consistent: All of the points mentioned above is part of a continuous cycle that constantly needs updating, so make sure that you allocate the appropriate time on a monthly basis as well as making a senior person responsible.
This article was submitted by Rohit Arora, co-founder of Biz2Credit. Biz2Credit is a small business marketplace that connects entrepreneurs with financing options and advice to grow their business. Send all questions to