For small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB), there can sometimes seem like so much to do and so few resources available to accomplish the long list of tasks. No wonder marketing efforts often fall by the wayside. But marketing your SMB doesn’t have to be an enormous hurdle to defeat. Here are five common SMB marketing challenges and some ideas for overcoming them.
Not Knowing What Works
In a survey by BusinessKnowHow.com that asked for responder’s biggest small business marketing challenges other than finding new customers, the largest percentage of people said that not knowing what works was their primary hurdle. Without the confidence to make and stick to a marketing plan, many SMBs are paralyzed by indecision and never start a marketing program at all.
The solution? Creativity. While that may seem easier said than done, creative marketing is a way to make your product or service a necessity. Thinking outside the box can help you find your target market and hone in on how your offering can solve their problems.
So, how exactly do you hone in on that market? It requires getting down to specifics. That means moving beyond just saying that you are targeting small business; you are targeting businesses with X number of employees, within a certain radius or city, and that meet certain demographics. From there you can drill down even further to identify the roles and responsibilities of those involved with the buying process of those defined organizations and create the necessary personas.
The second highest response for the BusinessKnowHow.com survey was that marketing costs are a big challenge for SMBs. But you don’t necessarily need to spend big bucks to get big marketing results. Start by defining your best prospects and determining the best way to reach them. Then make sure that prospects can find you by establishing or optimizing your website, and make sure you’re listed in search engine business directories. Check out 30 other ways to promote your business here.
Comparing Apples to Oranges
For SMBs trying to establish a marketing presence, it doesn’t make sense to necessarily compare themselves to bigger organizations with more resources, or even other SMBs. Instead, Oracle suggests, it’s essential for SMB marketers to be aware of their uniqueness. There is no doubt that there are differences between how SMBs and larger organizations approach marketing. Successful SMB marketers are aware of these differences and embrace them, leveraging their unique qualities in their marketing program.
So, between the above tips and some hard work, you’ve executed a successful marketing campaign that has resulted in new customers. How do you keep those customers? One of the top 10 SMB business issues of 2015 was attracting and retaining new customers. Customer loyalty can make or break a business, and nurturing relationships with current customers makes a big difference in that. Make sure your customers’ purchasing experience is pleasant and trustworthy. Reward programs, email campaigns, and impactful (but not annoying) communication are all effective ways of building on customer loyalty.