Few things have changed the very fabric of marketing like the advent of digital. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, the pool of potential customers suddenly increased exponentially, and their reach grew far greater than in the old, analogue days. They no longer needed a shop on every corner or an ad in every paper.
However, this is not to say that digital marketing comes without its own unique challenges. Catching someone’s attention online – especially the right someone – is tricky. There are a lot of competing voices, all vying for clicks and conversions. Finding your identity and your niche online, especially as an SME, can be the key to real world success. In this blog we will have a look at the ways in which digital marketing, including social media, can help to transform a brand and achieve this.
Brand awareness and identity
You’ve built a business and you know exactly what it’s about. But does everyone else? Brand recognition is so important for businesses of any size, whether you want to be successful in the B2B or B2C sector. Much of this will have to do with the website, the name and the design used throughout. Consistency is key and a strong thread of colour, style and messaging coupled with regular and targeted output on a variety of digital channels all builds up recognition. Follow through with good service, a user-friendly website and a product that lives up to its promise and you’re on the right track to inspiring brand loyalty.
Targeting and reach
We’ve spoken about what businesses want to people to see, however who sees it is just as important. It’s exciting to think about the reach that an online presence can give SMEs. However, knowing who your audience is before you start any digital marketing activities is essential to forming those activities. Research competitors, write profiles of potential customers, even do physical focus groups – anything that helps you gain insight into who you are trying to attract to your business. Targeting is a huge part of what makes ads and organic posts successful because it doesn’t matter how eye-catching your creative or witty your tagline; if the wrong people are seeing it, they won’t engage.
Email, social media and paid ads
Once you’ve developed your identity and decided on your audience, there are several digital channels to choose from to communicate through. Organic social media, paid social media ads, paid Google and display ads and email marketing are all valuable ways to get your business out there and in front of the right people. A strong social media strategy using each platform differently (and appropriately) can improve both visibility and user experience as well as giving you an opportunity to interact with and get feedback from your audience and customers.
A combination of carefully planned organic and paid activity on these platforms can be instrumental in expanding a brand and widening its reach. If there is budget for further paid activity, display advertisements on websites that your audiences are likely to be visiting are good for both awareness and conversions – this is also true for search advertisements that appear when someone Googles a related search term. Finally, emails are a fantastic way to create a direct link between you and your customer. Keeping the copy punchy, informative and the design eye-catching is a great way to re-engage people and keep them up to date. And, best of all, it’s free!