Digital marketing has never been so important for SMEs. In 2008, just ten per cent of small businesses were using social media for marketing purposes, but by 2013 this had exploded to 87 per cent, and this figure will only increase as more and more businesses notice the benefits.
As part of iNorthumberland Business Support’s fully funded programme of digital training, Malcolm Gallagher, Director of Northumberland-based coaching company BizVision, has put together an in-depth training module on digital marketing to help SMEs get up to speed.
Here, Mr Gallagher shares his top digital marketing tips and the steps SMEs can take to improve their digital presence. Digital marketing is defined as ‘the promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media’. While the fundamentals of marketing remain unchanged, there are now a far greater number of platforms available for businesses to connect with their audience.
Mr Gallagher recommends that SMEs have a clear and simple strategy, keeping in mind the three principles of digital marketing: be found, be clear and be memorable.
He said: “Social media is of course a key element of digital marketing and, although this is a simple and cost-effective way for SMEs to communicate with their audience, it is important to remember that digital marketing also encompasses websites and search engine optimisation, as well as customer relationship management.”
SMEs are advised to use email marketing to reach potential customers and any other interested parties.
Mr Gallagher said: “Regular e-newsletters are a great way to keep people up to date with your business activities and to increase customer loyalty. Websites such as MailChimp can help you make professional looking e-newsletters and have features that allow you to manage and analyse the effectiveness of your campaigns.
“Finally, make sure to use media platforms that are suited to your audience and will help you to achieve your goals. A common misconception is that organisations should be active on all social media platforms, but some platforms are much more appropriate for certain businesses than others.
“Looking into what your competitors are doing in this regard can be helpful – don’t be afraid to learn from them and see which digital marketing techniques are working for them.”