The 21st century is the age of Globalization and the Internet. Our lives revolve around it and are almost incomplete without it. Since we spend significant hours every day exploring the World Wide Web, large, small and medium business firms have found the internet to be ‘the ideal platform’ for amplifying their business through online branding and advertisement. The most common and effective way has been in hiring Digital Marketing Agencies to promote businesses. By far, the biggest beneficiary of these agencies have been the SMEs or Small and Medium Enterprises.
Understanding SMEs – What is it?
Before talking about the role of Digital Marketing, in contributing to SMEs, let’s just briefly understand what SMEs actually are.
Small and Medium Enterprises usually referred as SMEs have taken momentum only recently and has grown at a very fast rate in the last decade. It has also been observed that most of these SMEs have been started by young, talented entrepreneurs who refuse to abide by the traditional rules of business and instead crave for innovation and are risk-takers. The entrepreneurial attitude sets them apart from the crowd. Most SMEs enter the market with including online marketing as one of its prime sources of customer acquisition. They also have very specific goal (short term targets) to achieve.
Digital Marketing – Basic Understanding for SMEs
A digital marketing campaign utilizes digital media (multimedia content encoded in machine-readable format and hosted on websites, software applications, videos, games, web pages and websites, social media, databases, digital audios, e-books and so on) in order to reach out to customers in the market. Such a campaign primarily uses the power of the Internet to magnify the effect of the campaign and measure the impact through online monitoring and measuring tools (software applications specially built to track online business impact and conversions). Social media and search engines have created substantially useful marketing options to any kind of business. What’s important here is being aware of the best online promotional platforms that can be used in order to reach out to target audience and convert them into paying customers.
Role of Digital Marketing in promoting SMEs
Creating a start-up might be easy these days with the government’s support from, nationalised schemes and loan facilities, however, making it a truly ‘revenue-generator’ is a different story all together, which is why Digital Marketing comes into the scene. Digital Marketing is an excellent way to promote SMEs who are competing with well-established business houses and brands.
- Use of Digital Marketing helps SMEs to find flexible marketing potential which in turn would increase sales volume
- It is the most cost effective way to reach out to target potentials and establish a direct contact with both their current and potential customers
- There is no need for long standing commitments. Lead generator campaigns through Pay per click (PPC) model can be modified or updated regularly for optimum ROI (return on investment)
- It helps SMEs to come in contact with experts who are up-to-date with regard to the developments taking place in the market and update their skills
- It also provides SMEs with the freedom to make changes in their ongoing campaigns whenever the need arises
Nowadays, it’s possible for both small and medium businesses to achieve business success with online advertising by making use of a combination of video marketing, social media marketing (SMM), content marketing, email marketing and search engine marketing (SEM).
Why SEO Could Be A Game-Changer?
If you’re an SME owner, you should include SEO in your online marketing mix. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is quite a popular digital marketing medium nowadays since it lets you reach the top position in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) in the biggest search engines – Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. When internet users search for your product or a related product, a category or brand (business) online they get to see the name of your online business entity (could be your website, blog, social media profiles, business portfolio, business contact details And so on). SEO helps to project your business at the forefront of public search results in a search engine. A well planned SEO strategy can work wonders in generating a steady stream of traffic to your business website. Well written and relevant content on the website will help convert prospects into qualified leads and a well devised lead nurturing strategy can help convert those leads into customers.
Things to be kept in Mind
However, certain things have to be kept in mind while opting for Digital Marketing in promoting SMEs –
- Pay attention to current trends of digital marketing by reading current news or popular blogs. Don’t be afraid to experiment; you might have setbacks but you’ll learn to make wise decisions and that way you can stay ahead of your competitors
- Tracking as well as analysing your website statistics is essential since it informs you about the visitor demographics and provides helpful insights into the population segment of the website visitors. This will help you to target and plan your marketing efforts effectively
- Mobile devices today have overcome PC users in terms of numbers. Also major networks all over the world let mobile users access social media, email and websites by using their smart phones. You should ideally plan your company’s digital marketing strategy focussing extensively on social media and targeting the mobile users
Digital marketing has truly emerged as a dynamic marketing medium for any business. It’s hard to ignore the benefits a business can get from investing time, effort and money in a digital marketing campaign compared with the traditional marketing mix of print and electronic media. Digital marketing is cost-effective and the return on investment remains much higher than traditional media which is a sure attraction for SMEs. Having said all these, it comes to the question – how can SMEs use digital marketing effectively?
There are two options – to opt for a professional service from a digital marketing agency in India or to learn digital marketing and start doing it yourself for your own business. Obviously, the first option is the automatic choice for most SMEs as – it saves their time, energy and also they get best digital marketing service from experts without having to press a button or click a mouse on their computers and laptops. Whichever be the option you opt for, digital marketing is the way forward, so go for it and achieve your business goals!