Growth phase SME’s foraying into digital often misunderstand the digital advertising as digital strategy. While the former is limited to brand discovery, the later stands for sustained marketing communication that actually impacts the top line & bottom line.
Digital is no more limited to B2C. SMEs are fast adopting the digital to find new customers, and communicate in a more personalized manner, as well as expanding and gaining exposure in new territories.
A carefully crafted digital strategy can give you solid competitive advantage.
A common mistake you may make when going digital is that you start with a half baked digital strategy, burn marketing cash with Google ads & Facebook ads, and with no results in hand you’ll end up forming an opinion that will make it difficult for you to try again. Another such mistake is, start shooting random posts on social media.
Both are disastrous when not backed up with a solid plan, aligned with overall business strategy.
70% of Indian SMEs are still clueless on their digital strategy, while SMEs contribute 35% in Indian GDP. (source: economic times)
So a better way to approach digital is by understanding where to engage your target audience for optimum impact. And an even better way is to understand all of the touch points that are relevant to your business.
How many digital touch points are on your radar?
As I stated above, the digital advertising tools (eg. Google ads, Facebook ads) are tools for establishing first point of contact, and are used to grow the discoverability. But you shouldn’t depend totally on these frontline tools for sales & re-engaging customers.
In fact you should aim to re-engage these first time visitors in a more personalized and controlled environment such as your business’s newsletter. And it also means that your newsletter should be worth subscribing to gain industry insights, white papers, and buying help etc.
White paper downloads through your LinkedIn page is quite an effective touch point too.
Topical webinars is another great tool to let B2b client engage on their own pace. In fact you can supply these recorded webinar videos in your newsletter for those who missed it first.
Short interviews and online press releases on industrial blogs & media websites may establish your thought leadership, and can be quite a credible ways to touch your customers again.
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How sustainable is your engagement strategy?
More often than less, B2b engagement strategy is often grossly misunderstood concept, and poorly designed.
B2b is quite a serious business relationship, and your engagement strategy should not look like engagement strategy of Swiggy or Netflix.
Less is more in B2b. Quality of content, serving sizes, and serving timings could make or break your engagement strategy. Your primary objective should be to help your client make better informed decisions, and not to seek attention.
B2b customers value their time, and so small serving sizes works better.
Take 1-on-1 communication off-social media totally. Your own website, your newsletter, your WhatsApp Business App, and your direct emails/letters should be preferred. Yes they may be old practices, but that’s how you gain quality attention.
Your customer(s) must feel like an insider.
Digital by design?
This is my favorite part.
A digital first company is which actually makes digital communication, a priority. Going digital also means to streamline your customer service & communication smooth, and free from human error.
Chatbot integrations can actually help you attend your incoming business inquiries more efficiently and automatically round the clock, even when you aren’t available.
A Cloud based CRM system can help you make more informed decision on your sales pipeline, and to keep an ad-hawk view on your customer experience by monitoring your customer service pipeline.
Mobile integration makes it really easy for you to make decisions on run. You cannot afford to sit in front of computer all day.
Digital payment is another growing area where SME are exploring the possibilities.
But Data Analytics is where you can literally have an edge over your competitors. Data collection & trend analysis is as valuable to small enterprises as for larger ones. (Don’t confuse data analytics with web analytics only, such as – Google analytics)
Internal data analysis can also help you save money, and better allocate your advertising funds, and marketing efforts on ROI positive marketing channels.
It’s really time to go big on digital. You cannot leave your sales to chances. It’s a ‘must-have’ now, and not ‘good-to-have’ anymore.
GPC Media is B2B Focused Digital Agency in India for SMEs.
If you’re looking for B2b digital growth strategy & competitive advantages? Talk to us.