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SME Focus in the Squeeze – Digital Marketing to Prioritise 

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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By Fernando Angulo, Senior Market Research Manager, Semrush

Whatever their business goals or ethos, every business owner faces their own set of unique challenges and company priorities. For some, this might be feeling the pinch of the talent squeeze when it comes to hiring, while for others it may be difficult to find the right technology for their needs. Whatever the case, there is always room to optimise a marketing strategy to make it more effective and profitable. 

The only certainty many business owners have at the moment is that their industry landscape  is ever-evolving. The constant changes in the technology landscape and fluctuations in consumer behaviour pose a challenge for businesses worldwide. It’s one of the hardest parts of a running a company to navigate through this constantly shifting environment in order to find solutions, especially when it comes to pressing marketing challenges. However, there are some common areas of focus which may take the pressure off marketing priorities, allowing business owners to focus their attention more elsewhere. 

Overcome post-pandemic uncertainties by increasing online visibility

It’s no secret that Covid changed many things, including the way brands reach and attract their target audiences. In a world more aware of the need and effectiveness of using digital channels, marketing strategies must also adapt to and own these changes.

This new normal requires companies to have understand changes in the virtual world, along with a website oriented to the customer experience and often an effective e-commerce strategy. For many, a good place to start is incorporating inbound marketing methodologies: avoid intrusive forms of communication and instead generating valuable content across a website that specifically meets customers needs’, leading them effortlessly through the purchasing journey.

E-commerce adoption has accelerated across both B2C and B2B spaces. So it’s time for companies to ask themselves honest questions about their digital presence: can people easily find their business online? Can visitors easily access and navigate their website or app to find what they’re looking for? The answers to these two questions will be a key step in measuring success or failure online. Now is the time to be skillful and consider adopting technology that helps increase and showcase online presence across all channels through strong organic content.

Invest in benchmarking tools to better understand your competition 

As most company owners know, benchmarking is a long-term process and an essential one to keep up with the pace of change within industry specialities. Investigating other companies’ products, services and work processes to compare them with their own and make any necessary adjustments to improve can keep a business on its toes and front of mind with customers, even as other enterprises may be snapping at their heels.

Unlike in the past, today the amount of information available at the fingertips of any company is almost infinite. Having access to such a large quantity of data can be overwhelming because not everyone knows where to start: which insights are best to analyse? And once you have this data, how do you use it to your advantage? Analysts are often key to this stage in the marketing process. With the knowledge and understanding of which insights to extract from this seemingly endless database and which insights generate action, marketers can improve their products, services and processes to gain a competitive advantage.

But it doesn’t end there. Best practice also takes into account the timely reactions of competitors who may well have similar technology to monitor the competition in real time. In addition to tracking others’ activity, savvy businesses can read between the lines and know how to anticipate the movements of the competition. This may take more attention than a typical SME owner can provide, but external support can be sought if needed to make sure that any business is ahead of the game – and consistently in front of the customer. 

Generate brand awareness through media relations

One of the biggest challenges facing digital marketing is maintaining brand image. In addition to increasing online visibility, businesses that have expanded their digital footprint should also bolster this by establishing brand reputation. To achieve a good reputation there is no better strategy than strong public relations.  

Issuing press releases or building relationships with journalists are two of the most effective ways to improve a brand’s online reputation. Using social networks to contact journalists or investing in PR platforms like Prowly can be used to manage all of your media relations activity and speed up this process.

Public relations not only helps drive awareness of your business but offers different opportunities to generate new leads and traffic through external links and backlinks. In fact, the greater the means of communication, the greater the value. There are links that can cost tens of thousands of dollars that can be generated through free, earned media opportunities. You just have to know where to look.

Ask questions and don’t be afraid to invest in new tools

To innovate a marketing strategy in the long run, business owners should continue to remind themselves of their goals. What does digitisation mean for their company? What kind of digital transformation is the company looking for? What is the main metric to monitor and which KPIs should be changed? 

Companies that understand the key to achieving business goals is through technological investments will be prepared to face the challenges of the future. Scalability of marketing tasks is made possible through integration and automation, and decision makers should look at allocating and valuing any supporting technology investment accordingly. Brands that understand and enhance new models have a great advantage – think even machine learning solutions, the collaborative economy and decentralised blockchain technology as a business grows. But whatever the status of a company, tackling digital marketing challenges head-on will play no small role in optimising their position in the market over the coming years.