By Neil Hamilton and Anthony Wilkey
Small and medium-sized companies account for 99.9 percent of the UK’s businesses and a combined annual turnover of over £3,000 billion. They are a crucial part of the country’s economy and their success and survival depends on us all. Local Business Week, which took place from 12th – 18th March, has raised awareness of local businesses, helping smaller brands to compete with the big guys.
See below some tips to help SMBs keep existing customers happy, while also expanding their audience and customer base, thus increasing profits.
The power of being customer-centric
Your customers want to be understood and valued as unique individuals, yet are passionate about preserving their privacy. The start of any good customer relationship requires listening, understanding our customer’s preferences, and acting on their interests. It is key for small businesses to understand their customers and apply what you know about them to create a more engaging dialogue.
Digital marketing has immense potential for building relationships, but has significant consequences when not executed properly. The days of poorly executed online marketing campaigns should be in the past. By keeping the customer at the heart of every online marketing strategy, consumers will feel like valued customers, which will lead to a long lasting and loyal relationship.
Using true personalisation to target existing and new customers
As SMBs try to keep pace and compete with larger competitors, it is vital that they are engaging their customers with relevant and meaningful content. True personalisation is not just about sending an email addressed to an individual by name. It is about creating unique experiences for each and every customer. In relentlessly competitive marketplaces, understanding what your customers want and promoting your products to the right customers in the right way, with the right context at the right time has never been more important.
Extend the reach of your digital marketing campaigns
When trying to engage your customers, it is important you’re reaching them across all of your marketing channels. Co-ordinating across multiple channels including email, landing pages and increasingly mobile and social can help extend the reach of your digital marketing campaigns and in turn help them work more collaboratively. For SMBs, it can be very helpful to invest time building your ‘fan-base’ through social media and communicate in real-time with these customers – not only is your business raising awareness, but it can also help convert followers and fans into email subscribers – fuelling your businesses as it grows.
Doing all of the above, successfully across multiple channels
As marketers, we think about the channels we are using to send campaigns to our customers. As consumers, we’ve come to expect a seamless and personalised experience – whether we’re online or in store or on our mobile. These expectations are changing the way we engage with our customers. It is vital that your campaigns are optimised for all channels they are appearing on, to ensure there is no disconnect in your customer’s journey. A seamless experience can give you the edge over a competitor, especially in a competitive market.
About the author
Neil Hamilton is Director of Personalisation Sales and Anthony Wilkey is Regional Director of Account Management Group at SmartFocus.