When working for a small or medium-sized business in the B2B space, it is likely that you are familiar with the importance of marketing for SMEs.
The B2B sector is highly competitive and you know that it is important to market your business if you want to stand out from your competitors. But do you know how to effectively market your business to other SMEs?
Marketing to other SMEs can be challenging – we know this. But it isn’t impossible, and marketing for SMEs is really important. It allows you to increase the visibility of your brand, improve financial performance, and enables you to capture those vital leads.
Once you know how to effectively market to SMEs, you will be able to develop a marketing strategy that consistently delivers results for your business.
So how do you do it? We’ve put all of our favourite tried and tested tips in this blog post, so you can really understand how to better market to SMEs.
Six Ways to Better Market to SMEs, by SMEs
Listen to what SMEs want
Regardless of who your target audience is (in this case, SMEs) you need to listen to what they want and see what performs well with them. This means that you need to conduct research into your audience before you begin marketing to them.
As an SME, you are well poised to understand the pain points of other SMEs – but every business is different, so there will still be unique challenges and issues that your audience face that you will need to understand.
Having a higher level of self-awareness can also make it challenging to market to other SMEs. You may find that you base marketing decisions on your own biases, needs and pain points, rather than considering the situation of your target customer.
One of the best ways to better listen to SMEs and understand your target audience is to conduct market research. This type of research focuses on learning more about the attitudes, needs, motivations and behaviours of your customers.
You can then use the information gained from your market research to develop well-informed user personas. In turn, these user personas can be used to help you craft a strategic B2B marketing plan. Analytical tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar are another valuable way to gain a deeper insight into your existing customers. These tools enable you to understand the people visiting your website and what their on-site behaviour is like. By analysing the data from these tools, you can improve your current marketing efforts to prioritise the actions and tasks that better serve the needs of your audience.
Avoid the one size fits all approach
As tempting as it can be to develop a one-and-done marketing strategy, it is important that your marketing strategy is tailored to each of the different SMEs that you plan to target – whether that’s different industries or SMEs at different stages of their business journey.
With each business comes a unique set of goals, challenges and ways of behaving. This is why tailoring your marketing strategy is so vital: what works for some businesses, won’t work for others.
Some brands might love the direct and personalised approach that can be gained through SEO or social media, especially smaller SMEs who value this more intimate human-to-human interaction. Others – perhaps those on the bigger end of the SME scale – may prefer to engage with brands through email marketing or by attending trade shows.
Make sure you consider the businesses that you are targeting, and what marketing approach would best suit their individual business needs and interests.
Offer advice and support, not sales
When it comes to marketing to SMEs, not everything has to be a sales tool.
B2B products and services can be complex. As such, it is important that you nurture your target audience at every stage of the buyer journey. By doing this, you will be able to produce a marketing strategy that is technical yet subtle enough to influence buying decisions.
In order to do this, you should focus on providing value to SMEs by offering advice and support, not sales. This can be done through your SEO and content marketing strategy.
By incorporating eBooks, infographics, how-to guides and instructional videos, for example, into your SEO and content marketing strategy, you will be able to build trust and position your brand as an expert within your niche.
This type of content will help you develop relationships with SMEs that are in the earlier stages of the customer funnel. In turn, you will be able to nurture these relationships to a point where you can introduce lead generation tactics.
Once you have warmed up these leads, you can focus on marketing tactics that drive sales – such as retargeting ads or offering a free product trial. By this stage, you’ll have a much better chance of conversion than if you were targeting a cold audience.
Get to know your audience and target them the right way
As mentioned, it is so important to know who you are targeting. Understand which SMEs are your target audience, and who within these businesses is going to be the person that you need to engage with. Then, target them in the right way.
By understanding your user personas, and mapping this out within your marketing strategy, you will be better poised to target your ideal customer.
This also means you won’t just be aiming for anyone and everyone: you’ll have specific SMEs to market yourself to.
Once you have worked out who your target audience is and what exactly they are looking for, as well as how they behave online, you’ll be able to ensure that your marketing is tailored to them.
You can then use targeting parameters within Paid Search and Paid Social to make sure that your content is being shown to the right people, and on top of this ensure that your content is relevant to these people.
Similarly, you can use this information to inform the SEO decisions within your business – allowing you to choose the right keywords for your business and focus on the SEO activities that will improve your performance for these targeted terms.
A lot of this complements what you already know you should be doing in terms of your SEO and PPC marketing strategies!
Consistency is key – leads and sales don’t often come from one shot, you have to keep shooting.
It’s a basic marketing principle that it will take seven touchpoints before someone will act upon your call to action. This rule of seven is key for ensuring your brand remains front of mind for your target audience.
As a result, you need to invest in producing consistent, relevant and valuable content for your target audience. Doing so will help you maintain visibility, remind prospects of your existence and nurture your relationship with these SMEs.
Along with consistently producing content, you also need to make sure that you are investing in a variety of marketing activities such as SEO, PPC, paid social and email marketing. This will help your business stay visible across various marketing channels.
By having a great SEO strategy, you can ensure that your business has increased visibility in SERPs. By approaching your SEO strategy with a long-term vision you can also make sure your website remains visible over a long period of time leading to a continual return on investment with minimal effort.
On top of this, SMEs can use Paid Search and Paid Social to show up far and wide across the internet, to the people who they want to be seen by. There are many benefits of PPC for businesses making it a great way to enhance your online performance and visibility.
Be patient and understanding
As with all marketing strategies, there are no overnight results. And when marketing to other SMEs, extra patience is often required – as well as understanding what they are going through.
The B2B purchase sale is often long and complex when compared to B2C purchases. There are normally various decision-makers involved in the purchase decision and for smaller companies, there may be additional challenges such as time and budget constraints. As a result, it can take a while for prospective leads to turn into valued customers when selling and marketing to SMEs.
As such, it pays to be patient. Developing a sustainable long-term marketing strategy will produce greater long-term results for your business than focusing on intense short-term sale tactics. Although, having the two work together will always be the best approach.
To keep leads engaged and to help them along the purchase journey, you should set up marketing and sales funnels where you are keeping in touch with these leads throughout different points of their journey.
For example, your marketing and sales funnel may include an email drip campaign sharing valuable free content, webinars and articles to educate these leads, followed by paid ads and a dedicated sales/account manager to support them with their questions or purchase decisions.
A well-thought-out sales and marketing funnel is a great way to keep people engaged by making sure your marketing and sales work hand-in-hand to harness greater results for your business.
Remember, patience is key here.
Marketing for SMEs by SMEs: In conclusion
When it comes down to it, the bones of your SME marketing strategy aren’t going to be too incredibly different to any other marketing strategy.
However, knowing how to tailor your strategy to meet the needs and behaviours of the SME you are targeting is crucial.
The secret to improving your marketing for SMEs is to understand how to build long-term connections by offering support, showing you are someone to trust and creating a lasting relationship with SMEs.
Here at Common Ground, we can help you transform your marketing efforts to make sure your business gets leads and earns more – whether that’s by improving your SEO or creating specific PPC campaigns that target who you really want to target.