Small and Mid-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are key players in the global economy. They account for 90% of all businesses and contribute 7 out of every 10 new jobs. Despite this, they face significant challenges. What are the top benefits of digital marketing for SMEs? Read on to learn about six benefits of digital marketing with this roundup.
What are Small to Mid-sized Enterprises (SMEs)?
SMEs or small to mid-sized enterprises are defined differently in different parts of the world. Even in the United States, different definitions are depending on the industry. The common factor is that these businesses are not large corporations.
The United States Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy defines a small business as less than 500 employees. The European Union (EU) defines SMEs as those with an upper limit of 200 employees. The OECD uses 250 employees as the most common upper limit.
Sometimes turnover limits are used to define SMEs. Alternative definitions exist for small and even micro-enterprises.
What Challenges Do SMEs Face?
SMEs are often dynamic and innovative businesses. They operate in a competitive environment.
They are small players among the established big businesses around them and often share a specific challenge.
SMEs tend not to have sufficient capital to develop their businesses. Their typical funds are from a private investor, the friends or family of an entrepreneur, or the entrepreneur’s own capital.
These financial challenges limit the marketing activity of SMEs. They also engender a small business mentality that limits thinking. Some opportunities, including digital marketing, appear to be out of their reach.
What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?
Given that there are over 4.5 billion internet users, this is a reality no business can ignore. Even SMEs must acknowledge this as an opportunity even if they think it is beyond their reach.
When 82% of smartphone users do their research on their phones before making a purchase, it’s not sustainable to not have a digital presence. Even offline purchases are researched on-line. Half of these purchases are based on reading an online review.
SMEs can’t expect to thrive in a digital world without engaging with this digital opportunity. The benefits are clear, and the risks in not participating are unthinkable.
1. Increase Exposure
Having a presence in the digital marketplace is about exposure. Customers can get to know you and share their positive experiences. When customers buy from you, their reviews become a powerful encouragement to other customers.
Any feedback is useful, with the best comments acting as independent recommendations. Even poor reviews and feedback can be opportunities to learn and improve product quality and service. More traffic to your website drives up search engine optimization and, in turn, more traffic.
2. Improve Customer Service
SMEs recognize the importance of great customer service. As small businesses, they are often very close to their customers, but there are limits to how sustainable this is as their business grows.
Digital marketing enables SMEs to interact with customers as the business scales up. Customer get information about products and services from web content. They can get answers to questions from FAQs, live chat, and contact forms.
These communication tools connect you with your customers as effectively as any major e-commerce corporation. All of this can be done quickly and inexpensively with simple digital marketing tools.
3. Promote Your Brand
Branding is a challenge for SMEs. Promotion can be limited because of inadequate resources. Digital marketing allows SMEs to promote their brand just like a big business does.
Fresh website content and good quality help establish and grow the brand. Additionally, other digital marketing, such as social media and email marketing, needs to be consistent. The effect is a big brand impact.
4. Better Targeting
A major challenge for SMEs is making sure that their marketing spend is effectively targeted. They can’t afford a scattergun approach with much of their marketing budget going to waste as their resources are limited enough.
Digital marketing is one way of targeting your marketing communication, effort, and investment to get to your customers accurately. Social media or podcasts can help you contact your customers, maintain relationships with them, and develop loyalty. This customer engagement is a platform for long-term, sustainable business growth.
5. Make Connections
SMEs operate in a competitive environment, and it can feel isolating and lonely. However, there are opportunities for collaboration, joint initiatives, and even joint business ventures.
How can an entrepreneur connect with other entrepreneurs that are open to collaborations or whose businesses are complimentary? These connections can come about by having a digital presence.
Other businesses can be suppliers, customers, or collaborators. Just as your digital brand might be attractive to potential customers, so your digital brand might make you attractive to another business. That connection might be where your next investor discovers you.
6. Return on Investment
As resources are often limited, investment in marketing could seem out of your reach. An SME has to look very hard at every dollar spent. This attention to the potential risks and returns might be the difference between survival and failure.
Reaching a big audience with a small investment is what digital marketing does very well. Try targeted email for precision marketing investment. Pay-per-click, display, and social media marketing are designed to make every dollar pay.
Do It Now
An SME without the benefits of digital marketing is ignoring a huge opportunity. It may be the key to future growth and sustainability. Start digital marketing now. Let’s talk about your digital marketing needs here.