Published on December 3rd, 2015 | by KadyK0
B2B Marketing Tips For SMEs
The past two decades have turned marketing and sales on its head in the B2B space both for large companies and SMEs. No longer do sales, relationships and marketing strategies rely on physical human interaction and, in fact, many can be cultivated completely online. On the other hand, we still live and breathe in the physical world and so maintaining some form offline marketing and sales strategy is still essential for many SMEs. Quite often, striking the right balance between online and offline marketing and indeed bringing the two together is what can differentiate one company from another.
What is needed is a holistic approach to offline and online marketing.
The content an SME produces both online and offline should be up to date, interesting and relevant. It should also be unique or novel and not simply a story gleaned from a news site or overheard at a trade fair. This requires time and effort and so, even the smallest companies should invest in people able to produce new and stimulating content across a number of platforms and in different formats.
This means using different methods of reaching out to customers and publishing content in both dynamic and static forms. White papers and press released should be combined with infographics, blogs and videos to inform and educate clients rather than as a platform to push for a sale. Publishing a unique story garners attention from potential clients; the sale comes later.
Even today many companies do not appreciate the power and importance of being able to be seen clearly online. Being easy to find on search engines and social media is imperative for any company wishing to grow. No longer are customers willing to sift through pages of results to find the right company. They want high quality content with a clear message and an easy route to finding, selecting and purchasing the necessary product or service.
Companies therefore have to be digitally savvy. Websites must be optimised for search engines, social media must be utilised to push out content onto relevant channels. Companies without this in-house expertise should outsource it as it is simply no longer a ‘nice-to-have’.
Both offline and online marketing is about having a conversation with clients. Whether this is via forums, social media or at trade fairs, one-to-one conversations are incredibly important for a plethora of reasons.
Discussions build loyalty, but also allow an SME to gather feedback on what a client responds well to. They also encourage clients to become champions by sharing content and referrals.
Online, sparing conversation is typically done via social media; sharing posts, responding to comments and engaging in debates on forums, for example. Offline, it is about having a presence at trade fairs, taking part in community projects and forming partnerships with local businesses and organisations.
Brand consistency is now as important as ever; largely due to the fact our digital and offline worlds are closer than ever before. Display boards at a trade fair must carry the same branding, message and designs as those published via a social media platform as the first thing a client now does to find out more about a company is search for them online. The message and brand must be consistent or a potential client does not make the connection, the message is lost and ultimately the sale falls through.
In practise this comes down to a number of relatively simple points. One campaign should be run across both online and offline channels simultaneously, themes and designs should match and a continual presence should be maintained both online and offline.
Attracting a new client is only half a day’s work. Once the first sale or transaction is made, it is then time to focus effort on retaining their business and building up their brand loyalty. The benefits of this are not just that they become repeat customers, but that they go on to champion the brand and refer it to their clients and their suppliers.
Fortunately, there are more tools today for building brand loyalty than ever before. As mentioned, producing new and interesting content is certainly one of those tools. Forging a real relationship by reaching out to clients is as important online as it ever was off.