Digital marketing strategies for SMEs to prosper in the Covid-19 era

Last updated: 04-04-2021

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Digital marketing strategies for SMEs to prosper in the Covid-19 era

Kunal Sawhney: With people spending more time online than ever before, digital marketing channels are no more an option but a necessity for small businesses.

OPINION: With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in unprecedented ways, digital marketing emerged as a knight in shining armour for businesses.

The inability of businesses to create a real-time ambience for their goods and services during virus shutdowns prompted them to turn to effective digital marketing techniques to stay afloat.

New Zealand has largely contained the virus spread relative to other developed countries on the back of its “go-hard, go-early” strategy. However, the global picture demonstrates that the pandemic is far from over even despite the vaccine rollouts.

Therefore, the reliance on the digital landscape is here to stay.

READ MORE: * Five ways for SMEs to better manage finances in a post-Covid world * How can SMEs thrive in post-Covid world? * Five ways for SMEs to contend successfully with large corporations

Small businesses looking forward to increasing their reach and revenue can embrace the following digital marketing strategies to thrive during and after the coronavirus crisis.

SMEs can utilise social media marketing strategies to engage with existing customers, attract new clients and build brand awareness. Social media makes it relatively easier for small businesses to spread the word about their products and services.

However, it is imperative for businesses to identify platforms and websites where their customers prefer to hang out before choosing their social media network. This can be done by surveying the existing customers or analysing the audience demographics of different social media networks and then pairing them with their prospects.

Besides mapping social networks with the target audience, it is equally important for businesses to frequently connect with the customers via social media posts.

Search Engine Marketing or SEM is one of the most effective digital marketing tools to improve the visibility of SMEs’ websites in search engine result pages. It is a form of paid advertising used by businesses to enable their website to appear on the first page of the search engines.

SEM includes offers like paid search, display advertising, pay-per-click advertising and remarketing advertisements. This affordable and fast mode of digital marketing allows businesses to connect directly with their potential clients and target audience, helping them achieve upbeat results without a wait.

Businesses can succeed in SEM by getting the hang of keyword research and bidding. As all forms of paid SEM depend on keyword research, businesses can bid on certain catchwords for their advertisements that can appear when users hunt for those words.

Webinars have evolved as a powerful marketing tool for drawing new customers and generating leads during the pandemic. SMEs could consider hosting webinars for their target audience to keep customers engaged with their products via real-time digital interactions.

Webinars can be used to provide information on new products, discuss hot market trends or educate attendees about the business and its product offerings. Furthermore, this marketing tool helps businesses connect with a large audience spread geographically, bolstering their ability to create new leads.

To leverage the benefits of this great online marketing tool, businesses need to have a clear-cut strategy while conducting a webinar. Instead of just showing off the company’s products, SMEs can produce interesting and engaging content for the audience to keep them emotionally invested in their business.

It usually gets difficult for small businesses to invest heavily in marketing during the nascent stage. This is where email marketing comes to the rescue, which helps to increase the visibility of their business at a minimal cost.

Small businesses with a limited marketing budget can embrace the email marketing strategy to drive customer acquisition and retention. It allows a business to reach out to its target audience to promote relevant products and services while sharing personalised messages catered to their needs.

Businesses can win the audience’s interest via emails by greeting them with their first names, sending automated wishes on their special occasions, crafting the perfect subject lines, and creating an attractive email template. A relevant and valuable email content is more likely to draw a positive response from a reader.

SMEs can bring more value to their brand by starting a blog section that offers useful and pertinent information to their target audience.

Blogging not only attracts more potential customers but also delivers a tremendous boost to search engine optimisation. The blog posts created by a business provides fresh content to search engines to index, thereby building brand awareness of the enterprise. Moreover, blogging is an ideal way to establish clout and develop trust in the industry through knowledge-based information.

While writing valuable content is instrumental in creating a successful blog, it is no less important to differentiate from the crowd by writing unique posts to make your blogs instantly recognisable.

With people spending more time online than ever before, digital marketing channels are no more an option but a necessity for small businesses to survive in the coronavirus era. Besides, choosing the right set of online marketing strategies in line with their business model and external environment seems crucial for businesses to wade through Covid-like future crises.

Kunal Sawhney is founder & CEO at Kalkine, an equities research company.

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