10 marketing tips for SMEs

Marketing Tips

10 marketing tips for SMEs

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As a small business owner there’s never a time when giving your marketing strategies a revamp isn’t a good idea - after all, marketing is what attracts customers and customers are what make or break a business.

Whether you’re a brand new start-up or a veteran business owner, there’s always room for improvement and new tactics and tools available to boost your marketing, so here we’ll share 10 marketing tips for SMEs to set you on the right track.

1. Know your audience

Knowing all about who you’re trying to sell to, aka your audience, is the key to successful marketing as it allows you to target their specific wants and needs.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What are their demographics? E.g. average age, gender, location, etc.
  • Where do they discover new brands?
  • What needs do they have?
  • How can I help them?

If you’re wondering how to find the answers to some of these questions, here’s a couple of places to get started:

  • Look at your existing customer base, are there any trends?
  • Check out your competition’s typical consumer
  • Make use of analytics tools available on social media platforms - as well as Google Analytics, which will provide you with heaps of info on your audience.

2. Provide value

Once you’ve honed in on your target audience it’s time to make sure you’re targeting your marketing to their wants, needs, and desires.

When you think about marketing you might automatically think of self-promotion and sales-pitch type strategies, but today’s consumers don’t want to be treated like a potential sale, they seek out the personal touch (this is particularly true of younger consumers).

It’s important you demonstrate that you care about them on a personal level, and you can do this by not only marketing your goods and services but also providing them with valuable, insightful, and entertaining content too. 

The idea is to market your business as knowledgeable and credible, an authority in your industry, and that leads us nicely onto top tip number three. 

3. Create a blog

Blogs are a super useful addition to any business’ marketing toolkit, in fact, recent research suggests as many as 80% of businesses now incorporate a blog as part of their marketing efforts and attract more customers as a result - 82% believe their blog is a crucial element in their success.

They’re so powerful for marketing because they achieve a number of things:

  • They boost SEO - so more consumers find your business via search engines.
  • They build consumer trust - by demonstrating your expertise within your industry.
  • They up engagement - and engaged consumers buy more, promote more, and are more loyal to your business.
  • They widen your reach - consumers who find your content useful are likely to share it with their peers.

As if all that wasn’t compelling enough, blogs are also pretty cheap compared to other marketing strategies, in fact, if you write your own content and publish it to your existing website blogging is essentially free!

4. Optimise emails

Emails outperform all other marketing tactics time and time again, and there are no signs of their success slowing down any time soon.

Research shows 86% of consumers prefer email when it comes to communicating with businesses, and they’re so successful because they land directly in people’s personal mailboxes which thanks to smartphones are more often than not in the palm of their hand.

All that being said, you need to be sending emails that consumers want to open, so here are some tactics to improve yours:

  • Use a catchy subject line to tempt readers in
  • Consider using emojis - some studies show emojis improve email open rates
  • Optimise your email’s content for mobile viewing
  • Don’t bombard readers with too much content - make your email digestible and easy on the eye
  • Add images
  • Include a clear call to action.

5. Show and tell

Visual content has grown in popularity substantially in recent years, and that trend isn’t slowing down any time soon either - video content was predicted to be one of the major digital marketing trends of 2020.

The human brain processes visual images 60 times fast than text, so it makes perfect sense if you want to hammer your message home pronto to convert it into a picture, GIF, meme, or video.

So, to up your marketing game consider stepping into the limelight yourself and creating videos for your business - 72% of consumers prefer learning about a business via video.

Top tip: you can find out all about how to use videos for your business here.

6. Improve your social content

The popularity of social media in 2020 is pretty mindblowing when you consider how things have evolved over the last decade (anyone remember MySpace Tom?), and in the UK alone there are over 45 million active social media users today.

To market effectively on the platforms you need to create top-notch content that will stop consumers in their tracks mid-scroll to pay attention, and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

So, start off by creating a social media strategy, this involves:

  • Goal setting
  • Conducting an audit
  • Getting to know your audience on social
  • Competitor analysis
  • Choosing your platforms, and more.

You also need to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms across social media platforms - failure to do so could mean you’re creating the best marketing content in the world but no one would see it. 

If you want a short sharp boost in your marketing effectiveness (and you purse-strings allow it), you’ve always got the option to pay for ads on the big social platforms too. But remember, it’s imperative you know exactly who your target audience is before you part with your hard-earned cash or your ads won’t reach them and convert into sales. 

The key to nailing your social content is regular analysis, and frankly a bit of snooping with the aim of working out what works and what doesn’t.

7. Reviews

In a recent study, a whopping 92% of consumers admitted they’d trust the recommendations of others, even if they’re strangers, more than branded content. 

The takeaway? Customer reviews and testimonials can be a goldmine for businesses, so you need to get your hands on some as part of your marketing efforts.

To cash in on this, why nor take reviews from the likes of Trustpilot and TripAdvisor and stick them on your website? More and more consumers actively seek out these reviews before making a buying decision.

Google my Business also allows customers to leave reviews, and these show up alongside your business in search engine results, and on that note…

8. Local SEO

80% of consumers use search engines when looking for local information, so if you don’t localise your SMEs SEO you could be missing out on four out of five potential consumers - and no business owner wants that.

Nailing your local SEO will work wonders for your marketing, as it’ll achieve:

  • More website traffic
  • More leads, and
  • More conversions.

What’s not to love? To get cracking the first thing you need to do is claim your Google my Business listing (it’s free!), but there are plenty of other tactics to deploy to boost your local SEO too - you can find more details and a comprehensive guide on what to do here

9. Search engine optimisation

No, we’re not making the same point twice, local SEO is a branch of SEO in general, and you need to optimise both as part of your marketing efforts.

While local SEO is all about optimising your digital presence for local searches, SEO generally concentrates on optimising the content on your website so you’re found in more search engine results, and given that Google alone is used to make 63,000 searches per second worldwide, it’s imperative you do what you can to get your business found.

Find out more about SEO and how you can improve yours here.

10. Don’t overlook existing customers

When you think about marketing you probably think about attracting new customers to your business, but your existing customers are one of your biggest assets.

It costs businesses on average 5x more to acquire new customers than it does to elicit further sales from existing ones, and given every penny counts, it’s important you don’t give up marketing once you’ve made a sale.

Identify potential areas for upselling, cross-selling, and repeat purchases - remember, an existing customer already knows how great your business, product or service is, so you’ve already given them one reason to deal with you again.

Not only can existing customers bring in more revenue by buying from you again, but they’re also likely to market your business for you by telling their friends and family how great you are if you provide a top-notch customer experience. 

Top tip: check out our guides to getting customers to spend more with you online and instore.

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce


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