How SME’s can capitalise on digital channels to achieve their growth goals

15.01.16 Educational

By Rob Pollard
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The team at Lightbox have started the new year full of enthusiasm with some exciting internal and client projects in production and on the horizon. Like so many SME's, the close of a calendar year presented an opportunity to evaluate our business, set goals, and plan for the year ahead. We have completely overhauled our processes and approach to marketing and business development. Our systematic approach involves an fluid, unique digital strategy which made us think… Why aren’t SME’s fully capitalising on digital channels to achieve their growth goals? Before we discuss this, it’s important to mention that a powerful digital strategy is one element of the marketing mix but used to it’s full capacity is also the heart of your business, strategically evolving and driving your brand. In this article we discuss:
  • Digital can be more than your website, social media, SEO, PPC
  • How planning and a crystal clear goal can shape your digital approach

SME’s can get more out of their digital presence

Too often SME’s will neglect a website after it's launch, leaving it completely untouched, then after a few years they launch another one. Sound familiar? Website’s should be the heart and soul of your business, an extension of your brand and a centralised hub for your digital campaigns. Your social media channels and emarketing releases should always link back to your website offering further content. This enables audiences to fully experience your brand, services and products. The problem lies at the very start of a website project, during the planning stage. Website specifications are too often written without a clear brand/marketing/growth strategy driving them which leads to an ‘in house' perception of requirements that in the long run have no value and little use. Website specifications should be developed around the value it brings to your customers and your growth strategy. Below we have created a ordered list of actions that SME’s should undertake before drawing up a website specification.
  • Develop a clear brand value proposition and build your digital language around this. See examples and advice here.
  • Profile your audiences. Create a list of the common attributes of your most valued clients. Use that list to then create a profile of your ideal clients to target.
  • Tell your story. An 'about us' page can be so much more than an image and a paragraph of text.
  • As part of your marketing strategy and growth plan, create an outbound digital content strategy. Think about what would be of value to your customers. Is it educational content and advice, tutorials, stories or case studies, industry news, news about your business, new product launches, local news. Think about surveys or customer competitions to build engagement with your brand. All have their merits, SME's just have to choose what works for their business.
  • Stay in touch with your customers through the development of an email marketing strategy but think about the content. As a rule of thumb your email marketing should be 80% useful and interesting information, 20% should be business promotion. Also think about how often are you going to distribute your content.
  • Are you going to utilise social media channels? If so which ones? If you are then you need means to publish the content on your website to link back to. Social media should be about getting involved in external conversions and publishing snippets of content that link back to your website to read the full article. Is Pinterest a prominent channel for you? If it is you can integrate Pinterest functionality allowing visitors to pin images directly from your website.
  • If you are launching Pay Per Click campaigns, you need to be able to easily create new conversion driven pages on your website dedicated to each advert you are placing.
  • Are you planning to utilise video marketing?
All of the above will formulate your website specification. You will have a clear end goal but also a project brief that will enable you to implement your digital strategy effectively. The next step is to make sure that you work with a website development agency that will deliver a Content Management System that allows you to easily create the content and pages that you have planned to implement your growth strategy. You can read our blog ‘Why a Flexible Content Management System (CMS) Is Imperative to Marketing Success' 
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