The SMB’s Unofficial Guide to Un-Invisibility
For small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), getting seen in a crowded digital landscape can be quite the challenge. As an SMB ourselves, we know this only too well. We also know that there are practical steps you can take to get on the path to un-invisibility. In our last blog post, we explored the advantages of niche marketing for SMBs seeking to break through the competitive clutter to connect with their ideal target audience. Now let’s take a look at some other strategies SMBs can employ to increase visibility.
As a qualitative research team that specializes in B2B, technology, healthcare, and financial industries, we have the privilege and joy of engaging with SMBs on a daily basis. In that work, we’ve seen just how hard-working, passionate, and scrappy smaller companies can be. We also know that despite those admirable qualities, SMBs face a number of common barriers that keep them out of view of their prospective audiences. The good news is, there are strategies to help you scale these barriers and be seen on the other side.
Barrier: Money (Or Lack Thereof)
As far as barriers goes, this is a big one for small to midsize enterprises. SMBs tend to have limited resources, including money, to throw at marketing campaigns. The smaller your marketing budget, the more strategic and inventive you need to be with how you spend it.
Strategy: Low Cost, High Impact
Look for the most cost-effective way to reach the most high-yield audience. One affordable marketing tool at your disposal are those satisfied clients who sing your praises and refer you to their colleagues. All you have to do is ask them. Add digital marketing and relevant, value-added content creation to your strategy, and you’ll see a greater return on your efforts and investment than wide-reaching expensive campaigns (we’re looking at you, Super Bowl ad).
Barrier: Data, Data, Everywhere
In this digital age, information overload overwhelms us all — including your audience. Getting your prospects to open your email (let alone read it) or click on your social media post can feel like an impossible task — especially when inboxes and feeds are flooded with content clamoring for attention.
Solution: Notch Your Niche
Identify, find, and connect with your niche audience — those targeted prospects who align most perfectly with your products or services — on the platforms they frequent. This laser-focused approach allows you to conserve your limited resources and direct them to efforts that will have the greatest impact. By reaching out to an audience who shares your passion and truly values what you have to offer, you’ll make genuine connections built on trust. You’ll also see your word-of-mouth grow. Read more about the power of niche marketing here.
Barrier: Who Are You?
The credibility struggle for SMBs is real. You’re out there in a crowded marketplace competing with bigger brands that have spent years (decades, even) building awareness, recognition, and loyalty. Without that name recognition, prospects are more likely to question not only who you are, but why they should trust you.
Solution: Get on the Brand Wagon
Brands aren’t just for Nike anymore. SMBs deserve — and benefit greatly — from having a strong, memorable, professionally crafted, and consistently supported brand. Along with attracting eyeballs, a compelling, uniquely-yours brand will go a long way to building visibility, trust, and loyalty.
Barrier: The Digital Marketing Maze
Cookies and algorithms and quality scores — oh my! For SMBs going it alone, navigating the digital marketing landscape is no easy matter. Digital media may not be rocket science, but it can certainly feel like it. As a result, many SMBs shy away from digital or give up on it after seeing dismal results (and a lot of wasted money and effort).
Solution: Content Is King
One cost-effective place to start your digital marketing strategy is with content generation. Bolster your website with relevant, meaningful content such as blog posts, articles, and case studies that position you as an industry authority while also boosting your search engine rankings. This content can also be repurposed for email and social media marketing, giving you something of value to email and post about. A small investment in paid social media can help increase visibility of this content as well and expand your audience.
Barrier: The Unbudging Customer Base
Small businesses typically have a small customer base — hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? Growing that base, along with customer loyalty, is hard. But it’s also essential for your organic growth. After all, the more happy customers you have, the more word will get out, and the more new prospects will find you.
Solution: Leverage Your Champions
Chances are, among your small customer base you’ll find passionate champions who are more than willing to advocate for your company. Encourage your satisfied customers to share testimonials, write reviews, and create user-generated content about their positive experience using your products or services. Cultivate your own early adopters and influencers, and let them get the word out. And of course, continue providing the exceptional level of personalized service that your customers rave about.
Invisibility Is Highly Overrated
When it comes to superpowers, invisibility doesn’t do SMBs much good. Becoming un-invisible — now that takes talent, skill, and no small amount of patience. Speaking from first-hand experience, we know it’s possible for smaller enterprises to make a big impression on their audience without spending a fortune — using a strategy that ombines word-of-mouth, niche marketing, optimized content development, and customer advocacy.
And though it may not seem like it, as a SMB you do have advantages over your larger, big-budgeted, and overly confident competitors (just ask Goliath). Your nimble size allows you to connect with your target audience on a more personalized level with greater authenticity. All you need is the right slingshot, and watch out giants.
As you can tell, small to midsized businesses are a particular passion of ours. We’d love to discuss SMB strategies for becoming un-invisible in more detail, so feel free to reach out anytime.