Wynn Corliss, Chief Operating Officer,Metigy
Small businesses account for 99% of organisations in the U.S. and nearly half of workers earn extra income through an SMB side hustle. While small businesses are the engine of economic growth, business leaders are often keeping their heads above water on multiple fronts. They can lack the time, budget and digital skills to really take advantage of growth opportunities.
The pandemic has also led to a growth in microbusinesses. In November 2020, more than 3.3 million new business applications were filed, representing a 27% year-on-year increase. With many entrepreneurs making the leap to kickstart their own business, it has never been a better time to invest in smart technology, ensuring they have the right tools to drive business growth.
Here, we delve into the needs of emerging businesses and consider how technology can be used to leverage marketing efforts and drive business growth.
Digitize today to grow tomorrow
The impact of the pandemic has undoubtedly meant sink or swim for small businesses, as many were forced to transition from bricks and mortar to digital first. Regardless of this, 80 per cent of small businesses in the U.S are still not taking full advantage of the technology available to them. However, the SMBs that fully utilize technology will experience nearly four times the revenue growth annually compared to businesses that don’t.
Likewise, organizational benefits including enhanced communications, flexibility and reduced business costs are less likely to be identified by small businesses as drivers of technology adoption. This suggests businesses are missing the full picture of the impact digital innovation can have on success. Digitally advanced small businesses are twice as likely to have employees that collaborate regularly, leading to improved productivity and innovation.
For businesses looking to carve a niche for themselves amid other competing voices, going online is absolutely key. Marketing your services and products online opens up a whole new realm of potential customers outside your own region. Jeff Bezos didn’t grow Amazon by only selling to local consumers. He went global, being one of the first to take advantage of the world wide web in its nascent stage. With digitization, the same opportunity of widespread targeting exists for businesses of all types.
Leverage social media
If your business has an active website, the next step is to leverage social media. On average, Americans interact with their phones 2,617 times each day. More than half of these swipes, clicks, and taps are done on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. These interactions serve as possible customers you could be securing.
The below are sure-fire (and affordable) ways to leverage social media to boost your business:
1. Personalize and localize ads
Your customers are targeted with more advertising than ever before. One tactic to counter this is to provide content that is both personal and locally relevant for the consumer. Epsilon’s recent survey revealed 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a personalized experience compared to a generic campaign.
Leaning into technology is a smart and time-effective solution to localize content. For businesses with a physical store, geofencing via data from smartphones allows potential customers to be targeted with your marketing messages as soon as they enter a given perimeter. For example, a customer could receive grocery store recommendations while passing by Walmart.
Your business can also optimize any ad spend with geographic targeting using Facebook, Google Ads, and Google My Business.
2. Offer positive and optimistic messages
American consumers have demonstrated they appreciate diversity when it comes to marketing messages. It’s not unusual to see positive messages and ad campaigns that promote happiness and joy compared to doom and gloom.
This is no accident because, according to Forbes, 77% of millennials and 76% of teens have interacted with and purchased a product or service after seeing inclusive digital marketing content.
This is an important lesson because it shows your business can connect with customers through uplifting messages that make audiences feel empowered and valued. Think about your customers’ pain points and needs as you build out your product offering. Once you know these, you can build a marketing campaign to uplift them.
3.Lean into video content
It’s hard to deny the power of short-form video like those found on TikTok and Instagram Reels. More than seven in 10 social media users report sending content on these social media powerhouses to friends and family members to make them smile, and 36 per cent use funny, viral pictures to represent how they feel.
On average, consumers only watch one minute of content before engaging or moving onto the next eye-catching image or video. This makes short-form videos the perfect option to leverage shorter attention spans and connect with consumers, because you can use this type of content to build a relationship with your audience.
Businesses can also use memes, short-form videos, and other humorous and relevant content to showcase products or services and secure higher consumer retention rates.
Consumer behaviors are evolving across the world. To keep up, your business can build a strong marketing strategy backed by powerful technology. Digital marketing trends that allow you to focus on and communicate with your target audience through personalized communication are the best way to establish robust, lasting customer relationships. As a result, businesses can ensure they have the right technology and tools in place to amplify growth and help reach their full potential.