By Ruoro Kairu
The business landscape is chiefly dominated by large companies who are willing to dig into their big budgets. Since these big companies have the resources and manpower, they are likely to maintain their share of the markets. Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) often struggle to get a grip of the market share and increase their influence and customer base.
Marketing is one of the direct ways of growing an SME, this is done by engaging existing customers and reaching out to potential ones. Here are four cost-effective yet practical ways that you can use to market and grow your company.
1. Leverage on free marketing tools
As an SME, you should not overlook resources that are readily available at your fingertips. Social media, website marketing, email, and search engine optimization tools are free or low cost. These tools can help increase your company’s presence in the market.
Marketing your service or product online can help you generate more awareness and hype around your company. Moreover, it gives you a different perspective to view the business –from the consumer’s point of view. Through tweets, emails, website feedback forms, and Facebook messaging, you can customize your product to fit the customer’s needs.
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You can also use the internet to offer free advice to your customers and followers. The advice should be in your field of expertise –your industry, and be of direct benefit to the consumer. By offering insightful tips and helpful links, you gradually establish a foothold and build on trust in the online market. Consequently, this helps you position your brand as an expert in your industry.
Two heads are better than one!
Consider engaging in partnerships and collaborations with other SMEs in your field, or those that could be mutually beneficial. However, be careful not to share sensitive content with your collaborators. For effective collaboration, you can look companies that offer complementary services and not your direct competition.
When you collaborate with another company, you’re able to tap into each other’s audiences and resources. This will lead you to create a greater presence and influence than you would have on your own.
On the financial side, you could reap cost-cutting benefits if you collaborate if you consider economies of scale.
3. Increase referral chances by treating your customers right
If you’re intending to provide outstanding customer services, you’ll need to offer personalized assistance to each customer. Give a keen ear before professionally responding to the customers’ needs.
When your existing customers are satisfied, they will recommend your products and services to their friends, families, and colleagues. In an independent study, it was found a customer is 18% more likely to stick with a company if they were referred by a friend or someone they know well.
You can also incentivize your referral system by offering benefits to existing customers who bring a new customer. For example, if you run a beauty shop, you can give a discount to your customer once they bring new customers, and offer free service if they bring more than ten customers in two months.
4. Engage your future investors and customers
As an SME, it’s advised to have investors to reach for future growth opportunities. You can reach out to future investors and customers by publishing newsletters detailing your products and services, and also keeping them updated on any changes in your company.
You can also include a few testimonials from satisfied customers. This will appeal to your prospective investors, and increase your company’s authenticity to customers and the general market.
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Ultimately, a limited budget doesn’t always equate to lesser options. While bigger companies have a wider range of resources, emerging technology and innovation is leveling the playing field for SMEs. With these tactics, you’ll be able to effectively market your products to the intended consumers and stakeholders.