The Keys To Marketing To Small Businesses

The Keys To Marketing To Small Businesses

The Key to marketing to SMB
Marketers must make better use of data about their small-business customers

It’s a basic rule of marketing that knowing your customers is key to targeting, reaching and pulling them in. But when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which make up a large chunk of all firms in North America, many marketing executives don’t know as much as they could.

Research from the CMO Council and Penton Media conducted in Q4 2013 found that just half of senior marketing executives in North America felt they had good data on SMBs’ transactions, behaviors and customer support issues. And that was the most common piece of marketing knowledge cited.

Nearly four in 10 respondents said they had only basic customer contact information, only 15% used social media to learn more about SMBs, and just 8% said they had 360-degree views of their customers.

These marketers were still making efforts toward segmentation and personalization, however. Most were using segmenting and targeting to connect with SMBs, and 40% were attempting more personalized and relevant communications. But how well this can be done without more data about SMBs is debatable.

“Many large organizations see the SMB community as one big group, without segmenting within it,” said Liz Miller, vice president of the CMO Council. “Many businesses start as fail, and it’s very difficult to deal with databases with so much churn,” Miller noted. “But marketers could be delivering the same types of data-driven, personalized and relevant messages to SMB decision-makers as to others in large organizations.”

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The Keys To Marketing To Small Businesses

How to Increase ROI with Marketing Automation

Automated campaigns deliver 200% higher conversion rates compared to other emails.


Automated Campaigns
How to achieve similar returns on your automated marketing initiatives:

1. Targeting

Targeting is no longer a simple matter of demographics. Successful automation combines online behaviors with known information to create a complete picture of:

  • A person’s roles and responsibilities.
  • Specific business pains that need resolution.
  • Their position in the buying process.
  • Any previous interactions with your brand.

This information then helps marketers to craft highly effective messages tailored to the user, increasing the chances of a successful conversion.

2. Engagement

Talking to customers is as old as the sales process itself. In the automated marketing arena, however, the focus has shifted away from your company and its products to the customer’s needs and preferences.

Your customer engages with you when they are ready. Your team needs to know how to handle and act on that information.

Your business needs to collect relevant background data so that when your customer reaches out, you have the correct content with which to engage them. Finely targeted information will help convert that engagement into a sale.

According to Gartner, event-triggered marketing can potentially save 80% of your direct mail budget.

3. Conversion

Having engaged your customers with relevant content, by the time they reach out to your sales team they will have almost certainly already made their purchasing decision.

The marketer’s job now shifts from providing information that informs, to content that enables the customer to make a decision.

This means:

  • Identifying and addressing specific customer pain points.
  • Maintaining contact with leads through their chosen communications channel.
  • Using experience and knowledge gained from previous transactions to assist the customer.

4. Analytics

Each engagement and subsequent conversion yields information that can be recorded and analyzed to yield additional insights and value.

By automatically collecting data at each stage of the customer journey, your marketers can see:

  • Which assets used in a campaign were most effective.
  • Segmented figures to calculate performance according to position, geographic location, company turnover or any other metric you care to consider.
  • Whether certain actions were more effective than others in moving customers along the sales pipeline.

These analytics can then be applied to future campaigns to further increase conversions and return on automation investment.

The data can also be funneled into traditional CRM functions to provide both service and sales teams with a full relationship history to improve customer service.

BtoB research shows that only 21% of marketers say their current tools are even capable of measuring the right things. Furthermore, only 26% believe the data they collect is even accurate.

5. Marketing technology

The magic behind marketing automation technology is the actual infrastructure that turns guidelines and triggers into actions. Technology is responsible for engaging with clients initially, then supplies them with the information they need in a format they choose.

Marketing automation technology should:

  • Complement existing systems to recognize maximum value.
  • Help unify sales and marketing departments for collaborative selling.
  • Assist with achieving revenue goals.
  • Provide you with the tools you need to reach your customers in the ways they choose.

Research from the Aberdeen Group found that marketing automation platform users have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing-qualified lead than non-users.

Remember, marketing automation can help you:

  1. Target – be relevant to your customers and leads.
  2. Engage – provide your leads with the right information, at the right time, at their request.
  3. Convert – close the deal with compelling decision-based content and conversations.
  4. Use analytics – learn from previous experiences to create better campaigns in future and to provide your new client with higher levels of service.
  5. Gain maximum benefit from technology – by using innovative tools to automate the marketing cycle in line with revenue goals.

Take your marketing to the next level. Call us now 877.447.0134.