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Digital marketing strategies for SMEs

Marketing Digital para pymesA list of five digital marketing strategies to develop new communication options with customers or prospects.

by Julián Arcila*

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences for SMEs surely led you to wonder about how to be more efficient in a crisis scenario. Luckily for many entrepreneurs, there was an explosion of digital marketing strategies that offered options to further develop companies in the midst of difficulties.

But, contrary to what one might think, not many SMEs took advantage of the amount of digital resources they exploited during the pandemic, and according to the Andean Development Community (CAF), the COVID crisis left many SMEs in knockout. ECLAC, for its part, forecasts that the coronavirus will result in the closure of 2.7 million Latino businesses, most of them SMEs.

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Therefore, I want to tell you how with the gradual implementation of five common digital marketing strategies you can develop new options to be in communication with your customers or prospects, while building a brand.

While our focus from Pymes Go Digital will always be B2B SMEs (those focused on selling services/ products to other companies, usually corporate clients), the strategies I include in the article can be applied in any type of venture.

The digital marketing strategies that I will address in this article are the following:
• Website optimization
• Implementation of a CRM
• Agility in the management of social networks
• Digital advertising integrated with CRM
• Email marketing/marketing automation

Why is strategy important in digital marketing?
If you've spent the last year reading business content on the internet, you might agree with me that the words 'strategy' and 'digital marketing' have been used to the point of abuse as an article has been written about business.

However, strategy is more important than ever for digital marketing. The reason? There are so many possibilities to promote a company that, doing so without a plan defined and approved by those responsible for it, can lead to wasting valuable resources without achieving the desired objectives.

Simply put, defining your digital marketing strategies will allow you to build a logical path to achieving your business goals.

Now, many times the term 'strategy' is confused with plan or program, even tactics. While these concepts are related, they are not exactly synonymous. For example, strategies are the macro groups of actions you will take to achieve your goals. Meanwhile, tactics can be one-off actions within strategies.

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My recommendation is that you do not invest in marketing if there is no logically defined plan, with its strategies clearly established.

5 Efficient Digital Marketing Strategies
What we came to. Below I will tell you about five marketing strategies that technology can contribute to the efficiency of your SME.

- Web Content Management Systems (CMS)
CMS came on the scene quite some time ago. Of these, WordPress is perhaps the most well-known and popular around the world.

Before, to make a website you had to have an expert developer who created and managed the content of your website. However, with the emergence of CMS this task became easier.

Today, these systems offer you the possibility of having a professional website, something fundamental for our times, where much of the credibility of a company is built on the internet.

Why are these CMS efficient? Because thanks to the pre-configured templates, anyone with a basic knowledge can manage your website (even yourself). In addition, new information needs arise every day for companies, and the available add-ons, many of them free, allow you to access this data.

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Unfortunately, many Latino SMEs still have their websites based on complex HTML code systems, thus complicating their administration and updating, and wasting the main business asset of companies today.

- Business relationship management systems (CRM)
Talking about CRM is not something new. In fact, this term began to be used strongly in Latin America at least 15 years ago. You may even think it's another business fad.

Relationship marketing, where CRMs play a fundamental role, is a competitive advantage for modern SMEs, as it is based on offering unique experiences for each customer segment or prospect.

A CRM is a fundamental software to increase your commercial efficiency, because it allows you to gather as much information as possible about your customers or prospects in one place. In addition, these apps can be combined with marketing tools to better communicate with your customers.

Today, SMEs cannot think of competing if their customers' information is scattered, without any order or stored in a database where it is not used in some way. And a CRM offers you agility, order and control over the commercial information of your company.

- Social media management software
One of the main reasons why social media marketing plans fail in SMEs is the lack of knowledge of all the tools available to streamline the process of publishing content on these platforms.

There are currently many tools; some of them with free plans, to manage and monitor what happens to your company's social channels.

These software allow you, among other things, to schedule publications, manage messages, find out if any of your followers have shared your content and even monitor if someone talks about your brand, something essential in the digital society in which we live.

Like everything, to make the tool more efficient you will need help, but still the benefits outweigh the consequences of not efficiently managing your social channels.

- Advertising management from your CRM
Another situation that was reflected after the pandemic was the explosion and development of digital advertising.

Numerous media around the world reviewed how this business tactic developed and grew, leaving companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon as big winners.

I think you have no doubt that your company should already be investing in digital advertising if it seeks, at least, to build and consolidate brand recognition.

You will surely think about how advertising can make your SME more efficient. But the way to achieve such efficiency is when you integrate those digital efforts with your CRM tool (remember that we had told you that one of its great advantages was to be able to integrate everything in one place?).

Every time someone visits your website, or converts a new lead as a product of a digital campaign, your CRM will be able to automatically store that person's data and start tracking all their interaction with your company, making decisions much easier.

Not all CRMs allow you to integrate marketing campaigns with CRM. If you allow it the one you are using, then great. Otherwise, there are tools like Zapier that make that process easier for you.

Marketing Automation
This is another of the great advantages offered by technology applied to marketing.

Right now there are many CRM systems that allow you to integrate marketing automation functions to, among other things, "automate" and streamline communication with your current or potential customers.

Automation can be seen from two angles. On the one hand, you can create sequences of commercial emails, which will stop when a prospect replies to the email.

This is fundamentally interesting when you are launching information campaigns for the sale of some service.

But there's also something known as workflows, which are sets of actions that fire automatically when a prospect has executed an action.

Among the workflows, the most common actions are sending preconfigured emails, assigning leads to specific lists and opening tasks or reminders to notify your sellers that they should contact an interested party.

Therefore, if you are a small or growing company, investing in marketing automation will save you from hiring several people, as many tasks can be executed by the CRM platform.

And so we come to the end of the article. I hope it has helped you generate many ideas for the growth of your company. If you have any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to contact me. I will be aware of you and ready to support you in any digital marketing project in your SME.

* Julián Arcila is the director of Pymes Go Digital and you can write to the email: jarcila@signalisgroup.com

Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Author: Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Jefe Editorial en Latin Press, Inc,.
Comunicador Social y Periodista con experiencia de más de 16 años en medios de comunicación. Apasionado por la tecnología y por esta industria. dchaverra@latinpressinc.com

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