SME Success Blueprint

5 min read |

If you’re reading this and your marketing could be smarter, then this step-by-step guide has been written specifically with you in mind. Let’s get straight to it.

1: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

I can’t stress how IMPORTANT (well maybe I can…) it is to really know your customer is. Whether it’s an existing audience you are very familiar with or new audience you’ve maybe had to pivot towards quickly in order to ensure you survive COVID. You have the potential to come out of the pandemic stronger than you did before, simply by getting to know them even better.

How? I’m talking about getting into their minds, understanding their behaviours and key drivers. I’m talking about going beyond demographics and determining psychographics and personality to step-change personalisation. It makes sense right, once you know the type of persona they are and what motivates them, you can interact with them in a way that they don’t just prefer, but maximises engagement. If you don’t know who your ‘ideal’ customer is (the ones you love working with and happy to pay for your product/service forsaking all others), how can you expect to build the best relationship with them and optimise your marketing to ensure long-term value?  

2: CREATE YOUR BRAND

A company without a brand is like a video game that uses random programmed occurrence. Your audience is never quite certain what they are going to get, because the way in which you present yourself is inconsistent. This ultimately leads to distrust and ultimately disengagement. Not only don’t you get the sale, but you also don’t win loyalty that leads to lasting revenue and peer to peer recommendation.

The real power of brand is that it not only guides everything you do (think of it as your unique DNA code), but has the power to shape the perception of how your ideal audience sees your company and what it provides, and what better way to perceive you than as a truly trusted best friend. This is great news and cause to celebrate! By really understanding who your ideal client is, you can create a brand that really connects with them, so you can attract more, sell more and charge more of a premium.

3: DISCOVER YOUR ADVANTAGE

Whether you want to stand out from the crowd or increase your market share. Understanding where you sit, relatively speaking, and how you can differentiate (in a way that delights your ideal clients) ensures that you will continue to enjoy pole position, especially when the going gets tough and you are operating in a highly competitive space.

Finding that clear ‘white space’ wherein competitive advantage lies isn’t easy, granted, it takes a thorough analysis, evidence based research, expertise and often a bit of lateral thinking…but get it right and the rewards are high, providing you with a sweet spot that keeps on delivering – think greater attraction, higher engagement, increased conversion and  more loyalty.

4: WRITE COMPELLING CONTENT

You may have the best offering out there, but if people aren’t aware of your company and the benefits you provide, you will only ever achieve organic growth. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for low or even no cost organic growth, after all, peer to peer recommendation and word of mouth is the backbone for SME growth, but it’s generally typified by being slow and sporadic, often leading to a ‘hang on to your hats’ feast or famine rollercoaster of a ride. Moreover, with so much content out there at everyone’s fingers tips, how do you ensure your latest offering to the content god gets devoured and not your competitors? How can you ever hope to cut-through in such a saturated space.

Well, you may have seen it coming…but along with ensuring you have a content strategy that appeals to your clients at every stage of the buying journey, being fully equipped with an in-depth understanding of who your ideal clients are and want, a brand that truly resonates and a clear competitive advantage, is a real game changer in the battle to stand out and stay top of mind.

5: DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY

If you haven’t got a solid marketing strategy then don’t be at all surprised when you realise you’ve wasted a lot of time, energy and precious budget throwing good money after bad. It may sound blatantly obvious, for you wouldn’t develop software without a plan and expect to get a satisfactory result the first time around…the same goes for marketing. Putting a stop to the scattergun ‘spray and pray’ approach and £1,000s wasted on marketing that doesn’t deliver, a roadmap incorporating marketing goals and SMART objectives aligned to your overall business objectives is your step-by-step guide to the most profitable growth.

Getting your message to the right people, in the right place at the right time, with robust benchmarks and KPIs not only provides you with a clear plan that delivers the highest ROI for any tactical activity you embark on, but ensures your whole team is working in unison towards achieving your vision of success.

6: INNOVATE TO WIN

Try to avoid innovating for innovation’s sake. I know, I get it, I’ve been at the cutting edge and developed award-winning products and services in the past. The buzz you get from being first to market and seeing your idea come to life and raved about by your clients (and peers), is one of the best feelings ever. But, and there’s a big but, you need to keep one thing central in mind at all times. Does it satisfy a real client need. Will it win more of them as a result and importantly help you retain your existing customers to deliver more profitability?

Often when we think of something innovative, we think of the big AHA(!) moments that create massive growth at eyewatering speeds, but that’s not the only route to success. The whole can often be greater than the sum of its parts, and for this reason a constant flow of smaller, incremental innovations can also create great change and importantly steady, sustainable growth. Think, new versions, agile actions, fast pivots, service improvements, new approaches – the list goes on. The fact is whether you are a small company with a tight budget, but nimble on your feet, or a huge global with lots of money and resource at your fingertips, innovation is achievable for all.

Truly great innovation, I would argue, is only achieved by those who set aside (or harness) their egos and firmly put their ideal clients at the heart of their concepts. Passionate about helping SMEs realise full potential, throughout BREXIT and COVID Adaray is proud to have helped its clients not just survive, but thrive. Want to feel certain about your future?

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Author: Jane Guest

Jane Guest is founding director of Adaray Marketing. Helping build and shape successful brands of all sizes for over 25 years, Jane brings SMART thinking from big business to SMEs, helping them achieve new heights with a progressive PsychTech approach to marketing. Dedicated to being the catalyst for positive change she’s on a mission to unleash full potential within the community, business and for individuals.

You can find and connect with Jane on LinkedIn.