The state of the art in marketing practices continues to evolve at a breakneck pace in our social, mobile, viral, info-tainment, personalized experience and short attention span driven world. And the small software and services companies that we work with at UNDRSTND Group are finding it challenging to keep up. So, let’s think about this practically and pragmatically, because for these B-2-B technology solution businesses, marketing is just a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
If you don’t have a thought provoking, compelling and actively updated Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Web presence does this make you a bad company? No, of course not, but expectations are high for many that use these tools. So, for the person who relies on Twitter for much of their news and interaction with the world at large, your failure to engage them on that platform could be problematic, if they are good target for your solutions. But if you repeat this line of thinking for every viable channel of communications to your target audience it can become overwhelming and beyond the means of a small software and services company to address.
The story is similar on the content front. Thought leadership blogs or more ambitious white papers are popular today. Other people respond best to short videos but they better be entertaining and professionally produced which can become expensive. And many people would prefer to consume complete self-discovery experiences on your website where they learn most everything they need to know about your offerings at their own pace without having to interact with a human and it better not be boring either (think about our experience as consumers on automobile manufacturer web sites exploring and building our dream car). And of course, the pressure to constantly update material is greater than ever. Oh, and have you implemented a chat function on your website? Not yet? then you better get after it!
Now that we have shocked and depressed the small software and services business owner with a modest marketing budget, let’s get back to what we are trying to achieve with our marketing efforts and that is to drive revenue. We’re not trying to win marketing awards or impress our neighbors with the cool company we are running … we’re trying to make our sales targets. And to that end, let’s get practical and pragmatic with some ideas for how to make marketing work for us today:
- Less can be more. You’re better off investing in five really good marketing assets than spreading yourself too thin trying to have twenty pieces of collateral that end up being not compelling and become dated before you can circle around to all of them on a refresh cycle.
- Have a compelling website. It is the outside world’s window into your business. So, don’t let that be a window into your cluttered garage full of old boxes and lawn equipment. And remember that less can be more, so five really compelling pages is better than twenty pages of dated material.
- Drive them to your website. Once you’ve made sure that your website is good, use many of the other channels to drive people to your website. A modest but compelling presence on social media that motivates people to visit your website is a good step.
- Multi-Channel Your Content. Do one really nice video to make sure to touch the YouTube crowd and reuse it across all your channels.
- Leverage other people’s content. Find well thought of businesses with larger marketing budgets with whom you don’t compete and ride their coat tails through thoughtful links and commentary around their thought leadership.
- Make marketing everybody’s job. Just about everybody in a small company can pitch it and help with your social presence. The whole team should be active on social media building a following and promoting your brand and your message as part of their everyday jobs.
These are just a few high level practical ideas that we hope will spur your thinking and get you started down the road to successful marketing on a small budget in today’s world. And if you still need help on this front, we’re always here at UNDRSTND Group.