Ride these trends to engage and convert small and midsize businesses.
As marketers, we face disruption that is driving change faster all the time. SMBs are also dealing with disruption. While technology is driving much of this, there are other forces at work, as well.
Though the economy is robust, it continues to be difficult to predict its future. Most business owners that I know were expecting a downturn 1-2 years ago. They are still optimistic going into 2019, but are less sure where things will be a year from now.
Laws and regulations are another source of uncertainty. As gridlock slows lawmaking at the national level and some federal regulations are rolled back, states and local governments are stepping in. Sudden changes and differing approaches in various localities challenge SMBs that do business in multiple markets or across state lines.
Here are a few things that SMBs in my network tell me they’re doing to adapt to these challenges and seize the significant opportunities that, for now, exist:
- Trying new approaches: Many business owners that I know are benefiting from the relatively strong economy. Examples of what some of them are doing include:
- Business development—Lately, more businesses where the owners have historically been the chief salespeople are considering bringing in someone else to drive revenue.
- Employee productivity—Owners are replacing from-the-hip management with more process and procedures, often with the aid of project management tools and other best practices. They also are hiring more remote workers and improving internal communications to enhance employee engagement.
- More and better marketing: Traditionally sales-driven organizations (like many SMBs led by Gen X owners) are realizing that buyer journeys have changed and that they must raise their marketing game by matching their approach to the way their customers are buying today.
- Marketing automation—More companies are exploring marketing automation. What are the reasons for the trend? Several technology providers now offer options under $300 per month. I am also hearing about more consultants who can help implement the technology.
- Content marketing—More SMBs are embracing it, particularly midsize businesses with 100 or more employees.
- Heading for the country: It is getting harder and more expensive to hire in big cities. A good economy means tight labor and rental markets. Plus, some cities, such as New York City, are passing higher minimum wage laws. This is directly affecting a friend of mine, who owns several “I am done opening stores in New York, ” he says. Instead, companies are expanding outside of city jurisdictions or hiring remote workers who live in smaller towns.
How can you use content to capitalize on some of these trends? This can vary widely, depending on your offering. If your product or service can directly help SMBs overcome some of these challenges—for example, if you sell marketing technology—you can do everything from foundational content that educates your audience on dealing with disruption, to customer stories showing how others have adapted and thrived. If you are in banking, where your service is not as directly connected to helping SMBs weather the storm, you can still incorporate what they’re experiencing into your messaging: “Your business is hectic, your banking doesn’t need to be.”
The point is that to reach busy, hard-pressed SMBs, it helps to know what they’re dealing with. Show them that you understand the problems, challenges and opportunities they face and how your product or service can help, and you’ll be more likely get their attention.
Does your internal content team need guidance on understanding SMBs or ensuring that the content they are producing will accelerate the buyer’s journey? RSL Media editor-in-chief services can give you the peace of mind and results you need. To discuss, set up a call by contacting Jessica Benavides.