In terms of the economic difficulties facing SMEs, there has rarely been a more challenging time – you’d have to think back to the early eighties. One thing they didn’t have then though, and which makes all the difference now, is the internet. If you can harness the power of the internet, with these 5 tips, then you can experience the benefits of a boost in customer numbers.
Tip 1 – Humanise Your Brand.
The last couple of years have witnessed a seismic shift in the way that companies interact with potential customers. It is no longer about the hard sell and it’s barely about the soft sell – it’s almost the invisible sell. With social media now the favoured method for customer interaction, it is all about humanising your brand. Unless you are an aspirational brand such as Ferrari or Nike, then you aren’t part of people’s social lives. This is where becoming a person, rather than a company, becomes all-important. If you aren’t already engaging with potential customers through social media then your competition is stealing a march on you.
Tip 2 – Become Part of Something Bigger
It is utter arrogance to think that you, as an SME, can compete with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You aren’t ever going to pull people away from these social media behemoths, so what’s the alternative? The alternative is to leverage their power by becoming part of them. You need to get a presence on all forms of social media so that people register your business in a subconscious yet potent way, as an affiliate of their social lives. If you’ve got great content on your website then you have to guide people to it using social media.
Tip 3 – Offer Something Unique
It is no good just being a part of the social networks and sitting there in silence. You have to have something to say that is relevant to your industry and the products and/or services that you offer, but it has to be interesting. People don’t want to read about the fact you’ve got something for sale, but they’ll want to read a great story that involves the product that you sell in a wider sense. Something for nothing is also a great route to take. Run exclusive offers via your social media outlets and increase your online presence. Remember, it’s social media, and people aren’t interested in you shamelessly plugging yourself. You have to humanise yourself. These days the selling process is more and more arbitrary, and you can’t expect to travel towards a sale in a straight line.
Tip 4 – Improve the Customer’s Online Experience
When clients do start exploring you it is essential that they have a good online experience. Bearing in mind that a considerable percentage of potential clients are likely to access your site through smart phones, it pays to make sure that all your key information can be parsed through a mobile device. This is not always achievable with a website, and so a good alternative is to set up a Telnames account for your business. This simple and cheap option allows you to create an online profile page for your business that features all your essential information including names, addresses, telephone numbers and direct links to all your social media accounts. Best of all, it’s designed for mobile searches, and is incredibly easy to use on any smart phone.
Tip 5 – A Picture Paints a Million Words
People engage less and less with words these days, and more with images. Make proper use of the free social media tools out there, and you can bag yourself additional customers. The more staid and uninspiring your line of work, the easier it is to make an impact by going viral. Think laterally to harness the true power of image-based social media platforms such as YouTube and Slideshare, and suddenly you’ll be the one that’s stealing a march.
Written by Dan Richards, an experienced blogger with a passion for mobile technology