The data is pretty clear – increasingly many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are appreciating the importance of commanding the breadth of digital marketing solutions. The growing adoption is evident from the results of a 2014 survey by BIA/Kelsey’s via their Local Commerce Monitor (LCM), which outlined that SMBs are allocating higher ad budgets towards their digital marketing efforts. BIA/Kelsey also anticipates the budget allocation towards digital media to continue to grow going forward.
In the wake of this shift, it’s important to not overlook the vast opportunities that remain to be unearthed by the digital media companies. The current trends mark a high time for the digital media companies to accelerate their engagement with the SMBs, giving them an opportunity to diversify their big businesses-centric portfolio. Digital agencies, large and small, should approach small business owners recognizing that they continue to struggle – as they have for year – to find the best digital marketing platforms from a wide variety of options such as SEO, SMM, SEM, email, video, etc. These challenges highlight the need for media companies to offer SMBs tangible solutions that will give them respite from their anxiety-laden confusion.
So, here are few ideas to keep in mind when selling to the SMB.
Know Your Prospect Thoroughly
Any sales pitch will be ineffective if it is directionless and lacks expertise. Similarly, there is no one-size-fits-all SEO selling strategy. Instead, the sales team should be designed such that each of the sales representatives holds some expertise in a couple of unique vertical areas. By focusing on a couple of verticals, it will empower a company to efficiently cater to the unique needs of each SMB. By equipping them with a better understanding of the prospect’s business and its past experiences with SEO services, an agency will be in a position to begin building trust and confidence.
De-jargon The Terms
From my experiences, most small business owners are alien to jargon-laden sales pitches. For them, translating the impact of an SEO strategy in terms of ROI will make the most sense. Since SMBs are value-conscious, you should be ready to present your client with real numbers that justify their investments. Since an SEO program tends to yield results often over a long period of time, it is important for a sales rep to keep SMBs’ expectations aligned with that timeframe. The emphasis should be on the lifetime value the SEO program is yielding, not some one time transactional ROI.
There’s no doubt that we’ve hit a new threshold in terms of mobile adoption. Through the first half of 2015, it is clear that the shift from desktop to mobile is unrelenting. As such, digital marketing companies will have to align their SEO practices for smaller screens. Similarly, leading digital marketing agencies need to be abreast of the Google search algorithms that literally change every day. They should not only be prepared to deliver mobile-friendly SEO strategies, but almost demand that the SMBs adopt a mobile first approach.
There remains boundless opportunities for digital marketing companies. I hear one theme nearly every day – I cannot find enough prospects who can take advantage of our offerings. My answer is simple, either hire the manpower to spend hours generating digital presence scores or deploy the BuzzBoard engagement platform. As someone wrote recently to the BuzzBoard team, “[I] just want to reach out and tell you how appreciative and thankful I am for what you and the Buzzboard team are doing. For two years I was manually creating web presence profiles for prospects – it took FOREVER. Now I am able to help so many more people thanks to your seamless system. Just like you advertise, you give me more to talk about in a way that is understandable in an industry where the explanation/education gap is wide (often a deal killer). Wow you all are RIGHT ON for what’s needed today!”