SMEs have the potential to boost a country’s economic power significantly. Through vast employment opportunities and stable growth, countries like Germany have seen this sector sustain their economic growth throughout the global recession, and the world is waking up to this winning formula, as can be seen with the trade and internal business development initiatives proposed from all sides at the BRICS conference that took place in Durban recently.
There are certain obstacles facing businesses today and challenges faced by many SMEs materialise at two key points in the business cycle. The first is at start-up, that crucial time when rapport with clients and partners is established and the groundwork for future expansion is laid.
The second key point is when the business starts looking to expand; a time when marketing information and research is crucial in guiding the flow of expenditure and focus of new projects. These challenges can however, be managed and converted into genuine success with the help of the right email service provider (ESP), as ESPs enable integrated B2C and B2B marketing.
So, what are the three key elements SMEs need for effective start-up and growth?
It goes without saying that any business, whether small or corporate, relies heavily on networking with both consumers and industry partners-and leaders. Being able to connect and engage with those outside your business allows you to gain valuable insights and fresh perspectives that are often not available when you’re not connected on a real-time basis with those outside your immediate working environment.
Being able to effectively communicate with those outside of your business might seem like a no-brainer, but a surprising amount of start-ups and businesses spend far too little time considering the effect of their communications.
Being able to project the image of your business through well-written and precisely-executed communications campaigns gives you an edge when compared to others.
This exercise is especially important in the time before you decide to take your operations to the next level as it will create a greater awareness of what you have to offer and what you intend on building on.
Communications also form an integral part of an SME’s ethical image, projected through its interactions with those outside the company.
Statistics / Research
Although important throughout the life-cycle of a business, being able to grow your start-up from small to medium and so forth relies heavily on targeted operations which, in turn, rely on having the right information at the right time.
The marketing cycle, especially in the digital arena, can change very quickly and the whims of consumers must be measured on a regular basis. If you’re able to do this effectively then not only will you be able send out targeted marketing material, but you will also be able to monitor the success of your campaigns afterwards.
The role of ESPs
Looking at the key factors in an SME’s development, what can the right ESP do to effectively manage these challenges?
Building a mailing list
A good ESP will enable you to collect contact details of both potential clients and partners in business through integrated marketing material that draws opt-in subscriptions and real-time responses to material sent out.
As you continue to collect contacts, your ESP, which almost becomes your digital partner, continues to diversify and build your contacts, constantly keeping your mailing list active and up to date. Mailing list construction is integral in digital networking and ensures that you‘re never out of touch with your support base.
Digital marketing enables businesses to reach a vast audience, but there is a danger in this in that you could easily be regarded as spamming your audience or even worse, sending out standardised, impersonal communications.
Think about all those newsletters and text messages you receive that make you look and feel like just another number on a list.
The help of an ESP, however, can ensure that your communications are both targeted to appeal to the right audience while containing all the information necessary for them to convert to using your product or service.
Statistics for growth
Once you’ve established a valuable working relationship with your consumers and partners you’re left with the daunting, daily task of managing these relationships. Staying up to speed on the latest external developments is challenging enough, but keeping tabs on the wants and needs of those you’ve already built a relationship with can be even more high maintenance.
Garnering statistics, metrics and pulling company-wide information and collecting it in one place makes it easy for businesses to judge the effectiveness of their marketing operations. The services of the right digital partner, however, will help manage commercial relationships, leaving businesses free to build new relationships as time goes by and expand in the process.
SMEs are perfectly positioned for taking advantage of the digital marketing boom. Now, more than ever, there are opportunities for expansion unlike before; but although the environment for new and growing businesses has become very conducive to expansion, the right partner in digital marketing is needed to ensure sustainable growth through external engagement.