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5 Marketing Tips For Small and Medium Businesses
Executive Director, Dell
No small business ever wants to remain small forever. While a lot many businesses show promise, often the differentiators for the one that goes past others is that they market themselves better. But marketing is a tricky business, especially for small and medium businesses; you have to ensure intelligent, innovative and optimal use of your resources to build that desired level of brand equity. While from their very nature, small businesses suffer the disadvantages of having not enough time, not enough money and not enough resources; embedded in their nature is also the fact they being small, they are more agile, more flexible, they can be more adventurous and experimental. Its time small and medium businesses move beyond cash flow and budgeting and refocus on the fundamentals of marketing to understand how they can bring structure and success in this new world of marketing online.Enclosed below are 5 marketing tips that could be of immense help to small and medium businesses:

Elevate Your Brand

A great company begins with offering great products and services; that is necessary in today's business environment. However, brand equity is how businesses truly differentiate themselves from the competition. SMBs should take these steps to build their brand equity:
  • Ask what is unique about you vis-à-vis your competition?
  • Listen and get to know your customer.
  • Think beyond the purchase - Start building your brand before the customers buy
  • Integrate your customers into your social media activities

Foster an SEO(Search Engine Optimization) Culture

50 percent of people who search online share recommendations with friends and family and often write positively about their purchase online. SMBs need to:
  • Make it easy for 'Spiders' to access and crawl
  • Include keyword rich content
  • Include quality inbound links from trustworthy, high traffic web-sites

Use Your E commerce Platform for More than Just Sales

While making sales from your website, it is important SMBs capitalize on their eCommerce platforms to:
  • Listen and engage with customers to better understand their wants/ needs
  • Develop and optimize robust promotions, online demand generation, merchandising and search programs to drive traffic and conversions

If you don't know the customers, you don't know your business. That's why I encourage my team to interact with customers at every opportunity. For us, if a growing business needs a server, there are hundreds of partners that could sell them one. But we want to focus on providing the best infrastructure possible for each customer. To do that, we need to deeply understand each customer's needs and priorities and this holds even more relevance for small businesses.

Embrace Social media

For small businesses, two of the easiest, and most effective ways to get engaged in social media is to blog and be active on Twitter. Blogs are a great sounding board, engaging key audiences in fast and honest conversations. Leave any business-talk offline and make sure to get across your personality and opinion. Yes, you can attract negative comments but you can respond openly and transparently by answering questions and updating a personal blog. Micro-blogging(i.e. Twitter) allows companies large or small to send out regular chunks of news or insight easily.Even when expanding your small business and hiring new recruits Twitter and Facebook can be great ways of getting the word out there. We have created guides for SMBs on how to do both via Dell's Facebook page.

Measure Your Success

Set measurable objectives for your company's marketing efforts and track your progress. To do these SMBs can:
  • Leverage free programs such as Google analytic
  • Measure web-site and blog traffic
  • Track the number of mentions about your company

These are simple and straight-forward practices using and re-visiting which, will help small businesses and emerging enterprises showcase their brand promise and create an increased level of attractiveness towards their brand. Having said this, these are not the only tools available while building your brand. But it's often in the intricacy of implementing simple practices that companies get it wrong. A careful look at history will show that yesterday's small businesses have grown into today's big businesses. Be it Dell, Google or Facebook they all started in garages or dorm rooms and are today fueling the growth of the economy in their own proportions and changing the way the world works radically. Today's small businesses are doing the same, only, the possibilities and means have increased multifold. Small businesses only need the right partners to guide them towards the directions that are best for them and in an effort to slide into that role, the entire ecosystem including technology companies like Dell are gearing up to help guide these entrepreneurs take their own path.

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