By Simon Kearney, CEO
Without realising it, most SMEs intuitively get inbound marketing.
If you are a small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME), with a meagre marketing budget Inbound is basically a fundamental extension of the great customer service that has driven your business to where it is today.
According to a recent survey by Hubspot exploring the state of Inbound Marketing in Asia; 85% of Asian companies with 25 employees or less now cite inbound marketing as their number one strategy. It’s playing the long game, but that’s what you’ve been doing all along anyway. Right?
What is inbound marketing, I hear you ask? Well if you’re a small shop or factory, you’re probably doing it face-to-face already without knowing it.
Say, for example, you’re a guy who owns a little print shop. You’re likely to have a fairly close relationship with your customers. (Much more than an MNC selling laptops, for sure.)
Now our print shop guy can probably tell us more about his customer’s pain points, needs, desires and personality over a lunch break than an the CEO of a multinational corporation (MNC) could from ten focus groups.
That intimacy works in the SME’s favour. Because owners and managers work on the front line, and their employees wear many hats, each of which are intrinsically woven into every facet of the business. They know their customer’s hats too, inside out.
They know who they are serving and why. They understand what a difference their product makes to someone’s lives. Not only that, half the time they know what their customers like to eat for lunch, and which football team they support.
That’s inbound marketing, the transfer of that face-to-face customer knowledge and service into the digital world.
All our print guys needs to do is transfer that knowledge and customer intimacy online and capture the digital traffic as well as the type that walks on two legs.
SMEs can be a traditional bunch. The CEO has spent his or her life thinking the best way to get noticed is an ad in the local paper, a spot on radio, maybe TV, or a billboard. But all that change takes is the realisation that the intimacy small companies have with their customers is a hidden asset.
This is where the lunch-break analogy works best. The transition can happen quickly.
While your typical MNC, that rounds up its annual sales into the millions, would take six months to research and analyse the personas of their customers. Our print shop guy can paint a detailed picture of each of this customer types off the top of his head.
That knowledge is the secret sauce of inbound and SMEs have it ready to go, bubbling away in a content cauldron, waiting to be served with a steak, a content steak (if you’ll allow me to run away with an analogy, as I’m hungry).