The Big 3 automakers and their suppliers seem to get all the credit and blame for whatever is happening to Michigan’s economy. And there’s a large portion of Michigan marketing dollars that go towards their businesses. But, more and more, it’s the small and medium businesses (SMBs) that are really driving the future of our economy. There is a boom of entrepreneurs, inventors and tech revolutionaries that have been a driving force in our recent recovery. So, we all have a vested interest in the success of our state’s SMBs. To do our part, here are some digital solutions SMBs can use effectively as part of their Michigan marketing efforts.
Digital levels the playing field for SMBs. You can’t afford a Super Bowl ad like GM or Ford, but you can compete just as well when marketing to your target audience in your geographic area online. Digital and social ads are not expensive. They are based on how many people you want to view or click on your ad, based on whatever level of targeting you choose. So, when you set the proper parameters on your ad, you can compete just as well, even with a small budget.
Choose the right audience. The beauty of digital marketing is that you can choose your target very narrowly, which not only keeps cost down, it allows you to create more effective messaging for each specific audience. This can be based on geography, age, income, gender, interests and a whole list of factors. By narrowing down the target parameters, you can increase the likelihood of them buying and only put your marketing in front of the audience you want. For instance, one of our Michigan marketing clients has a product that’s only likely to be used in areas with high commuter drive time traffic. So, we only target people who live in and around Michigan’s largest cities.
Use your data. Whether you have a full database management tool or a company like us handling it for you or not, you can take advantage of the data at your disposal. If you want to highlight a product or service that is bought frequently, you can target your customers who are most likely to come back and buy again soon. If you’re prospecting for new customers, you can input your customer data and target “lookalike audiences” who are potential customers who look a lot like your customers, in terms of demographics, psychographics and interests.
You can do this even if you don’t have sophisticated data. if you have an email list, you can feed it into Facebook, Google or Twitter and use it to target your own customers on those platforms. And once you’ve loaded in that list, each of them have ways to take the information they have on those customers and find others in their database that fit the same perimeters as your customers. This can be a very effective way for a SMB to use digital tools to find new customers.
Don’t forget email marketing. With all the new ways you can use digital and social media in your Michigan marketing plan, it’s easy to forget about email. But, email is one of the most effective ways to use digital tools for marketing. It’s a relatively low cost medium that usually gets good results. When a person opens an email from a company, they are expecting to be marketed to or at least be provided some interesting or helpful information. So, those who open your email are more likely to pay attention to your marketing efforts than those who just see an ad online or in their social media feed.
These are just a few of the ways you can put together a strong SMB marketing plan using digital – whether you’re in Michigan or anywhere, really. If you’d like to know more, drop me a line at email@example.com and I’d be happy to share. Or if you have your own advice to add – just leave us a comment.
Mike McClure, SVP of Digital Communicatons & Michigander