Even some of the largest corporations began as startups. To get where they are today, big companies once relied on innovative products and SMB marketing. Even Google, now one of the most influential companies in the world, used creative marketing to garner interest. When Gmail was first released in 2004, it was invite-only. People who had access to the program were able to invite their friends to try it out. Google used this beta to debug issues and work on improvements to its platform. But it also created a demand for its product—a marketer’s dream come true. The invite-only status generated interest and a feeling of exclusivity for the people who were lucky enough to sign up (not unlike early Facebook). Today, Gmail is one of the world’s most popular email platforms with more than a billion monthly active users. This article will explain how using creative SMB marketing campaigns can help your small business earn more revenue. We’ll also show you examples from real brands you can use to knock your marketing out of the park.
Why SMB marketing strategies are essential for small businesses
Small businesses and enterprise corporations have the same goal for their marketing programs: converting leads and increasing revenue. However, the tactics used to reach that goal change depending on the company. Larger corporations may seek to reinvent themselves for an existing customer base, while small businesses often look to increase brand awareness. When marketers from large businesses (5,000+ employees) were polled, 21% cited differentiating themselves from the competition as their top digital marketing goal in 2018. Only 7% of small companies (100-500 employees) shared that goal. Instead, they were more focused on improving brand awareness. Brand awareness is critical for small and medium-sized businesses to grow their customer pool. But small businesses with SMB marketing strategies don’t just create brand awareness. They also stand out to customers, and often on a modest budget. From videos to social media and even traditional email marketing, these 10 brands are thinking outside of the box and crushing it with their SMB marketing campaigns.
1. Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club’s “Our Blades Are F*ing Great” video is one of the most well-known examples of an SMB marketing success. Source: YouTube The humor used by the company is one of the main reasons this video is so successful. You can see Dollar Shave Club understands the audience and their problems. Because of this, they created content that both educates and entertains. After the video launched in 2012, more than 12,000 people signed up for the service in just two days. This is a perfect example of how a creative campaign can work for you.
Newsjacking is another way to gain exposure and brand awareness. Use a big event people are discussing, and then (carefully) insert yourself into the conversation. Oreo and Kit Kat both famously scored big by newsjacking social posts, but small businesses can use this tactic, too. To voice displeasure about the San Diego Chargers relocating to Los Angeles, local moving company HireAHelper created a website refusing to help team move. Hire a Helper Image Source: We Won’t Move Your Chargers The “We Won’t Move You, Chargers” website was shared nearly 20,000 times, and the company’s marketing head was interviewed by national news media. HireAHelper proves you don’t have to be a big company to news-jack successfully.
3. Lancaster Insurance
When it comes to your marketing campaign, “gimmicky” isn’t exactly how you want to be remembered. Still, a gimmick can work, especially when done well. The UK’s Lancaster Insurance wanted to connect with MG car owners. So, the insurance company got them all together and set a new world record for the Largest Parade of MGs. Lancaster Insurance Image Source: Lancaster Insurance This simple, yet effective, strategy involved participation from the community. Not everyone who joined the parade was a customer, but they’ll certainly remember the Lancaster name. Talk about great brand awareness.
4. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Guerilla marketing can be another effective way to raise brand awareness and stand out from the crowd. Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Mississippi isn’t the most well-known casino in the country, but its marketing efforts are up there with Vegas’ best. One of its more popular campaigns is the baggage belt at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Beau Rivage Resort and Casino Image Source: Ads of the World The resort found a spot where people gather: the luggage terminal. Beau Rivage used calming and relaxing imaging to catch traveler’s attention, changing how people typically react in this frustrating space. You can emulate this tactic by creating eye-catching imaging in place of an ordinary ad, or you might give your space a conversation piece.
Social media is another great place to showcase your SMB marketing prowess. Even companies that are selling “boring” services and products can be successful on social if they use a fun, clever voice and brand identity. For instance, Purple is a company that sells mattresses. Searching for mattresses isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but Purple engages users organically through social media. Check out this recent example that plays on the Netflix hit Bird Box: Purple Image Source: Facebook And even with these clever and trendy messages, Purple still includes subtle mentions of mattresses, beds, or bed frames.
It’s great to create your own marketing visuals. But it’s even better when you can get your customers to send in user-generated content (UGC). Consider this example from DockATot. The infant bedding company encourages parents to take pictures of their children using the products. DockATot will then share on social media as part of their SMB marketing strategy. Image Source: Instagram More than 90% of consumers will trust UCG over paid advertising. So, if you can utilize UGC in your SMB marketing, you’re more likely to increase your sales.
7. York City Pretzel Company
Another company known for its UGC usage, York City Pretzel Company also scores well with its partnerships and community education. Image Source: York City Pretzel Company The company teamed up with local breweries to offer Brewer’s Twist. These sessions allow customers to engage with brewers and learn more about their beers. While the focus is on the partners, York City Pretzel company still wins with brand awareness. Plus, the company offers discounts for future pretzel purchases.
Guerilla marketing and social media strategies are great when they work, but let’s not forget about the most cost-effective SMB marketing campaigns. Emails still give the best ROI of all marketing activities, and it doesn’t take much for your company to run a great email marketing campaign. But if you want to stand out, you still need to think outside the box. Take this interactive email example from Moo: Image Source: Really Good Emails The email does a great job engaging with a customer for them to take an action to pop the balloon. It then brings them to a landing page where their discount is revealed. If you can add interactive elements to your email campaigns, you could increase your click-to-open rates by up to 73%.
Nurturing customers should also be a priority for your SMB marketing campaigns. Email newsletters are common pieces of email marketing plans for small and large businesses. In fact, 83% of B2B marketers use newsletters as part of their email marketing. But not everyone is nailing the execution like this great example from Krit: Image Source: Krit This newsletter for entrepreneurs and startup founders takes just a few minutes to read, but provides insightful curated tips and trends that are valuable to the reader. This is a model you need to follow for your lead nurturing drip campaigns. Find something of value for your reader, then share it to increase engagement.
Finally, one way to make your SMB email marketing strategy stand out is through personalization. Nearly 75% of marketers say personalization improves engagement. On the subject of personalization, Teespring nails it in the example below: Image Source: Really Good Emails In addition to a cute puppy, the company uses personalization to remind their customers how successful their individual campaigns have been. You can easily utilize this strategy to create emails that include your customer’s name, information based on location, or even suggested purchases based on buying habits.
You don’t have to try something crazy and expensive to be successful in SMB marketing. While some of our examples were a little more creative than others, the companies that followed digital marketing best practices were also successful. If you know your audience and can create content that speaks to them, you’ll delight your customers and increase your sales. Are you ready to turn your SMB marketing campaigns up a notch? Speak with Delivra today, and we’ll show you a few digital marketing strategies and tools that will help you reach and surpass your goals.