Digital Marketing for SMEs: Business without boundaries

Information availability and decision-making is becoming increasingly dynamic in nature. This constant state of change has impacted customer expectations and many organizations are grappling to keep up. Amidst this chaos, a few companies have found opportunities and strategies to leverage this change.

Most companies which are successful in understanding and fulfilling new-age customers’ expectations have exponentially grown and created very strong value propositions and brands in the minds of the customers.
Some proponents of change defining the business ecosystem today are big data, cloud computing, mobile and content. Digital Marketing as a science, art or technique sits right in-between all of these factors. Is digital marketing complex and difficult to understand? Is it a type of marketing that only large companies with large budgets can afford to execute? Read on to find out.

In many ways digital marketing has democratized business reach to consumers. It has presented a level playing field for small and large brands alike. This is one platform where intellect and ingenuity trumps everything else.
Applications of digital marketing are aplenty – from exploring new markets to growing a stronger brand in existing markets, all in a budget that you can decide and control in real-time.

In this day and age, the question isn’t whether you should do digital marketing, but rather, the pertinent questions are “how” and “where to start from”. Following are 5 simple things small businesses can implement to mobilize their digital marketing:

1. Website for E-Commence and Product Catalog
A website is just like a salesperson. It may need attention and hand-holding early on, but over a period of time, it becomes independent, yielding a steady stream of income. Do bear the following aspects in mind while building your website:
• Does your website have all the information that you would like your customers to know?
• Does your website provide your contact details in case the customer wants to place orders or make enquiries?
• Is it easy for the customers to navigate and find information about your brand and products?
• Is your website persuading customers to take specific actions?
• Is it easy to update information on your website?
Once you have all the content ready for your website, you can use one of the many website builders to set-up the framework. Most of these builders offer plenty of templates and customization options. In case you plan to sell your products online, some of the payment gateway companies can offer to set up the infrastructure for free. Sounds complicated? It’s not. You needn’t be a software geek to implement a fully-functional website.

2. Create local awareness about your business
It is quite possible that some of your prospective customers, even though located very close to you, may have never heard about you. Even if they have heard of you, they will resort to searching information about you on the internet.
Facebook and Google provide you with options to create local awareness and an identity on the internet. You can even place your business on Google maps to help customers locate you. All of this at little or no cost.

3. Catalyze word of mouth with referral schemes
Very few marketing campaigns can outshout the voice of a customer operating as a brand ambassador. While social media can intensify word of mouth, it takes experimentation and genius to go viral.
Win-win referral schemes help you achieve similar results with greater certainty.
There are plenty of plug and play tools which can help set-up referral schemes, leverage your customer’s social network and give your brand a fair chance of going viral. You can track and manage these schemes on the go. Much like your website, these tools are very easy to implement.

4. Advertise on Digital Media
It would be wise to advertise online if a good portion of your customers reside on the internet. Digital advertising unlike conventional advertising is highly targeted and permits small spends. You can choose from promoting your brand in existing markets to exploring new opportunities in new locations, all at the click of a button. And the good news is, all major online advertising platforms provide advertisers with account managers to help them set-up and run marketing campaigns. If you are lucky, you may even find free coupons to run your campaigns.

5. Email-Marketing to connect with your customers
Emails are a very convenient and effective way of communicating to your customers. You can use emails to inform your customers about new products, features and offers. Free guides and manuals can help your customers use your product better.

E-mail provides for two-way communication; feedback enables you to know if your email was received with a smile or a frown.

Much like this blog, you will find plenty of guides, free tools and services that can help you execute digital marketing. It may be tempting to do all of the above or possibly more to join the digital business bandwagon, but begin by evaluating your options and strategizing accordingly. If executed well, one or two targeted options are likely to provide better results rather than a scatter-gun approach.

Hope these points demystified digital marketing for you. So go on, roll up your sleeves and get ready to build a business without boundaries.

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Samarth is a marketing professional with expertise in Digital Marketing. Lead generation, customer engagement & retention, brand building and people development are some of his areas of interest. During his leisure he likes hanging out with friends & family, riding his bike to nearby destinations (sometimes even without a destination), watching movies​ ​​and reading.

​Samarth is a Marketing Manager at Capital Float.​

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Considerations for educational trusts to keep in mind while availing finance

To upgrade the quality of education delivered in their school, authorities running the institution may occasionally need to apply for loans. The first thought that strikes while contemplating Indian school finance is one of approaching a bank. The low rate of interest and general trust in the banking system draws many private schools to these established lenders.

Although banks offer loans to businesses and other organisations, when it comes to financing educational institutions, things can be rather challenging, and it may take long before the school actually receives the requested amount for use. The reason for this is complex eligibility criteria and the long list of documents necessary to get the loan application approved.

School finance in India is granted to institutions that are backed by promoters or a trust. While applying for the loan, a copy of the trust deed or memorandum of association needs to be submitted to the lender. However, when the loan is being applied through a public sector or private bank, it may also ask for hard copies of several additional documents such as three to four years of financial statements along with their audit report, three to four years of income tax returns submitted by the school, bank statements and multiple KYC documents.

With such requirements, if the school has been running for just two years, it may not be able to get the loan. In addition to a pile of printed copies, the legal restrictions for funding educational trusts may also compel the bank to ask for collateral security or involvement of a guarantor. This is considered to be the hardest part as not many schools can afford to hypothecate a valuable financial asset to the lender.

Is there any other alternative for private school financing? Can these institutions securely apply for their loan and get the amount in minimum time without going through the hassles of submitting numerous documents and arranging for collateral? The answer, fortunately, is ‘Yes’.

Keeping up with the plans of promoting quality education in India, digitally operating non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) called FinTech companies have come up with a borrower-friendly lending model. They provide school finance on easy terms and conditions that merely require the borrowing institution to:

  • Be a private school with fully functional classes from LKG to VIII/X/XII grade
  • Be run by promoters or a trust
  • Have an annual fee collection of more than Rs. 75 lakhs
  • Have the school building on its own property

Since the application process is digital, the school needs to upload only soft copies of the documents proving its eligibility. Moreover, financial/bank statements are required for just two years. There is no need to provide any security or guarantor promises: FinTech loans are collateral-free.

If you have plans to construct a new building in your school, stock up the library, refurbish the labs or add any other facility to enhance the education service, the answer on how to finance a school improvement plan lies in an unsecured loan from a FinTech.

Apply for Unsecured school loan

Capital Float is a leading school finance provider in the Indian FinTech industry. We offer quick loans of up to 50 lakhs to fund school development. To know more about our finance options, call us at 1860 419 0999.

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