13 Marketing Hacks for SMEs Part 2

Marketing Hack #6:

Market on specific days of the year. 

Marketing on specific (and relevant days) days of the year, for example a dog food company targeting a large percentage of their marketing on Dog Appreciation Day or during Crufts  is a great way to get exposure to people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. At the very least it will grab the interest of your peers in your industry.

People who are interested in these specific days are more likely to at least consider a related purchase (at some point in time) So it can be a lucrative decision if you choose to market on a day like this. 

Step 1: Choose an appropriate day to market your product or business. For example, if you run a coffee shop “National bring your dog to work day” isn’t a great choice, “National Coffee Day” is much better. 

Step 2:  Plan your strategy and tactics beforehand. You won’t gain much traction if you just decide to tweet/post “Happy Coffee Day, we have a new blend come and try it out” You need to carefully craft a plan that will drastically increase the amount of attention your brand will receive on the day. 

There may be a focus on a particular thing but all those within your niche will be trying to gain extra attention too, so you need to have a clear plan of action that will help you achieve your marketing objectives.  

Also, even though the more obscure days aren’t big enough to be a “season” like Christmas is, you should still treat it like a season and begin “marketing that you will be doing marketing” before the day arrives. 

For example, in the run up to national Dog Appreciation Day you can begin to use your social media channels to announce that you will be running a competition on this day or run the competition before an announce the winner on the day.

Either way the day is at the centre of your marketing campaign. So next time you attempt to run a campaign around a day, turn it into a season…within reason. 24 hours (unless you’ve got a marketing budget the equivalent of Qatar’s GDP) simply isn’t enough time to run an entire campaign with no prior promotion. Businesses our size are not Beyonce, you don’t (yet) have the clout to launch something without prior promotion.  

Step 3: Execute your plan.

Step 4: Review your plan, see where you can improve and make your next "day specific" campaign even better. 

Case study

Example: independent marketing agency Radialpath had a client who they targeted all their marketing efforts around the following two days:

The results were pretty good:

Bring your dog to work day (22nd June) a 369% increase in interactions across Facebook & Instagram.

World gin day (9th June) a 277% increase in interactions across Facebook & Instagram.

We have a database of hundreds of these sort annual events for you to download and use inside BuzzRamp.

Marketing Hack #7:

Run a Twitter a competition

Twitter competitions are a great way of engaging your current followers as well as attracting new ones. In a nutshell they give people a reason to keep following who are and a reason to start following if they’re not. It’s something a bit different. Rather than tweeting announcements it’s something that people can actually get physically involved in. This strengthens the relationship between your brand and your followers/customers. 

Competitions don’t have to be extravagant, (no need to giveaway the latest iPhone to entice your followers) just something that your followers will find useful. For example, if you’re a stationery company, the prize could be £100 worth of stationery from your store. 

Step 1: Ensure you have the most granular customer profile possible so that you know what the best competition structure. Below are some examples of the different types of competitions:

Random- This is where the winner of the competition is chosen at random from a pool of entrants. There aren’t much requirements for this, just enter and in some cases be within a certain geographic area. 

This is probably the easier type of competition to run (as long as you have an adequate method to choose the winner without bias)

Skill based competition - This type is where all entrants have to do something to win the prize/s. For example, a butcher may run a competition where users have to send in a video of their best Salt Bae impression and the best one wins £100 of free meat. This is a little more tricky as you have to judge the quality of a lot of entrants, and sometimes choosing the wrong one can result in backlash. Be sure to make the criteria as clear as possible to avoid confusion. 

Sharing + Random + Skill - A combination of the two preceding types. Entrants are those who share a piece of content (video, photo, text etc.) At the end of the competition period the winner is chosen at random. You also get the added benefit of having a large number of people being newly aware of your brand as (hopefully) a lot of people shared the piece of content. This competition can snowball quite quickly if you have a well engaged following and enticing prize. Make sure that you have the capacity to deal with a sudden influx of potential customers as a result of a successful competition. 

Ask your audience - This is a great way of engaging your audience, instead of designing a competition yourself, ask your audience what they want. You could do this a couple of ways:

  • Run a Twitter poll- The easiest way of gauging the opinion of your audience on Twitter. 
  • Tweet a series of questions and wait for the replies from your followers.Once you have the responses you can then make an effective decision on which type of competition you want to run. It may not please everyone but it will be likely to please a majority of your customer base. 

Step 2: Confirm the plan/strategy of the competition and then begin to heavily promote it across all of your social media channels. We recommend to begin promoting your competition at least two weeks in advance. Some tactics you can use include:

Create a custom landing page - From here you can list all the terms and conditions of the competition as well as provide another entry point for anyone who is interested. We highly recommend Lead Pages to help you do this. It’s a platform which allows you to easily create customised landing pages in a wide variety of designs. 

Pre schedule social media posts - You can use Buffer to help you do this, we use it regularly, we think it’s great. 

Leverage accounts that are bigger than yours - As an SME or startup there will be a lot of social media accounts that have a much larger following than you. Instead of waiting ages to build up a huge following, you can leverage someone else’s by asking them to share your competition with their large amount of followers. This will help to expose you to a new and bigger audience. 

Don’t be afraid when doing this, as long as you have something of value to offer i.e your follower demographic is different to theirs and they want their products/services to seen by your followers. 

Step 3: Run your competition. As we mentioned before, ensure you have the capacity to deal with a sudden influx of people paying attention to your brand. Some things to double check before you start:

  • Make sure your website servers can cope (speak to whoever is your web host to check this) 

One of the worst things that can happen is you get a load of potential new customers and then your website crashes because it can’t handle the surge of traffic. Then all those people will have a negative first impression of your brand and will probably not buy anything from you. 

  • Charge your phones - It may sounds trivial but this is vital if you’re running a competition on Instagram as you can only use it on your phone. The sudden influx of social activity may put a strain on your battery, so ensure to have it at 100% or that you have your charger nearby! 

Step 4: Review the performance of your competition, make the necessary improvements and repeat the process at a later date.

Case Study 1

Children’s online retailer What 2 buy 4 kids run weekly and bi weekly Twitter competitions.The prizes for these competitions included vouchers to spend in their store and/or existing products. 

The prizes were seasonal so if they ran one at Christmas for example, then all the prizes would have a Christmas theme e.g. reindeer, Santa Claus toys etc.  

So far they have on average 800 people enter these competitions. They have seen an average monthly follower increase of 300 over the past year as a result.  Their most successful competition got over 1000 retweets. 

Case Study 2

Vegan bag brand Katherena ran a “like and share” competition on their Facebook business page. Entrants had to like and share a specific post to enter into the competition. 
The prize was one of their premium bags. The competition ran for 13 days and received  501 likes 521 shares and 441 comments. 

Marketing Hack #8:

Provide exceptional customer service

This might seem like less of a “hack” and more of an “obviously” but not every business does this well.  Looking after your customers makes it easier to retain them (and reduce acquisition spending, which is commonly more expensive than retention) In fact, when you look after your customers, they will help you acquire more customers by sharing their positive experiences with their friends and family. With this hack there is no definitive step-by-step process as it depends on your business structure and industry, however here are some general tips. 

Step 1: Establish a clear, accurate psychographic profile of your customer segments. What is a psychographic profile? It’s what is going on in your customer’s heads, their thoughts and feelings towards different things for example, how ambitious they are.  Ensure that you know as much about them as is legally possible. Some great free tools to help you do so include:

  • ONS (Office for National Statistics) arguably the most granular data that is freely available. 
  • YouGov Profiles - A robust segmentation and planning tool for brands and agencies. 
  • Mintel - One of the world’s leading marketing intelligence agencies. They have a lot of free reports available to the public. Gathering relevant data from these sources will make the remaining steps much easier to complete.

Step 2: Use the information from the previous step and begin to focus on things that will keep your different customer segments happy. For example, if you find that a segment of your consumers value being able to get in touch with someone from your business easily, you can extend your customer service help-desk hours or add a live chat integration to your website. Here is a link to some of the top live chat software integrations available. 

Step 3: Keep an open dialogue with your customers, continue to keep an eye on what they expect/need from your business and make the appropriate changes to your customer service strategy. You can do this by asking open questions on social media as well as being responsive to any social media interactions.

Case Study 

Award winning artisan tea and spice producer Spice Kitchen have a 24-hour hotline, email and online chat so they can quickly respond to customers whenever they have a query at any time of day. As a result, they increased their conversions from 1% to 3%. 

Now every business can’t offer that level of technical sophistication however it reinforces the notion that great customer service is great for business.It should be looked at as an investment rather than a cost. In a nutshell, looking after their customers tripled spice kitchen’s conversion rate.

Marketing Hack #9:

Leverage your competitors failings on Twitter

No company is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective or position, social media has made it a lot easier to make these mistakes public. You can use this to your advantage though. One man’s (business) crash is another man’s profit. If you have moral reservations about doing so, just remember, that your competitors probably won’t hesitate to do it to you. It’s nothing personal…just business.

Step 1: Find your competitors support handle on Twitter (If there’s no dedicated handle for support, head on to the main handle)

Step 2: Go to the ‘Tweets & Replies’ tab and find all the negative reviews about your competitor. Alternatively, you can use advance search on Twitter and filter tweets with negative emotion.

Step 3: Tweet to all the negative tweets offering a solution to their problem if they use your service. To top it up, offer a welcome discount for all these users to move to your solution.

Step 4: Review the process, make the necessary improvements and repeat the process.

Case Study

Former Apprentice candidate turned CEO Paul Sullivan used this hack for one of his clients and ended up growing his Twitter following from 3,000 to over 15,000.  The key thing to note here is that you don’t have to further publicise your competitors demise. All that is required is that you find out when it happens and take advantage of it.