How SME’s Can Win the Digital Race to the Top

Today's consumers are digital first making it critical for SME's to focus their marketing around social media and search engines. Learn how to win the digital race to the top.

Tuesday, March 16th 2021 in Marketing by Richard Bertch
How SME’s Can Win the Digital Race to the Top

The United States has long been a symbol of corporate success. A former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, once said, “The chief business of America is business.” In particular, small businesses are the lifeblood of the famed American Dream.

So, unsurprisingly, the U.S. has 30.7 million small businesses, which according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), amount to 99.9% of businesses in the nation. What is more, these entities employ over 59.9 million Americans, which is 47.3% of all employees in the U.S.

However, with the world in the grip of a deadly pandemic, small businesses plunged into a nightmare of decimated business activity in 2020. And now, with a silver lining shining through in the form of vaccines, it is time for fresh hope and strategic planning.

As you look to revive your business, it is critical to remember that traditional marketing strategies have become irrelevant to the millennial generation, who make up the largest component of the U.S. workforce.

Focus on engaging with millennials on their mobiles

As this new generation of consumers share stories with honesty and openness, advertising jargon of earlier times, sounds false in their ears. In fact, 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising; they see it as one-sided trumpeting that is oblivious to consumer views. Experienced marketer says, Rand Fishkin digital marketing is the answer. “Tell a story. Make it true. Make it compelling. And make it relevant.”

Moreover, millennials, being “digital natives,” consider the smartphone their trusted and popular device; 7 out of 8 millennials own a smartphone. Therefore, to get your brand before millennials, you need to engage them on their mobiles.


Invest in mobile-friendly apps

Annalect, a market research company, recently found that millennials are more inclined to be drawn to brands that have mobile-friendly apps, than to those that only have a social media presence.

Research shows that millennials have specific requirements for mobile apps. They do not want mobile apps that drain their phone battery. Preferring to use one hand on their device, they look for apps that do not require using both hands on the phone. Data usage is also a significant consideration for millennial preference of a brand’s mobile app.


Engage in digital marketing

While millennials are known to interact with their smartphones around 45 times a day, 5 out of 6 also connect with companies on social media networks. A Bank of America survey which studied the behavior of over 23,000 adults, found that millennials exchange ideas and tell stories about experiences on their mobile. By listening to friends’ and peers’ experiences with products, their own interest is kindled. As American best-selling author Seth Godin says, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”


Use SEO to reach millennial consumers

With 80-90% of consumers checking online reviews before deciding on buying a product or service, it is important to be seen as a credible industry source, because Google ranks a web site higher, if the web site is seen as transparent. What is also worth noting is that when potential consumers search for products online, their interest gets pinned on the first few searches appearing on the first page. For your brand to get ahead of competition and present your products and services to millennials, it is critical to get your website at the top of the search list. With anyone being able to make a website, it is important to be perceived as trustworthy and legitimate, so the chances of appearing at the top of the list are higher. Therefore, search engine optimization (SEO) is the clear choice for your business to reach out to millennial customers. As widely published Search Engine Optimization expert at SEOTech, Sam McRoberts, said, “It’s (SEO) changed so drastically that people really need to learn to think of it as less of a marketing tactic, and more of a branding play."

Moreover, search engines offer consumers the opportunity for the most current information of products and customer reviews. This, as Bill Gates, says, is something digital marketers need to be focused on, and a reason why “Content is King.” Gates says, “If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.”


Blend marketing strategy with social media

Earlier, SEO and social media were separate threads tying the product to marketing. Now, the two concepts are intertwined. A potential customer can find a company on Facebook and Twitter and on Google. Therefore, social media is important in generating SEO. Furthermore, 47% of millennials are introduced to new products by social media, and about 71% of them buy brands they “like” on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter. Therefore, in order for your brand to survive and flourish, you need to market in a big way on social media. Jeff Ragovin, co-founder of social marketing company, Buddy Media, said, “Brands that ignore social media… will die. It’s that simple.”

Lindsay Drucker Mann at Goldman Sachs Research says millennials look for the best deals, and are willing to wait until the right deal appears; buying decisions focus on getting the maximum value for every dollar spent. Technology-backed superior customized service significantly adds to perceived value, and brands realize personal relationships with clients, fuel success more than strategies of earlier generations. For, not only do millennials contemplate, they voice their contemplation and reasoning on social media.

Moreover, Oxford University Research says, “People don’t share facts, they share emotions.” From another perspective, marketing communications experts, Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett, said, “Word-of-mouth marketing has always been important. Today, it is more important than ever because of the power of the Internet.”

If your business is not tied to the Internet, it will no more be part of the American dream.

About the Author

Richard Bertch

Richard is a contributing finance author at and freelance writer about all things business, finance and productivity. With over 10 years of copywriting experience, Richard has worked with brands ranging from Quickbooks to Oracle creating insightful whitepapers, conversion focused product pages and thought leadership blog posts. 

Full Biography