One of the most in-demand strategic business growth services that Yomillio members need help with is digital marketing. Both SMEs and startups find it just as hard to create good websites that draw a lot of visitors, and generate online leads and sales. The general principles are the same, but there are subtle differences in how you approach SEO and digital marketing for startups vs SMEs.
- Technology vs Business
The best way to promote your startup website and blog is by talking about the technology, instead of your product description and usage. The difference is that SMEs tend to manufacture and/or sell products that are more of a commodity, like a toaster. Startups, on the other hand, are by definition providers of innovative new solutions or services that cannot be purchased off the shelf at your corner store.
So if you’re a startup, your website and blog should focus more on explaining the technology and its benefits, rather than trying to sell the product. If you’re an SME, you want to find your target audience who needs what you’re selling, and put your product, brand and business in front of them.
- Global vs Local
Local search is very different from web search, and the optimization you need to do to bring your results up is also vastly different. SMEs must focus on this kind of optimization, which requires citations and mentions more than web links.
Startups, on the other hand, need to focus on traditional SEO and link building to bring in a larger amount of traffic that is not restricted to a local region, but also won’t convert as well.
- Evangelism vs Product Marketing
In addition to explaining the technology behind your product, the startup also needs brand evangelists to push you ahead of your competitors. That works far better than trying to explain what your startup does and selling it at the same time. If you have influencers who are talking about your concept, it creates a market need where none existed. Simply put, you’re generating leads who didn’t know they needed what you’re selling.
SMEs can’t do this sort of innovative outreach to create markets out of thin air. You have to compete against established companies and your competitors selling the same products or solutions.
- Lead Generation vs Customer Retention
Digital marketing for startups is about generating leads and sales online through a 3-stage funnel. You draw in visitors, educate them about your concept and technology, and then provide them with a product comparison and features page, with the CTA (call to action) being to give you an email to find out more, or just buy the product online.
SMEs, on the other hand, have to focus more on cultivating the local customers they already have. Customer retention is more important for established SMEs than new sales, so a packaging provider isn’t that keen on spending time and resources on digital marketing that will bring in new leads, which must be chased to convert them into new customers.
You’d much rather focus your time on keeping in touch with your existing customers, so why don’t you use your website for this? Start a blog and newsletter to provide regular updates, and ask all your customers to subscribe. Connect with them on social media, and share their posts with your followers.
- Recurring Payments vs Distributor Network
The biggest pain for new and growing businesses is not getting paying customers, but getting customers to pay. For example, SaaS startups and others who provide services must request recurring payments, which was very complicated in India until recently, because you can’t keep cards on file and do automatic billing. You needed to get your customers to authorize each payment, and SMEs and other businesses in India are notoriously hesitant about this.
It’s almost impossible for a startup to retain customers when you have to go them every month to them and ask for a second payment for a solution which they may not even have had time to evaluate. So startups here end up losing a lot of customers in the second billing cycle.
SMEs, on the other hand, are a part of India’s traditional industrial and commercial payment system, which is based on distributor networks. As long as you can find a distributor to take your product and send it over to retailers, you don’t have to worry about the payment part of it.
This is the new normal in India, post demonetisation, where both startups and SMEs are coming closer in a sort of unified solution that combines distribution networks with digital online payments. Startups are forced to work with SMEs to access their distribution networks, and the SMEs are working with startups to go cashless and accept online payments.
Are you an SME or startup with any of these problems? Digital marketing, payment pain, sales, funding, etc? No time for growth?
Attend Biz Summit 01 at Evoma OMR, KR Puram, Bangalore on Nov 4. This is a FREE event, organized jointly by Yomillio and Startups Club.
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