Currently, 87% of SME executives do not make digitalization a strategic priority for their business. The digitization of SMEs does not only consist in integrating technological tools in your business, but also and above all in adapt trades, processes and its business model to today’s world …

According to a study by BPI England in 2019, 39% of SME managers are cautious about digitalization, and 48% of managers have an empirical attitude in digitizing their business both for their internal and external operations.

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We can therefore deduce the customer journey generally remains very traditional in these companies, especially on the marketing and advertising part.

However, there are many easy-to-use digital tools that enable very effective digital marketing and advertising actions. With a real business strategy adapted to the profile of an SME, it is possible to have a strong digital presence on the internet and to have a real commercial transformation in your store.

Why advertise digitally?

Promotions, private sales, sales follow one another throughout the year. And all companies are using these marketing methods to try to create an event and increase sales.

For these promotions to work, of course, potential customers must be aware. If for the most loyal customers whose contact is already registered a simple email marketing campaign may suffice, advertising is essential to reach new potential customers effectively and quickly.

But which media to use?

According to the 19th edition of the e-pub Observatory, companies invest more in digital advertising (34.4%) than in TV advertising (27.2%), in the press (18.2 %) or on the radio (5.7%), for example.

Digital advertising is therefore a tool not to be overlooked. But how do you use digital advertising when you are an SME?

How to set up advertising in your digital communication strategy?

To be present and visible on the internet there are two prerequisites:

  • Maintain a Google My Business listing;
  • To have a website which is not only designed as a showcase, but which makes it possible to transform visitors into customers, in particular thanks to CTAs, calls to action (Calls To Action).

Once a company’s Google My Business listing is done (which can be tedious for the uninitiated), it is directly visible on Google Maps which optimizes the SEO and local visibility of the company. If the SME sells basic necessities like food products for example, the Google My Business card can be enough to bring visitors to said store.

But a business usually needs more to arouse the interest of its typical customer: that’s where advertising comes in.

Thanks to digital advertising created on Google Ads, Facebook Ads or the new LinkedIn Ads (non-exhaustive list), any business can be present on the screens of its potential consumers.

In order for the use of digital advertising to generate the greatest possible return on investment, the entire communication plan must be thought of accordingly.

  • Have a clear and effective web page : make sure that from the first page of the company website we understand the offer, its added value on the market, how to get in touch with the company;
  • Create landing pages (landing pages) created in such a way that they transform visitors into contacts and then into customers. For this, a landing page must contain a simple, direct message that highlights the product highlighted;
  • Create an advertising campaign on the tool of your choice. To do this, you need to configure your audience according to the goal you want to reach, your target client, and the phase of the purchasing journey in which you want to intervene (awareness, consideration or decision).

The budget for your campaign will be more or less substantial depending on your settings and the number of daily contacts you want to have.

  • Link your ad campaign to the landing page planned for, and monitor the results of the campaign.

How to target advertising to optimize its results?

Only once the advertising campaign is in place, it is not enough to just sit back and wait for days and days for the results to fall.

Unlike an advertising campaign in traditional media, digital advertising is never frozen in time, which is suitable for the operation of an SME which is often agile in decision-making. We can therefore be wrong, refine the audience of our advertising, change budgets, etc.

If during the first days your advertisement does not generate any click, you must ask yourself the right questions:

  • Is the visual catchy enough?
  • Is my target really on this media?
  • Is the highlighted product interesting for the target?

If the audience is using keywords, you will have to fumble at the start of each advertising campaign to find the keywords that have the best possible return on investment.

For example in a Google Ads campaign, the use of keywords follows an auction system: The more people search for a keyword, the more expensive it will be to use that keyword in their campaign.

An individual looking for an emergency repairer is at the end of this purchasing process and is ready to contact a company. So in this situation, it can be interesting to buy very expensive keywordsbecause we are sure to have a return on investment.

On the other hand, if we are targeting individuals who are looking for information on renovating their homes, the target is located much further up the purchasing process. It makes more sense to buy more affordable keywords, depending on the budget available.

In addition to the constant calibration of its advertising audience, internet advertising allows retargeting.

What is retargeting?

When you walk down the street and read an advertising poster carefully, the brand that created the campaign has no way of knowing exactly who was sensitive to their message.

But digital advertising offers the possibility of qualifying its target in two stages:

Retargeting is possible thanks to tracking codes included in the advertising landing page. The tracking code collects visitor data and with an additional retargeting campaign, each profile having visited the offer’s landing page will find the same offer on another medium.

This doubles the impression of your message and also increases the company’s chances of turning visitors into customers!

Like traditional advertising campaigns,he digital campaigns require a dedicated and substantial budget to obtain real results, even if the digital allows a reassuring right to make mistakes for SMEs.

In addition, as one can organize a campaign in the local media, a digital campaign is not necessarily synonymous with an above-ground campaign. Since the campaign audience is configured according to the target, it is easy to integrate the location variable.

All this ultimately allows great agility in decision-making and campaign management as close as possible to the realities on the ground to optimize its return on investment.

Author: Benoît Pilorget, CJS Consulting