- November 2010
- Posted By Janet Muto
- 0 Comments
There’s no one quite like “SME”
by Janet Muto
Despite having drop-down boxes that include categories such as religious organizations, retail, personal services, not for profit, consulting and business services, small businesses (or small-to-medium enterprises, aka, SME) respondents often select “other” – and then fill in the description with answer such as “director of a church youth group,” “pet store owner,” or “hair salon and spa”.
Small businesses don’t think of the world like marketers do. Marketers are always looking to segment groups of users into top level categories that are easier to define. Small businesses, on the other hand, see themselves as unique; their businesses are very specific in what they provide to their customers.
So, why does this matter and why should you care?
Small businesses reflect their owners. They are hard working, earnest, sincere and generally do what they do better than the “big box” or big name equivalents – and do so with a lot less fluff and pizzazz. They aren’t thinking about long term strategy, they are looking at how to make their business better, today.
Here are High Start Group’s 5 simple rules for eliminating “other” problems and making your customers and prospects feel that they are unique and special.
1) Make it real. Provide your visitors or prospects with real examples of other small businesses who have been successful using your product or service. Don’t make up “blended” ones that read like a brochure.
2) More is better. It’s better to have many short examples rather than a few long ones. Try to cover as many types of businesses as possible so that your audience can find ones that are like them.
3) Use their language. Try not to edit the voice your example customers. For enterprise marketing types, or even marketing communications directors, this can be a difficult. My experience is that small businesses want to hear their peers’ real voice, not a sanitized and press ready version. And certainly avoid buzzwords and jargon!
4) Solve common problems. You can’t have an example of every type of business, but you can have an example of common problems – ones that many of your targets may recognize. For example, while you may not be able to show examples of every type of retailer, you can talk about the need to “bring the customer back…again and again”. Or, you might talk about increasing membership for nonprofit organizations even if they are very different types of organizations.
5) Think visual. If it makes sense for your business, sprinkle your content liberally with pictures of your small business customers at their places of business. Videos are a great way to show potential SMBs how passionate your current small businesses customers are.