Our top tips for creating your 2021 SME business marketing plan

Create your 2021 SME business marketing plan

A year ago, as people sat down to write out their predictions for marketing trends in 2020, nobody could have predicted global shifts in remote working that have changed the way that all businesses connect with their audiencesSMEs have certainly been affected by the pandemic – McKinsey research showing that 80% of UK SMEs have seen a revenue impact from the Covid-19 crisis. This makes an investment in marketing strategy even more vital for SMEs, with a focus on bringing in new customers and reaching new audiences. 

Looking ahead

We can look to the future with hope and research suggests many SMEs are doing just that. A Veem report showed that 53% of small business owners actually expected to see uptake in their business in 2021This is a really encouraging sentiment that demonstrates that for many SMEs, the opportunities that existed before the pandemic still exist. It’s just having a plan to navigate the barriers. That’s where we can help. We’re experts in helping SMEs define and connect with their target market and helping them grow. 

Here’s our 5 top tips for shaping a pandemic-proof marketing plan that’ll help your business fly in 2021: 

1. Digital is the new normalget your house in order

Digital experiences have much higher value than they did pre-pandemic. This means your website and your social media presence needs to be on point, on message and showcasing the benefits of your products and services. User experience remains very important – your call to action and customer journey needs to be clear. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you online and offer an experience that is as seamless and enjoyable as possible so they stay with you for the whole journey. 

2. Develop a content strategy 

If getting your online presence updated is the equivalent of cleaning a house, then an apt analogy for developing your content strategy would be all the valuables inside. Your content strategy is your plan to communicate what your customers need to know and would find useful in ways they’ll enjoy consuming. 

For example, a blog is a meaningful way to combine product benefits with industry insights and will help drive organic traffic through to your site. If your customers enjoy reading your blog, they’ll share it. If it genuinely resonates with their challenges, they will visit your site. You can publish it in more than one channel and adapt messaging and themes for your social content. 

3. Up your social game

This neatly brings us on to social media. It’s more vital than ever that small businesses are active and engaged on social platforms. This means engaging on your page and demonstrating that you can solve a customer’s problem and care about their experience. It’s a shift from transactional selling to a relationship based one but it’s a valuable differentiation to make and one that will ensure greater customer loyalty and advocacy in the long-term. We can help you develop targeted social campaigns and shape messaging that will resonate with your customers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

4. Authentic and socially conscious

Influencer marketing is set to continue growing in 2021 but don’t worry if you haven’t got an A-list budget, some of the best performing posts on social come from users and advocates. 2020 has seen a shift towards heightened value on meaningful digital experiences, increased authenticity and higher engagement with socially conscious brands. This is a natural reflection of the times we live in, so don’t be afraid to stand for something. If being a brand activist isn’t for you, that’s okay, just work on communicating with your customers in an honest and straightforward way and if you can get them to sing your praises on social, it will resonate with your desired audience.

5. Boldly uncover new opportunities

In tough times it’s tempting to play it safe and refrain from starting something new; the catch 22 is that new activity is exactly what will guarantee a healthy supply of new customers in 2021. If your inbound enquiries have dropped off, we can work with you to create demand generation campaigns that will build and nurture your key prospects and relationships and convert them into engaged customers. We use all of the aforementioned tactics and mediums plus more to deliver relevant content and messaging to your target audience and produce marketing qualified leads (MQLs) for your sales team to follow up. 

If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you create a marketing strategy that will ensure your business grows and thrive in 2021, get in touch today on 01392 796 702. 

Why it’s never too early for SaaS businesses to invest in their sales strategy

All hype and a lackluster product are a common phenomenon. We’ve all been seduced by a miracle product that promises so much but underwhelms. But what about the flipside? What happens when you spend all your time focused on technology development and neglect to think of the future sales? It’s tempting to believe that a truly fantastic product will sell itself. Sadly, this is a modern fable of the highest order. Every major new tech development of the past 10 years has been backed by a sound sales and marketing strategy because nothing drives new product investment better than a solid first year’s sales figures.

In the SaaS industry, success is largely predicated on those early sales, as an estimated 92% of SaaS companies fail within 3 years. Despite growth and funding, securing pipeline and a stronghold in the market is even more vital.

It’s a tough situation because it’s natural for entrepreneurs to hold back on marketing and sales plans when they feel their product requires further development but it’s also this lack of planning beyond the initial investment that can prove a seriously limiting factor.

So, if you’ve secured investment, found a perfect product market fit and are confident in your value proposition and pricing, you’re way ahead of most of your competitors. But in a high growth and extremely saturated market, that’s not enough to edge the competition. Beige, generic and all-encompassing messaging that doesn’t help your product stand-out, coupled with a less than expert sales approach, isn’t the winning combination that will help you succeed.

Define your market and nurture it

It’s true, there’s a global market out there if you’re an SaaS business, and even if you’ve validated the market need for your product with extensive research, you still need to have a consistent, defined approach to influencing the decision makers in the businesses who have the most need for what you’re selling. Even if you have the perfect product to solve their business challenge, if your sales strategy and approach to prospecting doesn’t include a thorough discovery process, you could be missing out on valuable prospects and upsell opportunities. Our team are experts in guiding and influencing these conversations, gathering valuable insight throughout their conversations.

Invest in lead generation

If you’re new to the market and your organic traffic and enquiries need a boost, investing in lead generation can not only directly feed your pipeline but drive valuable traffic to your website, and can help you build brand and reputation when you’re still trying to expand your reach.

Stop firefighting and trust a sales expert

We’ve covered the issue of allocating a budget to outsourcing sales in our blog How to decide what to spend your investment on. A big part of this is understanding that the right team is essential to success. When you’re just starting to get established, it’s frustrating for team members to lead functions where they have limited expertise. You can be a genius developer with a talent for securing investment but that doesn’t mean you know how to create a winning sales strategy, tailor conversations that convince decision makers to part with their cash or seamlessly adjust the script to keep a prospect warm and interested. That’s what our team can do for you, giving you back valuable time to focus on core business.

The Covid-19 effect

The pandemic has seen SaaS sales rise, thanks to increased digitisation of services expedited by the shift to remote work. Who knows how long the boom will last? What we do know is that when budgets tighten, SaaS services will have to prove their mettle and stay close to both customers and prospects to keep churn low and convince new customers to part with their cash, making a consistent approach to account managing existing customers and nurturing new relationships even more vital.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you create a winning sales approach that will ensure a strong pipeline as the market recovers, get in touch: call 0345 241 3038 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

The Power of Multichannel and How to Use it For Success

Imagine if you could only rely on one method to communicate the benefits of your product or service. Think of how you would need to simultaneously build brand recognition, demonstrate the benefits of your product, and consistently engage with the customer using that same method of communication whether they were ready to buy or not. Think about your preferred brands – imagine if everything you had learned about them had been as a result of a one-off radio awareness campaign aired over two weeks. Would they still be your preferred option? Would you feel the same investment in that brand if you hadn’t been furnished with tailored product knowledge to influence your buying decisions? Or received an email with an irresistible offer, followed by a social post that made you smile? The answer is, probably not. Multichannel campaigns are arguably your prospect’s preferred choice. Research shows 67% of B2B buyers tend to research content before making a purchase and 64% of B2B buyers will read two to five content pieces before making a decision to purchase.

Creating awareness and maximizing exposure

Multichannel selling is the second approach. It’s promoting and selling your products on more than one sales channel, taking an integrated approach that allows you to increase your prospective customer’s exposure to your product through telemarketing campaigns, digital campaigns, social selling, video prospecting and content sharing. It’s more than reaching out to prospects through traditional methods of communication – it’s generating awareness in the online communities they already use and meeting them where they already are. It’s a smart way to build brand and reputation, communicate a product or service’s benefits and drive interest and enquiries.

A blended and personalised approach

Our team are experienced in designing sales and marketing campaigns that carefully consider all the variables at play. When working with senior c-suite decision makers, or targeting large enterprises with complex organisational structures, our team know that a transactional approach isn’t the most effective. Instead, they create selling sequences of personalised activity that deliver valuable messaging designed to subtly influence and place the service benefits at the front of the prospect’s mind. When our sales specialists follow up with a phone call, they know some of the valuable product benefits and brand credibility have already been seeded. This is particularly valuable for our clients with high value products, which may have longer than usual sales cycles, meaning a longer-term nurture approach is required to keep their prospects engaged – and this has to extend beyond a single campaign.

Why we’re different

Here at Air, we have the in-house skills, technology and processes to execute multi-channel campaigns. As a specialist end-to-end sales agency, we don’t believe in a templated, cookie-cutter approach. For us, no two campaigns are the same. That’s why we’ll work closely with you to understand your sales goals, your target market’s challenges and their customer’s pain points so you can tailor your campaigns and messaging to cut through the noise and strongly resonate with key decision makers in your desired market.

With Air, you can be assured that we’ll design and deliver a multi-channel approach that helps you deepen your brand recognition and increase your customer touch points, in a meaningful way, so that your combined sales and marketing efforts have the maximum impact and reach without creating arduous processes or unnecessary workload for your internal team.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you discover new markets, land high value accounts and improve brand recognition through a multi-channel approach, get in touch here or call us on 0345 241 3038.

Ask The MD: What Are Your Top 3 Priorities In Business?


In the 10th instalment of our ‘Ask The MD’ series we ask the question ‘what are your top 3 priorities in business?’. Find out the answer in this video featuring our Managing Director, Owen Richards, and sister company Forrest Marketing Group’s Managing Director, Richard Forrest.