Small and medium sized enterprises(SME) in India contribute to about 45% of the country's total industrial output. They are also creating about 1.3 million jobs every year. Being an industrial segment with 48 million members, they are struggling to exist and grow in revenue. As with any small business, one of the key challenges is to find cost-effective ways to reach out to more and more potential customers. A key opportunity here is the open and borderless market on the Internet.
“42.3 % of the total human population are Internet users now (around 3 billion)”*. If the Internet is considered as a country, it will rank 1 in terms of population. Today, Facebook is a country as large as India with over 1 billion accounts. This is an important market for SMEs.
But how do we enter in to this market and spread the word about what we have to offer? Digital marketing makes this open and borderless market accessible to you. And it comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods of advertising. The essential premise of digital marketing is better visibility leading to business development in the short run and brand value in the long run.
Some of the processes followed by companies in digital marketing are Search Engine optimization, Social Media Promotion, Email newsletter campaigns etc. The usability of each platform depends on the product/service you are selling. For e.g: Social media is suitable for the industry in which youth engage.
Better Visibility : If a small enterprise from India produces a product for INR 1,000 and the same product is produced by a small enterprise from Australia for INR 1,500, a user from another country may buy only the one that gets listed in the top search results. So, if the product from Australia is listed at the top, he will buy it. It’s not because the product from India is bad, but it’s because the product is not visible to the user. So in digital marketing, we are paying for visibility and engagement. If proper digital marketing had been done for the Indian product, it would have been listed in the top search results.
Business development : Good visibility will result in lead generation, which will improve the business. Since the market is large, the factors that limit growth will be less.
Brand value : Whether it is a product or service, Internet is the first place where people look for information. So, if a user is able to see the business he searches for, it creates an impression in his or her mind that this business is active and a reputed one. People now value a brand on the basis of their online presence.
It is easy to establish online presence by setting up a website for the business and signing up for some social media websites. But it’s just a start. As the market is large, there will be numerous competitors and in order to stand out from this massive crowd, we need to go for a digital marketing strategy that is aligned with our differentiated offering. This is enabled by the high levels of targeting that are possible in the digital world. A digital marketing strategy must make use of the varied mediums like email, search engine, and social media to exploit the opportunities presented by each media. Use email to reach to a wide audience, search engine optimisation to enhance your visibility, social media for better customer engagement and building brand loyalty.
Keep watching this space for more articles on these ideas.
*Internet World Stats “World Iinternet Usage And Population Stastics June 30, 2014 - Mid-Year Update,” http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm, accessed December 2014