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Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are strapped for skills, time and money when it comes to digital marketing. In a January 2015 study by Thrive Analytics, 40% of US SMBs cited not having enough time as a challenge to digital marketing, 37% pointed to a lack of knowledge, and 33% said their budgets simply weren’t big enough.
Digital marketing vendors can help SMBs handle these issues, providing expertise and devoting the time it takes to keep up—and get ahead—in the digital landscape. However, due to spending constraints, the demand for vendors to prove their value is more important than ever. According to February 2015 polling by G/O Digital and Entrepreneur, 86% of US SMBs had narrowed their preferred list of digital marketing vendors to just four.
How can digital marketing vendors stand out from the competition and win SMBs’ business? Price was the most important factor when selecting a digital marketing vendor, cited by nearly one-third of respondents. But it’s not all about the Benjamins. SMBs weren’t going to shell out unless vendors showed that they understood their organizational needs and goals; in other words, a cookie-cutter strategy doesn’t work. Delivering on commitments also ranked highly.
G/O Digital and Entrepreneur found that SMBs were hungry for content. When asked how their content consumption habits had changed over the past year, nearly two-thirds said they were finding and utilizing more on the web. They had also focused in on trusted and independent sources—no time to waste on so-so info.
How can digital marketing vendors satisfy content demand? The study found that on vendor websites in particular, SMBs looked for depth of content, downloadable product information and premium content such as white papers, among other things. Of course, they also wanted more than content, with price listings and the option to get a quote important too.
With content now king, digital marketing vendors must prove their value through understanding SMBs’ organizational goals and establish themselves as leaders by serving up the content targets want to consume.
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