Digital marketing continues to evolve at breakneck speed. The pace of change shows no sign of slowing - making it challenging for companies of all sizes to stay abreast. This is especially true for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) which simply cannot afford costly mistakes or missteps.

For many SMBs - especially those that are B2C - deciding which digital channels to use can seem overwhelming. Email, mobile, social, digital ads, the web...usually, the answer isn't selecting the 'right one' but rather the 'right combination'. While there are many options for acquiring, engaging and retaining customers, let's check out a few digital marketing tactics that are often overlooked, relatively easy to implement, and highly effective.

# 1 Ads based on your customer data & remarketing

You worked hard to attract the attention of a customer, but lost their interest at a critical stage. Perhaps they signed up for a mailing list but never read the emails, or spent several minutes browsing specific products then left - or worse, dropped their cart. Digital ads are the perfect opportunity to regain their interest.

Remarketing requires understanding who your customers are and why they lost interest. Once you know the blockage area, you can change your marketing message to target those lost users and re-activate them to make a purchase.

How to do ad targeting the right way?

  • Setup & select Facebook Custom Audiences or Google Customer Match: Define your target audience based on either your customer data. A typical example is an inactive email subscriber or a high value customer who hasn't bought recently.
  • Use Facebook or Google pixels for website audiences: Use Google Adwords or Facebook Business Manager for setting up the code to people across all of their devices based on their identities on those platforms. For example, target people who abandoned your site at the product page or cart page.
  • Customize your marketing message: Keep a custom message for different audiences. For example, a coupon code can be displayed to a cart abandoner through remarketing ads whereas, similar products could be shown to someone who just made an order.
  • Scrutinize results and compare the cost of acquisition.
  • Iterate till you find the best fit. The aim here needs to be around maximizing conversions and bringing down the cost per acquisition.

# 2 Referral Marketing

The value of referrals is undeniable. According to Nielsen research, people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend, and 92% of respondents trust referrals from people they know.

While the company has long-since grown from an SMB, it's a tactic that certainly paid huge dividends for Dropbox. Early on, the company added a referral option in the signup form which helped them grow their user base from 100,000 to 4,000,000 users in just 15 months. Earlier, they were spending $250+ to acquire customers for a $99 product.

How to grow customer referrals?

  • Design special landing pages and opt-in messages offering discounts to those who provide qualified referrals.
  • For example, you can offer them 10% discount on their next 3 purchases if they get you 3 downloads of your eCommerce mobile app with a minimum of one purchase.

# 3 Opportunistic SEO

At first, search engine optimization (SEO) can seem complex. While there are many nuances to an effective SEO strategy, it really boils down to understanding how customers search for the content you're interested in sharing. With tools like Google Keyword Planner, you can research which keywords are searched most often and identify those with the least competition.

How to leverage the power of SEO?

Let's consider an example of an Indian ethnic wear brand that sells clothing online.

  • Using keywords that you searched with Google Keyword Planner, you can see which types of content people are searching. In this case, you can find some keywords that are highlighted in the picture above and create a compelling content piece which is better than those available on Page 1 in search results.
  • To promote your content, search for fashion industry's influencers, bloggers, journalists and magazines. Pitch them with a soft sell talking about your content and how it would make your day if they decided to share it on social media or link back to it.

For more SEO inspiration, check out this case study about a pest control company which experienced phenomenal results.

# 4 Social Listening and Publishing

Customers use social media to share valuable insights regarding their positive and negative experiences. Social listening is the key to keeping the pulse on the voice of the customer. You'll discover what consumers are saying about your brand, your products/services, and your competitors. You can understand which topics are generating buzz-both positive and negative-and where the most influential conversations are happening.

Of course, the key to social engagement is great content. Your social media content plan should include plenty of original utility content to serve your social communities' needs. Creating a social media editorial calendar can help keep a consistent content stream-much can be planned in advance.

How to drive SMB results with social?

  • Listen to billions of conversations, and proactively identify customers using the terms you care about.
  • Get immersed in conversations--don't just monitor, respond!

#5 Predictive Intelligence

Imagine the ability to deliver the exact content your customers are most interested in and at just the right moment. With Personalization Builder and predictive intelligence powered by Einstein, you can.

Predictive intelligence is a method of delivering experiences unique to each individual. It enables marketers to observe customer behavior, and with every action taken, build a profile of customer preferences. That information is then used to deliver content specific to each customer in real time-across any web-based channel like the web, email, mobile or even a call center.

Sounds like personalization, right? It is, only better. That's because predictive intelligence uses algorithms to deliver content based on estimates of what the customer wants or needs. It actually anticipates the intent of the customer-then provides a unique recommendation based on what has been observed.

Best of all, Predictive Intelligence is proven to drive key business results. Benchmark surveys show it lifts website revenue by 10 percent, email click through rates by 35 percent, and email conversion rates by 25 percent.

How to deliver predictive intelligence?

  • It all starts by building a profile of the customer using a few simple lines of Javascript to capture cross-channel data such as web clicks, purchases, dropped carts, and email opens.
  • The data you've gathered about each customer is then used to deliver personalized content in real time across channels. Sophisticated algorithms make decisions and recommendations based on implicit and explicit observations, and then automate the delivery of content. With every interaction, the algorithms 'get smarter,' providing even greater opportunities for 1-to-1 personalization for each individual.

Digital Opportunities Abound for SMBs

Interested in more tips and tricks for SMB marketing? Check out this survey of nearly 4,000 marketers for insightful customer journey trends.

Shivankit helps companies with growth marketing. He runs a growth hacking agency ,, in India. Outside of work, you can find him making plans for his next trek. You can reach out to him on twitter @marketingmasala for a quick chat.