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For SMEs on a budget, marketing has to achieve sufficient results to prove profitable while not costing the earth to run a single campaign. Not every type of marketing either online or offline qualifies or delivers speedy results. Companies must choose between their best options, execute campaigns, find the winners, and double down on them.

Let’s look at a few of the effective marketing options for SMEs now.

SMS Text Marketing
Marketing directly to people’s phones is one way to get in direct contact. Rather than making cold calls, which are seldom successful, SMS marketing can deliver short messages to contacts who have already provided their details and agreed to receive messages.

Sending SMS messages is inexpensive and chargeable per SMS, making a campaign only as costly as the company wants it to be. Companies with smaller budgets can send out just a few SMS messages and then hone their next batch of messages based on the favourable (and less favourable) responses. Some messages will get a higher open rate and response rate than others. With experience, businesses learn what short messages their target customers prefer and craft appropriately worded messages.

The phone number is not usually given out immediately when making a new contact. That comes later when some kind of business relationship has already been established. It’s important to get the permission of the person being messaged before sending out the communication. Unwanted SMS messages create problems for everyone involved.

Web Push Notifications
Web push notification technology hasn’t been around that many years. The idea is that people using a certain web browser can agree to receive mini pop up message within the web browser to alert them. These are easy to see when YouTube has a new video on a channel where the bell icon has been selected, which triggers alerts about new videos. Similarly, web push notification providers offer a way that site visitors can agree to be alerted.

The better systems are not cheap. Because the notifications don’t always pop up at a convenient time, many people turn them off. They’re also not transferrable from browser to browser or platform to platform, other than when browser syncing functionality is turned on when using the same browser across multiple devices. However, it is a useful way to get in front of previous website visitors, as long as the messages contain something of value to them. Otherwise, they become a nuisance.

Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the oldest marketing methods online. Also, it’s one of the most affordable too. Marketing through email should be done using double opt-in. This ensures the email is wanted by the recipient who confirmed that before receiving more emails.

Unlike a website that waits for traffic from other sources like Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Bing and Google, with email marketing, companies send emails to subscribers directly. There’s no waiting around and hoping for new traffic today; traffic comes after sending a new email to the people on the mailing list.

Email is not as instantaneous as SMS texting in a marketing campaign. SMS messages do need to be opened just like with email, but the open rate is likely to be higher with more direct marketing. However, email still works terrifically well, especially in industries where subscribers take time to become buyers. Mostly, these industries sell high-priced products that fall outside of the typical pricing for impulse purchases and require repeat visits for a subscriber to make up their mind.

Video Marketing
Video marketing has been around for over a decade, but it’s only become really popular in the last few years. As Netflix replaced Blockbuster, YouTube has usurped cable TV. More video content is being consumed all the time and is a useful way to promote a brand, products or services.

Producing videos for YouTube is time-consuming. It always takes longer and is more complicated than people think. A good YouTube channel takes upwards of a year to really start to take off, so it’s much slower to get results than SMS marketing, email marketing or web push notifications. For video marketing, a multi-year timeline is required of companies; a three-year or five-year vision rather than expecting overnight viral success is best.

While videos are often put online to get ad clicks, the better process, especially for companies, is to include a link to their website or email newsletter in the description of a video. This can be clicked and drives direct traffic to the site.

Inexpensive marketing online takes many forms. The most direct types of marketing like SMS messaging, live chat, and email tend to get faster results. Other methods take longer to deliver increased sales. Most companies do well to adopt 1-3 marketing methods and master those, rather than try to do everything at once and failing spectacularly.