Blog, Resources

Uncovering what SMEs need from their marketing today


The COVID-era has provided monumental challenges to many SMEs, plenty of whom experienced significant threats to the future success of their business. SME marketing has subsequently changed.

But now, with more than 80% of small businesses reporting that they have recovered from the COVID-era, it’s time to turn our eyes to the future.  

From optimising their web presence to outsourcing resources to alleviate the stresses of capacity and experience, a recent report from CallRail has dived into the statistics behind how marketing has resultantly changed for UK SMEs. In a post-pandemic and highly digital world, they’ve outlined exactly what small businesses are looking for in their marketing solutions moving forward.  

So, what do small businesses need from marketing agencies today? 

  • Access to additional skills, experience, and insight. 
  • A rehaul of their current brand website. 
  • Rapid ROI to help maintain positive cash flow in a challenging period. 
  • A trusted relationship with their marketing teams.  

SMEs, marketing, and the need for additional support 

CallRail’s report states that ‘59% don’t have enough time in the day to complete all their job responsibilities.’ 

It’s no secret that managing a small business is no small feat, often relying on individuals to leverage a wide range of skills. Even with 80% of businesses back on their feet after almost two years of intense challenges, many are struggling to cope with ongoing pressures. This puts additional marketing activities off the table. 

This is a significant challenge considering 71% of SMEs recently studied stated that marketing was critical to their success over the pandemic.  

In addition, many businesses don’t have access to the necessary skills, experience, and tools required to deliver impactful marketing campaigns. Especially when they’re relying on a one-man band to create all this work. 

From knowing which platforms have the best cost-benefit ratio to understanding the framework of a successful strategy, possessing the necessary experience to implement digital campaigns is the only way you’ll see real results.  

Additional support from an outsourced marketing agency can make all the difference here – providing access to the skills and experience needed to drive positive change, without the higher costs and timelines associated with internal hires. 

Read more about the benefits of an outsourced approach here.

Improvements, or the creation, of a website 

As much as 60% of SMEs interviewed within the report are turning their attention to improving or building their brand website. 

A quality brand website isn’t a luxury in 2021 – it’s a necessity. The world of commerce was already becoming entirely digital and this shift has only been accelerated post-pandemic. 

Your business’s website will show off your brand, your story, and your services to your audience. We all know that a poor website experience can immediately turn us off, either because we decide the company is underqualified or simply because we’re finding it difficult to engage. 

That’s why, as businesses re-emerge after the pandemic, digital platforms, primarily websites, are becoming a greater focus for marketing resources. The hope is that by optimising their website they will attract new users, leading to more conversions, and more positive growth.  

There are several routes you can take when deciding to improve your website. Performing an audit can help identify high-level issues such as load speed and ease of use, while using platforms such as SEMrush and Moz can help you dive deeper into your site’s metrics to find hidden insights.  

Learning how to measure the performance of your site, and how to improve design and personality, can help create an engaging and high-quality website that you can be proud of, and that will attract the right audience to your services. It’s a win-win situation! 

Businesses need rapid ROI 

CallRail highlights that, rather than a 5-year strategy, a short-term strategy that promises an almost instant ROI is the way to go. 

While businesses seem to be recovering from the consequences of a global pandemic, with a return to normality on the horizon, many SMEs will still be unable to invest in a long-term, slow-growth approach to marketing.  

Lead generation seems to be the key here.  

As businesses try and stabilise, short-term strategies will be more effective in helping them bounce back without large cost commitments. This can serve as an intermediary quick win approach until they’re able to take on bigger projects. 

Trust matters 

30% of businesses stated that they didn’t feel they could trust external agencies, while 48% of businesses reported that they thought agencies were incapable of providing additional assistance beyond lead generation. 

Trust between a business and its marketing agency is incredibly important, especially with small businesses which are still protective of their brand.  

While SMEs need the quick wins provided by short-term strategies, they also seem to find it hard to trust outsourced agencies. Without this trust, you’ll find that you’re constantly second-guessing your agency’s proposals which will delay work, your team won’t buy in which will lead to brand inconsistencies, and ultimately campaign activity will be ineffective or non-existent. 

So how can you solve this issue?  

The report suggests that winning trust can’t be forced, and we agree. Businesses looking to outsource should ensure they choose agencies with similar values and experience in the right sector. This way, their strategies will be much more aligned with your ambitions and the needs of the audience.   

An evolving marketing landscape 

This report provides readers with an insightful snapshot of the current marketing landscape for SMEs post-pandemic. While there are challenges, there are also clear solutions, strategies, and techniques that will align with this new landscape and support small enterprises to continue their growth.  

Whether you’re a marketing professional, the owner of a small business, or an SME team member, we recommend taking a look at CallRail’s report – you can find it here. 

Accelerate your strategic growth today 

At EV, we’re committed to creating scalable marketing structures and disruptive campaigns in collaboration with our clients. To learn more about the work we’ve done with previous clients, visit our case studies hub here, or to discuss how our strategic marketing models can help drive positive change for your business, book a free initial audit here.