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Small Businesses Turning to Virtual CMOs as Cost-Effective Alternatives

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In the era of digital, job roles are evolving. Increasing remote opportunities are allowing small businesses and start-ups better access to resources around the globe. Particularly when it comes to marketing.

Traditionally you would expect to find a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in a large organisation, but this often comes with a price tag.

This week, Australian entrepreneur and start-up marketing guru Elisa Chan, announced a joint partnership with travel industry veteran Lisa Maroun to merge their two independent businesses, Traveller Inspired (a business Maroun founded in 2014) and meko8 (Chan’s marketing agency founded in 2016) to form Enspired+.

Formerly, the individual companies provided marketing services from start to finish including media management, sales, events, public relations, promotions, branding and research and digital campaigns.

Together, the companies have over 20 years of marketing experience and serve over 25 clients ranging from small businesses to multinationals. Their existing client base represents a joint market capitalisation of over $5 Billion USD. Following the merger Chan said “Enspired+ will increasingly take on larger clients beyond the travel and technology industries.”

Lisa Maroun and Elisa Chan Enspired+

Lisa Maroun and Elisa Chan

Speaking about their offerings, Chan said “Enspired+ is an integrated marketing agency offering businesses outside-the-box marketing solutions for their business growth. By working on an ‘as-needs’ basis, we tap into our network of over 30 local and global marketing specialists to offer businesses of all sizes, the skillsets in marketing that they might be lacking due to financial or resourcing constraints.”

By drawing on these skills, the expertise of others, and their own invaluable experience across an array of marketing disciplines, Chan says it’s why they can offer consistently creative and flexible delivery.

Having worked with over 40 start-ups across the globe since Chan sold her first start-up in 2011, she knows that expert marketing can deliver outstanding results, but often start-ups and small businesses can’t afford their own marketing team. That’s why Chan and Maroun set out to solve this problem with Enspired+.

Enspired+ currently serve customers in two ways:

Complete marketing projects – By creating goal-orientated plans, start-ups can feel like they have their own in-house CMO with frequent checkpoints for tracking.

Month-month marketing – That aims to work in the short term to focus on achieving business goals, like better social media presence or searchability.

It’s a refreshingly simple approach that allows them to solve the revenue problems of larger firms while helping start-ups scale quickly. It also works well with mid-level or medium sized businesses needing marketing assistance.

These are the kind of services backed by genuine experience and trusted networks that are making virtual CMOs stand out for start-ups and larger businesses alike to make a difference in their marketing. Because now, they can get the benefits of an in-house CMO without the cost by going virtual, but also without compromising on skill, experience and creativity.

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Inbound Marketing: How it Could Possibly Help Small-Medium Enterprises?

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Inbound marketing is identified as a kind of “pull marketing”, where the goal is to bring in purchasers who are new to the company, via interacting, useful and value-adding material, based on the phase of buying journey.

Any channel that brings in unidentified buyers such that they enquire about your products and services, rather than you hunting them individually is an inbound marketing method. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a source of inbound marketing.

Thomas Foo from TNT SEO mentioned that in the year 2020, the Malaysians are very anxious about Coronavirus, with top areas of concern being family members health, own health, job security, the overall economy and spreading the virus to others. Because of this, SEO becomes crucial for small-medium enterprises to make it through throughout this challenging time.

Content is the Backbone of Inbound Marketing

Search Engine Optimization is without a doubt the biggest source of traffic for any website. As an example, if you run a outdoor gear shop and somebody performs a Google search for the keywords “sleeping bag”, then you would want to appear first in the search engine result, since the large majority of clicks go to the top 3 or 4 organic results.

To win over inbound marketing, you will need content that fulfils the searcher’s intent. Most often than not, they are interesting, easy-to-scan and most importantly, provide a solution and value to the readers.

Inbound marketing techniques can be started whenever you wish but it takes skills and budget to succeed. This is why most businesses in Malaysia that need SEO services will choose to engage an experienced online marketing company to take care of this component of their business on their behalf.

Remember that a serious SEO requires planning on content strategy, onsite audit, backlink acquisition and great client communication.

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Marketing

5 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

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According to the Small Business Administration, Small Businesses were responsible for creating over 60% of the net new jobs since 1993 in the United States. However, with the advent of the Internet and the large scale adoption of various technologies by the masses, various aspects of running a business have changed. Be it Finance or Marketing, the way things were done ten or even five years back, are no longer applicable now. In this post ‘5 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses‘, we will understand the five most important contemporary marketing trends and how businesses can use these marketing strategies for getting better results.

5 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Use the power of Email Marketing

What is Email Marketing?

Email Marketing involves sending emails to a group of people, hoping that they will buy a product or service from your current offerings or they will buy products or services from you when you launch them in the future.

Email Marketing is still one of the best ways to reach out to your prospective clients. By landing in their Inbox, you have a chance to grab more attention as email ids are considered as private information and when you have access to someone’s email address you have a chance to give a more personal feel to your marketing campaign.

However, you have to be very cautious in your email marketing campaigns as you don’t want to abuse it by sending too many emails.

You should also try to add a personal touch to your emails and should not be promotional at the beginning itself. Try to add some value to your email subscribers by giving them tips that might genuinely interest them.

If you are into a product-based business, at the beginning of your email, let your readers know all about what’s happening around your product. Similarly, if you are into a service-based business, you can let your readers know about the latest problem areas in your area of business and then gently let them know how your offerings might help them solve their problems.

Email marketing is one of the oldest marketing techniques and looking at the current trends, this will remain as one of the most effective marketing technique in the foreseeable future too.

Focus on your Website’s SEO

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization is the act of optimizing your business’ online presence so that when someone searches for a keyword related to your business, your business name appears in the search result, preferably on the top.

SEO should be one of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. No matter how good your product or service is, if it does not appear in search results, it is no good. You might be the best Interior Designer in Los Angeles, but if your business name does not appear in the search result for the keyword ‘Best Interior Designer in Los Angeles’ or ‘Top Interior Designer in Los Angeles’, probably you are losing out on a lot of business.

SEO involves long term dedication and constant work. You have to constantly work on the various aspects of SEO.

For example, you have to regularly look out for keywords that are performing good for your business type and then you need to produce timely content for those keywords.

You also need to update your old content from time to time. While sharing important Marketing tips for small businesses, Marketing Guru Rachel R. Noall in her article revealed some valuable SEO statistics too. For example, 75% of consumers never scroll past page 1 on Google! That should ring some alarm bells if you are not already focusing on your SEO.

Leverage the reach of Social Media Marketing

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing is the process of finding your targeted customers on popular social media marketing platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn among others. Your marketing campaign on these platforms can be promotional i.e you pay to these platforms so that your post’s chances of appearing on the walls of your prospective clients increases with the assistance of algorithms of these platforms or it could be non- promotional where you expect your prospective clients see your posts. For non- promotional campaigns, there are various groups that you can join and promote your business without being too pushy.

Social Media Marketing can be a very effective weapon in your Social Media Marketing arsenal. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn provide the option of targeted promotion of your content. In traditional marketing campaigns, it is hard to achieve this level of targeting.

According to Statista,” As of January 2020, it was found that ten percent of global active Facebook users were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years, and male users between the ages of 25 and 34 years constituted the biggest demographic group of Facebook users.”

If you are a manufacturer of men’s grooming products, you would probably want your advertisement to be displayed to men of a particular age group in a particular location. Being a small business owner, you would want to spend your advertising budget wisely and social Media platforms allow you to achieve this level of targeting and that too at a nominal cost.

Become a sponsor for Local Events

By participating in local events, you increase your business contacts. That’s good but instead of just participating, try to sponsor one or two events and in return advertise your company by placing your banners at strategic locations. Small businesses thrive on local clients. Local events can be business conferences, charity events, school functions, etc. You should aim at building contacts and letting people know through your banners that you mean business.

For a majority of Small Businesses, local business means everything and local events give an excellent opportunity to promote your business.

Build an awesome Lead Magnet

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is what marketers or businesses offer to their prospective clients for free in return for their contact information so that they can be converted in to buyers later on. You might have visited several websites where you see pop ups asking you if you are interested in downloading a Free E-Book. You just have to enter your email address and you are done. You get the free E-Book as promised in your inbox. While you definitely got your free E-Book, the marketer or the business owner just got your email address which can be later used for marketing campaigns and if you liked the free content, you are likely to pay if the same business comes with an E-Book but has a price tag on it.

Therefore, it is important that you have an awesome lead magnet. What you are offering for free should in no way be low in quality and should genuinely add value to your prospective clients. Even if the client does not buy anything from you, the experience that you provided might turn him or her into a client in distant future too.

In order to build an effective lead magnet, focus on the problems of your clients. Try to provide some free solutions to their problems through e-books or videos and focus on genuinely solving their problems. This way, you will build trust with your prospective clients.

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Interview

In this Interview, Marketing Guru Rachel R. Noall Shares Some Valuable Tips for Creatives and how Businesses Should look for Opportunities in these Tough Times

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Rachel R. Noall is a Marketing Guru and the founder and CEO of RN Marketing Collective. The firm’s mission? To provide creative entrepreneurs with the digital marketing solutions they need to flourish.

I recently got a chance to interact with her. During my interaction with her, she talked about some of the biggest marketing blunders, areas where digital marketers can focus to get desired results and also about how the current pandemic has provided a plethora of opportunities for business owners.

Rachel, Thank you for having this Interaction. For the last few years, you have been helping businesses improve their digital footprint. For our readers, tell us how and where exactly your journey began?

I never sought out to be a business owner. That being said, to make money as a creative writer, one has to learn about how to run a business – there’s simply no way around it. As I was navigating how to market myself, I found that there were not many accessible options for everyday creatives, people pursuing passion projects, or even for small business owners. 

After diving headfirst into all things marketing, I can now say, that 4 years after my journey began, I’ve worked as a consultant for some of the most successful companies within their given sectors. 

With all of the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired, I want to bring the top digital marketing strategies to creatives. Creative entrepreneurs require out-of-the-box solutions, and these don’t have to come at a high price tag.


What inspired you to help entrepreneurs in their marketing pursuits? 

Honestly, the lack of options and misinformation.

Unless you’ve worked in marketing you don’t know “what’s a good deal.” You also don’t know what questions to ask and what strategies actually produce valuable results. 

I know so many people who are talented and they produce amazing products to their clients, but they don’t know where to begin when marketing is brought up. I want to help these entrepreneurs – those adding true value to their customers, tangible and affordable marketing options in a world that’s otherwise saturated with hefty invoices and false promises.


Being a marketing expert, tell us more about how marketing has evolved in the last couple of years? 

There are a few things that have shifted marketing practices over the last few years.

Algorithms on all platforms are updated constantly. Whereas businesses could be discovered easily 10 years ago on social platforms, they are all now more “pay-to-play” arenas.

SEO practices, and particularly local SEO, are more important than ever. Competition is so high for popular keywords. Businesses and bloggers can’t just leave SEO to the “Google gods” anymore; being deliberate, purposeful, and paying attention to detail is key.


Some people do not see the desired results for their social media campaigns. How can they optimize their campaign for better results?

Invest in a good survey. Get to know your audience, and not just want they like, but who they are, their age, where they live, and about any related interests.

Having all of this information can help you paint a more specific picture of your target audience. The thing is, each niche audience encounters their interests differently, and the survey can help you nix or add strategies that probably weren’t on your radar.


Do you believe LinkedIn is an underrated marketing space? 

Absolutely. All statistics show that LinkedIn is growing at an exponential rate. Additionally, the premium features offered on LinkedIn facilitate lead generation.

Every small business should be on LinkedIn. No exceptions.


How should businesses tune their marketing strategies during and after the Corona pandemic? 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrolled through Instagram and seen some cringe-worthy advertising during this crisis.

It happened so often, in fact, that RN Marketing Collective authored an article titled “Do’s and Don’ts: Marketing During COVID-19.”

Instead of asking anything from consumers, companies need to focus on what they can give – what value they can offer to make this unprecedented time feel less scary.

Right now, I suggest focusing on community-building and making offers instead asks.


Many businesses make a mistake in copying marketing strategies from other successful businesses. However, one size does not fit all and this holds true in the field of marketing too. Do you agree with this assertion? If yes, why? 

One size DOES NOT fit all. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t learn from others. 

Specifically, what businesses like yours, on a local level, are the most successful? 

There are ways to emulate this success without mimicking it of course. For example, if local SEO is driving clients to their website, you should probably have local SEO at the forefront of your marketing strategy too.

I would never recommend copying another business’ marketing strategy. This ignores the fact that your branding, employees, and clients are unique – don’t make that mistake; if you don’t think you’re extraordinary, why would clients choose you over a competitor?


What tip would you give to young entrepreneurs who are reading this Interview and are in the process of launching their marketing campaign? 

First of all, congratulations. This is an exciting time, and while all new business owners have some nerves to shake off, most of this journey should be thrilling.

Second, don’t feel like you have to do “everything” when it comes to marketing. Small spends and testing are your friends. Find what works for you, and that won’t always look like checking off all of the major marketing “boxes.” 

Experiment. Hone your message. Dive in.

At RN Marketing Collective, your dream is our priority. If you want to learn more about how we serve creative entrepreneurs, reach out to us. We’re happy to be your ally and teammate as you grow your business.

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