Business development · 19 June 2019

Supercharge your SME’s digital marketing performance

Do you know how to find new customers online? Do you do this successfully already? Or do words such as ‘programmatic’ or ‘cookie’ fill you with confusion? Without specialist training, many small-medium businesses struggle to get to grips with digital marketing.

But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare – with a bit of know-how, patience, and some simple steps, you can bring your digital marketing A-game as you reach potential customers in a way no other marketing can.

That’s why, at eBay, we’ve put together our four top tips to help SMEs – whatever their industry – reach new, relevant customers online, use their marketing budget efficiently, and grow their business.

1. Know your audience

Working out exactly who you want to reach is a key starting point for any digital marketing campaign. After all, an advertisement without an audience is just a stab in the dark. Begin by asking questions.

What groups of people or businesses might be interested in your goods or services? What characteristics do they share? And where is the best place to find and communicate with the audience?

Let’s say you want to find new clients for your accountancy services or technology. You need to consider who exactly you want to speak to, and the best route to reach them.

For example, someone who has recently bought a new car might need help managing their finances – so you could choose to work with an e-commerce platform to show ads to people who are searching for or who have recently bought a new car. Your ability to effectively engage with an audience will all depend on the platform you’re using and the data insights you need to reach them.

Partner with online platforms, such as eBay, that offer you insights on your audience and the ability to confidently target potential customers based on data such as purchase, search, location, interests or lifestyle.

By doing this right, you’ll be able to extend your reach beyond those people who are currently interested, to those that could be interested in the near future – expanding your pool of potential customers.

2. Get your message right

Once you’ve completed the first step of identifying your audience and the platforms you will use to target them, you need to create your advertisement.

A good ad should meet three basic criteria: a) it contains a relevant message for that audience b) it contains a clear call to action c) it’s attractive to look at.

It’s worth taking a look at the advertisements you see when you are browsing websites and checking if they meet these criteria. Which ads stand out to you? What would you do differently?

3. Test for success

That being said, pinpointing the right advertisement for your audience isn’t easy and even the most experienced marketers won’t always get it right the first time.

Different ads (or ‘creatives’ as they say in ad land) need to be distinctively different from each other so they can catch the right audience – and that’s why it’s best practice to test different advertisements and audiences in order to see which work best together.

For instance, a pet shop is looking to advertise its grooming services to pet owners. It creates two different versions of an ad but doesn’t know which one will resonate most with its audience – the one with a cute photo of a clean, groomed dog or the other with a funny photo of a shaggy-haired dog in the process of getting groomed.

By using a bit of budget to test the waters, and broadcasting each version of the ad for one to two weeks at a time to the same audience and measuring results, the pet shop will be able to deduce which advertisement should perform better in a longer campaign, and feel confident in placing the bulk of their budget behind this.

4. Measure your campaigns

email marketing

Measuring the success of your digital campaigns is critical to testing, and in the long run, it allows you to monitor the performance of your full campaigns, sometimes adjusting them as they run to optimise them.

But, most importantly, measurement means you can learn for your next campaign what to improve and what to keep the same.

There are various ways to measure how your ads are performing and the metrics available will vary depending on the platform you’re advertising on.

That being said, some metrics are more valuable than others – such as click-through rate, conversion rate, site visitors or even dropout rate. Follow these top tips and in time you’ll be a digital marketing expert.

If you want to find out more about how your business can reach people who are already in a buying mood, check out eBay Local Services Ads.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.



‘Ellen Mikals is Commercial Manager at eBay, one of the largest marketplaces in the world. Ellen works with the team behind eBay Local Services Ads, the newly released self-serve platform built to help small to medium size businesses reach eBay’s 177 million active buyers worldwide.’