BusinessRocketeer: 'Many SMEs leave great opportunities online' [interview]

Interview Ivo van den Brink - BusinessRocketeer for SMEs

BusinessRocketeer: 'Many SMEs leave great opportunities online' [interview]

Many entrepreneurs now know how to get traffic to their website. But that is where it starts, says BusinessRocketeer's Ivo van den Brink. “If you don't manage things well online, then that traffic will not help you. Your message and your offer must match your target group. Otherwise you get the wrong leads, more crowds and less success, "says Van den Brink. I spoke to him about the online challenges of SMEs now. “Due to the lack of success, many entrepreneurs think that online marketing does not work in their industry. That's a shame, because they miss out on a lot of sales. "

The digital mIvo van den Brink - BusinessRocketeerarketing agency BusinessRocketeer was founded in 2014 by Van den Brink with the aim of helping entrepreneurs in SMEs to be successful with online and offline marketing and sales. “Many companies are already doing well with digitization, especially the larger SMEs,” Van den Brink sketches. “Customer demand is developing at a rapid pace, and customers are always wanting more, faster and easier. After all, they can find another, better company via the internet. 90 percent of SMEs are lagging behind. Too little is being digitized, half of the SME websites are outdated. That is also because people think too much separately per instrument: what on earth am I putting on my website? And in my newsletter? And on social media?”

But it's not that fast, is it? Many SMEs are running fine, even with that outdated website.
“An SME is extremely goal-oriented. He immediately wants to know how they can earn money with something. But marketing means investing, for example in growing a mailing list. These new relationships have to gradually get used to you, especially in the B2B market,” says Van den Brink. He thinks for a moment. “Look, today's customer has everything under his thumb – mobile – or index finger – tablet or PC. People are used to being able to order directly, to have something delivered quickly, to know when something will be delivered, to be able to ask questions through various channels and to receive an immediate answer. 23% of all consumer spending is already going online. That will continue to grow for the time being. And almost half of online buyers also do this via mobile. Don't have a mobile website, for example? Then you miss that turnover immediately. You can see the new consumer as an annoyingly spoiled child, but it is also an opportunity. Every entrepreneur sees that they have to do something about this sooner or later. And of course earlier is better.”

What do you think SMEs really need?
“The majority of SMEs find it difficult to deal with this because many want to solve it in the traditional way: run faster, do more manual work in less time, digitize a bit but still do manual work, such as lists in Excel or on Google drive. They think by instrument. A website, social media or a newsletter is then quickly seen as extra work. But it is an opportunity to make these tools work for you, so that you can inform your customers and leads more easily and faster.”

Why did you start with BusinessRocketeer?
BusinessRocketeer arose out of my own frustration because customization is so hard to sell. Basically you say: I have customization and that can help you. I just don't know what you need and what solution I can come up with. Breaking your products or services into bite-sized chunks makes it easier to interest leads and convert them into customers. You can structure these steps very well and often automate them with digital marketing. I do believe that digital marketing with good old sales produces the best combination. With digital marketing you identify leads in a structured way, convert them with sales into customers, identify opportunities for upsell with digital marketing and convert them in turn with sales. Digital marketing ensures a system that keeps running, it becomes a flywheel. That is an opportunity that many entrepreneurs miss out on.”

Can you give an example of how that works in practice?
“A good example is Blockchain Realists. Blockchain technology is still in its infancy. Finding a focus and structure in the business model was therefore a major challenge for the two founders. So: on which product-market combination do you want to accelerate? With which products? How can we break this down into bite-sized chunks? To make it easier for potential customers to become trusted and become customers? The men pick this up great, while they aren't hardcore sellers at all, on the contrary. Digital marketing makes it easy for them. They now use a combination of offline – presentations and a mobile lead catcher – and online – landing pages, mail automation, digital standardized quotations and knowledge articles.

Where previously they occasionally received a lead from the audience, and offered a customized solution over a long period of time, this is now being done on a structural basis. First they sell something small, with a standardized quote. It is immediately followed up personally. I think that is a typical example of a smooth and structured marketing and sales machine that combines offline and online, without it costing them much effort.”

What are the typical pitfalls that entrepreneurs encounter in digitization?
“Digital marketing needs to get going. A new lead will never just buy from you right away. It is investing in a funnel and somewhere some of the leads come back as customers. A few years ago I set up a campaign for a customer via LinkedIn. That generated quite a few leads, but initially almost no new customers. We went too far by immediately coming up with an offer. That didn't work, but we continued to give knowledge away. If you see that a number of these suddenly happen two years later, then you know that it works. You just have to give lead generation time.

Do you want fast results? Then you better offer something extra to your existing customers. They are already a fan of yours, so it is much easier to sell to them. Entrepreneurs often want a website first. They often think they already know what to do. This is almost always traditionally thought of from the perspective of the online folder. If you talk to them to find out why they want a website, you often get much further: it turns out that you can do some things better with email, others with social and others with a simple landing page. And some things you just have to solve with sales, especially in the B2B market. The combination is the most powerful.

It's like a first date, you don't immediately go to bed with each other. It is better to start with a no-obligation giveaway, and then an easy entry-level one. I experienced this myself with my market research agency. As a small agency, we were unable to reach our target group. So we came up with a giveaway: a free question in our PanelWizard. An internet panel that provides feedback on commercials very quickly. We provided insight into the reactions of their target group in an online report, but then during a presentation. And that was allowed at more than 200 A-brands. In the presentation we came up with a follow-up offer, in which the added value was clear and the risk limited. Only then was the way clear for customization.”

How do you do customization?
“It sounds like a cliché, but it's 1+1=3. It's not just about the experience and technology I bring in, but also about the experiences of my customer. Together we devise a marketing and sales plan that works: a RocketPlan. Especially when I'm together with an entrepreneur, then we get solutions that are right. The power of the entrepreneur is truly indispensable. Such as the question: what do I post on the website and on social media. If we think about it together, we get this story on one A4. And then you know exactly what the website should do. And what should be on social. What to email. What should be in your offer and how to follow this up. And that also applies to your colleagues; it becomes crystal clear. Then a lot of uncertainty about 'online' and 'digital' suddenly disappears like snow in the sun. Ditto with the prejudice that a website is really no more than an online folder. Because an entrepreneur who still thinks that, will miss a lot and has to compensate too much offline. You can no longer sustain that in the long run.

If you don't know exactly how to use all those instruments, the mutual coherence, then you quickly go to meaningless bits and pieces in your digital marketing. And your sales remain too dependent on customization. That's not scalable. A smart interior will take you much further. And it works much nicer. You can leave more to your colleagues.”

You gave away a lot of tips. SMEs who read this can actually get started themselves. Why would they hire a digital marketing agency like BusinessRocketeer?
“If you do your marketing yourself as an SME entrepreneur, you miss the expertise and, above all, the time. Because that new assignment always comes first, everyone knows that. But hiring someone is too expensive for many SMEs. So, online marketing is placed in pieces with different employees, on top of their current range of tasks. In practice, that just doesn't work. Engaging a digital marketing agency will cost you part of an FTE. That gives you more, costs less and keeps your hands free to handle the larger flow of assignments. And because you organize your sales in a smarter way, that task now takes you less time. That way you can take on new business.”

What's the next step for companies that want to know more?
“My giveaway of course”, laughs Ivo. “It is an e-book, Successful B2B lead generation with the Bite-sized Chunks method, and you can download it at In this I explain how you can be more successful with your online marketing and sales, thanks to bite-sized chunks. With a handy step-by-step plan.”


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