SMEs need to invest in individuality, study suggests

New research suggests that UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that fail to embrace ‘individuality’ could be alienating potential customers and clients online.

The news follows the publication of Vistaprint’s Small Business Uniqueness Report, which found that many SMEs are failing to create and maintain a ‘unique brand image’ – and that such failures could be having an adverse impact t on their ability to attract new business.

The printing group’s report, which was published towards the end of last week, identified a number of key ‘branding mistakes’ that it said were causing big problems for SMEs.

Perhaps one of the most important issues raised was that of ‘poor descriptions’ on websites and social media pages, with Vistaprint finding that 68 per cent of small businesses were not adequately describing what they do online – and that this was having a knock-on effect on their ability to attract and retain customers.

Similarly, the report revealed that a third (33 per cent) of businesses were using ‘too much jargon’ in their online marketing and communications.

It said that this was alienating potential customers and putting businesses at an automatic disadvantage, due to the fact that they ‘sounded the same’ as their competitors.

Key words such as ‘friendly, family-run and independent’ were all highlighted as ‘cliches’ in the report, which said that businesses needed to use more engaging and unique content if they wanted to make their organisation stand out from the crowd.

The study also argued that SMEs needed to improve their online imagery and colour choices in order to attract more attention – and that SMEs needed to review their font choices and inconsistencies across their marketing platforms.

It warned that the internet was rapidly becoming the UK’s first ‘port of call’ when it comes to consumers making purchasing decisions, or trying to pin-down the products and services they desired.

As a result of this, it is absolutely vital that SMEs get their online marketing right, it said.