Last month, I sat down with Laurie McCabe for our latest EngageBay interview as part of an ongoing series. Laurie is both a co-founder and a partner of SMB Group and specializes in small and medium businesses, particularly areas like managed services, collaboration, and social networking, business solutions, mobile solutions, and cloud computing. McCabe has also been a part of Summit Strategies as its vice president, AMI-Partners as its Vice President of SMB Insights and Solutions, Hurwitz & Associates as a partner and analyst, and Digital Equipment Corporation as a Director of Market and Competitive Intelligence.

From New Bedford, New Hampshire, Laurie’s illustrious career has seen her achieve many accolades. These include AllBusiness.com calling her one of their most influential people in small business marketing as well as having earned the Small Business Influencer Award six times running. Today, Laurie has a huge social media following, as on Twitter, she has more than 15,000 followers. She also blogs regularly on her own website

Let’s cover the many captivating topics I was fortunate enough to chat with Laurie about for nearly an hour in our interview. 

Small Businesses Should Invest in One Area at a Time (and Track Results)

For a small or medium-sized business, it’s easy to look at all the big fish in the pond, i.e., the successful Fortune 500s out there, and directly compare your progress to theirs. This makes you feel like you have to do everything now, now, now. However, a Fortune 500’s budget will far exceed yours, limiting what you can do.

Laurie says in such a situation, it’s much better to invest in one area of your strategy at a time. Whether that’s social media marketing, sales, or email marketing, start with one thing and work your way up.

Don’t just assume that the one thing won’t necessarily work, either. In the interview, Laurie mentions the importance of tracking progress consistently over weeks and months. That’s the only way to know if you’re getting results, after all.

Relationship Building Still Matters, Even on a Smaller Scale

Just because you’re an SMB doesn’t mean you can afford to skip nurturing and engaging with your audience. In fact, since you’re a smaller, growing company, it’s even more crucial you take the time to devote to relationship building. 

Laurie calls it “the be-all and end-all unless you’re selling a total commodity.” She adds: “Everything has to start and will end if you don’t have the relationship.” While Laurie says the facetime you get with clients and customers is important, she adds that today’s digital world makes it easy to use other forms of communication for relationships as well. So you can have facetime and FaceTime if you will.

Laurie McCabe

Influencer Marketing Does Have a Role in SMB, But It’s Less Salesy

If you’re looking to hire or set up an agreement with some influencers and you’re a small business, that’s a smart move. McCabe advises to “enlarge the influences that are affiliated with your brand.” You don’t want these people to be salespeople, but rather advocates for your products and services.

Laurie mentions sometimes this does mean paying for influencers, but she suggests you move away from traditional ads and use sponsorship opportunities through your influencers instead. She says it’s more about extending the message than selling, selling, selling.

I hope you enjoyed this interesting glimpse into my interview with Laurie McCabe. Laurie was wonderful to chat with, and I’m very grateful she took the time to speak to me and contribute to EngageBay in such a meaningful way.

If you’re interested in hearing more of Laurie’s advice, I recommend you check out the interview in full