Just because your small business is not a big brand doesn’t mean it can’t compete like one.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Stop thinking marketing your small business online is not possible because you don’t have the budget.
A big brand rarely becomes successful solely from sinking money into a marketing campaign.
Big brands become successful because they’ve developed a winning strategy.
A large budget is nothing compared to the right strategy.
Any small business has the ability to market itself online, which means it’s more possible than ever to compete at a high level.
You just have to know where to start.
You also have to have a little humility in understanding where your online marketing efforts may be lacking.
If your small business isn’t the competitive force online that you’d like it to be I’m going to try to help change that for you.
With this post I want to help you understand what the big brands are doing right, and how you can use these tactics for marketing your small business online.
The Top 3 Areas Where Your Online Marketing Efforts Are Lacking
As you’re reading through this section please keep in mind that I’m making generalizations based on my experience of working with small businesses.
All of these points may not apply to you specifically. I’m not trying to say you’re doing everything wrong!
But it’s more than likely at least one or several of these points apply to your small business and there’s something you can learn from them.
1. LACK OF A SOLID STRATEGY WITH DEFINED GOALS
A solid strategy is like a road map for success. Without one you’re just navigating through the web aimlessly.
A lot of small businesses just get themselves online because they feel pressured to do it. Regardless of whether or not they have any idea what to do once they get there.
Start with a little market analysis:
- What demographics are you trying to reach?
- Why do they want your products and services?
- Who are your competitors?
- How can you do something better, or different, than what your competitors are doing online?
These are all questions that need to be answered before you even think of launching a website or establishing a social media presence.
Also, setting goals is absolutely essential. You have to know what you want to achieve with your online marketing efforts.
Knowing who your audience is and having some goals to focus on is a great start to getting more competitive.
2. POOR OR INCONSISTENT BRANDING
Something that you may notice about all the successful big brands is that they all have unified branding. The logo, colors and fonts are all the same everywhere you look.
This is one of the easiest things your small business can start doing to look and compete like a big brand.
Your business probably already has a logo. If not, that’s step one.
The next thing to consider is what colors and typefaces best represent your business, then stick with those everywhere your business has a presence online.
Your website should be designed with a consistency between colors and font choices, which should extend to all of your social media profiles as well.
These all help form an identity and a personality that make people feel a certain way when they interact with your business.
Working with a design agency might be key in this step. When you consider the importance of first impressions, and realize that most peoples’ first impression of your business is its website, it’s a small investment that will pay off for years to come.
3. NOT DRAWING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Don’t trick yourself into thinking that just because your business is online people will find it. Certainly don’t be shy to draw attention to your website and social media profiles.
It’s important to drive traffic to your social media profiles and your website whenever possible.
Think about the big brands and how you see their website address, Facebook URL and Twitter handle on just about everything. To compete like them that’s something you need to start doing as well.
Any interaction a person has with your business should come with an invitation to connect with you online.
4 Things Your Small Business Needs To Do To Be More Competitive
Now that we’ve talked about where your online marketing efforts are lacking, lets shift to a positive note and talk about what you can do to get more competitive.
These are not quick fixes, but they are all well within the means of any small business.
The only investments you might need to make are of course time, and possibly enlisting the expertise of a consultant depending on your comfort level with online marketing.
But as far as budgets are concerned, there’s nothing here that’s going to break the bank.
1. START WITH A CLEAN, MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEB DESIGN
The main idea of the web is, and always has been, making information more accessible.
If your website design isn’t clean and easy to read on mobile devices then you’re not accessible to myriad users who are browsing the web on smartphones and tablets instead of desktops and laptops.
It’s hard to find a big brand these days that doesn’t have a responsive website design.
If you don’t have the money to hire a design agency to redesign your website to be mobile friendly, there are plenty of highly customizable responsive website templates available for you to choose from. All are very affordable.
One thing is for sure, if you want to have a seriously competitive online presence you can’t afford to neglect mobile users.
2. MAKE BETTER USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
You’re probably already using social media for marketing your small business, but chances are you’re not using it to its full potential. There’s always room for improvement.
With a bit of time and expertise you can market yourself just like any big brand on social media.
I believe in this so strongly that for the past few years I’ve been maintaining this blog full of tips and advice for how small businesses can use social media more effectively.
It may also be motivating to know that your small business even has an advantage over big brands on social media in certain areas.
Social media is one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways for small businesses to market themselves. If you need to know how to get more out of your social media efforts just keep following this blog.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
What good is a website that never gets any traffic? How effective is it if it can’t be found by people who are looking for your products and services?
SEO is the art of getting your website found by your target audience for its most profitable keywords.
With a mobile friendly website and strong social media presence you’ll be on your way to great rankings in the search results.
The next step is to look into SEO best practices and optimize your website accordingly.
Adding a blog to your website that provides people with insanely useful information and driving traffic to it will boost you up even higher in the search results pages.
Plus the blog content will give you something to share on social media. It all comes full circle.
Mobile, search and social are the keys to staying competitive in today’s marketplace. They all complement each other and all make your online marketing as effective as any big brand’s.
Wrapping It Up
Your small business can be as competitive online as any big brand. It starts with refining your strategy, unifying your branding and drawing more attention to your online presence.
Through focusing your online marketing on mobile, search and social you can compete just like a big brand even without their big budgets.
Do you agree that small businesses have the ability to market themselves online just like the big brands? If not, what’s holding them back? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section below!