How can small and medium sized business compete with the ginormous marketing budgets available to big businesses and still be heard?
The digital space offers unique opportunities to reach your audience. Cost-effective, omnipresent, and accommodating, the internet is what most brands now turn to to get their marketing hygiene in place. Social media platforms have extended from providing individuals a platform for networking to offering brands a platform to communicate. Be it email marketing or where your website shows up on a Google search, online presence is a huge part of a brand’s identity today. From epic twitter brand battles, to quickly hopping onboard trends, megabrands are using social media, websites and emails to grab attention like never before. They’re also spending big money on it.
So how does a small or medium sized business make itself heard in the face of the big billion voices? Should your business be on social media at all? Are you wasting your hard-earned returns on social media? Not at all. With the rise of the big businesses, social media platforms like every other good thing that comes our way, have become increasingly commercial. The bane of every active internet user is the capitalist in your face marketing that continues to haunt our personal feeds.
Here’s where small and medium businesses gain unforeseen leverage. A growing online egalitarian culture is celebrating and actively supporting small and medium businesses. Here are a few ways you can capitalise your digital presence to speak and be heard:
Be present and well
Digital presence extends beyond having social media accounts, to having a well-structured webpage, consistent conversations, comprehensive touchpoints, and reasonable online availability. Plan your social media presence, create a website that is informative and seamless, incorporate multiple email, messaging, and social media platforms in your outreach, and respond to your online community!
Build a cohesive identity
Some of the best-known restaurants in the world are one shop setups that are as well recognised as fast-food mega chains! Why? These restaurants have carefully marketed image that emphasizes the quality of their food, their unique style of cooking or even where or how they source ingredients. What is your brand known for? Is it personalisation? Or quality? Does your website reflect that value? Do your emails resonate with your identity?
Test out marketing trends
The luxury of having a marketing team that can afford to sit down and think up content for the brand, might be lost to small and medium businesses, but one of the best parts about content on the internet is that ideas are boundless. Trends, challenges, memes, reactions all exist at a scale that is almost wasteful. All you have to do is participate! Customise memes to make them relevant, take part in a few challenges, contribute to conversations that are trending, tailor your email marketing to ongoing conversations and keep your website updated with blogs on trending searches. Look up “ride the wave” and make it your marketing goal.
Personalise. Personalise. Personalise.
Small and medium-sized businesses have the unique advantage of having an online audience that they can fully respond to. For big businesses engaging with their audience can be an overwhelming task, leaving marketing interns the world over at the end of their wits. Smaller businesses have an easier job. Here’s where Google’s ad personalisation options come in handy; you can actively target users that have visited your page ensuring you’re capitalising on existing products. Ad targeting also allows you to integrate other marketing approaches. Client abandoned their cart? Get in touch via mail to find out why! Or maybe get in touch with a previous client to remind them to restock or renew? You get to grow both your business and your community at your pace and built goodwill to last a lifetime.
Listen and make your community feel heard.
No matter how many tweets a Nike or Coca-Cola responds to, it is only a small part of their community that feels heard. Small businesses have smaller audiences to listen to, which means you can listen better and consequently respond better. Invest time and energy in meeting your community online and helping them feel heard. And don’t forget that communities reach out everywhere, over call, in website chats, through emails, on WhatsApp; messages are everywhere! Be present; be responsive.
Target on point
The internet is vast expanse. For big brands looking to be heard, it’s difficult to accurately know where your audience is and cover all bases. Small and medium businesses have the advantage of knowing exactly where your clients are and what they like. Targeting is a game made easier for small businesses. Localised ads and promotions help deliver impactful messages to the audience you’re most likely to see turnover from.
Good design always gets attention
People always notice clever design; small and medium businesses rarely spend time on design. If your webpage looks nice, you are likely to retain traffic longer. If your social media posts are well-designed, they are likely to draw more engagement. Do not play it by the ear. Invest in design.
Small and medium sized businesses are to local legacy what Oman chips are to the Middle East. Small businesses can build loyalty to an extent big brands rarely can. Think of small shops that you tend to patronize simply because of their proximity. Harnessing and growing this proximity builds goodwill in the community and mandates customer loyalty. The beautiful thing about being local is that no one knows your town like you do. You know what your neighbours want, you know what your community needs. Cater to them unapologetically and then talk about how you do that. Create content on how locally in-tune you are and watch your community respond in kind.
Be smart about SEO
Being heard on the internet is not an easy feat, being found on the internet is slightly easier. Pay attention to whether your customers can reach you online and how easy that is. Keywords help your customers find you on the internet.
Investing time and resources into intelligent marketing at the start of your business helps you grow faster. Doing it early on also means that you will not one day realize that you have been doing it all wrong and be forced to call for an emergency website revamp.
Don’t wing your marketing on account of size. Facing giants isn’t as daunting as it sounds.
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