The overwhelming digital sea known as the World Wide Web is, without a doubt, conquered by big-named brands that tower over the online presence of small businesses. To all small businesses that are fighting for exposure on Google and want to utilize digital marketing to be found online: We not only salute you, but want to reassure you that there’s hope!
It might surprise you that being a small business has its digital advantages. As an agile, local business, you have the power to be more reactive than big businesses and can offer a more personalized experience to your community. As a small business ourselves, we’re rooting for you and know with the right tools and guidance, you can rule your industry’s space in digital marketing.
Check out our ultimate guide to digital marketing domination below and soon your small business’s marketing efforts will be competing with the top dogs within your industry!
The Main Digital Tools
There are hundreds of digital tools to help streamline your daily operations, but social media is one of the strongest tools to capture new customers and track exposure to your business.
Here’s an example: You’re a local coffee shop and create some insanely-delicious iced lattes, which happens to be your best-selling item. You want to spread the word about these one-of-a-kind lattes outside of your community and introduce them to the world. A good place to start is to find people on social media having a poor experience with a big-named competitor like Starbucks. Find these people’s posts or tweets and reach out to them (specifically, Hootsuite has a feature that allows you to search and filter social for specific topics and hashtags to see people’s conversations). Offer these potential customers a free iced latte next time they’re in the area. These kinds of small costs add up for a big win.
Utilize Local Support
Business is all about trust, and open communication is the foundation for trust building. Your small business has the benefit of personalizing the customer experience while building strong relationships, which is an area that big businesses struggle to excel. A small business can get to know their local customers/clients very well, which allows them to build trust through steady communication.
Many people feel forced into trusting a big, established brand because of their size, but sometimes as a business grows they lose focus to other areas. Bigger companies tend to forget how to communicate with their human side, and they prefer to use impersonal, generic text and stock photos for their website. As a small business, take advantage of adding visual elements from around your community to your social pages or website. Center your promotions around community events and consider using your actual customers as the “models” for your website. Any way you can tie the local community into your digital marketing efforts will go a long way in appealing to your area’s customers.
Remember to be honest about what it is that people enjoyed about your business from the start. Although the cliché “just be yourself” has been beaten to death, it’s very true for this situation. The locals will love you for never forgetting yourself and staying true to your roots.
Take Digital Risks
As a small business, risks are something you face every day. However, with the digital scope being a huge as it is, now is not the time to post a simple picture of your iced latte with #coffee next to it. Don’t play it safe; take digital risks to get your brand some much-needed exposure.
Do you have a new smartphone? If so, you probably have slow-motion video capabilities. Using the coffee shop from earlier as an example, stand on a chair, pour your iced latte info someone’s mouth who is laying on the floor and film it with your slow motion camera. Post it on your social media pages with a fun blurb like, “Monday vibes got you moving slow? Stop in and drain your #mondayblues with our famous iced latte. Shout ‘Cure My Blues’ when ordering at the counter and receive $2 off your order.”
Does this seem extreme or just plain weird? If so, mission accomplished!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to dump coffee on people’s faces for attention if that’s not one of your brand’s “values.” The point we’re trying to make is there are thousands of pictures posted every day of a cup of coffee. Strive to create posts that are intriguing and have a unique touch to it. These kind of bold moves are what’s going to help you get the exposure you want. Have fun with your digital efforts and put something out there that’s never been seen. Plus, you’ll have more fun with these low-budget efforts than you ever would during an expensive photoshoot!
For any small business, slow and steady growth is what’s going to get your where you want to be. If you really want make a digital marketing impact, you cannot replicate everything that already exists. Your business can’t afford to stay in its comfort zone forever; it will need to venture out to deeper waters and explore areas never seen by man.
When it comes to your digital marketing, your small business can be a huge part of this digital landscape. Utilize the online tools at hand, take advantage of your locals, and remember to be different than everyone else. In no time, your small business will be swimming with the big-named businesses and be seen as a true competitor in your space.
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