As a small business owner, you know that you need to differentiate your service from your competitors in order to stand out in today’s market place. While some businesses completely revolutionize an industry or create a whole new one, most businesses are providing products and services quite similar to others. When this is the case, your small business needs marketing strategies to make it stand apart from the pack. The following 15 marketing tactics can help your business do just that.
1. Identify Your Unique Selling Point
Every business needs to know what makes them different than their competitors. Are you the best at offering customer service? How about offering efficient service? Do you destroy deadlines? Identify what makes you unique and share it in all of your marketing materials.
2. Define Your Customer Narrowly
If your target customer is women, you have a lot of narrowing down to do. Identify the most specific form of your customer down to the life circumstances, age, income, and more. A better target customer would be “divorced women between the ages of 45-60 with a minimum household income of $60k-$100k, and who runs a small business.”
3. Know Your Competition
Before you even can really identify what’s unique about your business, you need to know who you’re competing against. Researching your competition will give you insights into what types of marketing tactics they use and what opportunities you might be able to seize.
4. Grow Your Network
Networking is perhaps one of the most effective forms of marketing for the small business owner. It won’t only lead to new clients but could be a source of strategic partnerships, new business opportunities, and referrals. Strive to spend a few hours each month networking in order to build your circle of influence.
5. Share Your Expertise with the Public
Whenever you can find an opportunity to share your experience, you build your authority and credibility in your industry. Seek out opportunities to speak in public and teach others. Perhaps you can give a talk at your local library or university. You can also offer tips in your newsletter and other digital communications.
6. Update Your Business’s Blog
Jumping off of the last point, blogging is a perfect way for you to share your expertise and build an interested audience. Besides offering people information and insight, blogs are also a small business marketing strategy that can help you widen your reach. Great content gets shared with other people organically. Invest some time in creating high quality blogs so those who read it are inclined to link to it and share it with their contacts.
7. Leverage Your Social Media Networks
Which social media platforms you utilize will depend on your target audience. If you provide B2B services, LinkedIn will likely give you the most direct contact to potential customers. Facebook is a great way for you to both get in touch directly with consumers as well as share your content. Find your ideal clients on Twitter and follow them. By reading their posts, you can learn a lot about their needs and interests as well as any concerns or complaints they have about current vendors or your competition.
8. Inspire Prospects to Pick up the Phone
Instead of doing the same thing every month, try something different and get your customers’ attention. If you always mail out a newsletter, try sending a postcard instead with a strong call to action. You can also offer these customers a reward for giving you a call like a discount or something fun for picking up the phone and calling your business. This type of strategy works well when you have a mailing list. Use that list and segment prospects into different groups and try a few different post card designs to see which works most effectively.
9. Write for a Magazine
If you want a strategy that will make your small business stand out from the crowd, you should seek out opportunities to write for a magazine. Depending on your audience, you can write for a trade magazine (B2B) or a local magazine (B2C) and reach a lot of new people without investing money. This will boost your credibility, position you as the go-to person for your product or service, and increase your exposure. Although the content you send to the magazine might not be much different than what you already have on your website, since they are publishing it, you gain a lot more authority from it. When people read these kinds of magazines, they are usually ready to make a purchase. It’s a great way for you to get to your audience while they’re looking for you.
10. Create a Subscribe Bribe
Getting people to give you their email or contact information can be a challenge. One sure-fire way to help convince people to hand over their address is to offer them something free in exchange. Whether you give them access to exclusive tips, free content, or a link to download your free report, people like getting things without paying. Identify a way you can give something away for free in exchange for getting their valuable contact information. When you are able to gathering their email address or phone number, you are able to reach them at a whole new level. You can send emails or even text messages to keep your product or service at the top of their mind and help your business stand apart from the rest.
11. Host a Webinar
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to promote a special offer, engage prospective customers, and market your small business, webinars can take you to the next level. Besides considerably boosting your credibility and authority, webinars give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise by offering people content. Hosting a free webinar gives people interested in what you’re doing the opportunity to invest some time in what you have to say without needing to get too committed. But after people give you some of their time and pay attention to what you have to say, they will be significantly more likely to purchase from you. When someone signs up for your webinar, you also get their contact information which harkens back to the last point.
12. Invest in Your Web Presence
As you know, the yellow pages are pretty much dead. Now people look to Google or similar search engines to find local business. And the way they look is through using keywords. Not only does your business need to have a website in order to compete in today’s marketplace, the website must be optimized for search. That means you must intentionally choose the keywords that customers are most likely to use in order to search for your offering and then strategically place them throughout your website’s content. Known as SEO or search engine optimization, this marketing strategy is crucial to your business’s online brand.
13. Get on YouTube
Not only is YouTube an abundant source of video content, it is one of the most popular websites on the internet. People also use YouTube as a way to search for content and information. Uploading a video to YouTube has never been easier and it is a great way to get your business and your expertise out to a new audience. Record yourself discussing a few issues in your industry or offering some tips to help others get started. You’ll open up a new way to engage with prospective customers and reach new people.
14. Build Your Email List
Install an opt-in email subscription service on your webpage and keep building your list. You’ll be able to engage with clients and customers who are interested in what you have to offer. Use the opportunity to send these interested people useful and relevant information that provides value to them. When done properly, you can build customer loyalty and cut costs on other marketing efforts.
15. Charitable Donations
Instead of spreading out your donations to numerous charities, find one or two and focus on donating to them. This can increase your impact. Not only will you do more good by donating to just a small selection of charitable organizations, you can also get to know the organizers better and gain more visibility. By being more visible in one or two organizations, you’ll be able to both focus on a cause that matters to you and your business and participate in your target market.
The Bottom Line
Differentiating your business from the pack is vital to succeeding in today’s digital marketplace. When you’re able to identify who needs your services and what you do differently than everyone else, you can use that information in every marketing strategy you employ.
Does one of these 15 tips stand out to you more than the rest? Which do you plan on trying next? Please let us know in the comments.