Small Businesses Marketing: How To Survive Against Giant Companies

Like Money, Top Heavy Happens With Information, Too

It’s not just money that pools like mercury: Information (or rather who controls or distributes it) does as well. Google is trying its best to weed out content farms…. yes… there is irony given where this is being posted… but like a 12 year old kid who hacks into secure government systems, people will always find ways to exploit the quantity of their content. Information is the new capital insofar as once you have a lot of it you can more easily make more of it. Information creates information. Traffic creates traffic. The larger a the company, the greater its ability to refine, improve, and expand its content – and the more difficult it becomes for small businesses to compete. For a new business trying to get seen online it can (it IS) very frustrating.

To get your new business seen online you can pay for ads, you can post articles, you can blog like crazy and comment on as many sites as you can find to get back links… heck (though I do not condone this approach) you can buy links with metaphorically shady back-alley deals). What I say: you gotta THINK like the top 1% of the information income class.

One option I’ve thrown out there on another site is for search engines to become more Small Business Friendly. Location based services and maps have helped a lot to highlight local business nearby… but insofar as SEO, small business still just can’t compete; we get out bought on search ads, and overwhelmed on content creation. So why not let the user choose? Buy local is everywhere (including some websites.. who are giant companies, of course, with local branches, but at least it’s a start). Imagine the implications if Google would go so far as adding a small business only button when people start their search – just as an option – that filtered out any non-local or big business who’s already monetizing and monopolizing all the content online.

Not likely to ever happen, but one can dream.

Market Share

Independent grocery and music stores do it: create regional or national groups so that they, combined, can have comparable buying power of WalMart and Guitar Center – without that leverage they cannot compete. So too should small most businesses. They know that they HAD to join forces or else they be forced out simply because they didn’t have the volume required for low cost, high profit margin like the giants.

ALL small business can benefit from this approach. Not just with purchasing, but with marketing. Share your Market. Partner with like-minded and like-minded businesses in different regions for purchasing, and partner with different industries that compliment your core business for co-branding, co-sponsorships, OEM deals, etc.

Market Share. Growth through strategic partnerships. It’s NOT something reserved only for big businesses. A sole proprietorship can do it just was readily as an international corporation.

To Start, consider sharing your market in these ways:

  • By Region: contact people who offer the same services, but in regions where you don’t compete. Create your own group. By the time you have 4-5 in your group, your advertising reach goes up while individual costs down.
  • Bundle Products: Go beyond just having a Pentium chip in an HP computer, find complementary products (wine if you sell chocolate, etc.) and contact them. Create product bundles that are sold at both of your locations. Fund product synergy and work it.
  • Email & Social Share Within Your New Network: word of mouth is still the sweetest for small business, so once you’ve expanded your partnerships, be very aggressive to ensure that everyone within the partnership is cross-promoting on social networks as well as adding your special offers within their email newsletters (and vice versa).
  • Segment Your Revenue Streams and Partner Accordingly: you might have three or for different levels of products or services (high-end vs entry-level, etc). If this is the case, then the types of market sharing you choose is important to maintain both the perceived value, and how that partnership might help your niche products / services to reach new markets.

Think Big.

I’ve encountered a lot of start ups of small businesses who think strategic partnerships and leveraging buying and information power is only for “the big boys”, but that is absolutely not the case. Small businesses can do it, too. It takes a little more footwork, but you can do it.

Improve Your Small Business Marketing to Increase Your Profits

Marketing Tips to Help Drive Profits and Stay Competitive

Although we call them “small” businesses, running a small business is no small task. Compared to larger corporations, small business have a much smaller margin for error when it comes to marketing initiatives – when a marketing campaign fails, larger corporations shake their heads, make adjustments, and move on but for small businesses, a big failure could mean the end of the company. Here are some great marketing tips to help your marketing efforts stay effective and your business stay competitive.

Better Use of Data

Data about your target audience is invaluable to small businesses. This kind of information allows business owners and marketers to identify the types of people who are most likely to do business with them and purchase their products and/or services. Knowing your target audience can also help you to better tailor and focus your marketing messages to those types of consumers. If it is in the budget, hiring a professional data team can really help a small business make the most out of this information.

Use Email More Effectively

Email can be a powerful tool when it comes to communicating with your current customers. Emails are a great opportunity to connect with customers and provide them information on upgrades, cross-selling opportunities, and additional sales or deals your business may be offering. Using email is a great, non-evasive way to stay connected to those consumers who already know your business and your brand. You can even take email marketing a step further by breaking down your contact list into groups by segments such as purchase history, age group, geographical area, and other important data points.

Use Shareable Content to Expand Your Reach

Consumers love to share, and social media has made it easier than ever for consumers to share things they like or dislike online. Known as “content marketing,” creating online content that is informative and meaningful to your target audience is a great way to reach more consumers and raise more recognition around your business and your brand. This information is most effective when posted on your company’s website but can also be shared on sites like YouTube and Facebook for easier access.

Consider Paid Search to Increase Visibility

Driving traffic to your website is always an important part of marketing your business. One way to do this is to use a paid search to ensure your business’ website will appear when consumers search the types of products or services you offer. For example, should a consumer search “pet groomers in Harrisburg, PA” and you own a pet grooming business in or around that area, your business’s website will appear at the very top of the search results. The closer your businesses website link appears to the top of the search results, the more likely it is that consumers will follow that link to your site.

Use Your Resources

Aside from in-house marketing, there are a number of resources available to help small businesses. For example, the United States Small Business Administration can offer business owners loans, counseling sessions, contracts, and other forms of assistance to help cultivate and grow their business. Consider other resources as well including Google Tools for website assistance and online marketing, Kabbage for small business loans, and Free Stock Images for high quality images for your marketing materials.

The Three Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Blog

Just a few short years ago hardly anyone knew what a blog was, but now, because they are so easy to set up and maintain, their popularity has blossomed beyond all expectations. Blogs are not just for ordinary people who wish to expound on their hobby or area of special interest. Blogs are for the smart small businessperson who understands the power of the published word online.

A blog can provide a low cost means of marketing online, a feedback mechanism for establishing your side of the story against someone spreading negative and potentially damaging things about you and your business, and a means of connecting and communicating with existing clients and potential clients. The purpose of this article is to explain these three main positive reasons why your small business needs a blog.

1. A Blog as a Marketing and Promotion Tool for Your Small Business

Small business internet marketing seems easy at first glance, but many have tried it and failed. Others have persevered, perfecting search engine optimization techniques, keyword density and linking strategies, which work for some but not always for others. They have followed the advice of every “guru,” only to be more mystified at the end of the process than when they started out. They invariably end up thinking that there has to be a better way, and there is – a blog.

The search engines love blogs. Yes, a little optimization with careful keyword placement and some back links will never go amiss, but even the complete novice knowing nothing whatsoever can enjoy good results simply by regularly maintaining a blog. All it takes is a simple strategy, perhaps focusing on a particular product line and posting just once a day, to get results that will make a difference.

With time and as your understanding of blogging techniques improve, your small business internet marketing efforts will bear significant fruit. And remember, the cost of all this is negligible compared to newspaper advertising, for example. Of course, this is not the only reason why your small business needs a blog. What if someone is “badmouthing” you by blogging all over the Internet, perhaps because they didn’t like something about the way you do business? How do you defend yourself and give your side of the story? You need a blog!

2. A Blog as Feedback Channel to Establish a Positive Image for Your Small Business

A real-life example of someone who found themselves dealing with negative blog posts involves a medical doctor who practices on her own in California. She treated two patients whose poor health situation was largely of their own making. She told them that they needed to take some responsibility for their own health. This was not at all what they wanted to hear. Feeling insulted, they started to blog about it online, giving only their side of the story and painting a very damaging picture of the doctor in the process.

If you were to go to Google or any of the major search engines now and do a search for her name, the only information you would find are negative, almost libelous, rants created by these two aggressive individuals who couldn’t face up to the truth about their own health situations.

However, had this doctor previously considered the advantages of blogging for local small businesses to complement her business activities, she would have been able to limit at least some of the damage caused. Patient confidentiality rules would have prevented her from posting a positive rebuttal to the negative blog posts -her side of the story in other words. But she could have built up an archived library of positive and factual information about herself and her practice, automatically dealing with negative blog posts at the same time. Anyone then using Google to search for her name would still have found the negativity, but they would also have found the positive balanced view.

This type of situation can happen to anyone running a business, not just doctors. A blog for your business offers you the chance of great flexibility to promote your business, publish a positive image, and to communicate with all your clients, even those who don’t know that they have yet to become your clients!

3. A Blog as a Communication and Connection Tool for Your Small Business

People love getting free things on the Internet. We all do, in fact. And one of the most successful things to give away and help build your business at the same time is a free newsletter. Traditionally, this has taken the form of a specially formatted email, but increasingly small business owners are turning to blogs for publishing their newsletters. They still send out an email to the people on their list, but only to send them over to the blog where the newsletter can be read online.

This is a great way to communicate with your existing clients. You can regularly give them useful information, making them realize that your newsletter has real value. And every so often you can pitch an offer – a special bargain offer perhaps, and a percentage will make a purchase that you would not have had otherwise. But it doesn’t have to stop there. Your blog can be a tool for getting new customers too.

If you have carefully built up your business blog with regular and useful posts, the search engines will have noticed and in time your blog will be ranked according to whatever the search engines deem appropriate. Hopefully this will be a favorable placement, and if it is, people who search for the kind of product information you provide will find your blog.

When they are on your blog you can ask them to sign up for email alerts to whenever you make a new post, or whenever your latest newsletter is published. Once you have them on a list you can make offers to them and a percentage of them will buy. Blogging for local small businesses can be a wonderfully inexpensive and highly effective method of acquiring new customers with little effort.

There are many more ways to use a blog for any small business. Often it just requires your imagination to come up with new ways to use it. And you don’t have to limit yourself to only one blog; you can have several, each one dealing with a particular topic, and all of them linked together. This can be extremely powerful if done properly, and it isn’t hard to do either.

The three reasons I have offered you for why your small business needs a blog are indeed important ones. But they are not the only reasons. Don’t waste time now trying to think up other reasons. Get a blog in place first, and then the ways to use your blog will become increasingly obvious. You really do owe it to yourself to get your own small business blog in place today!