Every small and local business owner knows that their competition isn’t limited to fellow small businesses. There are giant brands represented in cities and towns across the country, meaning you’re left to compete with other local shops plus the corporations with big budgets and even bigger name recognition.
How do you win when you’re going up against a household name brand? I’ve got four digital marketing tips to help you get noticed.
1. Step Up Your Design
When it comes to branding, consumers have a tendency to judge a book by its cover. One of the best ways to level the playing field with the big guys is to have professional-looking design elements. A great logo, clean website, and appealing social media assets can help you gain positive attention.
While this may feel daunting for a business owner who doesn’t have a background in design, the digital age and ability to collaborate with skilled designers has made it easier than ever to find skilled professionals who can elevate your brand.
From helping you select the right color palette (read more on the psychology of color in branding in this great article) to designing banners, logos, and assets tailored to each social media channel, a good designer with a great digital marketing agency can make a world of difference in how your brand presents itself online. If you’re looking for help with your site, check out our website design services.
2. Be Everywhere
With digital marketing it’s easier than ever for small businesses to create an oversized presence. Getting your name out there used to involve expensive traditional advertising. Today, though, you have many avenues available to you that are either free or low-cost.
Organic social media is a tremendous way to increase your footprint online, meet consumers where they are on various platforms, and share your business’s unique voice and personality. Digital marketing approaches like paid social and paid search provide you the opportunity to reach new audiences for a minimal investment compared to traditional television and radio advertising. Plus, you can take advantage of those tried and true avenues of marketing, like print ads and direct mail, while using modern data and analytics techniques to find the best audience for these conventional channels.
Most consumers need to see a brand’s name seven times before they even think about doing business with them. So, the more you can get your name out there with local consumers, the better shot you have at standing up against the big brand that already has name recognition.
I know this approach has worked with me personally. I see an ad on Instagram for a local business, so I do a search for them on Google and find tons of great information: their website, their Facebook page, review sites where they’re active. Why wouldn’t I do business with them?
3. Leverage Branded Content
Another great way to continue to get your name out is through branded content. Branded content is a fun, creative way to gain attention for your brand, beyond the bounds of traditional advertising. It allows you to tell a story about your business and share your values and mission with your audience.
Start by thinking about the issues that matter most to your customers, then find a great way to link your story up with the things they most care about. The final piece of the puzzle is finding the right digital marketing vehicle for your branded content, which can be anything from a social media campaign to a series of banner ads to drive consumers to your article, quiz, infographic, and more.
4. Get Involved in the Community
One of the biggest advantages any local business has over a national brand is the fact that they are local. No, you don’t have the budget or marketing power of the big guy, but you do have that personal connection to your community.
Think about ways to get involved in the local community. Donate products or services to auctions for a nearby school. Get your team together to volunteer monthly or quarterly at a deserving local charity.
Take the time to get to know your neighbors and learn a bit about their personal lives. Create the kind of personal touch that a big brand can only hope to replicate. It's not digital marketing per se, but word will still get around.
When you’re a small business fish in the local pond, you’re also swimming with the national brands who have chains nearby. But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get swallowed up. When you get smart about your marketing and use your small, local status to your advantage, it’s possible to out-swim even the biggest of fish. Contact us today to learn more.