It’s easy to psych yourself out as a small business owner. You see the campaigns your bigger competitors are running and you’re intimidated. You know that you don’t have the same marketing budget or the same reach, and it’s harder for you to get out there while still focusing on your business. But all of that is OK, because as a small business owner, you have a lot going for you that the big dogs can’t compete with. You have the ability to steal customers away simply by focusing on the many strengths that come with being small.
How can you steal customers away from big brands? Below are just six ways.
1. By Focusing on Simplicity
Users want websites they can navigate, products that are easy to use and services that make sense the first time they’re explained. They don’t want the red tape, the hassles or the extra clicks that bigger brands throw into the process. As a small business owner, by keeping it simple you focus on your core user and ensure that they’re going to be happy doing business with you. Most users aren’t looking for the “experience” of it all. They just want to get what they want and then be able to leave. Let the big guys be complicated. You just be profitable.
2. By Solving Users’ Core Problems
One of the biggest advantages of life as a SMB owner is that you live and breathe what you do. You’re in it every day and you’re always talking to customers and hearing about what they’re struggling with. That gives you an opportunity to solve the core problems they’re discussing. It gives you that real-time feedback and knowledge that the bigger brands have a much harder time trying to replicate. Related to the point above, don’t add lots of extra features and bells and whistles that your customers don’t really need. Instead, focus on their core problems. What are they coming to you for and what’s the biggest challenge on their plate right now? That’s what you need to address. The rest doesn’t matter.
3. By Outmaneuvering Big Brands
When you’re small, you’re nimble. You have the opportunity to react to what you see happening in the market. You can change your plans based on what your customers are telling you or you can look for timely partners or tie-ins to what you’re doing. Bigger brands don’t have this luxury. It takes time for that advertising to be created, be approved and be sent out. It takes time for legal to reject, edit and then approve a new message the company wants to deliver. As a small business owner, the fact that you can bob and weave as necessary is incredibly useful.
4. By Excelling at Customer Service
Do you know why many customers prefer to do business with SMBs rather than larger brands? Sure, we all like to feel like we’re supporting our community, but we also know that we’ll be treated better if we go to a small business. We know that if we eat at that local café often enough, pretty soon the woman behind the counter will learn our name, our order and how we like it cooked. We know that if we have a problem with something we bought at the local electronics store, we can take it back and explain to the person what happened. One area where SMBs really set themselves apart is in the area of customer service. They go above and beyond for their customers and the result is return customers. People like going where they feel valued. SMBs give them that the way bigger brands simply can’t.
5. By Being Fearless
Being fearless doesn’t mean being reckless, but it does mean being bold and taking chances. It means experimenting with new technology or methods while the big dogs are still fighting for approval to even create a Twitter account. Being fearless allows small business owners to take risks and try things while the cost of failing at them is still relatively low. Read about something on a blog you think may work for your brand? Try it. Have an idea for a different way to use your Facebook page? Try it. Want to host a meetup in your store? You can do it next week. Take advantage of your size by acting while the big brands are still having meetings about it.
6. By Becoming a Big Brand Yourself
So you’re small? So what? That’s no excuse for not taking the time to develop a trusted and visible brand of your own. By incorporating blogging, Twitter, Facebook, forums and more into your marketing mix, you can work to create consistent content around your brand to make sure you’re visible and in front of your audience at all times. Who says rockin’ brands are only for the big boys?
Above are just a few reasons why it pays to be small. What do you like about not being a big corporate brand? How do you use your small size to your advantage?