How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market
Similar to the intense and competitive world of chess that was depicted in the 2020 Netflix historical drama, The Queen's Gambit, owning a business can be intense and every industry is competitive...af.
With tight budgets and employees who wear many hats, resources for small businesses are limited while competition is fierce. There’s pressure from giant marketplaces like Amazon at the same time that other businesses — big and small — are trying to make a lasting impression in the same market. The first year of running a small business, let alone successfully running one for five or more years, can be incredibly challenging. If you’re a small business owner, you need to get creative. While you certainly need your brand to stand out, there are many things you can do even before you have the budget to invest in a dedicated creative team or agency to go big with your brand.
Here are some tips to help you reach the right customers with the most impact.
Tip 1: Understand your customers. Get your marketing efforts seen by the right people at the right time so you’re not wasting resources on content that fades into the noise of everything else. Customers today demand a good experience. That includes marketing and advertising experiences. Make sure the content you offer is relevant to the people you’re targeting. Take the time to do some online research to discover demographic and behavioral information about your customers and then provide experiences that matter to them. Understanding your audience is key to delivering meaningful experiences and creating a successful content marketing strategy. As you collect more data, you can be more granular about who you want your ads to reach. And then when customers reach out and engage with you, be sure to encourage them to opt-in to your direct marketing efforts. Finally, use this customer list to create look-alike audiences that will help you reach new customers.
Tip 2: Fill a need. Once you know your potential customers, you can determine their needs — and what needs aren’t being met by your competitors. Research your market competitors to see where the gaps are — then consider what you can offer that your competitors don’t. You might have a guarantee for free returns or next-day delivery, or you could expand your product line to include customizable options. Another way to fill customer needs is by finding a few partners. Look for businesses that don’t compete with you but that target the same customers, and perhaps you can combine efforts — and budgets — to offer a suite of products or services. You can pair up to host giveaways, or if you’re both in the same location, sell products together during a community event like a farmer’s market or 5K.
Tip 3: Create content quickly. Build awareness with your customers by keeping your content fresh. That doesn’t mean starting from scratch every time. But small updates can go a long way to letting people know things are happening with your brand. First, put together a quick calendar of content that’s easily shareable and both informs and educates. It can be in the format of articles, infographics, videos, and more. Plan to post it all to your website because adding new content regularly will increase your Google ranking, give you something to promote, and have content for others to link back to. Next, use subsets of that content to promote it on social media, in emails, and with display ads that will drive customers to your site. Make sure to always have a call to action that creates a path to purchase. Tip 4: Get social. Social media is probably the most important tool a small business can use to raise brand awareness and engage with customers. Today, over three billion people around the world use social media. This platform is especially valuable for small businesses because you can directly interact with people where they are, instead of trying to get them to come to you. On social media you can answer questions, offer personalized attention, and even make a sale. Sharing content on your social media page is free, and paid advertising on social media is relatively inexpensive for small businesses. To get started, you just need visually appealing content that will get a viewer’s attention as they scroll through their news feed. Tip 5: Make it mobile. It’s not enough to have a great desktop site — if you want to get an edge over your competition and provide the best possible experience for your customers, do not skip optimizing your content for mobile. Mobile use accounts for about half of all web traffic, and mobile commerce keeps growing. Test your site frequently to make sure it’s displaying and functioning well on a mobile device. Better yet, design all your content with a mobile-first mindset. Compress your images for faster load times and stay on top of your mobile SEO. If customers can’t see the products on your site, if it takes too long, or if it’s too hard to enter information to search or purchase, they won’t have a positive experience and you may be missing out on sales. Want help acquiring new customers? A dXm eXpert can help! Get started.