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10 Ways Small Business Marketers Can Crush Big Competitors

Written by Trent Brownrigg  · February 1, 2012

As a small business, it can seem difficult to compete with the big guys of the world. After all, you don’t have the same financial resources, or the manpower, to engage in a great deal of high-priced marketing. The good news is that the Internet can act as a great equalizer. You can attract more notice, and you can build a following for yourself, competing with the bigger companies—and even winning.

If you are looking for ways to distinguish your small business from the bigger competition, we have 10 ways you can put yourself forward:

1. Focus on the High Quality and Uniqueness of Your Product

Your first move is to offer a high quality product that your audience wants. Even if your product is similar to what someone else is offering, you can distinguish it in some way. Is it made using the finest materials? Do you have some sort of handmade product that is unique? Focus on the way that your product is different, and show how it offers something above and beyond. Discerning customers will appreciate the quality of your offering.

2. Offer Superior Customer Service

Word gets around when you offer superior customer service. A big company can lose site of individual customers. However, as a small business, you have a chance to connect on a more personal level with your clientele. Provide customer service that is accessible, and high quality. Work to make your customers happy, and they will not only remain loyal to you, but they will become fans that share you product with friends and family.

3. Create a Strategy for SEO

When writing content for your blog, or when writing descriptions of products and services, consider your SEO strategy. The major keywords might all be hogged by the big companies, but there are ways to focus your efforts. Use a keyword tool to help you identify successful keywords. Also, focus on phrases, rather than single words, and don’t underestimate the power of long-tail, organic results. Pay attention to the long-term, and keep your SEO strategy in mind, and you will be more likely to find success.

4. Strategize with PPC

Yes, PPC advertising costs money. However, it might be worth to you if getting in on high-revenue keywords is too difficult. Carefully evaluate your keywords, and what you want to happen with your keywords. Then, target a few high-yield keywords for PPC advertising. You can pay for the ads, and you likely find good results. However, research is essential, since you don’t want to waste your money. It’s about putting your money where it will do the most good.

5. Create a Social Media Profile

Interaction with others is essential for success on the Internet. As a result, it is vital that you set up a social media profile. A social media profile that allows you to use keywords (social media profiles are increasingly searchable), and allows you to share your insights on relevant topics, can draw more people to your web site—and even result in more sales. Your social media profile should be consistent across web sites so that visitors can readily identify your brand.

You don’t need to join every social media site, but you can benefit from identifying the sites your audience is most likely to visit. Establish a presence, sharing useful information (don’t just push your products), and interacting with customers, and you will build a loyal following that rivals the big companies.

6. Pay Attention to Inbound Analytics

Use analytics to tweak your approach to marketing your products and services. Pay attention to where traffic is coming from (what sites refer visitors), as well as what times of day the traffic is heaviest. You can also use inbound analytics to see which keywords and keyphrases are most popular for driving traffic to your web site. Use this information to adjust when you post new content to your blog, as well as to focus on different keywords. With the right analytics information, you will be able to direct your resources more profitably.

7. Use the Right Technology

Determine what technology is likely to help your business grow. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to do everything all at once. The right technology can help you automate some tasks, such as sending out emails, submitting to social bookmarking web sites, and generating coupon codes. Figure out which technology is likely to help you the most, and then use that technology. You will free up more of your time for building your business, and spend less time fretting about smaller housekeeping tasks that can become time consuming and tedious.

8. Build Your List

Invest some time and effort into building a solid opt-in list. Your list should include leads that can be used to improve your business. You will need to encourage people to sign up, so that means spending time creating attractive landing pages, and encouraging people to find you on Facebook. Offer premium content, or insider deals. Think of ways that being on your list could be seen as a benefit. More customers will opt-in, and you will see more repeat business and better success as you reach out to leads through your list.

9. Be Flexible

One of the advantages to owning a small business is that you have a certain amount of agility that the big guys don’t always have. Remain flexible in your business. Be willing to change your approach if something isn’t working. Quickly react to industry news, and adjust to the demands of your market. Your ability to be flexible can give you an edge as you work to expand your business.

10. Hire Good People

Even a small business occasionally needs to make hires. Before you hire someone, though, you need to make sure that you will be filling a need. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledge areas that need improvement, and then hire someone to fill that need. You should find someone who is knowledgeable about something you don’t understand as well. Hire good people who can help you navigate the waters, and provide you with expertise that you need.

It is possible to compete with the big guys as a small business. While you may not end up with billions in revenue, you can still do quite well—no matter how small your business is. With the right planning, and with a little ingenuity, you can hold your own, and grow your company.

This guest post was written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a large neon open sign company that provides various custom made neon signs.

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