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It may come as a surprise that small businesses make up 99.9% of all US businesses. And that means competition can be fierce. So, how do you make your business stand out from the crowd? In this article, we’ll explore ways you can best use marketing in your small business to boost your brand presence and leave a lasting impression that keeps your customers coming back.
Before we get into the different ways you can entice and engage new and existing customers, let’s do a brief review of marketing basics. At its core, marketing is viewed as communicating your products or services. But it’s much more than that. It’s knowing what your customers need or want, communicating that you have what they need and providing them with the product or service they crave. It all starts with the four Ps: product, price, place and promotion.
Product: What your business sells that fulfills the needs of your customers and prospects.
Price: How much you charge for your products and services. You must find the sweet spot between being competitive but also maximizing profits.
Place: Typically refers to your location, but you may also sell products or services online.
Promotion: How you communicate the other Ps to your target audience to persuade them to do business with you.
With the basics under our belts, let’s talk about how you can make your mark and stand out from the competition.
Identify your target market
While it may seem like casting the widest net possible will help you reel in more clientele, this method can hinder your marketing efforts. You need to think about the specific group of people who will most benefit from your product or service: your target market. Once you’ve identified this, you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach that audience.
To help shape your marketing strategies and drive better business decisions, you need to conduct thorough research about your target audience. What’s trending in your industry? Who are your competitors? What do your customers (or potential customers) need or want? How does your target market make purchases? These are important insights to gather so you can build a solid marketing plan.
Uncover your uniqueness
Maybe there are a handful of businesses similar to yours in your local area, or maybe there are hundreds more like you online. Whatever the case, figure out what sets you apart. What makes your products or services different from your competitors? Is it quality? Availability? Determine what makes you unique and tailor your marketing plan around it.
Determine your best channels
So many marketing channels are available these days: websites, social media, email marketing, print, TV, radio, direct sales, partnerships.... Once again, consider your target market and what makes you unique before you try your hand at all channels. Consider starting with two or three to see if you gain traction before diving head-first into every channel available.
Find ways to stand out from the crowd
We’ve covered the basics and the building blocks to creating a marketing plan, so let’s talk about a few ways your marketing efforts can help you break out of the status quo and top your competition.
Harness user-generated content: Chances are that you have loyal customers who follow and interact with your social channels. Encourage your customers to create content related to your brand and products, including reviews, testimonials, photos, videos or social media posts. Be sure to compensate and credit them for any content you may reuse on your social platforms. Also, consider offering a discount on future purchases or providing a commission or a discount code for their followers to use.
Collaborate with influencers: Social selling has really taken off in the last few years. In fact, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media. Many influencers and micro-influencers have created authentic relationships with their audiences, and having them promote your products increases your company’s exposure. Work with them to create sponsored content to help reach a larger audience.
Host interactive experiences: To engage customers and encourage them to interact with your brand, create interactive experiences where they can participate. If you’re an online brand, host a live workshop in your city and invite your audience to attend. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, have customers sign up to attend an exclusive product reveal or live demonstration.
Remember that the key to standing out in a competitive market is knowing your audience, leaning in to what makes you unique and being creative when it comes to encouraging your customers to engage with your brand.Back to issue