Don't be scared of competing with big brands
All too often small businesses have a perception that they can't compete with big brands, when in fact, in the modern marketing age, there are many opportunities for small businesses to achieve market share and compete with even the largest global brands.
In this brief article we'll give you a few quick and easy ways to compete with big brands. We'll also discuss why consumers often turn to who they know over buying from smaller businesses.
Check out the competition
The first thing you'll need to do is find out where your competitors (both large and small) are leaving the door wide open to competition. The key to success for big businesses is their ability to raise awareness of their products and services. In the past this resulted in traffic being driven directly to them.
However, today this often results in hundreds and thousands of interested people searching for information related to big brand campaigns. These people often turn to the Internet to research the product or service they're interested in. So the first thing you'll need to do is ensure your business is visible to these researching consumers. You can do this via paid advertising or natural search engine optimisation. You should also look at affiliate marketing and price comparison websites for opportunities to reach these interested consumers.
Next you'll need to ensure that your business is able to convert researchers into customers. People buy from businesses they know, like and trust. We've looked at these concepts before (here's a reminder) so we'll quickly move on to what this means for your business.
Keep looking good
One easy way of building trust is to look good. You need to look as good as your competitors or even better. Creating a website and marketing materials that look professional and are easy to understand could be the most important thing you'll ever do for your business. Ask yourself, have you ever bought from a company whose website and marketing materials look homemade? The chances are you haven't. If you have, it probably took you a long time to make that final purchasing decision.
Remember, people are looking to buy. The main reason they fail to make the purchasing decision (and here's where it gets a little technical...) is because the fear of making the decision is greater than the benefit of making the decision. In simple terms their fear outweighs their confidence in your ability to deliver what they want. For this reason it's vitally important you work towards eliminating any doubts they have about making the decision. This is why they turn to big brands. They feel more confident in their ability to deliver what they want. Customer testimonials and positive online PR are vital to building this trust. You should work hard to gain positive PR and present these messages to your potential customers at every opportunity.
Stay front of mind
The final area we'll look at is how big brands keep customers returning to them time and time again. They do this by simply staying in touch or as marketers like to call it "being front of mind". They have huge budgets for customer relationship management. You can do the same on a smaller scale. Your best opportunity for future sales are the people who have bought from you before. Interestingly, one of the main reasons for customers not returning is lack of contact. Your challenge is to keep your customers returning to your website, shop or offices regularly. You can do this by sending regular marketing messages. An email newsletter or email shot is one way to achieve this at a relatively low cost.
Whichever marketing media you choose, remember your communications must be relevant and engaging for the recipient. Consumers have a "what's in it for me" attitude. Your marketing communications should therefore address this directly by explicitly showing what is in it for them. This means the benefits for the consumer. Your communications should also continually build your brand and explain the reasons for choosing your business over the competition.
There is one more thing to consider. This article simply touches on a few key points. You'll need to find what works for your business. The best way to do this is to understand your market and who you're competing with, and then work hard to find out how they find new business and retain their customers.
Look for the areas where budget isn't the key factor for success. Big brands may be the kings of print and TV advertising, but on the Internet and in many other areas your business can compete head-to-head with anyone.