Getting your company’s name out there only gets harder as the competition in your industry grows. No matter how unique your small business is, it's almost assured that someone else locally, nationally, or even globally is doing the same thing. While this is beneficial for the global economy, it makes trying to stand out just that much harder.
As a small business owner, you're possibly at the point now where you fear you and your competitors could almost cancel each other out.
Luckily, a smart and strategic approach to digital marketing can help you in this regard. A surprising number of businesses still don’t leverage their online presence for promotion, which could give you a distinct advantage as long as you keep a few important things in mind:
1. Hard selling shouldn't exist.
2. You need to keep your digital marketing focused on the customer.
3. You need to take part in natural conversations on social media where personalized tactics are more prevalent.
With that said, here are some digital marketing tips for small business that can get you started in the right direction. We’ll focus particularly on how important being customer-centric is when you're just getting your foot in the door.
The Problem With Hard Selling
In the early days of digital marketing, the hard sell for a new small business wasn't considered gauche because traditional, more aggressive outbound marketing (i.e. advertising) was still prevalent. Now, with over 20 years of the Internet ingrained into people's lives, marketing of a spammy nature has become a major sore point for prospective and existing customers alike.
Basically, the jig is up and people are much less likely to fall for a slick, impersonal ad campaign.
Anyone who's spent enough time on social media automatically rejects any kind of content that looks like a desperate sales tactic. It's why when you start marketing your small business online, you need to take a different, more personal approach to marketing. A prospective customer should be viewed and approached as a potential friend or partner, not a line item on an invoice.
Remember that all current digital marketing works—and works well— by keeping the customer in mind rather than just relentlessly talking about oneself.
Marketing Aimed Toward Solving Customer Problems
A surefire way to get attention for your small business in the digital world is to prove you understand the problems of your ideal consumer. Whether you create brief Instagram videos to showcase your new products or post educational content on your blog, each piece of marketing you create needs to focus on a common problem—and how you can solve it.
In Instagram videos, you can usually be clever and showcase a situation already in place that's immediately solved by your product. For blog posts and infographics, you can do the same and break down step-by-step how the problem can be solved.
By doing more targeted marketing, you can also discover things a typical customer would want over time. This turns your marketing into a customer-oriented process rather than just talking about you and how great you are in comparison to a competitor.
You want customers to visit you based on proven expertise and trust, which you can nurture further by engaging them on social media or providing helpful information through email marketing.
Starting Natural Conversations On Social Media
One of the best ways to gain customers for your small business is to start conversations on social media. This works the best on places like Twitter, where you can do hashtag searches to find conversations taking place about problems that your target audience likely have.
The hard sell can't happen here or you'll be immediately viewed as a spammer. Instead, start a natural conversation that proves you're an expert in your field. Once done successfully, those people you conversed with will likely follow you or visit your business’s site for more information.
Following these steps allows for a more trustworthy and ethical approach to digital marketing. Coupled with a killer website and amazing service to your current customers, this will arm your business with the tools it needs to stand out from the competition and increase conversions.