As an owner of a small or local business, you have to face several disadvantages
compared to the big corporate competitors. Some businesses have the space to
sell and promote themselves online, however it’s even harder for small business
owners to compete with major, established, national and international
organisations. These businesses have already put together their brand over many
years and built up their reputation with thousands of loyal customers. Here are a
few problems small businesses have with their online presence and how to avoid it:
Access to fewer resources
One of the most obvious disadvantages is the lack of resources that small businesses
have. Big businesses have long established themselves and usually work with less
debt and upwards of millions of pounds in revenue. Small businesses, on the other
hand, have limited income and limited budgets to spend on marketing efforts.
However, just because a competitor’s marketing campaign is bigger or more
expensive doesn’t mean it’s actually more effective.
With your limited resources, you just have to be smarter about how you spend your
money, focusing on campaigns that stand to give you the highest possible return.
There any many applications that you can use to market your brand effectively, you
just have to try a few out to see which benefit your business. Once you get to know
how to market to your target audience effectively, you will be able to build up your
marketing campaign and use it to your advantage.
Every big business starts out as a small business, and usually a local one. Even if you
don’t have a history you can still creating a new history. Smaller businesses are at a
disadvantage when it comes to a reputation or testimonials, as they have less of a
foundation to work with when they first start marketing.
The solution is to focus on other areas where you do have strength; for example, how
is your product better than a competitor’s? Are you more conveniently located for
your customers? What can you bring to your customers? This will give reassurance
to other businesses or customers what you can bring to the table.
Working together locally
When your business starts out, your initial audience will be almost exclusively a local
audience. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can prove to be an obstacle if your
goal is to expand to a national level.
The solution is to expand yourself gradually, building your local audience as much as
possible before expanding your circles into new demographic territories. For example
start by building a good clientele within your town and then move onto the
surrounding areas, and so on.
Guest posting is one of the most valuable online marketing strategies there is and can
become very useful for your business. Guest posting on other sites is five times as
valuable as creating new content on your own site. You should work with smaller and
local publishers first, building a reputation from the ground up before going after the
bigger publishers. The influence of your work is directly related to the reputation of
your chosen publisher, and it’s hard for small businesses to get featured in national
Reliance on your team
When you first start out, your team will be small, and you’ll rely on individual people
to drive early business partnerships and sales. You may not be able to hire or afford
top marketing experts to work on behalf of your brand, you’ll have a limited pool of
talent. You need to make sure your team work together well, otherwise it will have a
huge impact on business.
Instead of seeing this as a disadvantage, use it to your benefit; develop the personal
brands within your team, and grow your core brand from there. Ensure your
employees are happy and productive, this includes communicating clearly, and being
approachable. Companies with a relaxed atmosphere where staff feel able to talk to
management – are more likely to stay at their employment for many years. Try to
learn as much as you can to improve yourself, and hire freelancers and independent
contractors to help you direct and execute the work cost-efficiently.
— Chad Sanderson (@chadjsanderson) March 23, 2017
Location, Location, Location
If your business is tied to a physical location, it will be difficult to market your
business nationally. Many businesses have struggled to get their brand to a national
or even international level. Leasing commercial space is among the largest expenses
offline business owners pay. Additionally, lessees may be under binding contract for
years, even if the small business can go downhill before the terms expire.
There are some distinct advantages to local marketing. You can focus your local SEO
campaign to increase your business’ visibility in the top three locally relevant results
that appear in the local search query. If you pick a good location, people will drive or
walk by your store or business. For many businesses, the location of the business
combined with good word of mouth is all the marketing they need. Having a physical
presence increase the legitimacy of the business. People are more willing to trust
businesses that have a physical place that they can walk into and meet the people
behind the company.
Check your website
When someone comes to your website, you have about seven to thirty-seven seconds
to convince them to stay and look around. If your website is too confusing or messy,
they will go and not come back, possibly ever.
A simple and clean website without too many tabs is best for conversions. People are
looking for a real connection and one of the best places to make that connection is
on your about page. Make sure you don’t write the about page in the first person and
tell the story behind your business, this way you will make a connection that turns
into business later.
Building a huge social media following and social media marketing are a priority.
While social media plays a massive role in marketing and in business today, it is not
the best way to build your audience online. When you rely on social media, you are
setting yourself up disappointment when the social media platforms decide to make a
change. This is where email marketing comes into play.
When someone is signed up for your email list, you have a more intimate and
controllable opportunity to talk to them. The organic reach of email is a lot higher than
social media. This way you can personalise your emails to suit your different customers’
needs. You can also gather statistics from a mail client or Google Analytics to see if the
customer has opened it, clicked the links etc.
Don’t get over-your-head
Overheads are a big issue with small businesses, and excessive overheads have dragged
many good companies down. You need to work out what customers’ needs are and cut
back on unnecessary services of products, they don’t use or aren’t interested in. A
company must pay overhead on an ongoing basis, regardless of whether the company
is doing a high or low volume of business.
Resolving them involves paying close attention to what customers actually want and
providing products or services tailored to suit their needs. Analysing your transactions
and asking existing customers what they want is helpful. Where you add value, make
sure that it doesn’t increase overheads (for example through well-judged deals on
less-popular products, or other offers that benefit both you and the customer).
Stay up to date
Small business owners can be so busy they forget to keep up with the current trends in
their sector. It takes time just to keep on top of the work by itself, never mind keeping
up with what your competitors are doing, however it’s very important. You should
allocate time to track competitors and take part in awareness-raising activities like blog
Create Google Alerts, use Twitter hashtags to keep up with what’s trending, and have a
look through free online information on the internet. If you have time you should go to
sector conferences and exhibitions, as this could result in potential sales, which can be
massive. Research events thoroughly to make sure that the target audience is precisely
your target client group. If an event is really important, you could also investigate
becoming a speaker, positioning yourself as a leader among your peers.
Even though small businesses do have some disadvantages in the world of online
marketing, those disadvantages aren’t deal breakers. As long as you know what they
are and how to overcome them, you can beat your competitors. Every day 2.5 billion
people worldwide log onto the Internet. That number will only increase as the world
grows, and access increases in different countries. There are many online businesses
and entrepreneurs talking about the same things and going after the same audience,
as a small business you need to stand out from the crowd to get ahead in the business