Small businesses often feel intimidated by the big dogs in their industry for a lot of reasons. Let's face it, many of the big corporations that compete in your industry or niche often have five or six figure marketing budgets, if not million dollar budgets.
But guess what? It has never been better for small businesses who want to launch marketing campaigns that compete with established brands.
Content marketing and social media tools are really effective ways of reaching out, cultivating a following, and engaging with your target audience to drive lead generation. Whether you operate a purely digital storefront or you operate a brick and mortar store in your local community, you can take advantage of modern marketing tactics to compete with the big dogs.
I know, I know...it sounds pretty counter intuitive. But I'm about to show you some of the top reasons and techniques that small businesses can launch potent marketing campaigns in the face of competition from bigger brands.
Appearing More Human Than the Competition
One way that small business owners can gain a competitive marketing advantage over big industry bullies is by appearing more human. Know your marketing segments and look for ways to appeal to groups like millennials - who by the way typically stereotype big business as being soulless money making machines that pollute the environment, crush mom & pop stores for fun, and destroy natural resources.
Being the small guy does come with a few advantages if you know how to handle yourself in the digital marketing arena. Consider how much more approachable you would seem when compared with a big company, especially if you actively engage your audience.
Being More Transparent to Seem More Genuine
If you are more transparent than other competitors in your industry, you can appear more trustworthy and genuine...but don't overdo it! Sometimes I cringe when I see a new startup treating its social media pages like a personal account. But do note that as a small business owner, you often have more liberties regarding what you can post online.
For instance, many large companies have internal policies that dictate what can and cannot be posted on social media that inhibits their ability to seem human.
Also, note that people working for a large company may not want the audience to know anything about their personal life, since they are something more of a cog in a machine than a stakeholder who can build personal relationships with an audience.
I'm not saying that you should live broadcast every element of your day to the world. But do look for ways to share personal stories, experience, or visual content that will make you look more transparent and genuine than the competition.
Individual Business Owners and Marketers Often Have More Passion
Who do you think gets more fired up about their day? The small business owner or the corporate zombie drawing a salary in an office so boring it belongs in a frame of Dilbert?
Small business owners are often dreamers or entrepreneurs with a vision for the future, and they don't have any issues working their tail off to get there. But that passion needs to bleed through to your content as well.
For instance, let's pretend you run a local boutique selling high end craft foods or artisan cooking ingredients.
If it takes a ton of work to create, bake, make, or prepare any of your food products, why not turn the process into video content to show your audience how difficult and amazing the process is? I find that most people I know love watching “how it's made” types of content. You don't need to give away the secret sauce, either, but you can clue your audience in to the process.
Your passion for your business is a competitive advantage if you're competing with someone who dispassionate, bored, or not as emotionally invested in the work as you are, so show that to your audience.
A Lack of Personality
While it's true that there's strength in numbers, there certainly is one advantage to being alone: personal branding. A small business owner has the opportunity to attach their very own name, personality, and identity to the marketing campaign. This isn't typically even an option for larger teams since the brand already has an established impersonal identity.
The net effect is that small business owners have an opportunity to become influencers in their niche, especially if they're a naturally gifted people-person. If that sounds like you or someone working for your small business, you may want to find a way to capitalize on social skills by producing content that highlights and individual's personality.
It's Gotta Work...Or Else
The last point I wanted to make is the fact that small business owners and entrepreneurs often put everything they have into their business. Blood, sweat, tears, passion, money...the list goes on. For that reason, diligent small business owners usually work by the “it's gotta work” mentality, or suffer consequences that could negatively affect their whole family.
On the other hand, consider an employee with a cushy salary and a secure job who's biggest worry is what he's going to be eating for lunch. Sure, a big business will have a lot more people and a larger budget, but small business owners are often much more driven to succeed.
Contrary to what you may have thought, small businesses actually have massive advantages against big marketing teams that didn't start trending until the last decade or so.
Even though big businesses can be a little scary, you don't need to be afraid. Remember to keep these tips in mind when planning your content strategy, especially if you know that your main source of competition comes from big business.