Being a small business owner in the vast corporate marketplace is like rowing your canoe in an ocean full of cruise ships. Not only do you have to find creative ways to get noticed, you want to do it without getting run over by the big guys. The good thing to remember is that there are a lot of you on canoes out there in those choppy waters, with an estimated 54% of U.S. sales happening at small businesses.
Getting lost among the competition is a real fear of small business owners. Finding and retaining customers is one of your biggest struggles. Not only do you have to wear many hats and play many roles, your budget is much smaller and your resources are limited, as compared to mega corporations. One of the biggest advantages (if not the biggest) a large business has over a small one is budget. Many of these bigger corporations seem to have an almost unlimited spending account and no small business can compete with the millions invested into marketing. But, even with a teeny-tiny budget, small businesses can participate in the battle.
Digital marketing levels the playing field
In today’s information age, marketing has become a whole new ball game. While the larger companies can spend inordinate amounts of money on advertising and commercials, they get stuck in the pool with everyone else when it comes to SEO and social media. Why? Because Google and the other search engines don’t really care who your company is and how much money it makes each year, it just wants to give its users the most relevant search results.
Social media works the same way, whereas even the little guys can effectively market their business and play as large of a role on user’s feeds as the well-known brand names. Realistically, you’ll probably never acquire the 27,000,000 Facebook followers that Amazon.com has acquired, but you can definitely reach a significant portion of your target audience using the correct SEO and social media tactics.
In fact, small businesses benefit more from social media marketing than the big corps do. While most businesses will agree that social media is an important part of their marketing strategy and for their brand in general, 2/3rds of small business owners and 2/3rds of self-employed individuals strongly agree that social media is important, with the top benefits being that it increased exposure for their brand and increased traffic.
As for SEO, outranking the bigger guys is going to be tough, but there are a few tactics that small businesses can easily employ to see a rise in quality, organic traffic. For example, long-tail keyword phrases are one of the keys to getting to the top of the search page, but the power of SEO goes further beyond this. A small business schooled in the power of SEO can definitely improve their business traffic and conversions, and it can be done with very little capital invested.
How can it work for your small business?
You may not have the cash to invest into a large-scale social media and SEO marketing initiative, but it doesn’t mean that what you do have is bound to fail. Both SEO and social media campaigns can be run with very small budgets, especially if you hire your own people to do it. Studies show that all social media requires is a six-hour investment per week to see results. SEO may require a bit more time, as there can be plenty of trial and error required to see traffic coming to your site. Even with the trial and error, the trends and rules are continually changing, so it will take a lot more than learning the rules of SEO to see success in the search rankings.
Some basic ways to increase your chances of ranking higher on the search engines:
- Target a very small and specific demographic
- Incorporate link-building opportunities
- Create valuable content on your site
- Ensure your site is optimized for SEO
- Optimize your site for mobile
Some strategies for increasing your chance of success on social media include:
- Being yourself
- Worrying about reaching your customers and not the masses
- Constantly try to engage your audience
- Responding to all feedback
- Using the right networks for your target audience
Rowing your canoe around the ships won’t always be easy, but you can battle the waves and keep your small business afloat using the right digital marketing strategies.