Every small business owner knows their competition isn’t limited to fellow small businesses, but how do you compete with high-street and household brands on a limited budget?
Despite popular opinion, small businesses are still able to compete with larger multi-national and well-known companies. You just need the right marketing to distinguish yourselves from competitors and highlight the value you bring to customers.
Be design conscious
It’s difficult not to judge a book by its cover, which is why it’s something consumers often do when it comes to a business. Ensuring you have a simple logo, clean website, and social media pages with fresh content posted daily, will go a long way with potential customers. Choosing the right colours and typography for your brand can also really help when distinguishing yourselves (understand more about the psychology of colours in branding with this article).
It may seem a bit daunting if you don’t have those foundations in place, or if you don’t have or know anyone with a design background to assist you, but there are marketing agencies out there that can help with this. Any money you put towards design work should be seen as an investment, because a professional, clean look will draw in more customers than something that seems more DIY.
Be everywhere you possibly can
Social media, print newspapers/magazines, search engines, etc. are all tools you can leverage to advertise your business and promote your products/services. Utilising as many of these platforms as possible and optimising their targeting options, will ensure your business gets noticed by the right people at the right time.
The marketing rule of 7 states that a potential customer has to see an advert at least seven times before they even think about purchasing a product or service from that company. Making yourself known on every platform that suits your business and matches your brand values will increase the chances of potential customers researching your company, and its products/services.
I understand that not every small business has a marketing budget, and some can only set aside whatever money they have leftover for marketing. Creating social media pages and optimising your website for search engines are all free ways to boost your marketing efforts, it will also make it easier in the long-run for when you do have additional money to spend on paid advertising, whether digital or in-print.
There’s not much point trying to be your competition, replicating them is only going to result in your business trading in their shadow. You should be your own business, and highlight what’s unique about you.
Generally speaking, smaller, local businesses can leverage on the common impression that they have better quality goods and services. This is because the levels of mass-production larger corporations have is on a whole other level, and their communication channels are often far more complex (resulting in the services they offer being hugely impaired). So playing on the theme of local quality is a great start, but don’t just count on that. I’m sure there are also other small, local businesses that you have to compete against, and I’m also sure they market themselves using the same quality aspects. This is why you need to think about what else makes you unique, e.g. are your products handcrafted or hyper-local? Is there something in your brand story that makes you unique? Do you offer the best services around? (If you can match that last one with evidence of rave reviews, it can be a great advantage).
It is possible for smaller businesses to compete with the biggest brands, as long as you think about your design, marketing channels and unique message. Not everyone likes shopping with huge multi-national corporations, and prefer to shop local, so let them know about your business and how you can help them.