If you own a small business, you know only too well the trials and tribulations of getting your message out there. Sometimes it feels as if all your hard work goes unseen. There are so many competing factors to building your brand that it can be difficult to know where to start and what strategies you should implement. There is also lots of advice you can look up on the internet, but applying it in a way that works is another story. Luckily, getting your small business to stand out doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Here are some top tips!
- Quality Product
The first rule of getting your small business noticed is to offer quality products or services. Without that, your business is likely to be another run of the mill provider, at best. What you offer is the solid base of your business, on which everything else is built. If you want your business to stand out from the others, you need not only a great product, but you need to offer something different, and a new spin on the status quo.
- Understand your Target Market
Do you know your customers? What are their likes and dislikes, what do they do in their spare time? What is important to them and what problems do they face? Some may go as far as to create their perfect customer in so much detail; they can even picture what they look like! Once you fully understand your target market, it makes creating products or services to suit them much easier.
- Exceed Expectations
If you want to get your customers talking to their friends about your business, you need to exceed their expectations. This might be by offering a free gift along with an order or completing a task ahead of schedule. If you regularly exceed your customers’ expectations, you will quickly get a group of loyal customers that see you as their go-to provider.
Have a solid website to showcase your business. Without an online presence, your business will go nowhere. Your website is the ‘shop window’ for your business. A well-functioning, beautifully designed website will give customers confidence that they are dealing with a professional. If you don’t know how to go about web design for your business, there are companies out there who can design your website for a fee. A strong focus on aesthetics is essential if you want to represent your business in a positive way.
- Keep in Touch
Write a regular newsletter, or start a blog where you can share the latest topics and research from your niche, inform customers about your news or hold competitions and giveaways. Make everything you send shareable by having buttons making it simple for customers to post to their own social media.
Adding a blog to your website also has the added bonus of giving the search engines fresh content to index. This will help keep your website in the top pages when someone searches for something you have posted about. There is a wealth of information about how to start a blog for your business, so do your research and get started!
- Social Media
Get set up with social media. Having a place where your customers can connect with you is important, and social media has the added effect that people often share the things they like. There are many social media platforms you can choose from, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. It is a good idea not to spread yourself too thin by engaging too many social media platforms, pick one or two that you enjoy the most and concentrate on getting a decent following.
When you use social media, rather than seeing it as just a way to plug your business, work to develop relationships with your followers by having conversations. If someone shares your content, remember to thank them. Comment on the things your followers post, share content from others and try to answer questions. You can also use social media to ask your audience specific questions and conduct surveys and polls, helping you to fine-tune your products and services to meet their needs. Building a community can be greatly beneficial to your business.
- Blogger Outreach
Reach out to bloggers and influencers in your niche. Say for example that you sell printed t-shirts, or provide a service. You could offer a blogger who has a large social following the opportunity to own one of your products or try your service for free, in return for a review on their blog and shares on social media. Pick the top influencers in your niche, write them a friendly email and see interest in your business grow.
- Focus Locally
Getting a business noticed online is one thing, but you should also focus on the customers you have in your local area. Spread the word by having some flyers printed and delivered, leave business cards at your local shop and add your business to a local directory. Often other local business owners are keen to build relationships and work together to promote each other, so you should receive a warm response. You could also write a press release discussing your business and your products, and send it to your local newspaper.
When you’re first starting out in promoting your business, it might feel as if you need a qualification in marketing. However, put the focus on a few proven tactics, and you should begin to see some results.
Getting your small business to stand out both online and locally is about channeling your effort in the right directions. A loyal base of customers is far more effective than trying to please everyone, so grab a pen and paper and start thinking about how to reach your target audience, how to interact with them and build a community around your business. Soon, the word about your business will increase and so will your customers.
AUTHOR: Sayan Biswas, Negosentro