Digital marketing for small businesses – The internet has the power to amplify. It can blow up a small ripple into an all-consuming wave. This is no rhetoric of mine! Otherwise, how would you explain an amateur movie clip, shot with a very low-grade camera, going viral and millions getting the opportunity to watch it? Surely, it is the internet which takes it to unheard-of viewership and popularity. The irony is that it the small businesses that gain most from the power of the internet and yet, they are the ones that do not use it optimally!
This is mainly due to two reasons: budget and lack of awareness. In this post, I will try to pin down the latter and try to ensure that the former is taken care of, as much as practicable. In my work with small businesses, which I immensely cherish because of the clean slate that they present to me and because most have tremendous potential to be the next big thing, I have noted that the real problem lies in the fact that they don’t have a brand. By the word brand, I do not limit myself to the logo or the catch-line or even the name of the business.
Branding: What is it?
Branding is creating a separate identity for yourself. For example, when you listen to the name Samsung, what pops up in your mind? Quality products and reliability! That is branding. The name of your product, service or the company must be synonymous with some qualities that people identify with. These qualities will be known as USP or Unique Selling Points. These qualities distinguish your brand from the rest of the competition around you. Branding cannot be done in a day or even in any fixed period. It is a dynamic, on-going process. You ask yourself here: have I not heard or read these points elsewhere? Yes, you have!
What you need to know is how you actually start the process of branding for your business. I will go into some specifics here that will help you get the drift. Before anything, look at your product or service. Does it say an original story? Why did you develop it in the first place? That is the story that the world wants to hear! How does your product or service solve their problem or make their life easier? That is what people want to know about! Make these questions the crux of your content for the website as well as other pieces that you publish online. Measure your content marketing strategies with these touchstones, and you will seldom go wrong!
Saying your story is only a part of the branding process. Next up is how you distinguish your identity from the competition around you. In order to do that, you need data and statistics about your competitors. In other words, you need a competition analysis. Pin down areas where you are strong and where you are lagging behind. Now, highlight these strengths and work on the weak zones. Let people know, through content and social media promotions, what you can offer them and how it is different from anything else around. Be aware that people will validate your claim! Do not, I repeat, do not try to hoodwink people in the process of branding!
Promotions are integral to the digital marketing process. We had touched upon the point of small businesses having to work on shoestring or worse budgets. The question here is, how do they, then, afford promotional blitzkrieg online? The answer is that online promotional channels can be both paid and free. If your budget does not allow you for paid channels, by all means, try the free ones! It is just that you have to work a little harder here and the results might take a little longer to surface. Of course, promotions on social media networks come free so you can always use them, though judiciously.
The Final Word
As evident, small businesses can actually make a big impact with some informed digital marketing strategies. Every business has something fresh or new to offer. The thumb rule of any marketing process is to use that unique quality or feature as a handle to steer it towards people. If you have a small business or any business for that matter that needs help with branding, you can always get in touch with me for suggestions and tactical guidance. Do ask yourself today: are you using the power of the internet optimally to promote your small business?