Marketing Tactics for Entrepreneurs: 3 Tips to Compete with Larger Brands
Big businesses often have an advantage over us small guys when it comes to running profitable companies. They can absorb costs better, have higher budgets for marketing and other expenses, and they carry a lot of weight to make things happen faster. This doesn’t have to be the case however. When it comes to grass roots marketing, the solo-preneur has some very distinct advantages over the big guys.
Network and build relationships with decision makers
This is where the rubber meets the road. Building relationships and creating a community is where you’ll excel far quicker than the big guys. It’s pretty difficult to meet the CEO of Gatorade at a local networking event or street fair. It’s pretty easy to meet you anywhere.
Again, make it easy for people to connect with you. Get out into your community and talk to people. Attend meetups and networking events. Travel to conferences where you can expect to meet people in your target market.
You become real and make it very easy to do business with you the moment you step out and meet people. You won’t find the big guys doing this. When you see them at a trade show, it’s almost always a representative of that company; but it’s not who you were hoping to meet.
Utilize social media to put your brand on the map
Recent social media blitzes by heavy hitters like Old Spice, Pepsi, and Gatorade might leave you wondering how you can ever hope to compete against them.
Old Spice brought a familiar, paid actor together with a creative team and writers, to do a short and very successful campaign. They spent a lot of money on it and from the outside looking in, it would seem there is no way to compete against them.
But the opposite is actually true. Old Spice was successful, but by no means is social media about spending a lot of money. Social media is about building community and having conversations with customers and future customers.
As a small business owner, you have a distinct advantage over the big guys. The Old Spice guy is not going to always respond to you when you message him on twitter. But your community can speak directly to you. They don’t have to go through a marketing department or community manager. By default they always get you.
How excited would you be to have a conversation with the lead singer of your favorite band? My guess is that you’d be pretty fired up. That’s the exact same feeling your customers likely have about you.
You’re a rock star!
Make it easy for them to reach you on as many social networks as possible. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are the three biggest. Don’t blow anyone off; conversations are often the backbone of profitability.
Create your social media strategy before you jump in, and blow the big guys out of the water with it. Learn more about social media strategy by reading our guide to starting in social media for small business.
Distribute a newsletter and create a blog
Many of the big companies have newsletters and blogs. The fact remains however, that we rarely do business with large, faceless organizations these days. Instead, we do business with real people.
A newsletter and/or blog is a great opportunity for you as a business owner, to show your customer base your personal side. The only rule of thumb is to keep it less than 100% personal, but more than 1%. The rest is up to you to figure out what you like to write about and what your community wants.
My newsletter is released at 7am every Wednesday without missing a beat. Without fail, I post a blog five days per week. Consistency is the most important part of both newsletters and blogs. Create a schedule and tell your community what they can expect from you, both in content and schedule.
Above all, be real. Readers don’t want a bland document in their inbox. Give them something they’ll be excited about reading and allow them to connect with you.
You can learn from the big guys when it comes to marketing. Take those lessons and put them on your own level. You don’t need to be big. You only need to be real.
What other marketing tactics for entrepreneurs have you tried?