May 9, 2016
It’s easy to assume that regional businesses are at a disadvantage when competing with larger national corporations. For many years they were.
In this blog series we will be going in-depth into the strategies and tactics that we see giving businesses a competitive edge. First, we take a 30,000 foot view of the areas that present the greatest opportunities.
Larger companies have access to big budgets for advertising, unlimited resources and headcount, and room to take risk on new opportunities like social media. If you’re competing against a large national brand, it’s likely to have built a huge online presence with millions of inbound links, a backlog of content, and a huge volume of website visitors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still compete.
Social media and digital marketing have leveled the playing field for many industries. And with quickly changing consumer priorities, customers are more willing than ever to give their business to the trustworthy regional company in preference to the outdated industry bully.
Here are four ways your regional business can compete with large national companies, and even have a chance at beating them at their own game.
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, but it’s worth repeating: people don’t do business with companies – they do business with people.
Unlike large corporations, some medium sized businesses haven’t automated their communications with customers and suppliers. They send personal emails, and leave voicemails for the people they are doing business with. Extend these personal relationships using social media and nurture the valuable business you already have. Mention their business or thank them in your company’s blog, write a case study featuring their success and post it on your website. Ask customers to take a survey to help you improve customer service and products. When it comes to solidifying long-term business and sales relationships, personal contacts will always make a difference.
Find your niche
Most business owners believe that everyone is their potential customer. They resist the idea of choosing a niche, because they immediately focus on all the people who they will be missing. Instinctively, you may think throwing a wide net for customers and being known as an expert in every related field will bring you more business. But the digital world favors specialization. There is no way you can compete with your largest international competitors in every area of your business. Focus your efforts and choose the services or products that are most profitable for your business and those that you perform the best. Build a content strategy around those areas. It’s easy to add more specialties and niche services once you’ve succeeded in winning attention from a smaller, dedicated group of customers.
Changes to the way Google and other search engines prioritize results has opened up opportunities for competing against big businesses on the web. Search engine optimization (SEO) is no longer about sheer volume.
Search engines are getting smarter and building algorithms that prioritize the pages and websites that are most relevant for the searcher. While large companies continue to create content in bulk, smaller companies are finding innovative ways to be more helpful, provide more value and connect with customers. Social media and search engines recognize this engagement and relationship-building and reward you with higher ranking results and more organic reach.
Social media and blogs have given small businesses the opportunity to talk directly to a massive audience of potential clients, and it seems to be working. Last year’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that smaller businesses benefit more than large firms from using social media. It’s given them a new avenue for making sales, generating leads and partnerships, increasing site traffic, subscriptions and overall marketplace exposure, and cutting marketing costs.
We live in unprecedented times, when anyone with a great idea and the will to create a following online can recruit and market to customers across the globe, without an office, a budget or even a business name. It’s hard work. That will never change, but smaller businesses now have all the tools and technologies to grow a profitable company and compete with even the largest corporations.
For more information on how your business can compete in your local area and in your industry, get in touch with our media experts to schedule a consultation.