Small businesses can enhance their success and stand out today by meeting their customers where they are today – on the Internet.
Most buyers go online at some point in the purchasing process. A study by GE Capital in 2013 shows that 81% of consumers go online before making big purchases. Other studies show numbers of 65%, 83%, 90% - the point is…a LOT of people’s buying decisions are influenced by what they find on the Internet.
The challenge for small businesses is to have their product or service come up when their customers and prospects are looking to buy. No surprise…this takes effort. Why?
Because with all of the information online, it’s easy for your product or service to get lost.
How Small Businesses Can Stand Out Today – Content and Social Media
One solution is to build up your presence online, using a website, social media, profiles, listings, content postings, reviews, advertising, and more.
It’s about being visible. There’s visibility you pay for – advertising – and visibility you earn.
But, for those that don’t have the big bucks to take out Super Bowl ads or commit to other advertising campaigns, you can go another route, that of earned visibility.
It doesn’t cost much money to put your information online, but it does take time and effort by you or your employees – or a digital marketing firm or consultant – to put the right information, or content , consistently out there. People need to see, interact with, and gain a sense for what others think of your stuff. Easily digested information, recommendations and thoughts about your wares from real people – these are things you can build up online and encourage.
The Needle in the Haystack Analogy
A needle in a haystack can be found – and can be found easily if it stands out. For example, if it’s big, if it’s colorful, if you have a magnet, if it’s attached to exotic thread, if, if, if….
The challenge is to address the “ifs”. Here are some points small businesses can address in order to stand out online:
- make sure your product or service is described well, accurately, and often in various places online.
- post pictures, videos, blogs, guest articles solving problems your product or service addresses.
- actively listen and engage in social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. A word of caution: as you’re doing this, do not to ram your product down people’s throats, but instead to discuss issues pertaining to your area of expertise, interest, industry, etc. The goal is to show what you know, not push what you sell. Doing this consistently, over time, should showcase you as a thought leader, an expert in your area. Building trust and credibility is a significant boost to standing out and getting found.
- encourage existing customers or clients to talk about your product or service – reviews can make or break the buying decision-making process.
Your clients and prospects are looking for what you offer. 99% of the rest of the world is not. The challenge is to get your product or service in front of the people who care and need what you have. That takes “content” and a social media presence. Target your 1% by posting a variety of information online that address their specific needs, questions, issues, interests and experiences.
As you know, how you market your product or service has changed, and social media is an affordable addition to your overall marketing efforts.