First step in small business marketing: take stock of your differentiators
The one thing we love about working with small businesses is their commitment to problem solving. Entrepreneurs are in their business because they recognized particular needs that they could provide for. They realized a problem they could solve or a gap they could fill. This fundamental quality about small business defines their differentiators.
By “differentiators” we’re talking about the qualities that set a business apart from others — the unique features that a particular business has to offer. This could be more personalized customer service, a commitment to an under-served segment of the population, a flat and inclusive employment structure, a highly collaborative approach to working with clients and so on.
What’s important about recognizing your differentiators is that they should be the first things you think about when it comes time to market your business. When you put aside all the fancy digital marketing tools with their deep analytics and charts and budgets, marketing is really all about communicating your particular message to individuals. If it resonates with them, that’s when you start converting clients. Just because we can reach thousands or millions of people in online advertising campaigns, doesn’t mean we can lose sight of this fundamental quality of marketing.
Don’t fret. There are many effective ways you can start communicating your message on little to no budget. First, you have to take stock of your differentiators. What is it about your company that makes clients love working with you? Any remotely successful business has them, you just have to figure out what they are. If they are unclear to you, ask some of your best customers why they enjoy working with you. But really, you know best. You know why you started your business and you likely have some kind of sales strategy that highlights what makes you unique, now you just have to express it.
If you don’t already have a blog on your website, I would recommend starting one. They can be easily added on most content management systems and can be managed and updated without a significant time commitment. Although a blog is just one part of the equation, it gives your thought leadership a place to live and provides more content for prospective customers to learn about your differentiators right on your website.
You can tell the story of why you started your business — the weaknesses that you saw in the industry and what you did to fill the gaps. You can share your experiences with customers — how you solved their problems or made life easier for them in some way. You can bring up problems that businesses encounter that you can solve, using examples from the news or from colleagues. If you happen to enjoy making videos, you can create video blog content, even having each of your employees share why they share your vision and what they bring to the table. At the end of the day, it doesn’t so much matter what story you tell, just that you are clear about your business’s differentiators. This is how online users begin to trust you and your company.
Once you’ve published the content on your website, you can take advantage of social networks to increase your exposure and connect with relevant individuals. I would recommend using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also throw in YouTube if your content is video heavy. Make sure to set up a company page and share a link to your blog content with a call to action for what viewers will learn. You can even use personal article posts on LinkedIn in addition to shorter company page updates, reusing your website blog content to solidify your thought leadership among your professional networks.
Before this, the world could only see your business. Now they will be able to see the mind and the actions behind the business, leading to more awareness and ultimately, trust.
If you are thinking that you have a great understanding of your differentiators and you have plenty of stories to share, but no time to do so or you don’t trust your writing ability, that is where we come in. Corner Marketing can help you tell your story and reach more people online. We focus on your differentiators to implement low-cost content marketing strategies that will not only help to bring in more business, but will build your reputation as well.
The one thing that gives humans the greatest intelligence in the animal kingdom is our ability to write down and record information to pass on to others. This is how we’ve learned most of our knowledge in our lives. It’s not too late for you to do the same for your business ideas and take advantage of recording your thoughts to share with others.