What Small Business Should Take From Big Business Marketing Nicci Troiani Do you envision your small business to be the next Coke or Apple? Those are 2 of the most well known and recognized brands and many small businesses owners out there dream of being recognized so widely. Running a small business is dramatically different than running a business like Coca Cola, which has been around since 1886. Despite the differences, many small business owners still spend a lot of time, energy and finances to use big business marketing techniques. There are a lot of things that small business can learn from big business marketing, including what to do and what not to waste your time on. Where to let Big Business influence your marketing 1. Website Your website is one aspect of your business that you should not skimp on. The majority of sales leads come in through a search engine now and do plenty of internet research before making a buying decision. You should offer them something of value and request a sign up on your site. Something like a white paper, educational video or a free consultation is great. You want to give them something that helps them with the buying process and is NOT pushy or salesy. Doing this allows you to capture their contact information and add them to your sales process, while educating them and gaining credibility. 2. Social Look at this image from Coca-Cola’s Twitter account. Small businesses need to use their social media channels to be interactive like this with their customers and prospects. Many big brands have the ability to have a big social presence A big awareness means a lot of automatic followers. While you don’t have that advantage, adding your social channels to your smart phone and giving quick responses to mentions and messages ensures that you are interacting with your audience. This will keep customers and fans happy and increase your following. Keeping your social outlets updated with new content is a must. Updating more often will keep your audience engaged and grow your following. What Small Business can do that Big Business Can’t 1. Follow up This is a huge advantage. People like a business that will work with them and treat them like a person. Big businesses have too many clients to focus on them individually. Even as busy as you are, using a good software to keep your clients and tasks organized can keep you on top. Try to use automated e-mail campaigns if possible to take down the effort level on your part. 2. Personal Touches Sometimes a hand written note or small gift can have a huge impact. When was the last time you got a personalized thank you note for purchasing from a big company? Leave These to the Big Guys 1. Branding Don’t get me wrong. The right name, logo and image are EXTREMELY important to your business. You should not write off branding completely. But you are not Coca-cola or Apple. You do not need to hire a whole team for your branding strategy and spend a large amount of your resources here– it will be a waste. Wait until you’ve been around a while and taken over the world– or at least your industry, to focus on this. 🙂 2. Expensive Advertisements When you buy television or print ad space you are competing for the viewer’s attention with brands that are much bigger and recognizable than yours. There are a few things to think about here. First, if you have a great social media strategy, you are getting brand attention here for free, so why spend money on advertising? Second, if you have the resources to purchase advertisements, do so wisely. Purchase ads in a smaller niche magazine or a local radio station. Find places where the listeners or viewers are more likely to identify with your company. Google and Facebook can be good advertising strategies because they are so targeted. Go for strategies like these versus trying to compete with the big guys.