How Small Businesses Can Compete With Big Brands Online

With a bit of research, an understanding of what your customers want and your expertise on display, you can find a niche, position your brand as an expert and gain loyal customers over your big brand competitors.

BY: MATT SHEALY ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013
How Small Businesses Can Compete With Big Brands Online

Small businesses are constantly being undercut and out spent by big brands that have internal marketing departments and very large budgets. Let’s face it, you probably can’t beat a large brand at their own game. There’s another way to not only compete but beat out your big brand competition. You know your clientele and their needs better than any multinational company ever can. By creating a digital marketing strategy around your client’s needs, you can find a niche and come out the winner.

Start Small and Do Your Research

Every good marketing campaign starts with a deep dive into understanding your target market and competitors. Building a successful campaign online is no different. Start by researching what keywords your potential customers are using to find your products and services. You can use tools like Google Keyword External and UbberSuggest.org to search for keywords and find how many people are using these terms each month. This is the starting point to understanding how your potential customers are searching and gives you a roadmap to create content that satisfies those searches.

Your next step is to research your competitors online. What are they doing well and where are there gaps in the information they provide relevant to your search term targets? You may find that there are people searching for a very specific service that your big brand competitors offer but don’t feature anywhere on their site. This is an opportunity for you to create an in-depth article explaining this service and how your company differentiates itself from those big brands. This is a great way to drive quality traffic to your website while at the same time satisfying the searcher’s needs.

Create Great Content for a Niche Market

Once you has identified opportunities in the search results where big brand competitors are not listed, you will want to create great content that positions you as a leader in that niche. Create a library of content on a blog or within a “Resources” section of your website that provides detailed explanations, Whitepapers and eBooks at no cost to the reader. For example, the insurance market is one of the most competitive industries online. To compete in this space you need to find a niche and position your company as an alternative to the big brands. A niche insurance market could be considered renters insurance. For you to compete with the Progressive and State Farms of the world you would want to create a library of rental resources for tenants that could answer any question a tenant would have about renting. By positioning your brand as a resource, and not just a service provider, you gain trust and loyalty from your customer base.

Utilize What You Have – Relationships & Brand

If you’ve been featured in the news or in the local paper, use that to solidify you brand with potential customers. People want to trust they are doing business with the best possible resource for the job. This is especially important if you are in a highly competitive space like retail or law. You may have been interviewed by a local or national publication. Your target audience wants to know that you are an expert in your field. Featuring a video of an interview or excerpt from a publication you were featured in is a great way to accomplish this goal. A great example of this is ScottMillerLawGroup.com, where they feature a video of an interview they had with Diane Sawyer of Good Morning America on the Homepage. Potential clients immediately associate the brand with Good Morning America and trust that this is an expert and the right resource for them.

Competing online against some of the largest brands in your industry can be a daunting task. With a bit of research, an understanding of what your customers want and your expertise on display, you can find a niche, position your brand as an expert and gain loyal customers over your big brand competitors.

About the Author

Matt Shealy

Matt Shealy is a Social Media evangelist and technologist based out of Orlando, FL and the President of SwayyEm. Matt's passion is to help connect brands with consumers in a meaningful, authentic way.

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