It is no small feat to market your message to the right people at the right time. It is tough reaching a target audience when your top competitor has a bigger marketing budget, a larger sales force and a major head start in the market.
My coaches always taught me the best offense is a great defense. That lesson is reflected in my 10-step plan of action for small businesses to defend themselves against the attack of the large corporation. The following blueprint combines social media tactics with traditional marketing methodologies.
Read and discover how you can counter your competitors marketing campaigns and sales force. Learn how to build a positive momentum for your small business while establishing yourself as an ‘expert’ in your industry.
1. Industry Events
It is wise to attend trade shows or any event associated with your business to meet consumers face-to-face. Offer one-on-one demonstrations of your products and/or services. Positive word-of-mouth is a great, grassroots form of marketing.
2. Influence Blogs, Forums, Twitter
Participate in blogs by providing relevant, data-rich content and comment or respond when appropriate on your own and industry-related blogs. Engage followers on Twitter and share lively tweets.
3. Public Relations (PR)
Reach out to local newspaper reporters, editors of print media, radio stations and bloggers covering your industry trends. Offer personalized pitches or newsworthy tidbits that favorably highlight your business and/or employees of your business. Press releases are a great media venue for free publicity and can offer the reader an opportunity to connect and become familiar with your business and what it represents.
4. Content Syndication
Drive awareness and generate leads through content syndication. Syndication is a free and relatively easy form of advertising whereby you can make your website content available to other sites by offering RSS feeds, in-the-news updates, blog posts and forum posts, all with connecting links.
5. Social Networks
Respond to conversations, answer questions and share content on sites that are related to your industry. LinkedIn is a great social networking site that is specifically designed for professional networking. Create your own social network through your blog.
6. Demand-Centric Website
Showcase your website content and capture information about your visitors through web analytics and/or registration forms. SurveyMonkey is a great resource to ‘survey’ visitors to your website and receive feedback regarding your website’s performance, ease-of-use, design, content, etc.
7. Newsletter and Social Opt-In
Invite visitors to your site to subscribe to your newsletters and social feeds. Include optional social contact fields in addition to e-mail addresses.
8. Maintain an Email Relationship
Stay in touch with your responders via e-mail. Send promotions and special offers until they indicate an interest or make a commitment to purchase.
9. Telemarketing Sales
As soon as your website visitors request to be contacted, follow-up immediately with a sales call to address any other questions your potential buyer might have. Follow up the phone call with a second reach-out via Twitter or LinkedIn.
10. Encourage Testimonials
Empower your customers to share their personal experiences and ‘success stories’ online via Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc. Always follow-up with a brief and easy-to-complete survey to determine client satisfaction. Again, SurveyMonkey is a great tool. Be sure to obtain permission to share their testimonial on your website and/or any other marketing venue you deem appropriate.
Now, as my coaches also liked to say, get out there and show them what a winner you are!
Nicole Tongue is a seasoned business development guru who specializes in creating effective marketing strategies that are benefit-oriented. She resides in the Greater Boston area and creates content for all marketing venues and then sets them into motion. To learn more, check her out at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/nicole-tongue/b/950/6b1.