Big corporations have huge budgets. They spend more on marketing in one month than you do on your whole business for an entire year. They have experts and specialists doing all of their branding. So how can you possibly compete? Start by remembering that your small business has some significant advantages over major corporations.
1. Finances. Let's face it, the internet has really leveled the internet marketing playing field. There's not much a huge corporation can do on the internet that you can't do. You can both optimize your websites, you can both host your website on a web-based content management system, you can both post relevant and high-quality articles to your blog, you can both use social networking sites to connect to potential customers, and you can both optimize your landing pages to ensure more leads. All of those activities are critical to internet marketing, and you can do them with the same ease and cost as a multinational corporation.
2. Social Networking. Let the big companies do your work for you! Let them spend all the money they want on new marketing, because all they're doing is attracting targeted traffic to social media sites. And if you're in the right place at the right time, that targeted traffic will be exposed to your business as well.
Additionally, many big companies aren't savvy enough to use social networking appropriately. Instead of becoming part of the conversation on social media sites, they're interrupting it with their loud messages and demanding attitudes. They don't realize that social media users are interested in creating connections rather than having marketing messages shoved down their throats.
If you use social networking appropriately by connecting with other people rather than trying to sell them something, you'll have an enormous advantage over big businesses. Don't be intimated by their presence on social networking sites. Keep making your connections and you'll see a huge payoff in the end.
3. Customers. Sure, large companies are less affected by losing customers, but your advantage is that you can actually create relationships with potential customers. Social networking is a major piece in creating such relationships, and if you as a small business owner remain committed to the relationship-building task, you will see it pay off. If you're patient with potential customers and share information with them rather than going for the hard sell, you'll see that sales come much more quickly. Convincing and persuading, the primary tactics of big businesses, isn't going to get you very far. Building relationships is.
Your job as a small business owner is to gauge the challenges faced by your potential customers and to help them find solutions to those challenges. Big businesses too quickly lose focus on individual problem-solving in favor of getting their message out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. When you keep in mind that internet users can frequently find the solutions to their challenges by searching the internet, and when you offer yourself in a consultative fashion, you are more likely to be attractive to potential customers who are looking for a partner rather than a savior.
4. Think Differently About Marketing. Experts tell us that companies will spend $1.9 billion advertising on social networking sites in 2009. But maybe we need to think about "successful marketing" in a different way. What if someone came to your website, downloaded a free ebook, passed it on to ten friends, and those ten friends starting talking about what you had to say? Would that count as success even though you made no money? Absolutely! So instead of looking at the dollar signs, listen to what your gut tells you about whether or not your marketing efforts are successful. Couple your instincts with efforts to calculate your internet marketing return on investment and you'll see that you have significant advantages over big business. Make them work for you!