The small business owner has to do whatever he/she does better than the competition does. Successful marketing efforts in the current marketing environment need to address the consumer of today who is drastically different than the consumer of yesterday.
Today’s consumers are not interested in being preached at – they want two-way communication channels – hence the rise of the importance of social media.
Today's consumer no longer blindly believes business owners – they want businesses to prove and earn their loyalty. Small business owners have to "play" in the same arena their potential customers are "playing" in. They need to be accountable and have a presence. They need to capitalize on their marketing strength/advantage/edge. They need to engage their target or niche on social media platforms. They need to listen to what the consumer wants and needs and be sure they are addressing those wants and needs.
It is a tough time – but the savvy business owner will realize the importance of relationship building in business and focus his/her attentions on the relationship – both on and off the Internet.
The Internet has become so important and actually makes it easier for the small business owner to find out exactly what and where the competition is – and that is EXACTLY where he/she needs to be too. There are some really neat free social media marketing tools like HowSociable and Socialmention that can help you monitor what your competitors are doing in the social networks as well as your own traction on the social web.
Small companies can create a large presence on the Internet thereby putting them in the same playing field as the larger companies (unless the players are major, well-renowned brands like Coca Cola and Dell) The power of the Internet is boundless.
There are so many free ways to reach ones' target market. For instance, Google and Bing offer free local listings. Merchant Circle is another free site with an option for an upgrade for a fee. Manta is an outstanding marketing resource because it offers a platform for businesses to provide company details such as company name, address, number of employees, estimated annual sales and more. Do yourself a favor and do a Google search on your niche. You will be surprised at the enormous number of resources that will literally be handed to you on a silver platter. Seek and ye shall find…
Today’s marketplace is highly competitive and the economic climate is tenuous at best. As such, it is imperative that small business owners have a clear understanding of who their target market is and what their value proposition is.
Before embarking on a new or revised marketing strategy, the small business owner should be able to answer the following 4 basic questions:
1) Who are your customers?
2) What do they want or need?
3) How can you help them?
This last question is important enough to discuss separately.
4) Who are you? Sounds like a simple question but it can sometimes be a difficult one to answer.
Small businesses who offer solutions-oriented products and services might find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what their brand is. However, the successful business owner will be the one who has the ability to powerfully and effectively communicate a brand identity that meets the consumers’ needs in a better and distinctive way than competitive companies. Answering these questions is just the beginning of your marketing journey but without the right targeted direction, you might find yourself spinning in the wind.
Don’t spin, instead focus and target.