Using Large Business Tactics on a Small Business Budget
It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Jesse Aaron – Enjoy!
You won’t find your local pizza shop in the Super Bowl advertising line-up, but you will find Papa John’s there. You won’t find your local shoe store sponsoring an Olympic team, but you will Nike there. However, there’s a strong chance the regional Papa John’s and Nike outlets have not heard of the local charity run or annual Turkey bowl. Although their brand presence and marketing budgets are vast, they don’t always have their finger on the pulse of local events – but small businesses do. They’re engrained in the fabric of communities and they can use that to their advantage.
Small businesses have these advantages manifest as we convert the marketing tactics and campaigns of large businesses into a smaller formula. Let’s explore a few of them.
Strategic Branding Opportunities
Red Bull has molded their brand image to offer shareable and engaging media channels. Think of Felix Baumgartner and his record-breaking free-fall from 128,000 feet above the Earth’s surface. His most prominent sponsor was Red Bull. What they’ve done is affiliate their brand with various stunts and events that are complete media magnets. Even if nobody is paying close attention to the brand and sponsor information, these televised events will be shared for years to come and because of that it’s next to impossible for the brand to go overlooked.
Now, there’s absolutely no way that a small business could hope to match that kind of media coverage, at least not right away. That said, it’s entirely possible to create something highly shareable and engaging that spreads like wildfire, or becomes a social phenomenon so-to-speak. That shouldn’t be your focus or goal, however.
A small business can adopt a similar strategy by sponsoring local events and charities. Attending talent shows at neighboring schools and featuring one of the local acts is a great way to simultaneously promote localization and attract eyeballs. Who knows, they might be the next Felix Baumgartner.
Take Advantage of Emerging and Real-Time Marketing Opportunities
This doesn’t pertain to any one brand, but instead several. Ever notice how the big names always seem to tie their marketing and advertising campaigns into real-time events and opportunities? For example, just take a look at how Coca-Cola and Oreo have tied their brand messages into the Super Bowl.
Along a similar vein of tied-in-branding, small businesses can hop on any relevant trends that sprout on social media. Remember the ice bucket challenge? Everyone and their cat posted a video of that, but the playing field was open to everyone. Countless brands and individuals of all sizes were scoring views and traffic due to their creative take on the challenge.
Create Content Based on Popular and Relevant Search Terms
Another playing field that can be a bit more forgiving than traditional advertising is the results page for search terms. Google factors in locations so when someone starts looking for pizza both local and chains will show up. Pizza Hut will never be able to compete with a locally renowned pizza shop.
When we start looking at the most popular and relevant search terms about our business we uncover paths to content. For example, if we sell mice traps and we notice many people are searching for tips on how to trap mice humanely, we could make both physical and digital cards to send out to customers and friends.
For small businesses with a creative team, we can reimagine search terms as visual content. I came across a great example of this recently with an infographic showing how much Americans spend on cars. I was searching for the average price someone spends on a car and this was just a small auto-parts shop, but they effectively turned a popular search term into an engaging piece of content.
Flex and Flaunt Expertise
Famous brands consistently try to market themselves as the best, the brightest, and the biggest. Almost every hot tech company today can fuel that initiative because they attract the best and the brightest – but not of all of it.
According to a survey commissioned by the Freelancers Union, 34% of the American workforce freelances. The small web design shops and creative studios can easily home talent on part with the largest businesses. Think about the local mechanic or barber who has dedicated their life to the trade. We’re accustomed to seeing slogans like “#1 practice” or “top-rated in the area” and while this is definitely effective branding, more can be done to actually show expertise.
Blogs and video channels open the door to create educational materials such as tutorials and guides that can help convert potential customers. Local events also present opportunities to demo products or teach classes. Universities are also constantly on the lookout for experts of various industries to give lectures and in-class speeches, which can open your own business to fresh talent.
Jesse Aaron is a community manager and freelancer writer. He runs a blog and forums about social media marketing on Mashbout.