Digital Marketing for Small Businesses and Side Hustles: How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market
If your local business is swamped with competitors, it can be hard for you to make your business stand out. However, the fact is that if you want your business to achieve success in the long run, standing out is something you cannot ignore.
Digital marketing is the best way establish a superior online presence. In this comprehensive guide, I will tell you how you can make the most of the digital marketing landscape to rise above your competitors.
1. Define your tone
Your business needs to have a brand identity, and what exactly is a brand identity? In simple terms, it is the human side of your business that communicates with its audience in a particular way consistently. You can think of it like your best friend who has specific character traits that never change. Establishing your brand identity can go a long way toward defining your business' tone of communication with its audience.
For example, if your business' target audience is on the younger side, you can use contemporary, informal language in your communications. However, if the target audience is on the older side, it would be better to use language that's more formal. To define your tone, you need to first invest in understanding your audience. Most businesses nowadays outsource digital marketing for greater expertise in terms of understanding their respective audiences. This allows them to develop a tone of communication that resonates positively with their audiences.
2. Invest in market research
Alongside establishing your brand identity and defining its tone, you should also invest in market research. The point of doing this is simple - to understand what your competitors are doing. Select your most successful competitors for this, as you would need to understand what's working for them along with potential flaws in their digital marketing strategies. Outsourcing digital marketing services can work wonders on the market research front.
Once you have a deeper understanding of your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, you can work on tweaking them for the benefit of your business. However, it's important to remember that you can't exactly emulate the most successful businesses in your niche all the time. Doing this will make it hard for your audience to tell one from the other. Quite simply, if your business is new but it communicates exactly like a well-established competitor, your audience will simply think you're copying. Instead, try to retain your competitors' strengths while infusing a tone of your own.
3. Reach customers through customer segmentation
Customer segmentation refers to the practice of segmenting customers into groups based on customers' behavioral tendencies, demographics, and more. You might be wondering what the point of customer segmentation is. Well, the point of this exercise is to ensure that the right people are delivered the right message exactly at the right time. Not segmenting your customers means your messages will be sent to everybody irrespective of the differences among them. As a result, your messages may not be very effective in doing what you want them to do.
Let's look at customer segmentation through an example. For instance, if your email marketing campaign sees each and every one of your customers receiving the same email, it might end up with mixed results. Remember, some customers are likely to ignore your emails altogether, and you have access to the relevant data that proves it. So why would you want to waste resources on customers? Quite simply, customer segmentation makes digital marketing more efficient and cost-effective.
4. Bring your creativity to the fore on social media
Social media platforms have been nothing short of boons for businesses. On these platforms, businesses can engage with their existing and prospective customers as creatively as they want to. From colorful posts to insightful videos and more - the possibilities are endless if you can harness the power of social media. If you aren't much of a social media marketing yourself, consider reaching out to a social media optimization service.
These days, social media platforms are loaded with content sharing features. Take Instagram for example. The Facebook-owned platform was once exclusively a photo-sharing app. However, over the years, a variety of features was introduced. Today, businesses can leverage Instagram not only to share photos, but to also share videos (both long-form and short-form) and do live sessions. This variety of features allows businesses to diversify their content and innovate every time they want to connect with their target audiences.
5. Understand the importance of search engine optimization
For many businesses, standing out from their competitors on Google is the first step. However, for this to happen, search engine optimization or SEO is vital. Now, what exactly is SEO? It's a set of processes that aim to incorporate keywords and phrases into a website's content to make it rank higher on Google search. While you can optimize your website for any search engine, I'm primarily focusing on Google here because it's the world's most widely-used search engine.
Many people tend to think of SEO as the simple act of finding and selecting the right keywords. However, the fact is that SEO is complex and it goes beyond keyword selection. Its ultimate goal is to identify the keywords that your competitors are competing for along with the ones your audience is using. Quite simply, you wouldn't want to use the same keywords your competitors are using. At the same time, your keyword use shouldn't be radically different. To know more about SEO and its importance in today's world of digital marketing, you should reach out to a website SEO consultant.
6. Provide value through your content - don't just promote
Promoting your business and its products and/or services is undoubtedly important. However, your digital marketing efforts can't only be focused on promotion. Ultimately, whatever content you produce has to be of some value to your target audience. For instance, if you teach your audience to do something at home, it's something they'll be thankful for and carry with them. Another example of valuable content is an opinion piece, which allows audiences to form their own opinions on the latest happenings in your industry and niche.
So, whenever you post or publish content on your website or across your social media channels, ask yourself - is the content valuable? If the answer is yes, go ahead and post it without any worries. However, if the answer is no, you should refrain from posting it and make sure that it provides more than just another promotional message.
Standing out from competitors, especially in a fiercely competitive industry or niche, is easier said than done. However, with the right attitude and approach, it's definitely possible. If you want more information on how you can make your business stand out, get in touch with me.
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