The first part
of this two-part article focused on the customer-centric ways to compete with industry giants. These lessons, all of which I’ve experienced firsthand working for a Canadian email marketing company, included:
• Turning obstacles into opportunities.
• Establishing win-win relationships.
• Offering outstanding customer service.
• Hiring the best local team.
Part two is designed to cover the technical aspects that will help your business accelerate and carve a niche for your organization in the market.
1. Take a smaller piece of the pie.
Industry giants tend to cast a wide net when it comes to their customer base. They are typically able to serve a larger geographical region, a broader range of interests or multiple industries which, as a small company, is hard to compete with.
For us, we saw this as an opportunity to target a smaller, more niche market, and do it well. Because our market is Canadian businesses, we created features that would only make sense for that market. We’re able to offer certain services that our international competition cannot (because they would not be applicable to all of their customers).
There are several ways to capture your target audience, and I believe that as long as you focus on those methods, you will find success. For instance, data mining is crucial to ensure your lists are up to date and the right information is going to the right customers. Without consistent upkeep and messaging, your list will become redundant.
In today’s day and age, with so many emails being opened on mobile devices, it is wise to design emails that are mobile-friendly. This is a surefire way of gaining access to the maximum number of eyeballs. Lastly, investing in continuous analytics for your email marketing campaigns will help you better understand your customers’ needs so you can determine how to tailor messaging and get ahead in the game.
2. Hyper-target your marketing efforts.
When the target audience is streamlined, small businesses are able to have a greater impact on their prospective customers. It is necessary to establish a structure because it makes hyper-targeted marketing efforts even more successful.
Small businesses can begin by identifying and creating buyer personas based on demographics and psychographics. Next, your focus should be on crafting creative and impactful messages that have a strong call to action (CTA) and distributing emails via a platform that is guaranteed to do the work for you. Lastly, track your results, and make changes wherever required, even during the retargeting phase.
At Cyberimpact, our targeted content marketing strategy uses messaging like “Canadian email marketing platform” and “CASL compliant,” as it caters to a specific audience (Canadian businesses) and clearly portrays what we offer.
3. Focus on effective SEO.
Focusing on a specific market allows you to narrow down your search engine optimization (SEO). With a small business’s budget, competing against larger companies to rank on the first page of Google can be hard. I suggest exploring these avenues to narrow SEO keywords:
• List keywords that are localized, as they help attract customers within the vicinity of your business who are genuinely interested in your product or service.
• Research keywords that your competitors are using so you’re better informed on their performance, and implement what works well for your business at the same time.
• Build a list of negative keywords so you avoid wasting time and money wondering why your campaign isn’t performing and instead focus on maximizing your results.
For example, instead of trying to rank for the term “email marketing platform,” we optimize for more specific search terms that are Canadian and work hard to occupy the first pages of those searches.
4. Understand the diffusion of innovations.
As marketers, we are all aware of the diffusion of innovations. On the far left of the chart, you find the innovators who are the first to try new technology, apps, software, etc. Even for technology-based companies, it is not always realistic to target this group, as it can get expensive. The center of the chart covers the early to late majority. There can be a lot of money and stability in marketing and selling to this majority because these consumers have waited to see the adoption and success of your product.
It’s hard to win the innovation race when up against multimillion-dollar tech giants. That’s not to say that innovation isn’t important, but for small businesses, the initial priority should be on sustainable growth and profit. For instance, we allocate 10% of our resources to innovation and use 90% to scale a profitable business.
I hope these tips are useful for small businesses and serve as a reminder that you can compete against those scary industry giants. You just have to find your niche and stay authentic to your audience.
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