In the story of David and Goliath, David was in an underdog situation. He was smaller and weaker than his opponent but beat Goliath in single combat by being more agile and cunning.
In the digital arena, it is possible for an SME to be creative and really take on the larger competition, by looking at their companies’ strengths and offerings and focusing on the companies USPs.
SMEs can deliver a more personalised experience, which customers are really looking for. Many customers value working with the same people instead of speaking with someone different every time.
Smaller companies can be more agile and responsive to change, with less investment in infrastructure SMEs can adapt their services to their customers needs more than established companies can.
Smaller companies can also leverage digital in an effective way really putting them on equal footing with larger players. By focusing on the digital arena, a smaller company can provide a much more personal and engaging user experience.
The undeniable strength of the small business is the personal touch. You know your customers inside and out and they know and trust your business.
With customers increasingly looking for their goods online, SMEs need to meet them there. They need to create a digital presence to complement their physical presence.
For example, a small company that can leverage its brand through its digital presence can create a very strong brand identity for their offering.
So, what can a small company do to differentiate itself from the larger competition?
Before the internet took off it was easier for large companies to keep their dominance over the market. TV advertising had quite a high barrier to entry. Of course, that has changed. Online advertising can suit any business with lower costs to entry and flexible costs depending on your budget.
Social media is an interesting one for smaller companies. Social media needs to be leveraged in an authentic and effective way to create a strong brand presence. A small company needs to focus on building a strong brand through online interactions. Many smaller companies focus on the content of their feeds, rather than the tone and voice of the company. The tone and voice are what speaks to the user, building a very strong and recognisable brand for the business.
Content is important but not at the cost of a strong digital presence.
A smaller company needs to focus on creating a website that is easy to use, looks professional and is easy to navigate. A digital website should be the first point of contact for potential customers. If a user is unable to use the website and navigate the site, a smaller company will not receive the inbound enquiries that they are looking for. Have a website that tells your story and allows the customer to really understand what the company cares about. A story is far more memorable than too much factual information.
Ask yourself; what kind of message does the company want to communicate online? For the cost of a digital camera, and perhaps a camera stand, a company can take photos and upload them to Instagram.
Digital marketing is an effective way to reach potential customers. A smaller company can create a strong digital presence and use digital marketing to build a recognisable brand for their business. A company should treat their brand like a person, what is their personality like, are they serious or fun, what are they passionate about? This may sound a bit off-the-wall but many larger companies, especially fast-food companies do this, and it is proven to be extremely successful online.
Digital advertising is an effective way to reach potential customers. A smaller company can amplify their online presence with some paid advertising. Larger brands that operate multiple accounts for various product lines often have dedicated paid advertising which will promote products, whilst organic unpaid accounts will generate traffic by really engaging with the audience. The audience is less likely to respond to being spoken at, so the tone is incredibly important. For example, by becoming part of the community you will gain far more engagement than being outside of it.
Would you buy a perfume from a perfumer with no sense of smell? The customer wants to know the people working at the organisation are passionate about what they do and care about getting it right the first time.
An honest voice will always be listened to. Digital marketing has democratised mass communications and SMEs can use this to their advantage.