As a small business, it's easy to be intimidated by competitors that have bigger budgets, more established brands, and bigger teams. Though larger brands will likely always be able to outspend you, there are ways to increase visibility for a smaller company with smaller budgets. While you can be outspent in TV, radio and billboard advertising, the Internet offers multiple possibilities for out-smarting your competitors and growing your market share. Here are seven digital marketing tactics you can start using today as you take on your competitors.
Build Your Strategy Around Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are very specific phrases that you can target and are cost efficient for both organic and paid search. The more specific the search, and the more specific your response, the more likely a consumer is to buy. Also, while broad terms can be very expensive to rank for organically, or bid on for paid search, long tail terms tend to be less competitive, and therefore less expensive. In the example below, we can see a more specific query has significantly less search volume, but also a lower bid cost and a higher chance for conversion because of how specific the search is. Read our post on finding and targeting long tail search here.
Symptom and Cure Searches
It’s likely that the products and or services you sell are searched for in two ways: someone directly looking for the solution, and the second being someone searching by the problems they are having without knowing the name of the solution. Let's say you're a chiropractor.
"What's causing my back pain?"
This is a search for a problem, which is likely to have higher volume and lower competition.
"Chiropractor in Chicago"
This is a search for a solution, which is likely to have lower volume and higher competition.
If the big brands in your space are focusing on the solution only, you can start by choosing your keywords carefully, then target your audience through blogging and content marketing by answering the questions they ask. When you answer your clients’ questions, you are also building trust and credibility while presenting the solution.
Use Your Size to Your Advantage
One of the biggest benefits of being a small company is that you are more agile and able to make decisions more quickly without rounds of review across multiple departments. Use tools like Google Trends and the Keyword Planner to constantly be developing new keywords and content that addresses your client needs. Add content and make changes to your website and/or paid search strategies based on the data you collect.
Demonstrate Your Expertise Through Content Marketing
The bigger your competition, the more likely they are to have content produced by marketing departments or outsourced teams. Anytime a business owner creates content, it has an authority and credibility that both other sites and Google love. Sharing your insights and expertise through onsite content can allow you to get more traffic to your site, as well as market it out to other sites such as news sources, partner websites and industry publications to earn high-value links and increased visibility.
Bid on Their Brand
While you can’t use your competitors' names in your advertising, you can bid on their brand name in your pay-per-click marketing. While this strategy is not right for everyone, with some compelling ad copy, you may be able to pull some consumers unfamiliar with your brand to your site. In the example below, we have two large brands involved (and some grammatical issues!), but an interesting example of bidding on your competitors to capture more traffic.
Promote Your Differentiators in Ad Copy & Meta Descriptions
If you are going to be sharing real estate online with larger brands, highlight what makes your company the better choice in your ad copy and meta descriptions. Do you offer better pricing? A higher quality? Talk to your current clients about why they chose you over the big brands, and emphasize these differentiators as much as possible.
Use a Defined Local Strategy
Last but not least, if your business has a local focus, having a clearly defined local SEO strategy can help you make big inroads against your larger competitors. If you're in Chicago, check out the Ultimate Chicago List of Citation and Link Sources below!