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Marketing Strategies for a Small Business in a Big World

Written by Amy Chan


Posted on October 27 2014

If you are a small business trying to compete with the big boys, you know you are at a consistent and constant disadvantage.  Not only do the bigger companies have far great financial resources to draw from, they have more bodies – and that means brains – to generate ideas and to implement different marketing strategies.  Larger companies can experiment and fail, and absorb that cost, whereas small businesses lose much more by using an unproductive marketing strategies.  It can seem daunting and exasperating

There are many strategies a small business can use to compete in a big world.

Customer outreach is as important as ever.  A lot of small businesses play a wait-and-see approach.  Put out your product on the internet and hope that people will Google their way into your shopping cart.  Many small businesses think that they can’t afford the outlay of cash to do proper marketing.  That’s faulty thinking.  First of all, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to do marketing.  The easiest of course is email.  If you generate an email list from in-store capture, at trade shows, or online, you can send special promotions and advertisements for free to your entire list.  That is still in this day and age an effective tool.  However, actually sending materials to potential customers’ homes, the direct marketing tool, is still effective and worth the money outlay.

It’s also important for small businesses to consider using advertising specialty products, hand outs that are more often than not misunderstood by small and large businesses.  ASP’s must have three things: function, printed message, and price.  You don’t want to simply use a plastic bag with your name emblazed upon it because plastic bags get thrown away.  If you want to have giveaways like this, make the perceived value high so that a potential customer will want to keep your giveaway instead of throw it away.  A plastic bag is just future garbage.  A nice bottle opener, or even something like a Swiss army knife, makes a great giveaway.  If you’re on a very tight budget, a beer koozie is a popular option these days.  You want your ASP to be coveted, something to be kept, and something reflective of your company either in function or logo.

Another great way to gain exposure for your company is to provide seminars in your community or in the area of a trade show you are attending.  Even having your name emblazoned on the seminar promo materials shows that you are an expert on your given field.  You don’t actually have to be an expert, you just have to make others think that you are.  Not only does it promote your company and your name, but you have an opportunity of charge a nominal fee to get attendees.  It’s all about increasing the perceived value of your knowledge and your expertise. 

The summary of this strategy is to stand out from the crowd.  Your goal is to think outside the box, gain attention that cannot simply be bought, and maximize your marketing budget in a world where every dollar matters.  The point is that you can do a lot for a little.  Open your eyes and look at the world around you and take note of the things that draw your attention. 

Emulate and innovate, never copy your competitors.