Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to the market place. As far as customer relations go, bigger businesses are often seen by consumers as being distant and… well… too business-like.
‘Small enough to care’ is the real strength of the SME.
Here are some of the ways that you can hold your own against bigger corporate entities:
1. Always put the Customer First
No matter what the size of your business, always make your customers feel so welcome that they will want to return. You may never win against larger businesses on price, but you can always offer much better service and support. Most big businesses battle to take care of their customers properly. In this area, you can do much better than them.
2. Market a Niche Product
Don’t market the same product as the large corporations—they will always beat you on price, due to their size and scale. Rather, invest in a niche product that will draw a specialised clientele. And when they walk through your door, treat them like royalty!
3. Sell ‘Balloons’
It has been said that when the circus comes to town, all the vendors sell more balloons. In other words, you will likely gain custom due to the increase of traffic when larger competitors set up in your area—provided you sell ‘balloons’ and not the same products as they do. Don’t be concerned when bigger enterprises move into your patch. Learn to ride their on their coat-tails.
4. Be Agile and Nimble
By their very nature, smaller businesses ought to be more agile and nimble than bigger firms, and therefore able to adjust more quickly to new trends and changing customer needs. If your business model is slow and ponderous, larger businesses will quickly flick you aside.
5. Build Alliances with other SMEs
When faced with competition by a large company, it sometimes becomes prudent to build strategic alliances with other small businesses. This helps to extend the range of services and products available and has the potential of allowing you to tender for projects as a team.
6. Use Social Media
When searching for a product, most consumers will, as a first step, go online to find a supplier in their area. It is therefore essential to make your business discoverable online—whether by way of a website, a Facebook page, or via Instagram and/or Twitter. Use social media as much as you can to advertise the particular strengths of your business as well as any special deals you may be offering.
7. Get Personal
Customers without exception respond positively to personalised messages. Automated email responses just don’t do it for most people. The extra effort it takes to write personalised replies will be rewarded with increased brand awareness, better customer loyalty and engagement, and higher retention rates. Even in this electronic age, some businesses still send out Christmas cards to loyal customers—ensuring a continuation of their loyalty.
8. Listen and Adapt
It is surprising how quickly you can be left behind if you are unaware of new trends emerging in the market place and changes in consumer behaviour. Speak to your customers to get an idea of their evolving needs and their latest whims and fancies. Keep your ear to the ground. Strike up conversations in the pub. Get to know your customers and their needs. You will reap the rewards!
If you’d like some assistance in confronting the marketing challenges facing your business, Dawson Consulting is here to help.
Why not contact us and speak to one of our experienced consultants?