One of the reasons small business can’t live without SEO is that fact that it is one of the only marketing channels available where the smaller players can compete with, and even trump big business.
Consider the marketing alternatives and the costs associated with achieving global exposure on TV, Radio or Newspaper?
So how exactly can small business utilise search marketing to compete and even thrive on the web while big business can’t?
1. Focus on the Longtail
The basic premise of the Longtail is that our culture and economy is shifting away from mainstream products and markets to a number of small, specific niches. Many of the typical constraints such as production, distribution and marketing are changing and being alleviated by technology and the internet.
Take a big site like Amazon, they must cover all their bases and sell a large number of unique items in smaller quantity. However, when consumers are faced with unlimited choice, shopping around to get exactly what you’re after becomes much easier. Niches are so successful because they allow people to satisfy and fulfil their specific interests.
With SEO it is easy to measure exactly how profitable your different niches are so that you can focus on the highest performing ones.
2. Unlimited Ad Budget
Traditional marketing tells us that we need to ‘set a budget’ for our marketing costs. When you can measure the exact cost of a conversion, why not simply keep purchasing ads while it’s profitable? As long as every ad click is costing you less than you’re making from that click (accounting for overheads), then there’s no reason to threshold your budget.
In big business, how often have you heard a marketer tell you ‘we don’t have the budget for that at the moment‘?
As a small business, armed with the tangible information of digital ads, you can now say ‘we have an unlimited budget for ads that work‘.
3. Create Valuable Alliances
Unburdened by bureaucracy, small business can easily align with other business’ when it’s mutually beneficial. Big business can often be slow to change because of procedures and legal issues making it take much longer to create strategic partnerships.
Ask your strategic partners to link to you and they will do your marketing for you. Make it easy and beneficial for them to talk about you and they won’t be able to help themselves.
4. The Personal Touch
How often have you phoned a call centre, only to be greeted by a faceless voice that tells you they can’t help because ‘it’s not standard procedure‘?
Small business has the luxury of taking the time to add that personal touch. If it makes sense to both the business and the customer, why not break the rules? When you can give people something they don’t expect you’re giving them a reason to remember and talk about you.
Rather than trying to disguise it, emphasise the fact that you’re small. Shout out the advantages to the customer; lower overheads, faster responses and savings passed onto the customer.
5. Change Often, and Quickly
With so many freely available research tools, it’s easy to stay on top of trends and discover new niches. When there is a shift in direction in a market, how long does it take a big business to react?
Small business has the advantage of flexibility. If it makes sense to change, you can do something totally different tomorrow. If it doesn’t work out, change again.
This post was written by Jack Archbold, a contributing author to Superuser and freelance SEO and Trainer.