19 ideas for small business to learn from Big Brands
A startup is a path which people believe is different from others. We assume that there is no such facility out there and we are providing it uniquely that’s why we start up some business. But there are some paths which is already traveled and we have to follow. We adopt some predefined paths by big brands like story-telling, brand building and social activities. This helps startup reach their audience easily and effectively
Small businesses face financial, but can still use some of techniques which big brands use. And if we talk about marketing our products or services, we have to adopt some already tested marketing techniques from big brands, to get the quick and optimized results.
If you are running a business, then you are playing the role of a superhero, you are everywhere when required. Actually in startups or small organizations there is no clearly defined role for entrepreneurs. They wear many hats.
Here I am sharing some techniques that I found useful while studying about marketing and business model of big brands like Nike, McDonalds, Apple, Starbucks and many others:
1. Tell your story
Tell your own story creatively to your customers. Major brands have done the same for several years. They are investing wisely and hiring professional journalists for content marketing. Storytelling requires imagination and creativity. This can work for all sized companies from small to big and require no money. There are many ways, just choose which fits you and go with that. The question may arise, why storytelling is so compelling. Because people remember stories. Even when they forget the name of brand, they don’t forget the story. Stories touch the emotional string of the audience. The story should be easy to recall and your audience should be able to relate to it and share it. When developing your brand story, you need to identify how your product helps your customer. What benefits it provides and how it solves the problem of your customer and how it’s different from your competitor.
From Apple to Google and Nike to Versace every single brand is focusing on Designing. Design your product, how it will look when your users use it. Designing and Presenting is one of the key areas every brand is working at. Let’s talk about Apple, which changed the way people thought about computers. Computers were bulky grey boxes before Apple came into the market. But they change that. The same with Nike and all big brands, they always keep a special creative design.
3. Define your target audience
One key mistakes personal brands make in their marketing is trying to appeal to everyone. It doesn’t make sense to try to please everyone. You can invest your time and money in a better way if you focus on your target audience. Defining your target audience is the most important part of your marketing campaign. Every big brand do this in its own way. You need to answer questions like: what type of people will use your product, what is their age and their geographical location, what’s their biggest problem that your product is offering to resolve. There are more in-depth surveys that your need to take about your target audience. You can make a strong marketing strategy only if you know your target audience in a better way. Suppose you know a buying audience, then your focus is simple, improve traffic and conversion.
4. Nurture Customer Relationships
Customer Relationship is how your company deals and communicates with your customers. Making new sales is important, but giving importance to your old customers, no matter how small they are, is essential to keeping your business flourishing. Aim to build a strong and long term relationship with your customers. Every big brand has a special concern for relationship building. If you get that string of your customer which helps you getting a close relationship with them, you’ll find that you are going in the right direction. All this begins immediately after a sale, when you call the customer to say “Thank You”. There are several effective ways to get a closer relationship with your customers to ensure that your business is always on their mind.
5. Be techy
Use technology to analyze the marketing data situation of your brand and make your next strategy as per that. 37% of companies surveyed said that they are missing the proper marketing data for their marketing campaigns. If you are managing the marketing channel of your company, analyzing the marketing data is one of most critical parts you need to work upon. And if you are not using proper tools for that, you can’t figure out the exact statistics regarding your marketing data. There are lots of free tools you can use to analyze your marketing data like Quick Sprout, MOZ, Google Webmaster and Google Analytics etc. These are simple to use and provide more useful information which you can use for your next marketing campaign.
6. Turn the ordinary into something special
I just finished reading book: ‘The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles of turning Ordinary into extraordinary’ and got to know how Starbucks became world’s most admired company. The Starbucks experience can be measured at two levels, its corporate culture which encourages its Management and Leading team to create a unique culture for employees in which Quality, empowerment and Service defines the value of the firm. On the other hand, employees of the company create a personal and unique experience for its customers. Which act as a blueprint to turn an ordinary experience of buying coffee into an extraordinary experience.
If I talk about Apple when other companies were building standard hardware and standard applications, Apple was adding special features in look and feel to provide its consumers something special in that ordinary platform. It’s usual to have competition in the market for the same product, but you can add some extra functionalities in your product to make it different and more useful for users.
Network with successful people. Attend networking events. Meet amazing people from your industry, get them the idea about anything. Build relationships. Share your problems and get their views on it. Really successful people love to help others get successful. Some of them may become your mentors. This will help you boost your business and also gives you motivation to move.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
So always be with the people you love to be like.
8. Quantity Matters
You are a startup and you want to deliver an awesome product to your customers, you want to build the product with all the functionality with superb design. That’s great. But what’s the key to get better at anything, is whatever you are doing, do it multiple times. If you want to be a good writer, then write more hours daily. If you want to be a programmer, then write more code daily.
In the same way dealing with multiple customers with low budget is better than dealing with a single one with higher budget in beginning. This gives you strength and enough experience of dealing with customers and then you can take a bigger move. So take multiple small steps earlier so that you can make yourself ready for the big move.
9. Do Easy Projects First
Every brand you see today, is not the same at its first day. Learn this rule. Start an easier project first and then go for a harder one. Once I met a military person, and he told me that in training they keep the target very closer first. They put it just 5 feet from them, and almost every trainee shoots the target. Then they move it back step by step until it’s the standard distance. This is applicable everywhere. Bill gates wrote BASIC before his team wrote Windows. Computer programmers write “hello world” program before they made their search engines. This gets you confidence and gives you a greater feeling of growth and improvement.
10. Social Media
Use Social Media creatively for your business. Every Social Media Platform has a module especially designed for Businesses, through which you can get a quick hit. That’s the reason almost all big and small brands have a team to work on Social Media Channels to get in contact with its targeted audience. Learn how to use these channels and get most out of them for your business. There are blogs like Mashable, Hubspot and Social Media Examiner which provide free tips to use social media channels for your business. Subscribe to their blog to get free tips to promote your business effectively on Social Media.
11. Test and experiment culture
Most companies talk about their testing process, but actually it’s not a part of their culture or in their company DNA. If you really want to achieve an ongoing optimization, build a structured testing program. A testing program let you test the actions you take and also add small experiments. This is the digital era and you should ensure not to miss a key innovation, so try lots of new things.
12. Justify your price
We live in a time when pricing strategy is extremely crucial. Justify your price with your incredible features and designing. Pricing strategy is one of the most important things every big brand keeps in mind. They offer incredible products with unique features so that people love them. If you are building a product or providing a set of services, justify the price of your product with the features and functionalities.
13. Content Marketing
What if someone from your customers or targeted audience wanted to know more about your product or services and how can they use your services to get most out of that and what are the benefits they get. There might be questions like this and other related queries which your potential customers want to know or are looking for on the internet. Add content on your website for the same so that when someone search for that on Google, they get the right page in front of them. Content Marketing works best with SEO and Social media. These 3 can boost your company’s online visibility at a rapid rate. If you are new to content marketing then there are amazing free tools mentioned in this post by Neil Patel.
What is the biggest “branding mistake” that startups make? When we are at an early stage of our startup business, we really don’t even think about branding and the importance of brand identity.
The brand development process is a journey of self-discovery. It drives awareness of who we are, and the story to be shared about us. Branding is what separates you from your competition and let you create a strong connection with your customers. First of all your need to figure out what your customers need and what they want. A business must fulfill their customer’s need, otherwise it will fail. For successful business, customers don’t just need the product but they want it. “Want” is an emotion which connects a customer with the company more strongly. There is a difference between advancing your marketing efforts and transforming into a brand. Get the idea first, get the understanding of what your clients’ needs and what they want.
15. Growth Hacking
For every decision a company make, a growth hacker asks, “What will be the impact on Growth”. The term ‘Growth Hacking’ emerged in Silicon Valley around 2011 and quickly spread globally. Now every big company has a special department for the same. Growth hacking involves the use of technical skills with creativity to develop and implement marketing strategies that GET REAL CUSTOMERS.
Growth hackers use a set of tools that they argue do not exist in the traditional marketing repertoire. Brands such as Hotmail, AirBnb, Groupon and Spotify are regularly hailed as success stories of this method.
16. First things First
Sometimes startups try to follow the big brands without analyzing what’s really a marketing requirement for their startup at a time. Big brands have a lots of funding and they can invest for marketing of some future projects. But if you are a startup, you must keep in mind what is the next most important thing that require your attention. Make a marketing strategy which fulfills the current needs and also helps in future business.
17. Communicate in the language of your audience
Telling technical specifications is good, but do you really think your customers want that technical specifications?; NO. They want the results that your product is offering. If you visit the Apple’s product page, you’ll notice that they used the terms “Retina Display” and “Edge to Edge” glass instead of telling the resolution.
Yeah that technical jargon is good, but only for those who require this, but it’s presented in a way that makes you want to learn about megapixels.
18. Always be improving
Growth is great and everybody likes this. But in what sense you require to grow is important. How you see your company after 5 years, and are you doing the right thing in the right direction to achieve that target in the defined time. You can, if you continuously achieve your smaller targets by continuously improving in required sections. As there are great ways to improve yourself like reading books, picking up new hobbies, leveling up your skills, overcoming your fears and so on. In the same way you have to keep your focus on how to improve the overall performance by improving your company culture, employee engagement, encouraging innovation to employees. Improve your marketing and sales process. Improvement is what brands keep in mind to get over their competition. In the competitive world you always think about improvement to get better. This is how you can achieve your short and long term goals.
As in the title, its saying 19 ideas and I mentioned only 18 above in this post. As you read so far, you can suggest an idea in comment that small business get from big brands and if its unique and effective I’ll add the same in this post with your name.
By the way thanks for reading this article and if you found it useful, please share it with your friends as well.
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