Have you noticed the “them and us” of business?
Whether it is networking, general chit-chat or trade fairs, the “big boys” make all the noise whilst looking down their noses at the small businesses.
Just because they’re bigger than you doesn’t mean they’re better. To be honest, they’re way worse than you.
How do I know that?
Because you have the benefit of a human brand.
What is a human brand?
Large corporations have oodles of cash to chuck at their market place. They can afford the biggest marketing campaigns, sign up celebrities and bankroll peak time TV advertising.
You can’t do that, but you can do something else.
Being a small business, you have the ability to reach out and touch your audience. Not in a creepy way, but in a way that leads to trusting relationships. Your customers can get to know you – the face behind the brand. That’s something that doesn’t happen with large corporations.
That’s why it’s important to make the most of your human brand.
If you have staff, it’s also important to make sure they’re involved with the business and share your passion. Investing in them will turn them into brand advocates, so when customers interact with them, they’ll receive the kind of personal service they want.
Making the most of your human brand is essential, but there are also a few other ways you can out do the big boys.
The chances are, because you started up your business, you love what you do (otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it). That passion is infectious and will shine through in every interaction you have with your customers.
Large businesses don’t have that; they just have executives that are simply there for their fat pay check. Their main concern is that sales targets are hit and shareholders are kept happy. They have no emotional investment in the business.
If you’ve ever worked for a large company you’ll know how slowly they move.
There are so many levels of management and rigid procedures; any change in policy can take months or even years to happen.
For the small business change is easy. You have no red tape to dodge and no board of directors to appease. Decisions can be made quickly and changes implemented instantly helping you react to you market’s needs.
There are only a few large companies out there that give exceptional service, the obvious ones being John Lewis and Apple (from my experience).
The people that work for large companies, especially at the lower end of the pay scale, are just there to do a job. They are unlikely to go out of their way to help you because it’s no skin off their nose if you go elsewhere. But when it’s your own business, every customer is like family. If they’re unhappy, you’re unhappy so you’ll do everything in your power to make sure they fall in love with your company and come back.
After all, even if you’re a little more expensive, they’ll happily pay a premium for excellent personal service.
Getting your human brand out there
To make an impact, your online presence has to be every bit as chatty and warm as the service your customers receive.
That means one thing – getting social.
Although you must have a stonking website that’s full of useful copy that tells the reader the benefits of dealing with you, it’s also important you have an active presence on social media.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc., must be used regularly and actively. Don’t just use them as a soap box from which you can promote your business; talk to your customers, build relationships with them and give them useful information.
This openness is what will set you apart from other businesses. Be yourself; if your avatar is your logo, make sure you sign off your update with your name to let your customers know who they’re talking to.
When you’re competing with big companies you’ll never be able to beat them on cost. That’s why it’s important you concentrate on the level of service you provide because that’s an area they’ll never be able to beat at.
Treat your customers and staff like family and you’ll build loyal, trusting relationships that last.
Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting, is a professional copywriter, SEO website copywriter and advertising copywriting with extensive experience in both B2B and B2C markets.