Independent brands are built on the sweat, blood and time of its owner. And you know what? All that hard work doesn’t go in vain. Independent brands are becoming popular again.
Size doesn’t matter – small businesses can make huge impacts. In America, the 28 million small businesses account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Think of the stronghold they have on the market since they affect more than half of the sales! Studies also show that small business hiring has helped bring down the U.S. unemployment rate to 5%.
Small businesses are more personal and trustworthy than big corporations. People prefer independent brands to big brands for specific reasons, the only thing you need to do is highlight those reasons to remind them of it!
Here’s how to get customers to choose you over big brands:
- Own your niche:
Independent brands generally work with niche products. The goods or services that they are selling will be personalized. They don’t push their product just for money, they think it’s worthy enough to be shared with the world. For instance, a small retail business might be working with local craftsmen, or making their own products, instead of buying wholesale brands.
Try this: Owning your niche adds authenticity. It gives a small business the bragging rights of doing something a mass producing giant can never do. Offer niche products that you won’t find with larger retailers. Make your niche stand out. Know that when customers buy your product, they are buying so much more.
- Brand awareness online:
Indie brands can reach their potential customers online in many ways. The online presence of your business should primarily focus on building brand awareness (marketing) rather than selling product (sales).
Small businesses are becoming more active on social media. Only 27% of small-business owners said they don’t use social media for business. Of course, it isn’t a levelled playing field, bigger brands have more resources taking care of their social media, and can pay to promote their brand.
Building your brand online is so much more than social media presence. Focus on niche websites that cater to your city and community. The ‘grassroots’ feel should be nurtured online as well.
- Have your business registered on online business directories of your city
- Write a guest blog for a local blogger
- Have your business show up on Google Maps
- Have a social media presence with regular updates and campaigns (but don’t worry too much about it).
- Make a useful blog
You have a website up and running, and it has content on it. Is that enough? Understand what kind of content marketing can focus on attracting local customers. Be region-specific in your content. Does your location affect the kind of product you make? Insider’s knowledge teamed up with a local focus can help you milk this opportunity. For instance: if you own a wooden furniture store in New Orleans, a city that experiences heavy rains, talk about how to take care of furniture during the rainy season. They will appreciate the sensible advice.
Try this: Write on local subjects, something that interests your community but probably hasn’t been written about in mainstream content marketing. Have ‘DIY’ tutorials, ‘How To’ articles to grab the attention of your reader.
- Tell them why you are important
Know your worth as a small business. According to ADP employment records, small businesses created 108,000 jobs in March 2015. Small businesses clearly add to the economy of the locality. Make yourself indispensable to your community. Prod your consumers into making a conscious buying decision by showing them why shopping with you is better than shopping with big brands.
Try this: Start a charity drive that gives back to society. Advertise your profitability and employment records. Show how you help local craftsmen earn a living.
- Use e-commerce platforms
Peer-to-peer ecommerce websites are a disruptive business model that can improve your searchability. For customers, sometime it isn’t about the brand. Sometimes it’s about getting a certain personalized product. For instance: if I wanted an artsy fruit bowl poster for my kitchen, I would go to an e-commerce website and search for ‘Fruit Bowl Posters’ and scroll through all the options till I found The One. The brand that makes this poster won’t matter to me (although I might grow to like their work). Hence, when customers are filtering based on product rather than brand, this can prove helpful.
Try this: Sell your products on e-commerce platforms. You can try Etsy or other alternative marketplaces for your products. Make sure to let your patrons know about your online presence, they can help you spread the word!
The best way to compete with big brands is to take advantage of the things bigger brands can’t afford to do. The way David can beat Goliath is by knowing he is in a different league altogether. Focus on a smaller customer community and providing insights through your content writing. Offer niche products that put you on the map. Knowing what makes a small business click is very different from what works for a big business.