Today’s post is from our guest, Stephanie Hooper. You can learn more about Stephanie in her author profile below the article.
Being a small fish in a big pond can seem daunting. How can a small business compete with large corporations in today’s online landscape?
From monetization to highly authoritative websites these larger than life businesses can make the task of competing seem never-ending. With that, here are some ways to level the playing field.
Leveling The Playing Field
There are many advantages to being small. Yes, you read that correctly. No need for a never-ending bankroll. Here are a few tips for beating out the big guys.
Google My Business
If you are a brick and mortar small business, Google My Business can give you an instant leg up over big business. For one, this listing adds the opportunity to be positioned in the 3-pack for local businesses. This is often the first thing someone sees when performing a search for a product or business.
The distinct advantage here is that big business tends to be, well, big. Often located in another place than your storefront which keeps them out of these coveted positions based on geolocation. Big businesses will typically find their presence within the standard organic results but lost when it comes to the local map pack.Being a local small brand has distinct advantages over big business with Google My Business. Click To Tweet
If they do have a physical location down the street, not to worry. Different rules apply to Google My Business than that of ranking organically. With organic listings below the Google My Business map pack ranking can be very expensive. The expenses can come from receiving backlinks or writing good content that ranks well. With the map pack, things get a bit easier and if you have the time, some simple steps to increase your online visibility can happen easily.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Page to Rank
Google wants to know that you are an active and legitimate business when it comes to your local map listing. This means driving your customers to leave you reviews. If Google sees that people are reviewing your business they tend to trust you more and up rank accordingly. Responding to reviews is just as important. There are some ways to respond that are better, but as long as you respond you are remaining active. The customer service part is up to you.
Second, fill out everything completely. Add your business hours, upload as many pictures and videos of your business and staff as possible and create a complete and perfect picture of your business. Finally, double-check all information to ensure it’s correct. There are numerous fields for your data. The more information you provide Google My Business, the more solid your profile becomes.
Finally, you will want to start adding this exact information to local directory listings. The same information that you entered into your Google My Business page should be the exact information you populate into local listings. The more “local” listings you have the better. This also applies to your social media as well.
Your information across all directory sites should be:
- Precise – Even a misplaced comma can throw off this technique. Be precise!
- NAP – Which stands for name, address, and phone number, should match that of Google My Business EXACTLY.
- Duplicates – Duplicate listings in one directory are bad. Do your best to remove them. Search the directory first for your business before creating a profile. Sometimes they will add you without your knowledge.
Make a goal once a week to sit down and create new listings. Your map pack rankings will thank you. Because bigger than life businesses have a tendency not to do these things or do it poorly the advantage here is huge.
Gear Your Business Towards Smaller Niches
Big business typically has the toehold on generic terms such as “shoes” or “jewelry” due to their authority in brand name niches. For small business, the advantage here is quite nice. In recent years Google has made an attempt to adjust to a new kind of search known as voice search.
Voice search by 2020 is set to take up more than 50% of all searches. A study suggests that 22% of people who use voice search have made a purchase with this one feature.
What is so great about voice search for small business?
Voice search presents new and never before seen keywords. A conversational approach to finding what they need on the internet. In the past, someone might type in the word “shoes” if they were looking for a nice pair of kicks. These days’ searches have become longer, and longer is better.
Google has made it known that keywords that convert are typically 3 or more words in a search. This gives small business a plan of attack. Create your website’s content around a human conversation approach using long-form content. Answer common customer questions on your webpage and be as descriptive as possible when it comes to a product. Creating original content is the key that talks specifically towards your typical customer. This is what is called creating a persona.Voice search is gaining popularity with consumers. That means local businesses with a specific niche can benefit. Click To Tweet
A common problem that faces behemoths is that they are trying to appeal to a larger audience. A more generic approach. Someone searching for shoes may not want to buy shoes. They might be looking for something else entirely. Perhaps the history of shoes? If you write content on your website about the perfect pair of women’s off-yellow summertime slippers for sale, chances are if someone searches with that kind of specificity, you have already made the sale because it is there on your website.
Customer Service Can Save the Day
Being small and mighty does have its advantages. By being on the front lines, the ability to exceed customer’s expectations has its advantages. Creating a relationship with your customers through face to face interaction, emails, and even Google My Business reviews adds a personal touch. Your message and service won’t be lost in the bureaucracy of a corporation. Investing in customer service tools and branding your business as a reputable leader in the industry will go a long way.
People love the underdog and in business, this is no different. By incorporating these tactics into your marketing plan and optimizing to be niche specific, your chances of bringing your brand’s visibility front and center increases.
Be the industry leader by becoming involved with your customers. Get to know them and speak to them wherever you can. Channels such as Google My Business, your website, and social media is the key. Be in all places that your customer is and start the conversation.