Life as a small business owner is hard enough as it is, let alone before you throw in the competition from business behemoths like Amazon and industry giants. But there is a way to leverage your website and e-Commerce to help you battle the giants of whatever industry you are in.
To get some actionable tips on how to topple the giant retailers and steal back some market share, we spoke to the e-Commerce marketing team from the upstart online retailer DotcomBlinds.com to get their advice on how to gain a competitive advantage over large competitors online.
First things first you need a website
This is pretty simple advice, if you own a brick and mortar store and you’re losing customers to giant retailers, the best move to get those customers back is to have a website made for you. This is pretty simple, you can either learn how to make a site yourself or find a company that can make a site for you. Once you have your website it is imperative that you promote the website, so make sure that you let customers know you’re now online.
Start marketing and be prepared to spend
Unfortunately the internet isn’t like the Fields of Dreams, just because you build a website doesn’t mean people will come to the website. You need to start the process of Digital Marketing, this is not an area you want to cut costs on as bad marketing can doom your entire website.
The areas of digital marketing can be split up between long term and short term. The most common long term strategy is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) this is a process of tailoring your website to be more appealing to Google so that you are listed favourably in Google’s results pages, you can learn SEO yourself or find an agency to help you, we’d recommend the latter as there is a lot of work involved in the upkeep of SEO. Remember this is a long term strategy, likely you won’t see any effects from the work for a few months, but when your SEO is doing well you can get a lot of business just from Google without putting out much.
Short term strategies for digital marketing usually follow a PPC (Pay Per Click) model, so that would cover strategies such as Google AdWords (The paid listings usually at the top of Google searches), Social Media Advertising (Adverts on social media sites like Facebook). These strategies essentially work by you paying £X for every click on your ad. This will get people on your site incredibly quickly, again this is something you can learn and do yourself but is probably better off in the hands of digital marketing experts who can make sure your campaign is efficient.
So SEO and PPC are great areas to look in for getting people to your site, we would recommend investing in both simultaneously, so that you can get traffic and sales from whilst you’re building your organic presence in Google with SEO.
Try be where your competition aren’t
This is where your knowledge of your competition comes in handy, much like how a competing store down the road makes business harder for you, competing business in areas you’re pushing your site will make business harder for you.
If you’re targeting the same keywords with SEO as your competitors, that will make the SEO more difficult, if your competition are using PPC Google AdWords a lot, that can drive up the cost of your AdWords as you’re competing for the same terms. Obviously, if a campaign is working for you, stick with it, but always keep the ability to try other things.
So, what we recommend to do, is take up areas with little to no competition, can’t see any of your competition advertising with Facebook ads? Well Facebook is where you should go to advertise, the lack of competitors trying to advertise will result in lower costs for your campaign. Being agile and changing up campaigns will keep you a step ahead of big businesses that take a long time to make changes.
Never stop pushing
This is the most important bit of advice, on the internet, things move quickly. Just because you’re on top of Google results today, doesn’t mean you always be, in fact maintaining results can sometimes be harder than achieving them in the first place.
As long as your in business, you’ll always want more custom, so don’t stop marketing, keep your foot on the peddle, re-invest your profits and try expand out to a wider audience after all if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. These are the ways you can compete with the giant retailers.