In the third quarter of 2022 alone, 346,000 new businesses were established, according to data from Statista. If you dig deeper into this kind of data, you’ll see that it’s common for hundreds of thousands of small businesses to be formed each quarter. Granted, only a tiny percentage of new small businesses will make it past their first year. Still, you have to stand toe to toe with the companies that do that might steal any prospective customers. A distinctive brand is a must if you want to wade through the thick competition and establish your business as one of the tops in your industry.
But how exactly do you make your small business’s brand stand out? That’s exactly where a diverse marketing strategy comes into play.
Carve Out Your Brand’s Personality and Look
Originality is one of the most critical factors in helping a brand stand out. You can’t be like every other small business out there, nor should you strive to.
Focus on developing a brand personality and look that’s all your own. Go with what most authentically represents your business and the people behind it.
For instance, if you have a bunch of bold personalities on your team, a spirited brand personality and look are appropriate. Or, if your business model is simple, you may want a minimalistic visual identity with a straightforward brand personality.
In addition, it’s just as important (if not more so) for your customers to love your brand too. Take into consideration what they’re visually attracted to and the brands they’re already engaging with. Then, use what you learn to guide how you design your brand’s personality and look.
Use Creative Content Marketing Tactics
Once you’ve got your brand’s visual identity and personality carved out, it’s time to get into content creation.
It seems that new content is uploaded every second, especially on social media platforms. And there’s no shortage of marketers adopting content marketing as a core part of their overarching marketing strategies.
To move through the ever-growing list of content marketers and constant uploading of new content, you’ll need to implement creative content marketing strategies for your small business.
Creative content marketing techniques, like being exceptionally transparent and playing the “Wonderland” game to brainstorm creative content topics, can help drive traffic to your brand and boost your reputation.
To accommodate this creativity, hire a marketing leader for content creation, as this person will be prepared to create and maintain an original content marketing strategy that sets your business apart. However, if hiring someone isn’t in the cards right now, do the following to fuel creative content creation.
Do what your competition isn’t
Your competition will likely have a similar target audience as your business. So, it’s good to see what kind of content they’re publishing and how it’s resonating with their audience. Of course, you can use some of what’s working for them in your content.
But what will set you apart is publishing the content they aren’t. To be specific, you want to find out what kind of content their target audience is longing for that they’ve yet to produce. Blog and social media comment sections are goldmines for finding out what an audience wants more of.
People pose a whole lot of questions, share unique perspectives, and ask for specific content in comment sections. Surf your competition’s comment sections regularly and compile a list of questions and topics to address to help elevate your content marketing efforts.
Try various types of content
People were spending 13 hours and five minutes on average per day with media and technology in 2022.
The time spent broke down into the following categories: a little over five hours with video, almost three hours with audio, about two hours of gaming, and an hour and a half of messaging and engaging on social media. This breakdown illustrates how important it is to create varying types of content.
Try long and short-form videos. Consider launching a podcast or another type of audio-focused content. Experiment with gamification of your content. Publish creative content like infographics and reels on social media.
As crucial as digital content and media are, don’t shy away from traditional marketing content as well. Guerilla marketing techniques, for example, lean on unconventional methods to boost brand awareness. Handing out custom temporary tattoos of your brand’s logo at various events is one of these unique marketing tactics that are unconventional but memorable.
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to experiment with various types of content. Just be sure you’ve got a way to track how effective each piece of content is. That way, you won’t be wasting time on content that isn’t producing results and instead are capitalizing on the kinds that are.
Be Ready to Fix Your Brand’s Reputation
Unfortunately, many small businesses go through something that adversely affects their reputation, whether a social media crisis, data breach, or employee scandal. An event like this can lead to negative attention for your brand, and you’ll stand out because of it.
But instead of solely standing out for the damaging event that happened, stand out for how you handle it. In other words, be ready to fix your brand’s reputation if something does happen. Document a plan for how you’ll handle specific reputation crises.
How will you communicate with internal teams and external audiences about the incident? How will you “stop the bleeding” in your business? How will you recover from the incident and how long will it take?
Prepare your business now for a reputation crisis and you’ll be known for how well you handled it, rather than the crisis itself.
It might be more challenging to ensure you aren’t swallowed up by the competition than it is to just start a small business. Standing out isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for your success. Being in the arena with your biggest competitors will be a lot more fun when you know how to differentiate your brand from theirs.