In such a competitive landscape, it is hard to see how any small business survives. Even if you come up with a totally new and innovative widget that takes the world by storm, there is nothing stopping some Chinese knockoff company from building a cheaper version of the same thing, putting you and your company out of business.
What you need is something that will help your business stand out from the crowd. Being first is not the competitive advantage it used to be. Nor is being the best. Every industry is full of stories illustrating the fact that the best technology doesn’t always win. It may not seem fair, but the winner is often the one who does the bast marketing and brand service.
Make Your Small Business Stand Out
This is not to say that the one with the most money wins. When all else is equal, money can be the deciding factor. But clever marketing is about making sure that things are unequal in your favor. You can do that even on a shoestring marketing budget. Here are 3 tips to help you stand out of the crowd of your competitors:
Brand Your Delivery Boxes
One of Amazon’s most brilliant moves is branding every shipping box with that famous smile. It’s like a little present. No matter what’s in the package, it’s something from Amazon. Whether those boxes are atop the front desk, in the break room, or at the recycling station, they are powerful marketing tools for one of the most successful companies in the world.
But such an advantage is not reserved only for big companies. By utilizing such services as Custom Boxes Now, you, too, can have packaging and shipping boxes customized inside and out. Besides offering a great branding opportunity, these boxes also offer free credibility. Even if you are new to business and have shipped only one branded package, that package tells everyone who sees it that you are the real deal. Stop thinking of packaging as merely a means of holding content. Think of it as a way to get a leg up on the competition.
Go Mobile with Your Branding
The major US tech companies have made mobile branding a big part of their success story. Even if you don’t have a Windows Phone or PC, there is a good chance you have some software from Microsoft that you use on the go. That is because the new Microsoft is working hard to do its best work on whatever platform is popular.
Microsoft apps have quickly earned the reputation, in some quarters, of being the best iOS apps for the iPhone. Google services have a similar reputation on iOS. Going big on a popular mobile platform has paid dividends for these companies. It has worked equally well for smaller companies, too.
According to AdAge, two-thirds of Facebook’s revenues come from mobile. Facebook knows that people spend their time on mobile devices: a place where they had to be if they were going to achieve long-term success. If people do not have the option of having your logo on their smartphone’s home screen, you are missing out on a powerful branding opportunity.
Don’t Forget Your Business Card
In these days of digitizing everything, it is easy to forget about the humble and much maligned business card. At CES 2016, Kodak landed a blog post on The Verge, not for its tech, but for its snazzy business card made from a slice of film. It just stands as a reminder that the little things still matter.
Business cards aren’t just informational. They are also excellent branding opportunities. Sure, you can beam your information from one smartphone to another. But that is pretty awkward and unreliable. Even if you get it to work, there is no guarantee that the person will look up or use the information. It is out of sight and quickly out of mind.
A business card, on the other hand, has to be handled. The person you give it to has to interact with it at least twice. If he drops it and loses it, the person who picks it up will be interacting with your brand. Business cards, mobile apps, and shipping boxes are 3 excellent ways to keep you one step ahead of the competition.