How do you go about making your small business appear larger?
When you’re a small business, you often find yourself competing with bigger, more established companies for business and more likely than not, you end up losing out to them. This is mostly due to the fact that people feel safer and more confident when dealing with bigger companies. According to a recent study, brands like Apple, Google, and Wal-Mart all evoke emotions like trust and loyalty among their customers because of the positive brand experiences they create.
But even though these big companies have a larger market share and it might look impossible to tackle them head-on, there are certain advantages that being a small company gives you. For example, it is general knowledge that some big companies have poor customer service, and this provides a competitive advantage for start-ups to provide excellent customer service.
Other advantages include:
- The ability to build better relationships with your customers. Small businesses can afford to hold Q&A sessions with their customers to find out more about them and thus tailor their product or service to them. This back and forth gives you the necessary feedback you need to deliver excellent service while also giving your customers the feeling of inclusion in your product development.
- Small companies are usually lean in structure, and as such, they tend to rely on the size of their brains rather than on the size of their wallets. This, more often than not, makes them more innovative than their larger competitors.
- The lean structure of small businesses also means there is less management involved in decision making and thus, faster decisions can be made. This ability to be agile is a great advantage for small businesses as they can quickly act on customer feedback and take the product to market faster.
However, even with all the benefits highlighted, we still cannot overlook the fact that appearing bigger will give your start-up business more credibility and
So, how do you go about making your small business appear larger than it actually is? The answer lies in the perception you portray. By using certain strategies, you can alter the perception people have of your company and portray a more corporate, professional and established look – one only
It must be noted, however, that you should never lie. This usually finds a way to come back and haunt you and it could even damage the reputation of your company, causing irreparable damage.
That said, here are 10 strategies you can use to alter your company’s perception in order to capture a larger market share.
Create a Brand Identity
Branding is one of the key factors that separate big brands from start-ups. Branding is a company’s voice, and big brands speak very loudly. And thanks to technology, so can you too. To begin with, you will need to consider who your target audience is – i.e. those who you’re trying to sell to. Once you have a clear understanding of who they are and what their pain points are, you can tailor your brand messaging to fit them.
Your brand messaging must include your core values, your brand promise, and your unique differentiators. Sometimes, this can be portrayed with your tagline and other times, it can be in your About Us section.
Finally, your logo, business card, and letterhead are also part of your brand’s identity, albeit a visual one. You can contract a quality designer to do this for you.
Pro Tip: Leverage social media to amplify your branding efforts across a variety of platforms.
Develop a Modern Website
Regardless of the kind of business you are running, you’re going to need a website. In today’s business landscape, it is an absolute necessity, especially if you want to compete with the big boys. Prospects are using the internet to research and make informed decisions, and a website will help you get found.
And remember, you don’t just need a website, you need a great website. Look at the websites of the biggest companies within your industry and see how beautifully they are designed. Try and emulate that when designing yours.
Ensure your website has the following elements:
- Make sure your website is mobile responsive i.e. it can adapt to any device it is being viewed on whether desktop, laptop, mobile or tablet.
- Make sure your website can be navigated easily. Ensure your website visitors have a great user experience and if you’re running an e-commerce website, make sure your checkout process is seamless.
- Use lead capture forms to generate leads from your website. This is a strategy that you should be doing anyway, regardless of whether you’re a small business or not.
- Your website should have a blog. A blog is critical if you want your website to rank in organic search results on Google and other search engines.
Pro Tip: The more authority your website has, the higher people will perceive your company to be. Things like inbound links, onsite and offsite search engine optimization strategies and regularly updating your website with relevant content go a long way to
Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is the process of creating valuable content such as blog posts, eBooks, infographics, whitepapers, videos, webinars, images etc. in order to educate prospective customers with the end goal of generating leads and ultimately sales.
Content marketing is so effective because it takes advantage of the fact that prospects research available solutions and in the process, consume a lot of resources. By creating valuable content consistently, you establish yourself as a brand authority and an expert in your field – both very important components in conveying the perception of a very big brand.
In fact, according to Stratabeat, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. So, if you’re a B2B start-up, the best way to reach key decision makers is through blogging.
Pro Tip: In order for your content strategy to be effective, you need to map your content to each stage of buyer’s journey. This helps move prospects down your sales funnel faster while building trust and thought leadership along the way. This is a strategy that big businesses use to their advantage, and so should you.
Invest in Offline Marketing
Marketing your product or services offline is a sure-fire way to establish your brand as a “big” name in the industry. Leverage flyers, posters, brochures and newspaper, TV and radio ads to supplement your digital marketing efforts.
Even though this type of marketing is somewhat expensive, integrating it into your overall marketing strategy will be very effective in capturing a larger market share while simultaneously making your company appear bigger than it actually is.
Use Social Media to Amplify Your Company’s Brand
Social media, just like a website, is an absolute necessity if you want to portray your business in a better light than it currently is. Social media provides a channel to bring your brand message to life through your social media posts and interactions with your audience.
One of the things you need to focus on when using social media to amplify your brand is building your fan base. A profile that has 5000 fans compared to one that has 500 fans will definitely convey more trust and credibility. The fastest way to build your social media following is through social media advertising. Push your content to your target audience on these social networks to grow a following and generate leads at the same time.
Pro Tip: Ensure to use social media platforms that suit your business appropriately. While Instagram might be ideal for one type of business, LinkedIn might be better. Don’t try and use all the social networks, just a few which will help with your overall branding.
Use Your Website Copy to Your Advantage
Use words like “we, “our” and “us” a lot. Consider the about us section as well, and more importantly the Team section. Use words that convey the impression that you have a lot of employees as this immediately puts prospects at ease.
If you work with contractors or freelancers regularly, consider using them on your website’s About Us page in order to show off your team. Your website is the first impression that people have about your company, make sure what you stand for (brand values) and what makes your product or service unique is conveyed throughout your website’s content.
Pro Tip: Invest in a top quality copywriter to help you craft your website content in a manner that will connect with your audience quickly and overcome any objections they might have to your brand.
Book Speaking Engagements
Secure seminar spots for industry specific events that your target audience frequents. This is useful especially if your target audience are also businesses (B2B).
A webinar, on the other hand, is very useful if your audience is mostly consumers or your business is a technology business where your product is quite complicated and you need to walk users through how to use the product.
Pro Tip: Leverage the videos for these seminars as evergreen content that you can use either as part of your lead nurturing campaign or as part of your lead generation campaign.
Get a Corporate Mailing Address and Phone number
Another often overlooked step you can take in order to make your business look bigger than it actually is would be to get both a corporate mailing address and phone number.
Most clients and customers won’t take you seriously, or even trust you, once they learn you’re operating a hhome-basedbusiness. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this, bigger companies don’t usually operate from someone’s house. To solve this, you can choose any of the following:
· Getting a PO Box through a mailbox service is a great way to get started.
· You could also set up a corporate address through an office-sharing program.
Whichever one you decide to go with, just make sure that you’re getting an address in the corporate part of town where most companies are located.
Conversely, your phone number should also equally portray professionalism. That means investing in an 0800 number or similar, and a professional voice system operated by a virtual phone system where people can navigate the phone system to speak to you.
Pro Tip: Consider getting a virtual assistant or receptionist as well. Either to complement this entire section or to supplement it, for example, your virtual receptionist can act as the gatekeeper before people can reach you, thereby leaving no need for a virtual phone system.
Get a Professional Email Address
It is unlikely that a big business will use free email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook. Most likely, they would have a email@example.com email address.
If you want to be taken seriously and perceived as an established company, be sure to use your company name in your email address. You can even go a step further and use your first and last name in the email address. This gives the appearance that you have a lot of staff, hence why it is mandatory to use first and last names.
Pro Tip: Although the final point is subjective, you will benefit a lot from using your company’s name in your email address.
Leverage Social Proof
Social proof is defined as a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in any given situation in an attempt to reflect correct
Are customers worried you’re a
So what are examples of social proof? They are:
- Testimonials (written or video)
- Case Studies
- Social media reviews, feedbacks, and endorsements (depending on which social media)
Getting client reviews and testimonials on your products or services is a great way to build trust with prospective customers, especially when these prospects are in the consideration phase of their buyer’s journey. Leveraging social proof can greatly enhance your perceived value and size, which is a good thing in the long term.
These strategies, when combined together, can give you the leverage you need to compete on a level playing ground in today’s competitive landscape.