The ‘one size fits all’ method doesn’t work when it comes to connecting with small business owners.
Many of us within the ABN need to attract and engage with other small businesses and their owners. Marketing to such a unique audience requires some diverse thinking and a reduction in the grandeur of the usual marketing formats we discuss, especially for those of us who herald from bigger corporations and brands.
Small business owners are busy. They wear many hats and are often generalists in many areas.
Areas on which to focus that help small business owners notice you have to do with:
1) How your service helps the business owner stand out, in other words promotion?- do you have a means by which they can grow their customer base and their profits?
2) How your service helps the business owner find new customers – what do you offer that adds value to them and provides a resource or skill they don’t have internally?
Understanding that a large percentage of small businesses with less than five employees don’t have a website, you have to think about how to best reach these business owners as well. While they may not have a website, they do subscribe to industry trade journals, meet with peers and use online services to stay competitive. Even though they might not be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, as they are busy running their company, small businesses definitely look to find new ways of reaching customers.
Introducing your products and services through targeted ad placement is one approach for connecting with this group, another is providing useful information that helps a small business owner stay competitive. Become a champion of this group – provide resources and participate in the conversation where small business owners are.
So what can you quickly do to connect to the SMB audience? Here are a few sites where small businesses are actively present:
o Manta (www.manta.com)- allows for specialized/targeted advertising to small businesses and decision makers by revenue, employee size, industry, etc
o LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) – allows for finding business professionals by industry
o Present.ly (www.presently.com) – allows individuals within a company to post short, frequent updates that are tracked or “followed” by others. Unlike Twitter, it provides a secure and private way to share updates among members of a company, without them being visible to the general public
o TalkBizNow (www.talkbiznow.com) – allows networking while visualizing the small-world phenomenon by displaying how each member is connected to any other member