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As a small business owner, you’ve likely experienced big brand envy – that feeling you get when you see a big brand’s social media post go viral or when influencers with thousands of followers keep tweeting and retweeting about their products or services.

Of course you can’t help but feel envious. If only you could have the same success. But you don’t have the budget nor the big name that seem necessary to get that kind of results.

Here’s the thing: you don’t need to. Put that envy aside and instead learn from those big businesses. Read on to find out about the big brand marketing techniques you can use to be successful, no matter the niche, budget or size of your business.

1. Increase visibility with useful content

Big businesses create a lot of content. That’s because they know that the more content they produce, the more visible they are to their target audience.

Aside from increased visibility, great content also helps to share your brand’s story and values, and it can also increase leads and sales.

Just consider this statistic: 80% of people learn about a brand through online content.

This content can be anything from blog posts and videos to infographics, whitepapers, webinars, ebooks, etc.

But to be successful with content, you need to make sure it’s useful and relevant to your audience, and it helps answer their questions and concerns.

Fitbit is a great example of a popular business that uses content to market their products. If you take a quick look at their blog, you’ll notice that they produce lots of useful content targeted at their audience, meaning people who want to lose weight and lead healthier, more active lives.

They offer guidance and share advice to get people to exercise more, eat well, feel good, stay motivated. And they make their products part of the solution that can help people reach their goals.

So when people search online for tips to stay motivated or how to do a five-minute workout, they’ll find Fitbit’s blog, start reading and then decide they can provide them with the solution they need.

How to apply it to your business

Create as much useful content as you can to increase your firm’s visibility in search engines and on social media. If you’re worried you might lack the time or the resources to write as much and as often as the big brands, don’t. Focus on quality instead and get your content to answer your prospects’ most important questions and concerns.

Also get creative with your content. Write blog posts but find a unique angle that helps differentiate you from other brands. Do customer interviews and create case studies that show prospects how your business works, and how it can be the solution they’ve been looking for.

Here are some great examples of content marketing done well, and how you can apply them to your business.

2. Embrace storytelling

Big brands don’t just sell stuff. They sell stories, ideals, dreams, goals. They know that storytelling is the best way to connect with people and to entice them to engage with their brand.

Want to see a great example of storytelling in action? Check out one of the Nike’s “Find your greatness” campaign videos:

They tell a story. And that story is meant to inspire viewers to find their greatness by wearing Nike products or, at the very least, to engage on social media by sharing the video and hopefully inspire others.

How to apply it to your business

No matter what business you’re in, you need to tell a story if you want to connect with your audience.

How? Start by making a promise to the people who buy from you. Depending on what you’re selling, you could promise to make customers look better, be happier, healthier, wealthier, more productive or more relaxed.

Then create a story that revolves around that promise, but make it one that gets them to feel something. Because the more they feel, the more likely they are to engage with it and to pass it along.

You don’t need to have a big budget to tell a story. Simply start by sharing the story of how your business came to be, whether in a video or on your About page like in this example from FatFace.com:

Or publish case studies that show how you’ve impacted the lives of your customers.

It’s when you stop talking like a marketer and start sharing your story that you’ll get customers to engage with you. You’ll be surprised at how quickly people respond to these stories and how they’ll start spreading them for you.

So, what story are you telling your customers?

3. Use video to visually engage your audience

Videos are the bread and butter of marketing. Not only are they easier than ever to record but they visually engage consumers.

Coca-Cola does a fantastic job at using video to make a statement. The company created a video to fight back against the prejudice based on appearance. The popular brand invited people to Ramadan Iftar and held the event in complete darkness so people couldn’t see what everyone looked like.

They interacted with each other in the dark, and when the lights came on they saw how different they looked from one another.

Coca-Cola ended the video with a simple yet powerful statement: “Labels are for cans, not for people”.

Needless to say, the campaign was a huge success with more than 18 million views on YouTube and a significant engagement rate on social media.

How to apply it to your business

You don’t need to be a huge brand to achieve success using video in your marketing. Whether you want to make a statement, show how your product looks or share a how-to video where you give advice or explain how to use one of your products, you can do it yourself with just a smartphone and a bit of editing.

Check out these resources to help get you started with video marketing:

4. Tap into influencer marketing

When Mark Zuckerberg published his reading list on Facebook, fans flocked to Amazon to purchase the books. Within 24 hours, his first selection had sold out on Amazon.com.

An influencer is a powerful thing for content marketers and brands. And Starbucks took advantage and used it in their Frappuccino Summer of Fun campaign.

Starbucks partnered with social media influencers and had them recommend the brand on their behalf so they could reach new customers and also activate existing fans of the brand.

How to apply it to your business

Before you roll your eyes and think “I don’t have £10,000 to pay a celebrity or an influencer with a huge following on Instagram”, consider this: smaller influencers can be just as effective, if not more. And you don’t need to go after an Instagram influencer unless your audience is on Instagram.

Find an influencer that’s already talking to your ideal audience. Find one that shares the same values your brand does. That’s the person you want to partner with.

Need help finding your influencers? These resources are filled with tips and advice on how to find, engage and build relationships with influencers:

5. Get involved in the community

People love to feel like they’re part of a community, and that they have a shared bond with others in the same situation. Big brands know it and use this strategy to draw people in.

Expedia’s Find Yours campaign is a good example of this. The brand ran a contest and encouraged people to share their travel stories, creating a powerful sense of community amongst those featured in their videos, as well as the viewers.

Momondo’s The DNA Journey campaign is another great example of a big brand using this strategy to show how connected we all are to each other, no matter where you are in the world.

How to apply it to your business

You can apply this strategy to your business without having to create a big-budget video or campaign. Take Fitbit, for example. While they appear to just sell fitness watches, they also sell a digital community of people who want to get healthy.

How? The Fitbit app, for example, allows users to friend people they know, to message them, and even to challenge them. So what they’re doing is they’re building a support community and getting involved to help everyone reach their goals.

So, find ways to build a community around your brand and to encourage them to share their experiences with your brand.

6. Take advantage of big data

Popular brands use big data to find out more about their customers and figure out better, more effective ways to market to them. But just because it’s big it doesn’t mean it’s unattainable for smaller brands.

How to apply it to your business

Chances are you’re already using tools like Google Analytics to analyse and measure your traffic and the results of your marketing efforts. (If you’re not, here’s a guide to get you started with Google Analytics). But are you doing anything with this data?

Start by looking at your metrics and the results you’re getting from your website, blog, social media, and then make changes based on what you find.

It’s a lot of data, sure, but you don’t need to overcomplicate things. Begin by looking at the metrics that matter to you – whether it’s traffic from social media or the number of people filling out the contact form on your website – and see what you can do to improve those numbers.

Wrapping up

No matter what business you’re in, or what your budget looks like, big business marketing tactics like great content and videos, storytelling and influencers aren’t out of reach. While you can’t compete with their popularity, huge resources and budgets, what you can do is learn from the big brands and use their marketing techniques to your advantage.

What other big brand marketing techniques are you using to grow your business? Tweet us @123reg.

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