“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” The Springfield Motto – The Simpsons
A noble spirit is a fine thing, but it doesn’t close deals and it won’t help you compete with bigger businesses on a day-to-day basis. It’s true that many consumers, both B2B and B2C, will hesitate before buying from a small business, and that’s just one of the risks you must be prepared to take as a startup.
But there are tools you can use to overcome this disadvantage and level the playing field. A social networking strategy can build up your followers quickly and relatively painlessly, as long as you are devoted to the follow/like/comment grind. A splashy ad campaign can get eyeballs and possibly even market share, as long as you have the capital to get started.
Here are Phone.com’s top five tips for leveling the playing field and giving your small business the polish and appearance of a larger, more established enterprise, or, as a friend of mine in Hollywood always says, “fake it until you make it.”
- Video Connects. A smart, well-crafted video that focuses on customer outcomes is a fantastic tool for making your company appear more established. A $500 investment can be used in multiple ways, from anchoring a YouTube channel to embedding in blogs and your own website. Studies show that 73 percent of businesses investing in video marketing are seeing positive outcomes, and a professional quality video goes a long way when it comes to ROI.
- Social Media Craze. While social media can be daunting for any business, it’s easier than you think to grow a following. If you research the best practices, you’ll undoubtedly find a number of methods that will help you grow your followers quickly and organically. While buying followers is an option, it’s not one we would recommend because they are usually low quality, “fake” accounts. A tool like https://www.twitteraudit.com/ is helpful to see what your quality index looks like.
- Spread the Word. It’s true, putting dollars into an advertising campaign, whether it’s a traditional radio/TV/print campaign or an online campaign using a mix of display ads and Google AdWords, is a time-tested way of getting results. Nothing is quite as impressive as a Super Bowl ad, right? While that does a great job of raising your company’s profile, you do need starting capital to make the placements. That means you might have to start with peewee football on the local cable access channels, but eventually can advertise like porsche car lease advertisements do.
- A Number You Can’t Forget. Several years ago, a telephony company performed a study to determine if vanity numbers were really more memorable than regular phone numbers. When participants saw a vanity number in a visual ad, they were able to recall it 65 percent of the time, versus only 31 percent of the time for a standard number. The findings for audio ads were even more striking. A full 72 percent of participants could recall a vanity number they heard, versus only 5 percent who could recall the standard number. Beyond the recall factor, a vanity number is certainly a strong indicator that you mean business.
And this brings us to our No. 1 tip:
- Build a Nationwide Presence – A toll-free number is one thing you can add to all of your marketing material that is guaranteed to raise your profile in the minds of readers. A Voice over IP (VoIP) provider like Phone.com will give you the opportunity to select a toll free 800, 888, 877, 866, 855 or 844 number, but there’s much more to business VoIP solutions than that. Conference calls with up to 500 participants, greetings, menus, advanced call handling rules … odds are if there’s a phone feature you need, a cloud-based PBX has it. VoIP providers also offer you the flexibility of softphone applications for Mac and Windows, mobile apps for smartphones, ring-ready, pre-configured IP phones and adapters that can make an analog phone work on your network. It’s like getting the power of the enterprise at your fingertips, and with Phone.com it starts as low as $10/month including a toll-free number.