In June 2018, I celebrated my four-year anniversary on one of Boostability’s copywriting teams. In that time, I’ve visited the websites for hundreds of small businesses in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Through their home pages and about us sections, I’ve peeked into the entrepreneurial spirit behind each of their companies.
Over the years, I’ve seen that a huge majority of small businesses offer services that most people need fairly regularly. Many of these businesses also focus on serving people in their same geographic area, and they often compete with nationally-recognized chains for customers.
Businesses in this category include:
- Law firms
- Medical and dental offices
- Home repair services, like plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians
- Auto shops
- Insurance companies
I used to see the similarities between these businesses as a hindrance to writing web content for them. There are only so many ways to fill a cavity, clear a clogged pipe, and repair a dented bumper—and there are only so many ways to describe those services in copy and blogs.
But now I understand that your similarities to your competitors don’t have to be an obstacle anymore!
If you own or manage a business like this, get ready for two tried and true content marketing tactics that any small business can use to stand out from the crowd.
Tell the Story of Your Credentials
One of my favorite Boostability clients to write for is a small, family-owned chocolates business. Yes, it’s fun to research and write about this delicious product. But I also feel like I know the people behind this business because they shared the story of their business with us. For example: how grandpa and grandma met, immigrated to North America, and started their own handcrafted chocolate business that they passed on to their kids. It’s Willy Wonka meets Nora Ephron, and I’m reminded of it every time I get assigned a piece of content for their website.
Even the sparse details of that story make me feel a connection with their product, and that connection helps me put their passion for chocolate into their content.
Of course, they aren’t the only business ever to sell chocolate. They have huge international competitors with longer histories, a wider range of offerings, and larger production lines. But they also know what inspired them to start their business and why they devote time and energy to keep it going.
What You Can Do
You know the same things about your business, and that passion must be integrated into your sales copy, your blog text, and your social media posts. Apply the following tips to get started:
- Emphasize the niche you wanted to fill when you opened. You still offer the bread-and-butter services that all your competitors do, but make sure people think of you first when they need sedation dentistry, legal representation after a motorcycle accident, or handcrafted chocolates to give to a friend.
- Talk about how long you’ve been in business as an asset. I recommend this strategy for every business—even if you haven’t hit your one-year anniversary yet. If you’ve been serving people for decades, emphasize big projects you’ve completed and the number of customers you’ve helped. If your business is still young, talk about what motivated you to open your doors, especially the types of customers you hope to serve.
These tactics help you infuse your business personality into your content, almost like a Tinder profile for your company. Do it right and your customers will sense within moments whether you’re a fit for them.
Talk to Specific Customers in Your Content
Small businesses fight hard for every sale, so you might think of your ideal customer in broad terms like “homeowners” or “people with teeth.” Even if you can provide service to “anyone with a car,” you content should avoid making the sale to everyone and focus on specific segments of your audience.
I know this sounds like a way to limit your business’s appeal to parts of the population, but I actually believe the reverse is true. Consider this: When a single father of three walks into your shop, you make a different sales pitch to him than you do to a retired couple. Your online content overall should appeal to a broad audience, but individual posts to social media and your blog can talk to more targeted groups.
One of Boostability’s blog customers, a nationwide moving company, has been ordering blogs from our team since before I joined the company. Luckily, they’re open to content that targets smaller portions of the population. Their blog features information created specifically for:
- Active military service members
- Barbeque enthusiasts
- College students
- Doctors and dentists
- Eco-conscious individuals
- First-time homeowners
- Parents and expectant parents
- Pet owners
What You Can Do
Not sure what group of customers to start with? Just look at the people you’re already serving. In a typical day, who comes into your auto shop, boutique dress store, or furniture showroom? Chances are, you get people from dozens of different segments.
If you don’t have content on your website that speaks specifically to each of the groups you serve, you’re missing an opportunity to show them that you understand their needs and can fill them with your products and services.
Plus, there’s actually a lot of overlap between these categories. A single individual can easily be an empty-nester and a small-business owner who needs emergency help with a burst pipe at her house. When your potential customers find echoes of their own lives in multiple pieces of content on your website and social platforms, they’ll trust that you’ve successfully helped similar people in the past—and you’re the right choice to help them today.
Whether you want to make your first venture into the world of content marketing or freshen up the voice on your blog, try these tactics to stand out in the crowded and competitive world of small business. Leave us a comment or question below to let us know how they work for you.