Especially when you’re running a small business, it’s important to stay relevant amidst competitors and changing trends. Some entrepreneurs do this by doubling down on their marketing, while others give their businesses a makeover whenever they think it’s time for a change. There’s no one right way to stay relevant, so we asked our small business experts what they do to keep up with the changing times.
Here’s what they had to say…
1. “As small business owners, we stay relevant against competitors by regularly studying SEO ourselves (rather than hiring an outside consultant or company) — and publishing content, including both articles and videos, which keep our Orlando personal injury law firm name in front of prospective clients. This includes material for our website, other websites, and social media. We have fully embraced technology specifically regarding website development and social media. So we regularly utilize numerous apps that help us achieve our online marketing goals, and regularly read articles explaining how to use those.” –Tina Willis, Tina Willis Law
2. “Our businesses stay relevant by staying up to date with the newest trends on social media. Using the newest features on social media like stories and going live keep you in front of your audience. We also stay relevant by listening to our customers feedback and coming up with better and more appealing products.” –Chris Gronkowski, Everything Decorated, Ice Shaker
3. “Simple steps such as painting the front of your store can make your business look more modern and inviting. Updating your stationary, business cards, your website and so on can have a huge impact on your customers. Speaking of images, I’ve seen if you run a cosmetic center or a SEO company or any other business, always remember, don’t underestimate the power of before and after images of the service that you’ve given. These images will give your business authenticity to potential new customers.” –Dr. Ameerzeb Pirzada, Z Dental Studio
4. “The best way to stay relevant is simply to know your customers. Connect and interact with them via social media channels, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, if you are a products-based organization, extend yourself personally when selling or shipping your merchandise. In person, a friendly smile and engaging question opens the door for further communication, whereas a handwritten notecard included in a box shipped to a customer encourages them to reach back out to you and make a connection. Let your customers know where to find you, diligently show up and interact, and relevancy will become second nature to you.” –Carrie Seibert, Soap Commander, LLC
5. “As a web design company, we work with small business owners on a daily basis fighting to stay relevant. Your business needs to be dynamic. To keep customers, you have to prove that you have a strong and serious business. Therefore, make your business innovative, complete, long-term, and always ready to serve customers. One way you can do this is by a modern website consistent with your business values.” –Brad Shaw, Dallas Web Design Inc.
6. “Due to advertising overload, consumers have learned to block out traditional advertising channels and are now relying heavily on the endorsements of their friends, family, and social influencers. While this has been detrimental to the effectiveness of print, TV, and radio advertising, it has opened up tremendous opportunity in digital social media space.
An effective and profitable way for small businesses to stay relevant is to leverage their target consumers’ own personal network to do their advertising for them. Incentivize the customer to share their services or products on their personal social accounts, which allows the company to tap into the customer’s network of friends and family. These personal and trust-based social media campaigns will effectively help amplify the companies advertising efforts and earn new business through these personal endorsements.” –Ryan Phillips, BioClarity
7. “As a Consultant to Local Business Owners and being a business owner myself, staying relevant is a lot of work but pays off in the long run. If you know your customer’s need, staying relevant to them is more important then anything else. Leading with value first, connecting on a deeper level, and asking questions is something that will never get old no matter what platform or software is being used to reach them. For example, utilizing todays technology to showcase my story through videos, including live videos has been one of the ways i have adapted and service and are behind the scenes is what is the best way to connect today with your prospects. That is just a vehicle that is not hard to learn if you already know the basics of serving needs of your clients and solving their problem before you slap them with your product offer.” –Sonja Durik, Social Sonja Media LLC
8. “When we got our USDA certification, we re-branded our website and product packaging to reflect the new vision for our company. We changed our company’s graphics, tagline, website and fonts to reflect the customer experience, which is organic. We wanted to make sure our company was evolving with this fast-changing modern marketplace.” –Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC
9. “I run several businesses, but I do try to stay on top of trends for all of them. But an even better way to stay ahead of competitors is by innovating, which means getting in front of the trends and starting them yourself. All businesses should strive to have a portfolio of their own intellectual property – patents, trademarks, and copyrights. You can also do this by giving your customers memorable experiences, instead of just selling them goods and services.” –Julie Austin, Creative Innovation
10. “The easiest way to stay relevant is to constantly educate yourself on the newest trends! Technology is always advancing, and there are new ways to do old things. Do your research, and see what’s most relevant to your industry, and then apply it! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you certainly have to keep it rolling smoothly!” –Dawniel Winningham, National Day of Sisterhood
11. “We were originally using Magento for our ecommerce store and we made the switch over to Shopify. It was the best decision we ever made. Shopify is so much easier to use and we’re able to focus more on selling our products to our customers instead of dealing with technical issues and other problems that slowed down our progress.” –Brandon Chopp, iHeartRaves
12. “We’re a web hosting provider who’s been around since 1994. In today’s digital age that is filled with cybersecurity threats, particularly in the healthcare sector, we realized the importance of offering HIPAA compliant hosting . We’re now able to provide a valuable solution for securing critical patient data and records, backed by high-performance HIPAA servers. In this way, we stand out from many of our competitors.” –Adnan Raja, Atlantic.net
13. “The best marketing tactics usually combine a mix of online and offline approaches all with the target audience in mind. Knowing your ideal customer and what your competition is doing (or not doing) can help you create tactics to remain relevant. Look at re branding as well which can help you resonate more with your audience and it’s always good to stay ahead of technology and how it you can use the different platforms to have real connections in a virtual world.” –Carla Williams, Carli Communications
14. “Last year we totally redesigned our website and instead of just tooting our horn, we switched to more of a case study type website. Our front page, very neatly presents the various type of projects we have done, not all, but a sampling and a complete page with details on the inside. It helps prospects get a better feel for how businesses can benefit from our services and it also gives them ideas when they read how others benefited from various functions and features.” –Najeeullah Babar, InterloperInc.com
15. “I keep up with trends by studying trade publications that focus on publishing books for children. Additionally, I speak with key people, such as librarians and leaders in writing organizations, to stay abreast of what’s current. I also research products that have won literary awards and look for patterns. Lastly, I use technology to communicate with current and prospective customers, soliciting feedback that will improve our new releases.” –Evan Roberts, Empowered People Press, LLC
16. “I stay relevant and up with trends/technology by livestreaming. It’s a great way to establish myself as an expert and reach millions of potential customers that my business may not otherwise have direct access to. I’m able to forge an advantage over my competitor, due to the fact that I am creating an experience for my audience. Live streaming allows an opportunity to leverage the live audience by capitalizing on direct response and reaction, suggestions, complaints, question and answer sessions, and the ability to disarm objections and gain direct customer insight.” –Ashley Ann Jones, Events By Ashley Ann
17. “I stay relevant through anticipating the needs of leaders and organizations and building relationships with authors, researchers, and leaders from a mix of professional disciplines and industries. This allows me to aggregate, integrate, and distill useful knowledge and connect leaders/clients with people and resources that augment the leadership development and coaching we engage in.” –Kathryn Bingham, PhD, LEADistics
18. “Staying relevant in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace is quite a struggle, especially for us small businesses with limited capital. Here at The First Rendezvous, we have taken a proactive approach to change by embracing data. Google analytics, Facebook analytics, and our website data allow small businesses to gather insights relevant to our specific industry and target market. Leveraging these insights allows us to see trends in our customer base as well as outmaneuver our competition!” –Andrew Chwalik, The first Rendezvous
19. “Too many small businesses created their websites five-to-ten years ago, and think they have done it, so onto the next. The internet world has evolved so much more quickly than most small businesses realize. If their websites are 2-5-10 years old, then they are simply out of touch with the way the internet is transforming the consumer interaction and interface. They need to step up their internet websites to today’s greatly enhanced models, with pictures, graphics, content and social media links that all work together to drive customer engagement and interest. They need to think of their websites as their primary method to create awareness and invite new customers in. Old websites simply telegraph that the business is behind the times, so they need to communicate that they are the forward-thinking small business ready to do business now.” –Pam Danziger, Unity Marketing
20. “I primarily keep my website updated, whether it’s something as little as adjusting the color scheme, copy, or pop-ups. Despite people liking my original packaging, I wanted to expand to refresh the brand and dialogue, so I developed a new one recently (to launch in the next few weeks). I’ve also upgraded my back-end systems, like the fulfillment center I use for online orders, to target customers through a stronger software, and more effectively and provide better service and pricing.” –Lawrence Wu, WUJU Hot Sauce
21. “We’ve been able to stay relevant against bigger competitors by providing amazing customer service. We have our co-founder on live chat at all times since she can answer any product related question. We sell skin care and beauty products and if our co-founder doesn’t know the answer, we ask the board certified dermatologist that we have on our staff. This gives us an advantage over our competitors.” –Jason Parks, DermWarehouse
22. “We don’t assume just because our competitors are doing something that it’s the best thing to do. As an athletic-wear design company we create our own trends to stay relevant. We listen to our customers, study what they buy and don’t buy, and listen to their conversations on social media and in person.” –LaDonna Snow, Snowflake Designs
23. “In a such a personal profession like tutoring, where you often work in people’s homes, I believe the most important thing is hiring exceptional tutors. I am very picky about who I hire as they can make or break your reputation with just one tutoring session. And technology does have a role when appropriate–such as making the billing process as seamless as possible.” –Schuyler Dunphy, Seattle Tutoring Services
24. “We spend a lot of time and energy keeping on top of our competition. It’s important to know what our potential clients are choosing between and how we can position MonetizeMore as the best option. In fact, we even conduct A/B tests of our competitors’ technology against ours.
MonetizeMore have come up on top every time. However, if we don’t in future tests, then we will dig deeper to see why our technology did not perform the best and find ways to improve the performance so that we can quantitatively prove that our ad technology is the best performing tech in our industry.” –Kean Graham, MonetizeMore
25. “As a small business owner- I stay relevant by being active in the local community. I have added attractions such as an herbal tea bar and free WiFi to attract millennials engaged in healthy lifestyle environments. I created a therapeutic day care for parents who need a break but don’t have a sitter. We put ourselves in the position of our clients and provide real solutions so they can enjoy the experience.” –Angelina Parker-Bey, LeAngelle Massage Clinic
26. “It’s been impossible to ignore the power of digital and social marketing channels over the last few years. Whilst we used to place more emphasis on print and email, we’re now embracing SEO, PPC and social media as our main marketing platforms. Staying on top of industry trends is hugely important to us. We’ve recognised that new marketing trends are hugely under-priced when they first launch, so by capitalising on them before our competitors, we are putting ourselves at a huge advantage. I often listen to business and marketing podcasts to pick up on the latest trends.” –Jason Scott, Archway Cards Ltd
27. “As a business which works in the digital world, it’s imperative that we keep on top of the latest trends in our industry. We regularly research the ways Google is constantly changing to ensure our services stay relevant and beneficial for our clients. This research means that, when we go into a client pitch, we are armed with all the latest information to create a successful strategy, in keeping with all the latest SEO trends and guidelines.” –James Nuttall, It Works
28. “I set-up Google Alerts to track new trends and pop culture cues that might be relevant to my business. I also follow instagrammers that are designers, big thinkers, creatives, and more to make sure I’m staying fresh. It’s important to enable idea collisions if you want to stay ahead.” –James Bennett, FireFly Team Building
29. “We make a point of thoroughly understanding our customers and their needs. By knowing our customers’ expectations, we can brainstorm innovative ideas and solutions that delight them. Additionally, our team always keep up with the latest trends in technology, social innovation, and business strategies through websites such as www.producthunt.com.” –Edwin Broni-Mensah, GiveMeTap
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