15 Strategies for Small Business Owners to Improve Online Visibility in a Crowded Marketplace


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15 Strategies for Small Business Owners to Improve Online Visibility in a Crowded Marketplace

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15 Strategies for Small Business Owners to Improve Online Visibility in a Crowded Marketplace

In the digital age, standing out online is crucial for small business success. We’ve gathered insights from CEOs and content specialists to provide you with a comprehensive guide. From implementing quality SEO strategies to optimizing packaging for consumer appeal, discover fifteen expert strategies to boost your small business’s online visibility.

  • Implement Quality SEO Strategies
  • Target a Specific Audience Niche
  • Optimize Website and Engage on Social Media
  • Actively Seek Out Customer Reviews
  • Leverage Podcasts for Wider Reach
  • Embrace Your Unique Selling Proposition
  • Create Shareable LinkedIn Content
  • Launch a Free, Market-Driven Product
  • Develop a Comprehensive Social Media Strategy
  • Share Genuine Photos and Stories
  • Showcase Your Brand’s Unique Spirit
  • Use User-Generated Content and Optimize GMB
  • Partner With Niche Micro-Influencers
  • Engage Followers Beyond Product Posts
  • Optimize Packaging for Consumer Appeal

Implement Quality SEO Strategies

Gaining more online visibility when you are faced with a crowded marketplace is pretty straightforward, even for small businesses! No hope is lost here.

First of all, the truth is, you need to get quality SEO going for you. Take proper care of your keywords and some valuable backlinks from major sites that are considered expert websites in your field. You need to focus on speaking to your audience in an extremely personalized way. It’s more than important that you pay attention to storytelling and being relatable and reachable.

You should want to seem like the next-door company. That is the biggest advantage point small businesses have when compared to big corporations. You are there with your audience; you know their problems and needs; you are there to solve them. You are trustworthy, honest, and maybe some of your customers’ friends have already used your service?

It might not be a bad idea to promote yourself a bit better with the help of a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers have the same appeal to a modern audience as small companies. They are first and foremost perceived as authentic and reliable. But they do have some interesting following. Try to find a micro-influencer who is a person that suits your brand and might naturally be someone who needs your service/product.

Offer them something for free or a nice discount before asking for a partnership. They might even be willing to promote it for free if they enjoy it! And that’s about the best publicity you can get your hands on these days. Their audience is going to become your audience, and their audience is highly engaged and loyal, so you can expect to generate quite good recognizability in the field thanks to them. It’s a good start and a move that you can repeat a few times over the year. You need to remember that you need to be patient.

As a small business, you are not going to gain millions of views without some shocking or viral campaign. But you can slowly build up your visibility until the point of satisfaction with the steps I just described.

Mateusz CalikMateusz Calik
CEO, Delante

Target a Specific Audience Niche

One crucial way small businesses can stand out in a crowded industry is by identifying and targeting their unique and specific audience niche. Appealing to a broad audience will make it that much more difficult for small businesses to differentiate themselves from the bigger brands. That’s why small businesses should focus instead on targeting a narrow audience base with their offerings.

Once you’ve identified your niche target audience, the next step is to craft your brand messaging in a personalized way to appeal to the audience. Take the time to dive deep into the pain points and challenges of your audience and leverage these insights when planning your marketing initiatives.

Shivani MaheshwariShivani Maheshwari
Content Specialist, WrittenlyHub

Optimize Website and Engage on Social Media

Boosting your small business’ online visibility in a sea of competitors involves a few slick moves and a healthy bit of elbow grease. For starters, make sure your website is as search-engine-friendly as possible. This means it should load quickly, look great on mobile devices, and include all those important keywords that potential customers might use to find businesses like yours. Don’t forget about local search, either—getting your business listed on Google My Business and similar directories can make a huge difference.

Then, there’s the social media game. Figure out where your customers are hanging out online and join them. It’s not just about posting your stuff, but actually chatting with them, sharing tips, and maybe even a meme or two, as long as it’s relevant. You’ll want to get creative with your content, too. Blogs, how-to videos, infographics—anything that can show off your expertise and get people coming back for more.

Email marketing is another lever that you can pull to break through the constant noise people face. Start building up a list of emails and send out regular updates—not just sales pitches, but genuinely useful or interesting information. It keeps you on their radar. And while we’re talking about spreading the word, consider a little bit of paid advertising online. At our agency, we prefer Google Ads.

Encouraging happy customers to leave reviews and share their experiences online can also work wonders for your reputation and visibility. In-person networking shouldn’t be overlooked either; partnering up with related businesses or influencers can introduce you to a whole new audience. Lastly, keep an eye on the numbers. Tools that track how well your website and social media are doing can offer insights into what’s working and what’s not, so you can tweak your approach as you go.

In essence, boosting your business online means being where your customers are, talking their language, and continuously tuning into what resonates with them. It’s ongoing work, and we recommend not trying to leverage only a single approach, but all the approaches we mentioned, to break through that noise.

Andrew JenkinsAndrew Jenkins
Owner, Catalyst RVA Marketing Agency

Actively Seek Out Customer Reviews

Reviews are key. “The Google,” as we like to call it in a personified sense, wants to provide search results to companies that satisfy their customers. The way Google knows your company is solid is by the reviews it receives. My advice is to actively seek them out!

Matthew DavisMatthew Davis
CEO, Davis Business Law

Leverage Podcasts for Wider Reach

Aside from the usual SEO and marketing strategies, I strongly recommend exploring a newer approach to boost online visibility: podcasting.

Podcasts have gained immense popularity lately, largely because they offer an engaging, effortless media experience. For reaching new audiences and establishing expertise in your field, consider either hosting your own podcast or being a guest on established podcasts within your industry.

To maximize exposure, actively promote your podcast episodes across various platforms where they can be accessed, and ensure to include links back to your website in the show notes, profiles, or episode descriptions.

Craig FochtCraig Focht
Cofounder & CEO, All Pro Door Repair

Embrace Your Unique Selling Proposition

I first came across this fox vs. hedgehog concept in Jim Collins’s book Good to Great, a must-read for anybody starting a business. While Collins advocates for the hedgehog mentality of focusing resources on one core strength, the fox mentality holds an equal promise for small business owners.

Aligning your best with customer needs will provide you with an edge in a crowded market. The key is to leverage what you excel at. Once you’ve identified your unique selling proposition, the next step is to integrate it into every aspect of your business strategy. Throw your best efforts into every opportunity, and observe where they gain traction—that’s your home ground. Depending on your business, this might include social media, SEO marketing, influencer marketing, networking, and more.

Also, adopting the fox mindset doesn’t mean stretching yourself too thinly across different areas. It’s about spreading out wisely while still sticking to your main plan. Find other ways that match what you’re good at so your business can grow organically in different directions. This not only makes success more likely but also helps you stay strong when things change in the market.

Sandeep KashyapSandeep Kashyap
CEO & Founder, ProofHub

Create Shareable LinkedIn Content

Utilize LinkedIn to create shareable content. We have created a few CRM-specific memes related to pop culture that went viral, and it greatly expands the audience we are reaching.

Corey SchwitzCorey Schwitz
CEO & Founder, Skydog Ops

Launch a Free, Market-Driven Product

An effective way to stand out is by building a free product around a dire market need. It need not be something extensive. If you’re a SaaS company, simply package one of your features into a free product and offer it ungated to your audience.

Of course, promote it in communities where your audience hangs out to build initial traction—like Product Hunt, relevant Slack channels, etc. For instance, if you sell Pinterest marketing software, just create a free AI pin generator on top of GPT-4 and launch it. AI tech is in vogue, and it will not only help you build brand awareness in a crowded marketplace but also build your organic traffic and potentially uplift the performance of your entire small business website.

Chintan ZalaniChintan Zalani
Founder, Bot Memo

Develop a Comprehensive Social Media Strategy

Expanding my small business’s online presence meant developing a solid social media strategy. We had a Facebook account, but I realized the necessity of being on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well. In just a few weeks, these platforms began showing decent engagement, especially when I shared our blog posts there.

I’m also considering PPC marketing to further boost our visibility. However, I’m taking my time to research thoroughly before investing in it. What’s become clear is that an online presence is never a finished task; it needs continuous effort and attention.

The progress we’ve seen so far is encouraging, and it’s all due to taking these steps. My advice to other small business owners is to research and understand these platforms before investing in external agencies.

James McnallyJames Mcnally
Managing Director, SDVH [Self Drive Vehicle Hire]

Share Genuine Photos and Stories

To stand out in a crowded marketplace, small-business owners should prioritize creating authentic content that reflects the unique aspects of their business. Ditch the stock images—when you share genuine photos and stories from your company, it not only captures attention but also builds a deeper connection with your audience. Authenticity is key to differentiating yourself and making your business more visible online.

Justin SilvermanJustin Silverman
Founder & CEO, Merchynt

Showcase Your Brand’s Unique Spirit

Let the unique spirit of your brand shine through. Whether it is your distinct logo, eye-catching colors, conversational brand tone, innovative products, or creative thinking—you will attract the right audience with authenticity.

Once you have your voice, don’t wait for customers to come to you. Share your messages and insights in online forums, social media outlets, and video platforms to secure your business’s visibility on the path to success.

Emily HolzerEmily Holzer
Content Marketing Manager, Mangomint

Use User-Generated Content and Optimize GMB

To improve online visibility in a crowded marketplace, a small-business owner can use the power of user-generated content (UGC) and optimize their Google My Business (GMB) profile. By encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences on social media with a unique hashtag related to the brand, they can significantly enhance visibility and credibility.

This approach not only boosts local search rankings but also resonates deeply with the local audience, making the business a community resource. These strategies are straightforward yet highly effective for a small business in a crowded marketplace.

Tom JaunceyTom Jauncey
Head at Nautilus Marketing, Nautilus Marketing

Partner With Niche Micro-Influencers

In my experience as a Marketing Head, one lesser-known but highly effective insight for small business owners seeking to enhance online visibility lies in leveraging micro-influencers within their niche.

While influencer marketing is often associated with celebrities or macro-influencers, collaborating with micro-influencers—individuals with smaller but highly engaged followings—can yield significant results. These influencers have a more intimate connection with their audience, offering authentic recommendations that resonate deeply.

By partnering with micro-influencers whose values align with their brand, small business owners can tap into highly targeted audiences, effectively increasing visibility and fostering meaningful connections that drive business growth.

Alex TaylorAlex Taylor
Head of Marketing, CrownTV

Engage Followers Beyond Product Posts

As Alari Aho, the driving force behind Toggl, I’ve navigated the challenges of making our mark in the digital world. Toggl started as a small idea to help people manage their time better, and now it’s a suite of tools that assist with tracking, planning, and hiring. Through this journey, I’ve learned a few tricks to boost online visibility for businesses like ours. Here are some insights drawn from our experiences, simplified to help other small business owners shine in a crowded marketplace:

Social media has been a game-changer for us. But the secret sauce? Engagement. Don’t just post about your products; interact with your followers. Ask questions, respond to comments, and participate in industry-related discussions. It shows you’re not just a brand; you’re a group of people passionate about what you do. This genuine interaction can really boost your visibility online.

Alari AhoAlari Aho
CEO and Founder, Toggl Inc

Optimize Packaging for Consumer Appeal

One effective way for a small business owner to improve their online visibility in a crowded marketplace is by optimizing their product or service packaging to address a common consumer complaint about competitors. For example, if a competitor’s product packaging is overly bulky or wasteful, a small tweak such as eco-friendly and minimalist packaging can make a significant difference.

By highlighting this eco-conscious approach in marketing materials and product descriptions, the business can appeal to environmentally conscious consumers and differentiate itself from competitors. This subtle adjustment not only addresses a consumer complaint but also helps the business stand out in a crowded marketplace by aligning with current consumer preferences for sustainability.

Ryan KellyRyan Kelly
Chief Marketing Officer, Easy Ice

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