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The problem with big city conferences is that they target big city brands. This problem is okay if you are the big brands of the world, but for those small businesses, those up-and-coming-businesses, it’s hard to take in what is really tangible to grow your small business. After spending half of a day at the Denver Digital Summit, these were my big takeaways that the big brands do that small businesses can take advantage of.

1. You need to be different.

Discover what makes your brand different. Even if you’re up-and-coming or a small business, you need to think of your brand; you need to think how you’re different from your competitors and alternatives. What makes you stand out?

2. Your consumers are the lifeline of what you should be doing on a daily basis.

It’s so easy to think about what you do as a company, what your purpose is, and even what your mission statement is, but if you don’t drive that back home to your consumers, you missed the point. At the end of the day, it’s about making your consumers happy and improving user experience. There are plenty of ways to do this – journey mapping, personas, voice and tone strategy, and simple customer service. With that said, you may not be able to develop a Disney Magic Band, but think about what you can do to make your consumers feel like you offer the best of the best – and to be honest, it doesn’t always have to be the best (if you love marketing as much as I do, definitely look into the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam marketing story… simply amazing).

3. Giving back is more than just giving money.

There are a lot of companies out there that give back, but it simply refers to donating a portion of proceeds to a charity. Now, I’m not saying that this is bad – in fact, it’s awesome – but there’s a difference between giving money to look good to the community/city/district and giving back with purpose. If your company prides itself on giving back, then show it. Do more than just donate money and actually get involved in the community.

4. Storywriters’ don’t call it content.

When someone writes a book, a movie, or a play, they don’t call it content. It’s more than that… it’s an experience. When you write your own content, make sure you’re doing more than just writing for marketing reasons. Your content marketing strategy should be more than just a marketing solution – think about how you can really make a difference in your messaging – ideas: perhaps, a cookbook, a Q&A that is beyond just your brand, eBooks that answer questions about your area, or other off topic ideas that don’t exactly relate to what you’re selling now.

5. Headlines are important.

You know this. What ads (if any) do you click on? Sometimes, you may not even know you’re clicking on ads, it may just be a distracting headline to an article you’re clicking on (disguised as an ad) and it caught your eye. Those headlines like “See These 23 Hidden Things You Missed from [Your Favorite Movie]” get attention and drive traffic. Work on your headlines folks, because they drive traffic to your site!

6. Branding is really important.

Yes, we’re back to this, but it’s really important. You can think of a great name, have a great idea, and even open a store front, but that doesn’t mean you have a brand. You need to define what your brand is and what the root of your business is to have strength behind what you are doing. And a brand isn’t just a logo and colors – it’s also voice/tone/content and user experience/customer service (online and offline).

Kasy Allen

Kasy brings years of experience in search engine optimization (SEO), content strategy, Internet marketing, and overall web-geekery to the table. She enjoys writing on the web and improving user experience across the Annapurna site, as well as with our clients. When Kasy is out of the office, she can often be found volunteering her time to help non-profit organizations build a better online presence and exploring the great outdoors with her family.

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