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Marketing Against Goliath: 3 Tips To Beat The Big Guys

Lindsay BayukBy Lindsay Bayuk, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Infusionsoft

Lindsay BayukBy Lindsay Bayuk, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Infusionsoft

Small business owners often feel as if they face daunting odds when competing with enterprise brands. Large companies with massive advertising and marketing budgets tend to dwarf the limited resources of smaller ones. Enterprises usually enjoy sophisticated campaigns and multichannel exposure that small businesses could only hope for in their wildest dreams. 

But that doesn't mean small businesses can't employ strategies of their own to compete and win against the big guys. Money isn't the only factor when it comes to successfully capturing the attention of new customers. By capitalizing on your unique advantages as a small business, you can build a loyal customer base and a highly visible brand profile.

Maximize A Small Budget With Extreme Targeting

Targeting is the core building block of great marketing. All smart marketers, even for the smallest companies, should bearmed with a detailed description (or buyer persona) of their best, most repeatable customers. Oftentimes small businesses consider any buyer a good buyer or they only engage in the most minimal form of targeting. Instead of wasting money marketing to potential buyers, shoot for the kingpin.By efficiently spending on ads, keywords, content and programs thatresonate with yourtarget market, you’ll make the most of your budget. As a result, you'll cultivate a very defined and loyal customer base that will prove harder for bigger companies to penetrate.

Some ideas: seek out niche blogger communities, social conversations, very specific keywords and local events, all selected to attract and nurture this ideal target group.

Create A Polished Presence Online

Your office may be a 2,000-square-foot storefront with four employees, but online, you shouldlook as big and sophisticated as the largest brand you compete against. Don’t know if your brand image looks professional? Time to invest a little in a branding/design consult.

Here's why. Your brand makes a promise to customers — what you offer, how you offer it and the experience your customers can expect. Analyze the entire look and feel of your marketing and make sure everything represents your business in the best light possible. Don't underestimate the power design can have in influencing customers; one study found that up to 90% of customers make snap judgments about products based on color alone.

Another element to consider: how your web site looks on your smartphone. If it appears jumbled or requires pinching and scrolling to learn about your business, prospects are likely to leave and never come back. Consider using Squarespace, plugins for Wordpress or Mobify to ensure your web site looks great on any smartphone, tablet or desktop device.

Deliver A Personalized Customer Experience

Enterprises may be able to offer better deals on price, but it's almost impossible for them tooffer the personalized service and attention that makes customers loyal. Marketing to your existing customers may be the best investment you can make in growing sales. With the right data capture tools, you can use past purchases and behavior to tailor each customer experience. Crafting cross-sell and upsell opportunities can boost sales, while simple touches like birthday messages and rewards programs can foster long-term loyalty.

Of course, deepening your relationship with customers pays off in multiple ways. A loyal customer will not only buy from you again, but they'll probably also tell their friends. A Google Think Insights research study found that “92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media such as recommendations from friends and family above all other kinds of advertising.”An exceptional customer experience drives repeat purchases and referrals — so be sure to deliver a personal experience your customers can't help sharing.

Remember that when it comes to marketing, success begins with strategy. The biggest enterprise budget in the world won't necessarily deliver a high-performing campaign if the right strategy isn't behind it. Instead of being intimidated by larger competitors, stop and think about the strengths and unique qualities of your offering and relationships with your customers. With thoughtful implementation, your strategies can build a growing customer base and eventually, brand evangelists — helping your small business marketing make a big splash.


Lindsay Bayuk is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Infusionsoft and a small business owner. She's passionate about technology, marketing, entrepreneurship, and is an avid connector. Connect with Lindsay on Twitter at @lindsaybayuk.