Marketing is perhaps one of the most painful investments for small businesses that run on shoestring budgets. You may spend a hefty amount of money, and loads of time on campaigns that never seem to deliver results. Even if they do help, the ROI seldom matches your expectations. You even wonder if you actually need a marketing budget when nothing seems to work. Not spending on promotions may seem a better approach when the results do not look good enough.

Moreover, you may believe that a small budget cannot bring your small brand to par with the domain leaders. However, the reason for things not working in your favor could surprise you. Things are likely off track when you take a random approach or follow irrelevant tactics that may be right for big brands instead of small businesses. Let us share some proven small business marketing commandments worth following.

Know your target customers first

Knowing your target customers is the key to marketing success, regardless of the size, scale, and budget of your organization. Spending on advertising and promotions tends to be a waste of money if you fail to reach your target audience. In-depth research of the market gives you a view of your potential buyers. You can go the extra mile with customer segmentation to fine-tune your campaigns and make the most out of them. It ensures that you do not spend your precious marketing budget chasing the wrong prospects. Experts recommend keeping track of your leads and sales to identify the changes in your target buyers and align your strategy accordingly.

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Also read: 13 Ways to Improve Telemarketing Strategy and Win Customers

Dig deep into customer expectations

Think beyond identifying and segmenting your target audience because you need to do more to gain a marketing advantage. Conducting polls and surveys is an excellent idea as these measures get you direct feedback from consumers. Acting on feedback is crucial, so do it sooner than later. It may entail improving your product, enhancing your service, delivering a better customer experience, or fine-tuning your marketing campaigns. Listening to the customers and working on their feedback does more than boost sales. It also builds loyalty and promotes retention for the long haul.

Keep an eye on your competitors

Besides tracking your target audience, you must keep an eye on your competitors. The small business landscape is crowded, and you cannot afford to overlook the competition at any point. Even the best marketing campaigns fail when your competitors have better ones. Think beyond checking their products, service, and value, and browse their websites and ads. You can even get on their mailing lists to dig deep and find what they are doing better than you. Competitors can inspire you as you work hard to discover ways to beat them in the competitive game.

Marketing is not only for big businesses

Another marketing commandment for small businesses is to avoid being apprehensive about competing with big brands. Remember that marketing is not just for established companies. Even small ones need to work on their visibility and reach. You can achieve both with strategic thinking and actionable campaigns. At times, small businesses tend to cut corners because they are confident about having loyal customers. But you cannot be too sure about retaining them for the long haul because your competitors may poach them with better offerings and campaigns. But strategic marketing future-proofs your brand in the increasingly competitive world.

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You need not spend a fortune on marketing

Entrepreneurs often worry about massive spending when it comes to running marketing campaigns. In fact, branding sounds even more daunting when it comes to expenses. But you can actually win on both fronts without spending a fortune. You can even market for free online, provided you are willing to invest time and creative effort. For example, you can create impressive social media profiles and post compelling content to promote your products and hook the audiences to your brand. You can also access free tools like vista create to design an attractive brand logo for your small business. Using a DIY website builder to build your website is another cost-effective idea.

Over-delivering is the key to marketing success

Another marketing commandment to set your small business apart in the competitive landscape is to deliver more than your customers expect. Surprising them with something extra always leaves a lasting impression. Consider going the extra mile with freebies such as free delivery, free upgrades, gifts, and giveaways. You can even try no-cost ideas like faster delivery and complementary quotes to cement a business relationship with your customers. These measures do not promote your business directly, but they are far more effective than conventional promotions.

A broader outreach is not always better

You may think that advertising to millions of people can get more sales and revenues for your small business. But the approach may do more harm than good, as advertising to a larger audience means you end up promoting to people who may not even be interested in your offering. The truth is that thinking small and focusing on a niche gets you in a better place for a return on your marketing investment. Like picking your target audience, you must identify your niche and maximize your marketing ROI.

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Personalization is a winner

Another factor that makes you a real winner in the marketing landscape is personalization. Knowing your target buyers and niche gives you a good start as you understand what exactly sells. Consider unique attributes of buyers and target them with personalized marketing messages, offers, and recommendations. You may use data and analytics tools to follow customers and understand their preferences, needs, and buying patterns. It is a small investment that can deliver immense returns in the long run.

The small business marketing game is complex, but you can ace it with the right approach and tactics. The good thing is that following them is easy, provided you know the facts and myths of small business marketing. Stay ahead of these tried and tested commandments to get the best outcomes with minimal effort and spending.