How Can Small Businesses Compete with Brands with Big Marketing Budgets?

Entering any market these days is challenging and intimidating. We are overwhelmed by the number of products and services available to us. How can your product stand out among so many competitors?

While big names in every industry have the means to invest in superb digital marketing campaigns that allow them to reach more customers, small businesses are left wondering what they can do to compete with them and get their piece of the pie. How can they appeal to more potential customers and get them to buy their product or service?

Fortunately, there are ways that even small, startup businesses can apply to win their share of the market even without a massive marketing budget because, in the end, it’s all about figuring out what works and investing your time, money, and effort in that.

In this article, we will tackle the ways that small businesses with tight budgets can compete with the big names in the industry and attract more customers.



Before you delve deeper into marketing strategies and budgets, first you need to figure out what your brand identity is. It may seem obvious or redundant but too many startups or SMEs fail to define their brand identity which is a basis for all your further marketing efforts.

How would you describe your brand? What do you want to achieve/offer to customers and what is your “special ingredient”? Do you have a mission such as to sell 100% natural ingredients only that are eco-friendly, for example? Or do you want to be known as the fastest-providing service in your domain?

Since most likely there are already tons of similar businesses with similar products or services out there competing for the same market share, you need to figure out who you are as a brand and what makes you stand out. Then use that “special ingredient” to market your product or service.



Have you already defined who your target audience is? Good, now you need to figure out what matters most to them and then offer precisely that. This is the key to marketing your small business. No matter how small your marketing budget is, if you figure out the one thing that your potential customers need that you can offer, you can use this as your competitive edge.

What does your target audience look for in a company? Does being eco-conscious matter to them? Or is it a good price-quality ratio?

Do proper research to figure out what your target audience values the most and strive to become the company that is known for providing that.



If there is one thing that can equate SMEs to big brands that’s SEO. A user-friendly, optimized website with optimized content can rank higher in Google search, regardless of its size or budget. Quality prevails.

Even though big brands invest a lot in this innovative approach, small businesses can learn about SEO, apply it to optimize their websites for search engines, and achieve the same results as their big-name competitors with deep pockets. This is how you maximize your small marketing budget.

For example, clean up your website blog and add quality, informative posts about your products or service that your customers will appreciate. Answer their frequently asked questions in clear, simple language, and use keywords that will help you rank higher in search engine results.

Research indicates that the average reader spends 15 seconds on your website. That means you have 15 seconds to grab their attention and turn them into potential customers. If your website is hard to navigate or is poorly designed with low-quality content, users will leave your website even sooner. If your bounce rate is high, this is a clear sign that you need to work on improving your website.

SEO helps you build a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate website that allows users to find the information they’re looking for. This in turn helps you increase the conversion rate and get more sales.

Not only does SEO help you build a better website and reduce the bounce rate, but it also improves the overall user experience which puts you right next to the big names in your industry.



You can’t eliminate your competitors but you can learn from them. Whatever business you’re starting, there are likely many others out there selling the same thing. Achieving similar results might seem like a stretch for a startup business with a limited budget, but you can examine their digital marketing tactics and learn where to put your money.

Learn what their target audience is, observe their language style, and the marketing channels they use to reach their customers. This doesn’t mean that you should copy everything they do but will show you where to direct your marketing efforts and what is worth spending your budget on.



Big budgets don’t necessarily translate to big success. The answer lies in spending your budget wisely on tried and tested methods that will actually bring you results such as SEO. With an improved user-friendly website, keyword-optimized content, and top-notch customer service, small businesses can get their well-deserved share of the market without spending a fortune on marketing strategies.

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Written by Alexander Hunkin

Alexander Hunkin is an Australian-based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing business. His meaningful and strategic advice has helped in setting and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth. Alexander is also a content creator for different niches. The top ones are business, career, finance, and marketing. He aspires to share his experiences and is always on the lookout for the next opportunity to enhance his skills. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving, and cycling.

March 6, 2021

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