How you market your business can make or break it; and, for many start-ups, a lack of budget for marketing activity can feel like a barrier to success.

But, for smaller companies trying to compete with the bigger players, marketing doesn’t have to be about fancy – and often expensive – advertising campaigns.

Instead, offering customers an excellent experience when they engage with you on a day to day basis can work wonders for your reputation.

  1. Know the consumer
Consumers today demand more from their favourite brands than ever before, whether that’s 24/7 access to support or a service made available instantly. This means that experiences that meet and exceed expectations can help to attract and retain customers, increase brand loyalty and, ultimately, drive sales. For SMEs, customer interaction – whether it’s in store, on the phone or via social media – will define who your brand is and how you are perceived - often much more so than a larger business trying to mask bad customer experience with mountains of marketing activity.
  1. Establish good consumer experience
For small businesses to attract the investment they need to grow, leaders need to understand the power of great customer experience and have a plan for establishing it as a top priority in their business. For example, offering customers a mix of channels to contact your business – including digital channels such as messenger - is a great way of giving consumers the choice and flexibility they crave.
  1. Keep your promises
The most recent UK Customer Satisfaction Index also found that the top differentiator for brands that score highly when it comes to customer satisfaction is making sure that staff deliver on their promises to customers. This means that it is vital that businesses move away from focusing on the amount of time spent dealing with a customer and instead concentrate on following through on customer commitments.
  1. Engage with consumers
By allowing engagement with customers to define their values as a brand, SMEs have a unique ability to steal a march on larger corporations who might be overly reliant on traditional marketing to compensate for a less personal experience.

By Richard Elwell, vice president of solution architecture at Firstsource Solutions