How to Compete with Bigger Brands Online

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It can seem a bit unfair when you’re a smaller business. As though the odds are stacked against you, with bigger marketing budgets surely meaning better return right? Wrong, thanks to digital marketing even businesses with the smallest of budgets can compete with their rivals.

While some elements of digital marketing are financially driven, you can invest in low-cost options and still see a return.

All businesses had to start somewhere, and while some of the world’s biggest brands are naturally going to dominate the market, there are plenty of ways smaller businesses can compete in the digital world without investing too much money.

Wondering how your business can rival your competitors? We’ve listed some of the things they are probably doing, which you should do too!

Social media

Setting up social media accounts for your business is completely free, and providing you have someone who can actively manage the account for you, you can then begin posting and interacting with your audience. Aside from the additional exposure that having active social media accounts brings, it also allows you to get closer to your audience and develop those relationships.

Seventy-one per cent of consumers who have had good customer service via social media with a brand are more likely to recommend it, so invest your time in engaging with them and responding when they interact with you. If someone gets in touch via social media, whether it’s good or bad, you should take the time to respond – a message which hasn’t been responded to looks like you don’t value your audience’s opinion.

When it comes to social media, it’s also important to remember that it’s not a place where you should be posting sales led content. Of course, a handful of these posts will make their way onto timelines, but ultimately you should be looking to guide people with your opinion and display your expertise.

You should also ensure that you monitor conversations about your brand away from your mentions and conversations; they provide a great insight into what your audience is talking about and can allow you to better tailor your content.


Content is nothing new, but it is one of the most important elements of a digital strategy. Getting your content right is one of the easiest ways to share your products or services clearly and in an informative manner. Every written word on your website should be there to serve a purpose.

Content also expands far beyond your website too and encompasses a range of press placements, industry articles, and creative pieces. Content is a great way to become a thought leader in your industry, and through a variety of content pieces, you should be able to achieve this.

I’d recommend starting with these basic steps when overhauling your website and placement content – firstly, take a look at how current content is performing on your site and for your competitors.

If content is performing well then look at why this is, and what topics are related so that you can capitalise on this. If your competitors are ranking well for a particular topic and you aren’t, think about a useful guide you can create which will add value to the subject and be beneficial for your audience. If there’s a gap for something to be created or written, then fill that gap immediately.

Creative content is one of the best ways for you to try and reach top tier placements (newspapers etc). Infographics, quizzes and videos can help you to share your message more creatively. In fact, it’s estimated that video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic in 2017.

Using data

Data should be at the core of your digital marketing strategy; without looking into the figures you’re taking a huge gamble as to whether what you are doing is going to see any return. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and Twitter can all provide you with data to help you inform your campaigns and allow you to better understand your audience.

The data you find will show you patterns of behaviour, attitudes, opinions and habits of your audience and how they engage with your current marketing strategies. The more tailored you can be in your approach to digital marketing, the better your results will be.

Big brands have been using data for years, and there’s no reason why it doesn’t work for smaller brands either. While you may find that it takes a while to build up a big enough bank of personal data for you to use (especially if you are just starting out), when you do have enough, the insights will prove invaluable.

Email campaigns

One of the best ways to use the data you collect from your audience insights is to combine it with your CRM data to create a powerful email campaign. Personalised emails are known to provide six times higher transaction rates – and this doesn’t just mean using the person’s name in the opening line; the content needs to be personalised too.

You should be showing your customers the products and services which they are interested in – we’re all different and have various likes and dislikes, so what one person is looking for the other may not be. In order to use your data to your advantage take the time to personalise the emails you send out. 74% of marketers say that targeted personalisation increased customer engagement, and when you are just starting out this kind of engagement will prove useful to your brand and bottom line.

Move over Google, Apple and Samsung, the start-ups and SMEs are catching you up.