For large brands with big marketing and advertising budgets, one or even several hundred dollars is just a drop in the monthly marketing budget.

If you're a home operator, with limited resources and precious little time, most of these commodities are more than likely spent on the day-to-day machinations of your business.

This normally means important auxiliary functions, such as marketing your services and/or products, are unceremoniously pushed further and further aside.

However, with a little planning and strategic thinking, it's entirely possible to squeeze even more out of every spare minute you have at your disposal.

Marketing strategy executive Greg Head agrees that many micro-business owners get so caught up in tactical daily marketing execution like managing websites, sending emails, tweeting, advertising, blogging and so on, that “they are not taking the time to work on the decisions that’ll improve the performance of their tactics”.

“Strategy is simply the decisions you need to make so your tactics work better,” he explains in an article on the Small Business Trends website.

According to Head, to “make your tactics work better, to grow your business and bring sanity to your world”, it's essential to decide on a “single, simple answer” to each of the five following questions:

1. Who is your narrowly defined target customer?

2. In which category does your business exist?

3. What is your unique benefit?

4. Who is your real competition?

5. How are you clearly different from your competitors?

“The more time you can invest in identifying not only your target markets but the characteristics that would describe your ideal buyer types, the more you will be able to focus marketing efforts with laser-like precision, and hone your marketing messages to attract and engage likely buyers,” says Victoria Treyger, CEO of small business lender Kabbage.

“For large brands with big marketing and advertising budgets, one or even several hundred dollars is just a drop in the monthly marketing budget,” she writes on the Entrepreneur website.

“But for entrepreneurs and small business owners, every dollar counts – and investments need to pay off in real and immediate marketing ROI.”

“Going head to head with a competitor in areas where they are stronger or more well-established is usually going to result in a loss,” she adds.

“On the other hand, if you spend time analysing the competitive field to look for their areas of weakness or gaps in the marketplace, you can discover opportunities where your business will have the best chance to grow.”

Inbound specialist Kristina Cisnero believes that while many businesses think they have to “go big” on their marketing strategies to be visible among their competition, marketing your small business doesn’t have to break the bank.

“With the growing digital marketing landscape, there are many creative and cost-effective marketing tactics you can use to increase awareness of your products and services,” she says.

In a blog on the Hootsuite website, she identifies content and email marketing, participating in online forums and groups, search engine optimisation and social media marketing as particularly suitable low-cost options.

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