If you’re a business owner, you’re swamped by competing priorities, not the least of which is dealing with constant competition, in a limited marketplace, with a limited budget. If the bad news is that you have to spend money to make money, the good news is that by being smarter with how you spend, you can get ahead of the competition and stay there. #1. Promote What Makes You Unique Your customers care very deeply about what makes you different. Why? If you and all your competitors were more or less the same, offering similar products and services at similar prices, customers would have a much more difficult time choosing where to spend their money. But if they saw something different in your business, a unique value, then it would be easier to make a purchase decision. If you devote your advertising, marketing and promotional resources to highlighting the features and benefits that set you apart from the competition, then there is a much better chance that potential customers will spot the difference and choose you. #2. Improve the Customers’ Experience of Your Business Don’t mistake this as simply customer service. It’s much bigger than that. Or, put another way, customer service is everything you do as a business. Your business is customer service. Unless you happen to have an absolutely unique product or service (if you do, it likely won’t remain so for long) or plan to compete on price alone, which could be the most expensive option, the only thing difference between you and your competition is the experience your customers have of your business. From the moment they call, walk in or land on your website, make that experience better than the one they had with your competitors and you will win them over. #3. Keep Your Enemies Close There’s perhaps no better way to spy on your competition than on the internet and social media. Websites and social accounts are often the first place that new products, hires and affiliations are announced. #4. Don’t Be Socially Shy OK. If you’re watching them on social, you know they’re watching you. So do you avoid social media altogether? Unfortunately, the increasing reality for most businesses is that they must have an active presence on social, especially if yours is a B2C business. How do you spend wisely when you get social? Research as much as you can about social media marketing. Social can be very wasteful or very rewarding, and it’s often a very fine line between the two. #5. Spend As Much on Existing Customers as on New Ones You’ve heard the one before about how much cheaper it is to keep an existing customer than it is to attract a new one. While that’s been proved true in countless studies, it only tells half the story. Here’s the other, perhaps bigger, half: existing customers spend up to five times more per transaction than new customers. You can do some fast research to prove this. Ask yourself the following question: how many of the largest sales in my business came from brand new customers and how many from existing customers? So existing customers cost less to keep and produce higher sales. Yet, on average, businesses spend 80% of marketing budgets on attracting new customers and only 20% on retaining customers. Images: “Best profits for you. The others get 20%. The winner get the most profits./ Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.