Even though you’re a small business, an overwhelming number of marketing opportunities probably come your way weekly, if you really pay attention. Think of the ads you could buy in the local newspaper, community magazines and in the program for your daughter’s upcoming recital.
There’s also affordable access to local radio and television stations, especially in smaller towns. Without too much effort a modest, as well as robust, marketing budget can quickly get away from you.
Before spending another marketing dime in print or online consider a few questions that need serious attention. Taking the time to answer them will help you maximize your budget and make it easier for you to say “no” when you need to.
Find Your People
Understanding your target market is key to identifying the best marketing opportunities for your business. In every situation you want to know:
“Who’s going to see my marketing items and are those people my target audience?”
Of course, you can’t answer that question if you don’t know who your people are in the first place. So take the time to get clear and it’ll make it much easier to respond to any marketing opportunity as well as write the copy for your website.
You Need as Much Time as Possible
When you pay for marketing, in effort and money, you want to make sure your audience has enough time to see and respond to your message. Before that dollar leaves your wallet, ask the salesman (that’s what they are):
“How long will my marketing message/ad/banner (whatever you’re buying) be in front of your audience?”
If it’s a coffee table magazine that people tend to keep, you may get a better bang for your buck with that versus a free paper that quickly reaches the trash can or recycle bin. Remember, you want as much time as possible to get your message across.
Say the Most in the Time You Have
Print ads are limited by size. Radio and television ads are limited by time. Instead of trying to say everything in the seconds and space that you have, get your core message out. Ask yourself (and your team):
“What message does our audience need to hear in this setting and how do we need to design it in order to get the most attention?”
Decide the one thing that you want your target audience to do, and then focus on promoting that message in that particular ad. Saying everything at one time can be overwhelming and result in your audience hearing nothing but noise.
Loud and Clear Photo via Shutterstock
More in: Marketing Strategy
Finding your people is the hardest thing for most companies I talk to. They know their product/offering well and they know customers generally, but they need to know where their customers “hang out” at other times. That could be reading certain publications, visiting certain websites, etc.
Great post. It’s important that small biz are as creative as possible when it comes to marketing. Every dollar spend should bring in maximum return. It can take some time to find profitable sources but one you do, you can easily and quickly scale up. Test, track, and improve.
Its also a great idea to figure out what medium your customers will use in order to find you. Will they look for ads in the newspaper, check the phonebook or do a good old fashioned Google search?
Great post! I think a lot of small businesses assume they need to use X Marketing Tool, but in reality, they do need to determine who will see the message and if they’ll even care about it through that medium.
Good article, gets the point across well. I think its important to highlight other methods of advertisement and promotion, such as social media; possibly the fastest and most influential advertising vehicle today. And importantly, its low cost. I read a good eBook about creating marketing campaigns for China, which is particularly relevant for SMEs hoping to make the most of new opportunities. digitaljungle.com.cn/eBook/
Great article! To add to what you’ve already said, you would be surprised by the number of small businesses owners who come to me for marketing coaching who don’t know who THEY are.
Knowing who you are as a small business is the most crucial part of creating a marketing message. It’s the most basic work that most of them haven’t done yet.
My mantra is “stop communicating and start connecting”. And when I say connecting I mean on an emotional level, from your audiences point of view.
Are you an interior decorator? Or do you help people fall in love with their homes again?
Do you sell flowers? Or do you help people say what words can’t?
Connecting with your prospect on an emotional level will build trust and loyalty…and you can’t put a dollar value on that.
I know how this is about to sound, but it’s true: Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know until somebody ask you the right question.
I love the way you help them drill it down to being more than an interior designer, for example, — but rather, someone who “helps people fall in love with their homes again.”
Well said David.
Excellent tips, I agree with Ryan, I think for small businesses with a tiny marketing budget, social media marketing or adwords (depending on the niche as CPC can quickly skyrocket) offer a great ROI and laser targeted leads.
A lot of businesses also need to factor in time after releasing a campaign to measure the result. Especially with social media marketing and SEO, results rarely are seen the next day. You need to track activity over time to see the impact.
Hi Nick, I have noticed that quite a few businesses don’t make time to measure impact. What integrated tools do you or your clients use to track your social media?
@Ryan @Tom I agree social media is cost effective and can be amazing, BUT only if you learn how to use it. Otherwise, it just turns into play time and a business disappointment.
Of course, all marketing works better with smart training (and that training doesn’t have to be expensive).
Thanks Ryan, for the ebook suggestion and link “about creating marketing campaigns for China.”
FIND THE CUSTOMERS
Focus on the 20% that yield 80% of the output and CUT the rest.
Social media can be GREAT but can also be overwhelming, time consuming, and frustrating. Business owners should outsource to people who study it all day (like myself) 🙂
Every business doesn’t need every new or popular marketing strategy. Don’t forget marketing is a project with several tools available for you to use. Sometimes a good ole hammer will do the job.
Happy Holidays everyone.
Marketing is never one thing is it always a combination of techniques, mediums and strategies. For example, I am a great believer in the power of the internet but, I am equally a believer in a good old fashioned face to face meeting with a potential source of business over a cup of coffee.
I love how you summed marketing up. Thanks for posting.