Small Business Marketing Confusion
There are thousands of ways to market your business today.
You’ve got options as low tech as flyers and business cards to as high tech as mobile apps and Facebook marketing. A recent article in Forbes gives a superb account of what we face in the market today…
Marketing is a confusing world for most small businesspeople. Where twenty years ago you had about four options for reaching out to your market niche, in the 21st Century you have a confusing mash of choices. Once, your biggest challenge was finding the money to test four basic channels of TV/Radio, print, direct mail and outdoor. No one talked about having a “conversation” with your customer: You got their attention, and delivered your benefit message enough times to get them to take action.
While it is true there are many options available it make sense to try new methods but smartly. It’s important to test everything as you roll something new out. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new ad for your local paper or a new yellow pages ad. It needs to be tested. That’s the only way to know I it will work in your benefit.
The problem – there are too many business owners who are heads down and knee deep in their business. They don’t test. They deploy but rarely test to find out what is a winner and what is not. Not testing your marketing is a big sticking point that could cost you thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Once mistake and it’s crash and burn. But you wouldn’t know it because until you see leads dry up, sales dwindle, and life you knew it start to pass.
So how do you test.
Before you do anything you need a method for tracking. It might be a second phone number a specific web page that people land on or a company that will keep the tally for you. No matter what you have to know your numbers and the only way to get those is to track.
Once you have a way to track you will then need a baseline. You need to know what you’re testing against. Maybe it’s your current ad. Run your advertising and collect your data. Once you have data you can use it’s time to move on to the second test.
This is where you deploy your new ad or your new marketing method. This is where you find out if it will work better than your last effort.
Once you get your numbers you can start crunching to see which one makes the most sense for you to stick with. Find out which one had the best ROI. Find out which method cost the most. Find out which one brought the most leads.
There are a number of things to consider but at least you have a start.
Going back to the Forbes article, here is an excerpt of what they offer up for small businesses to do (which I agree with)…
Here is my marketing mantra for small businesspeople:
- You can’t do everything, so don’t try
- You have to do something, so start testing
Stop worrying about being active in every possible channel where your target customer might be.
- Select a few likely candidates. Use your fellow merchants, customers and competitive insights for guidance on which to select.
- Prioritize that list based on the expense and time required to work each channel. (Here is where you can rely on those hyperactive vendors for input, spiced with many pinches of salt.)
- Focus on the three most promising until they work out or fail.
- Track results relentlessly. This you MUST DO every day.
- Replace a failed channel with a fresh one from your priority list.
As you can see, it doesn’t take rocket science. It just takes planning and the mindset to try something knew. It often helps to get a second pair of eyes on your business to find the hidden assets that might be lying around that wouldn’t cost a dime more in traditional advertising. But I’ll save that for another blog post.
Enjoy and prosper,
PS- Leave your comments and questions in the comment section below.