How to Choose an Advertising and Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Most small to medium-sized businesses operate under tight budgets, especially when they are in the growth phase. Many times, marketing gets pushed to the back burner as businesses struggle to pay staff, buy inventory, and manage the day-to-day costs that keep their business afloat. However, without a strong marketing strategy, many of these businesses will fail to get enough customers to keep their door open. That’s why choosing a marketing strategy that best utilizes your limited resources for the highest return on investment (ROI) is critical. Here are three steps to determine what type of marketing strategy you should use.

Know Your Goals

Depending on the type of business you own and your vision for the future, the goals you have for your business may be much different than others in the marketplace. It’s important to determine both short and long-term goals that you can craft your strategy around. A short-term goal could be to add five new $1000-a-month clients to your book of business in the next 90 days. A long-term goal could be to hire two additional employees and generate an extra $30,000 in recurring revenue within the next 12 months. Once you have determined your long and short-term goals, you can better form an effective strategy and determine if they are producing the desired results.

Understand Your Prospects’ Needs

It’s difficult to market to prospects if you don’t know what their needs are. If you sell a product, their needs are probably relatively easy to ascertain. For example, if you sell custom t-shirts, your clients’ needs are probably to increase awareness of their brand through employees and customers wearing their gear. If you are service-based business with various offerings, it might be a bit more difficult. A financial planner may need to determine if their prospects are in need of retirement planning, estate planning, or life insurance. A business coach may need to determine if their most likely prospects are looking to make a mid-life career change or just want to brush up on leadership training. Narrow down a few needs you’d like to focus on and craft your marketing message around them.

Focus on a Specific Plan that Will Reach Your Target

It’s important to do some research to find out where your prospects most often look to find products or services similar to yours. More than likely, the majority of your prospects will use digital means to search for potential businesses to work with. Figure out if they are using Google search, if they are finding recommendations on Facebook or another social media channel, or if they tend to look for reviews online. Once you have narrowed down how your prospects make decisions, you can put the bulk of your efforts (and budget) in this area.

Now that you’ve identified your goals, what the needs of your prospects are, and where they tend to look for goods or services, you can choose specific marketing tools. Digital marketing is always a smart idea for small to medium-sized businesses, especially if you find that most customers are finding you via social media or Google search. If you determine that a bulk of your business is coming from direct referrals, you might choose to get more involved in your local networking groups or to introduce a robust referral or customer appreciation program. The key is to ensure your strategy fits in with the information you’ve collected before you sink a lot of time or money into it.

Marketing is the key to effective business growth, but you need to choose the right strategies to achieve your specific goals. By doing the proper research, you can ensure you always get the most bang for your marketing buck.