Small business owners and entrepreneurs are notoriously over-busy. We're swamped by mile-long to-do lists that never seem to grow shorter no matter how many hours we work. Trying to market your business on top of everything else just adds to the stress and confusion.
Thanks to the advent of the Internet and all things online marketing-email, blogs, social networking, slidecasts, webinars, and the list goes on-it's easier than ever to get overwhelmed by the options and do nothing. Or spread yourself too thin trying to use them all.
I think that's why the questions I've been hearing more and more lately are "Where should I be focusing my time, money and energy when it comes to marketing?" And, "How do I know which tactics and strategies are going to work for me?"
Well, there is no simple answer to which strategies and tactics are going to work for any given business. Choosing the best ones depends on many factors including your target market, your budget, your skill set, etc. Though any time they're designed to work together as part of an overarching marketing plan, you're more likely to see success.
However, you can make good decisions-and get great results-by asking yourself the following questions:
5 Questions for Choosing the Best Marketing Tactics and Strategies for Your Business
1) Can I find and reach my ideal client or customer there?
If your ideal client or customer isn't on Facebook, there's no point in spending time and money on Facebook marketing. Know exactly who you're selling to, and figure out where they shop and Web surf, what they read, and so on. Then find ways to reach them there.
2) Can I execute it on a consistent basis?
Great results rarely occur from one-shot marketing tactics. Especially nowadays when there is so much competition for everyone's attention, not to mention their business. Instead you have to keep putting your message out there until your ideal client or customer finally takes notice-and takes action. If you don't have the time, money and energy to execute a marketing tactic consistently, choose a different one.
3) Is it likely to help me achieve my goals?
All too often entrepreneurs choose marketing tactics because they're cheap, easy, exciting or everyone else is using them. Unfortunately, none of those are good reasons.
Instead, you need to know what your main goal is (grow your list, get clients to call, get customers in your store, get someone to sign up or register, etc.), then choose the tactics most likely to help you achieve it.
4) Are the results measurable?
The only way to know if a marketing tactic is effective is to measure results. That means knowing how many people called, clicked, signed up, bought, emailed or whatever you'd like them to do.
So make sure everything you do has a call to action and a way to know if the action was taken.
This might mean using Google Analytics on your Website, or asking prospects how they heard about you. Or having them mention a particular code or name when they get in touch.
5) What is the ROI?
ROI, or Return on Investment, is basically gross revenue generated less expenses. It's a number many entrepreneurs are totally unfamiliar with. And this is a serious problem.
I can't tell you how many small business owners have told me a particular marketing tactic was successfulSUntil they ran the numbers and realized it was costing more than it was making them.
Unless it's part of a larger strategy designed to recoup costs and make more money later, an ad that cost you $600 to run but only made you $200 in gross revenues needs to be changed or replaced.
Unfortunately, all too often entrepreneurs pay little or no attention to costs-especially time costs. Because the reality is, even free marketing costs you something in time spent that could be used to pursue other opportunities or make money.
If you don't know what your marketing costs, or how much it brings in, there's no way to know if you should keep doing it.
Now that you have these five questions in your back pocket, be sure to ask them anytime you're considering investing your time, energy or money in marketing.
©2011 Stacy Karacostas. All Rights Reserved. www.theunchainedentrepreneur.com
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