The best place to invest your marketing dollars is in a campaign that meets your most important marketing objectives. New small businesses, for example, need to make prospects aware of their company and its products. Growing businesses must generate leads for their sales teams and protect their customer base. Businesses that distribute their products through retailers can boost sales by providing marketing support to the retail network. Set your objectives before considering the best place to invest your budget.
When you start a small business and have a limited marketing budget, focus your marketing dollars on a campaign that will deliver results in a cost-effective manner. If your business aims to sell products or services to local consumers, place advertisements in local directories or newspapers. A single entry in a printed or online directory will continue to reach potential customers who are searching for a product or service that you offer. If you advertise in newspapers, you may have to spend more to run a series of advertisements that raise awareness over a period of time.
If your new small business sells to business customers, a direct marketing campaign will make good use of your marketing dollars. Create a list of businesses that match your customer profile and communicate with them via email or direct mail. Introduce your company with the first mailing and follow up with further mailings or telephone calls until you have converted them to customers. A direct campaign ensures that you do not waste marketing dollars on media that may not reach your target audience.
When your small business is growing, focus on winning new customers. If you spend part of your budget on advertising, include a reply coupon in your advertisements so that you can capture contact details of prospects for the sales force to follow up with. Offer website visitors a special report or other valuable publication that they can download after registering their contact details
Winning new customers is essential for growing a small business, but don’t ignore your existing customers. If you operate in a market that is very competitive, invest some of your marketing dollars in activities that strengthen customer loyalty. Publish a newsletter to maintain contact. Offer customers discounts or other rewards based on increased levels of spending.
If you sell products through retailers or other distributors, invest part of your marketing budget on driving business to the distributor outlets. Running advertisements or other marketing communications telling customers that your products are available from authorized distributors will encourage the distributors to stock your products, rather than those of a competitor. Investing in distributor training helps them to sell more effectively and deliver quality service to your customers.
by Ian Linton, Demand Media