More often than not, small business owners take a “more is better” approach to their advertising. The theory? The more money you spend or the bigger the ad, the more return you will see. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t pan out. In fact, this is a counter-intuitive approach, and a sure way to lose money and see zero return. So how should a small business owner approach his advertising strategy and budget
to ensure that it’s smart advertising
that will yield the best ROI?
DEFINE: Who is your ideal consumer? Don’t answer “everyone.” You will enjoy greater success if you can identify your core audience, learn what makes them tick, and determine what their interests are. The better you know your target, the better you can market to them.
DESCRIBE: How are you going to reach, connect and have an open dialogue with your target audience? Do they read the local newspapers/magazines; do they spend most of their time online; do they engage in community activities; do they attend seminars or speaking engagements? The more you know about where they spend their time, the better you can identify a plan of attack to target them. You will know which media forms provide the best opportunities, and you can devise an effective integrated marketing communications plan.
DECODE: How do you know if your campaign was successful? You must exercise due diligence to track and record where new client leads come from. How did they hear about you? After answering this question, you can identify and continue successful tactics–and weed out less fruitful approaches. This is the best way to ensure that your advertising dollars are wisely spent. Unfortunately, many business owners set a campaign loose–and never assess whether it worked.
Small business owners don’t have an unlimited advertising budget, so it is critical to be smart with your money and make it work harder for you. Next time you tell the salesmen that your advertising isn’t working, and they respond that you “need a bigger ad,” think carefully about who you trust to manage your advertising dollars.