So let’s say you’re a small business owner or you just created a startup. You’re an expert in your field, everything is set up and ready to go, and you’re finally ready to get people in the door. Well you, my friend, are ready for marketing.
Ideally, you would already have a marketing strategy in your business plan. That should be your first indicator of how important marketing is, it’s literally essential for your business to get off the ground and remain profitable. But perhaps you’ve neglected your marketing strategy or just don’t have the time to commit to it fully. Well, here’s where the old adage “you gotta spend money to make money” comes in.
Long story short, you need marketing if you ever want to expand and grow your business (and, who doesn’t?). That being said, the ROI of marketing depends on where you’re allocating your financial resources in the marketing world. Here’s where it should be going:
First things first, digital marketing is going to get your business out there because the internet is the biggest provider of information. Therefore, someone looking for X in the area of X is going to consult the internet first, and you’re going to need to be on the map. Not just on the map, but the biggest on the map (being highly ranked in Google) this is where SEO through strong web copy and content marketing come in.
SEO and PPC or (Pay-Per-Click) come in. They are your 2 biggest players in digital marketing, and they have the most ROI. Pay per click visually lays out your ROI by letting you know that X amount of people clicked on your Ad, which used X amount of cents from your bid on the keyword that prompted your Ad. SEO is a tad trickier to measure its effectiveness. The true way to know the ROI of your SEO is if your organic traffic to your website is healthy and growing. Through Google Analytics, you can then see how many conversions or leads are produced.
Digital marketing requires a heavy time investment more than anything, and as the old saying goes, time is money. Your time must be spent running your business, so paying for someone else’s time who has expertise in these 2 areas can help you focus your time on the main objectives of your business. The ROI of paying someone to handle this for you is ten-fold, as they know the in’s and out’s of the complex web of internet marketing. She’s a beast, I tell ya. Let someone else take it on.
The overall goal behind digital marketing is to get customers to take action. The most effective way to get customers to take action is through email marketing. Effective digital marketing not only creates leads and conversions, but it builds an email list that helps you market and promotes your products or services. Like I said, email marketing is currently the most effective form of marketing in this day and age.
Creating Ads for your business in local channels such as newspapers, flyers, other small business partnerships is the most fun for a small business owner. It creates a warm fuzzy feeling, the same way a kid feels when opening a lemonade stand and creating that big cardboard sign that says “Lemonade”. It’s a very tangible form of marketing and something we can, because it’s typically print media, physically touch. Advertising is without a doubt one of the most “fun” aspects of marketing.
The only thing about advertising on traditional media such as print, tv, or radio is that it’s extremely difficult to gather any metrics on your Ad. Ultimately, unless someone says “I heard your Ad on the radio!” the only way you can effectively measure the performance of your Ad is to provide an incentive in that Ad that gets them through the door (such as a coupon, or “mention ‘Pizza King’ to receive 5% your pizza!”
Regardless, the warm-fuzzy feeling of advertising your business creates good energy and a positive outlook, which is 100% necessary in running your business and keeping the momentum up. Don’t outsource this unless you really truly don’t have the time to do it.
Marketing collateral would be the table tents, comment cards, brochures, postcards, and any other tangible print materials that you use in a marketing sense. Marketing collateral has a great potential for ROI, especially if, like mentioned above, you somehow deploy a campaign that allows you to track metrics. For example, restaurants will leave comment cards on the table to receive feedback. This is a form of conducting market research that allows you to pinpoint areas in your business that you’re doing well and ones where you falter. Getting valuable feedback can help you get into the minds of customers which you can then take to your marketing strategy.
Print marketing is relatively cheap, and if you use it to somehow grow your email marketing, it can be VERY effective. For example, having customers sign up for a birthday club or offering discounts for certain holidays, etc. provides an avenue to collect emails which will then allow you to promote other products/events. Now, you don’t want to kill them with email marketing, that’s the best way to sever a relationship with a customer.
All in All:
These are the three main pillars of marketing for a small business. Bear in mind that there are literally hundreds of subforms of marketing that fall under these three main pillars for small businesses and start-ups. Like I mentioned, marketing is a hugely complex web of strategy and techniques that are and are not measurable at times. Any investment you make in a reliable, trustworthy marketing contractor or firm will almost always give you the ROI. Ultimately, if more people are taking action around your business such as coming in the door, submitting orders, getting email sign-ups, improving web traffic, etc. then whatever you’re doing for marketing is working. And in marketing, there’s ALWAYS room for improvement.