In Part 1, I talked about what you need to know before you start (or keep) spending your money on advertising or online marketing. That’s how you lay the foundation for effective ad campaigns that actually give you a return on your investment—because that’s what good marketing should be, an investment, not merely an expense.
Now it’s time to use the information you’ve gathered to plan out a marketing strategy that’s tailor-made for your business. No cookie cutter solutions here. We’re talking customized, baby! (This is where the Word Genie starts getting all nerdy and excited—some people go gaga over classic cars, certain musical groups or baking the perfect pie. I get pumped talking about driving new and repeat customers to small businesses!)
OK, but enough about me. What did you learn from answering the questions in the previous post? Or what should you have learned?
- You should now know what you want your advertising to do. Whether it’s to get people to pick up the phone and call you, fill out a request form on your website or get them to walk through your door, you need to know this. This will enable you to create what is known as a “call to action” that specifically addresses the action you want your existing and potential customers to take.
- You should now know who you are trying to reach with your advertising campaigns. This can help you decide not only where to advertise, but what kind of tone to use in your marketing efforts. Let’s face it, 21 to 30 year olds speak and listen differently than people over age 65.
- Your answers to those questions will also show you when to step up your ad campaigns. Keep in mind that customers may need lead time before doing business with you. For example, if your business is seasonal, you may need to promote yourself a couple of months prior to your opening day. You can now start scheduling your marketing based on what times of day, week, month or year would have the most impact.
- Last but by no means least, you should have a greater understanding as to how to reach new and repeat customers. Whether they listen to the radio in their cars on the way to work, frequently check their Facebook statuses, read the daily newspaper or pick up free weekly and monthly publications, your ads need to be there.
I actually hate seeing small business owners waste precious time and money on ads that no one will see or, more importantly, take action on. The next time you’re approached by an ad salesperson, keep in mind the who, what, when and how of your marketing strategy before deciding whether or not to buy. OK? OK.