Many times business owners shell out cash for marketing and then wonder why they’re not getting business. Before you throw another dollar in the wind, ask yourself: who is your target market? Then you need to figure out how much time and money you have to spend to reach them. I made that sound real simple didn’t I? Here’s the two-fold scenario:
First, define your target market. This includes
- Key decision makers for purchasing your product or service
- Where your customers look for and buy your product/service
- Customers’ buying habits and buying cycles
- Factors that influence purchasing decisions – don’t just assume price is the primary reason
Next, determine how much money and time you have to spend to reach your target
- Can you reach them by joining industry organizations?
- Placing ads in business newspapers/website or trade magazines?
- What’s your advertising and marketing budget?
- How much time can you commit to pursuing a target? Do you follow-up and engage leads, or push sales and move on?
Once you figure these out, this next question is really what we’re after:
What is the estimated return on your investment of time and resources?
- Is attending a few networking mixers going to get you in front of the right decision makers?
- If you place a pricey ad in a conference program will you get the greatest exposure to your target audience?
- Maybe you can place recurring ads in your local business publication if you’re a B2B, but does the reader profile match your target?
- Are magazine ads too expensive for your budget? Can you broadcast yourself across social media and attract enough clients there?
These are just a few real examples you will face as you decide how to best market your business versus ROI for your money, time and effort.
Consider a typical example to illustrate the importance of these concepts:
I’m a strategic marketer, and I see XYZ Company has a sponsorship offer out for a local women’s retail shopping event. The company estimates 500 attendees, so I can put my promo literature in their goodie bag for $50. Getting my business in front of 500 people via a goodie bag for only $50, oh my goodness, what a deal!
Not so fast… my target market is entrepreneurs and small businesses. Women going out shopping has nothing to do with my target market, so that $50 most likely will result in 0% sales conversions. Yes, some attendees might be business owners, but their purpose for attending the event is completely unrelated and my fancy promo literature will be in the trash.
Next, consider all the time and resources that would be invested in order to get a return. In other words, my investment would be:
- cash and materials: $50 plus the cost of the promo literature
- time: contact with the event host, pickup and delivery time, follow-up with event host and attendees
As you can see, this opportunity costs far more than just $50! And the ROI is almost non-existent.
Remember, marketing is more than your website and networking. You need to have a marketing plan that includes all the elements above, and then some.