7 Steps to Growing Your Small Business
Step 1) What is your key message?
What are you trying to tell your customers? Your advertising and marketing plan should make it clear what your company or product is all about. Developing a key message before advertising will help provide your campaign with a direction and a purpose. Spending your media budget on the wrong message or ad can get very expensive.
Step 2) Why are you advertising?
Now that you have your message for your campaign, you need to ask yourself what are your short and long term goals. Do you want to increase sales, or improve brand awareness, promote a new product or service? Your strategy will vary depending on your objectives. Knowing your goals can help you in creating the content for your advertising.
Step 3) What's in it for your clients?
What problems are you solving for your customers? Do they need an affordable place to eat, are they looking for a festive atmosphere or just good food. Do they need clothes, tires, furniture, legal or medical service? Are you telling them the clothes are red and will fit or that you sell tires? Shouldn’t you be telling them the clothes will make them look younger and more beautiful or their tires are safe and affordable, sell the problem your product solves, not the product itself.
Step 4) Who is your target audience?
Many business owners think they know who their target audience is or where they come from. But in many cases, they’re not sure, are either old or young, male or female, rich or poor, educated or not. These important questions you’ll have to ask yourself while planning your advertising strategy.
Step 5 Where is the best place to advertise?
This step requires a lot of research as you must know what media is right for your business and budget. You have a multitude of choices such as television or cable, radio or print, outdoor or direct mail, digital or social media, ads or articles, and much more. And the cost for these range dramatically from high to low, but please note, there is always a cost, even for social media. It is not free! Then you must decide the size of your geographic market area you want to reach. If your budget allows, using a mixture of media will net you the greatest return on your investment.
Step 6) What is your budget?
Is your budget large, small or non-existent because you have never advertised? Do know the cost of television, radio, print or digital media? Do you know what media or media mix is right for your business? Should you spend all your budget up front or should you spread it over a longer period? Will your budget provide the needed results? The question you need to ask yourself is am I willing to make the investment and commitment needed to grow my business? And you can only answer that if you’ve spent the time doing the research and planning.
Step 7) Are you willing and can you afford to invest the time?
Time is money. That’s especially true if you own a business. Unfortunately, you can’t just throw together a nice picture and a few words and expect your advertisement to bring you business. You really have to make a time commitment to researching your audience, finding the proper media outlet, and designing advertising and creating your strategic plan.
Here’s something to think about. If you own a business and your income is let’s say you $100,000 a year, what is your time worth? If you're personally spending 20 hours a week or more on your marketing or social media program it’s costing you $4,000 a month in time or $48,000 a year, and that is even before you have purchased any advertising
If you would like help with any of the steps above, watch the short video below.