Building or growing your business obviously involves attracting extra customers, or somehow convincing existing ones to purchase more, and beyond bribery or any other form of nefarious coercion, the best way to achieve this is through marketing.
Hence the above-mentioned conundrum, or what Steve McKee, the CEO of advertising agency McKee Wallwork & Company prefers to call the “dirty little secret of small business”.
“If you run a small company, you know what I’m talking about: you don’t really have a marketing budget,” he says in his column on the Bloomberg website.
According to McKee, rather than “worrying about what you’re not doing”, it's far better to “accept where you are and work from there”.
“Every company, every industry, and every situation is unique,” he says. “Instead of wringing your hands about how much you should be spending, focus your energies on spending it more wisely.”
Advertising and digital media expert Megan Sullivan agrees that while your business will only thrive if consumers are aware they exist, “with so many different access points to consumers today, including digital, mobile and traditional media, creating a targeted marketing campaign has never been easier”.
“Marketing is necessary to keep your business at the top of the consumer’s mind and generate revenue,” she says in an article on the QuickBooks website. “But a successful campaign doesn’t have to break your budget.”
“Take a look at your monthly, quarterly and annual revenue, and determine what percentage you feel comfortable devoting to marketing,” she says. “One of the great things about online advertising (for example) is that you don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars for it to work.”
According to Sullivan, a successful marketing campaign should last for at least three months to show real results, as “a continuous, ongoing marketing effort will give you a much better idea of how effective the campaign is and what tactics really work”.
Marketing director Adrianne Glowski says before you launch any kind of campaign, you need to have “a solid idea about what your company is, why it exists and what you hope to accomplish”.
“The smaller your budget, the more important it is for you to be clear and specific about your goals,” she says in an article on the Technori website.
“Determine all the possible outcomes that you would consider successful – whether that be more visits to your website, more subscribers to your email list, or a certain number of lead generations.”
“All of these things mean more exposure... and can ultimately translate to making money.”
“It’s likely that you aren’t going to nail your marketing efforts on the first attempt. Marketing is about refining and zeroing in on the method that works for you.”