Small Business Marketing FAQ

talk bubble questionsI recently asked about 30 small business owners what marketing topics they want to learn more about, and got such good responses I thought I’d cover a few them here. The answer that applies to most, and that most people don’t want to hear is that it really depends on the business and their brand and marketing strategy. Having a marketing analysis done would enable me to answer the questions specifically as they apply to your business.

Q. How do I determine a marketing budget? How do I portion it?

A. For small businesses, 3-5% of gross is a good place to start. A new website should be considered an investment above this amount. An aggressive marketing strategy requires 5-10%.  Less than 3% is an indication that you may not be establishing your brand presence or letting your marketing really work for you. Fellow marketers and business coaches wince when we hear that a business has cut it’s marketing budget due to financial concerns. Marketing brings new clients, and maintains existing clients. A better strategy is to get more focused on your target markets. 

Q. What are the internet options for advertising? Do Facebook paid ads work?

A. The primary online advertising tool these days is google ads and facebook ads. An SEO expert recently told me that google ads are effective at driving traffic to your site, but not sales. This is because the goal is only to get a higher listing in the search results and clicks to your site using generic, popular key words. This is not considered target marketing and that’s why it may not be as effective at generating leads.

Facebook ads do work. We may not be crazy about them, but they can be very focused and targeted. “Promoting” posts is a very cost-effective way to get your message seen. As with most advertising, persistance is key.

Q. How do I keep in touch with prospects without annoying them? Does email marketing work?

A. I put these 2 questions together because they have the same answer. Unless your target market is under age 30, email marketing works. I am frequently surprised at how underutilized it is because they think people already get too many emails. If you are getting too many marketing emails, that is your own fault. All emails have an unsubscribe button. This is how most of your clients prefer to hear from you. Think about it, it’s either that or spend precious time chatting on the phone or in person making small talk and listening to your sales pitch. Email gives them the freedom to listen to you or not. Give them good, meaningful content – not too much, and not too often, and they’ll stick with you. If your market is under age 30 they are likely ignoring you altogether and possibly even having the emails sent to an unmonitored email address. Text messaging works great for them.

I’d love to hear more of your questions. What marketing aspects do you struggle with or need more info on?