As a business owner, where you put money to grow your business is a constant focus. The goal, of course, is to invest where you can see the most consistent return, whether it be in technology like a new computer network, staff like new partners or managers or in marketing, to draw in and convert new business. Any of these potential investments are also the bane of most business owners, and based on our experience, this is even more true for marketing. Marketing is often perceived as a necessary evil to most companies, regardless of size or industry. And the fact is, the only important word in that perception is “necessary”, because foe any company looking to grow, or gain foothold, marketing IS necessary.
When it comes down to it, the adage rings true: “You have to spend money to make money.” The question is, where do you invest and how to you ensure that investment offers the best return for your company?
No matter where you invest money in your business, be sure that you have a plan of action, a short-term and long-term strategy with specific goals and check points to gauge success. Impulse investments, rather like gambling, often don’t pay off.
Think of your Business Investment the Way You Would Your Financial Investment Portfolio
Any financial advisor worth their salt recommends diversification of your investment portfolio, right? The whole “don’t put all your eggs into one basket” rule holds true for investments into your company as well. The same goes for your marketing program.
When you look to grow your business, the first thing to consider is how to expand your reach to your target market, how to get more of the pie, and that means proactive and intentional marketing not only to your existing clients, to allow for cross-sell or upsell opportunities, but to that part of your audience that may not be aware of your business yet. That includes friends and neighbors of your existing client base, those that have gotten word-of-mouth referrals and anyone completely unaware that you exist.
The answer to most efficiently developing this awareness? Marketing, with the lions’ share of your funds going to web marketing.
It’s no secret that online marketing is at the forefront of success of the leaders in most markets, not that there aren’t still good ol’ referrals, but even word-of-mouth references are being vetted online. This is not a trend that is going to change, and as mobile continues to drive the world to an increasingly-online reality, any company not investing in their digital brand is losing out on a significant potential for new business.
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
When it comes to marketing, as long as businesses have needed to promote themselves, they have sought the “one thing”, the one investment they can make that will work to build their brand, engage new clients and keep existing ones. Well, as these same business owners have come to find, there is no one tactic that will do all this for any company. I mean, even the kids with a lemonade stand use signage and verbal sales to get customers, right? That said, no matter where you invest your marketing dollars, it’s critical to remember the basket of eggs rule. Diversification, like that of a financial investment portfolio, is needed to garner the best return on investment and grow your business effectively.
Marketing is like any other business investment. You need to gauge the risk against the cost and potential gain to make an educated decision where you invest funds to grow your business. The key is to balance risk and potential return.
Keep these 4 points in mind when diversifying your marketing investment:
- Keep in mind digital marketing is necessary for any business. Even word-of-mouth referrals vet potential vendors online before deciding.
- There is no single marketing tactic that will work alone to drive business or build your brand. Dovetail your investment to ensure you vary your tactics to get the response you seek.
- Digital marketing does not remove the need for any traditional media, but it can enhance and supplement it. All strategies, online and offline, need to dovetail as far as buyer persona, geography, message, timeline and goals.
- Invest in your marketing to meet competition, market trends, requirements and best-practices of the media you are targeting as well as your business goals.
So, balance your marketing strategy. Track for response and real-time business effects and augment as needed to build your business at the pace you are most comfortable.