So you’ve decided to start a marketing campaign for your small business, but you’re at a loss as to how to get started and where to focus your efforts. If that’s the case, don’t fret. Many small businesses just like yours have been faced with the same conundrum. It ultimately comes down to determining how best to reach your ideal customer and how best to market your products and services. It all sounds relatively easy doesn’t it? Well, it can be, but there will be some stumbles along the way. As much as you want everyone to know just how good your small business’s products and services are, there are some essential basics about marketing that you must be aware of. In this case, it’s about understanding who your target audience is and what strategies to employ in order to catch their attention. To help, here are some essential steps to putting together your marketing campaign.

Identifying Your Ideal Prospect
Your small business’s ideal prospect simply refers to the ideal customer. Your focus should be to define your company’s ideal customer in order to understand how best to reach these potential customers. For small businesses operating in a business-to-business (B2B) market, the considerations would focus on defining the type of businesses you want to sell to, identifying their geographical location, outlining their needs and requirements, and most importantly, understanding where they congregate. In terms of a business-to-consumer (B2C) market, your small business will need to define your customers in terms of their age, their ethnicity, their likes and dislikes, and their sex.

Marketing to Your Ideal Prospect
The first step concentrated on segmenting your customer base, so the second step involves defining the type of marketing campaign you need to run in order to reach these ideal customers. While there are several different marketing strategies, they all basically come down to running either an inbound marketing campaign or an outbound marketing campaign. An inbound campaign is less costly and relies upon being searched online by your potential prospect. This often includes running a pay-per-click (PPC), in-text link and banner advertisement campaign on multiple websites and social media forums. Outbound marketing is more expensive and involves things like advertising on TV, radio and magazines. It’s more costly and is considered a more conventional form of marketing.

Measuring Results
Every marketing campaign is measured by its ability to produce qualified prospects. In fact, comparing one marketing campaign against another often comes down to doing a cost comparison in terms of how much it costs to generate a qualified prospect. However, it’s never just about which campaign produces the lowest cost-per-lead; it’s more about which campaign has the highest number of sales conversions. This is both a function of your company’s sales prowess and your marketing campaign’s effectiveness. Therefore, it’s important to understand which campaign produces the most leads and which campaign produces the most customers.

Improving Marketing Campaigns
While marketing itself isn’t an exact science, measuring results is. In this case, your small business’s marketing strategies will only improve if you are willing to review your results. It’s about analyzing results at a granular level, one where you can define the most cost-effective marketing platform and one where you can continually improve results by tweaking how you run each individual campaign.

When it comes to marketing your small business, focus on taking simple steps. Start off small and build your marketing platform over time. As you progress in your analysis, be sure to focus on those campaigns that produce the most qualified leads. Finally, identify which of those campaigns convert the most leads into actual customers.

This article was written by Jeremy Dunham, a marketing guru from Seattle. Aside from helping people make sure their marketing campaigns run as efficiently as possible, he also strives to get a good deal such as through printable coupons.

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