SMALL businesses often leave marketing planning to the last minute and then are left scrambling to attract customers when times are tough.
The temptation is to just make it through 2011, have a Christmas break and think about 2012 later.
But for most small businesses thinking about how they spend their marketing budget early will prevent costly errors in judgement.
Here are my top hints about where you should be spending your budget in 2012:
l Make sure it can be measured or forget it. If you can’t measure it then don’t bother. You need to ensure you know what the return will be on your investment every time.
Coupon deals seem like a good idea especially if you are a small business desperately trying to draw in new customers, but these deals are often very costly mistakes.
They can tie up your stock or staff in a promotion that rarely results in repeat customers. Think carefully and plan
l Online presence is essential. More of us are looking online to buy or review things before we buy.
Ensuring you have an online presence that is integrated is important. It is more than a well functioning website.
A website is the hub of your communication, but an online presence where your customers are is essential.
If your customers are on Facebook then you need a presence there. If they are more of a LinkedIn crowd then go there. Wherever you decide to invest you need to commit to updating and providing information that will generate leads
l Map out the customer lifecycle of your ideal client or customer. By spending some time really thinking about your ideal customer and the problems that you solve for them you can make better decisions about where to spend your marketing budget.
Every touch point with your customer is an opportunity.
How can you be more useful to your customers? How can you provide some information to your customers to show you care and serve them better? This is money well spent
l Get some good marketing advice. If you are running your small business it is likely you already have some good ideas about what works to attract customers.
Some of the best money spent should be on getting the right advice to plan your 2012 strategy so that you know it is based on sound reasoning.