Businessman Counting Dollars

Wait! Before you spend those advertising dollars on your business, ask yourself a few questions first.

In this day and age, there are so many different options to choose from for businesses to grow through marketing and advertising.  Mostly gone are the days of a handful of ways for a business to get their message out.  Today’s options  are seemingly endless and the task of picking which one or ones are best for your business can be quite daunting.  Before you spend a single dime on marketing, there are some questions you need to ask in order to maximize advertising dollars, minimize frustration and really help your business put a clear vision into focus.

First question:  Who is my best customer?  Be specific, not just a demographic like “persons 25-64 years old.”  Take some time to really ask where the sweet spot in your business is.  This is the clientele that, if you spent all of your time working with people just like this base, everything would be fantastic in your business.  For example, a high-end car dealership might better serve people with a heavy interest in quality, personalized service versus customers that are interested in the cheapest car they can find.  Also, it’s important to learn where they are geographically.

Second question:  What motivates your customer – what makes them open up their wallet?  What are their spending habits (e.g., do they buy high quality, do they look for low prices, do they look for sales or coupons, etc.).  What kind of habits and beliefs do they possess (is it a one-time sale for a long-term purchase or is it a repeat customer that will return again and again?  Really get to know and understand your customers personally.  Check out your reviews and see what good things people are saying about your business.  Ask some of your customers point blank what are some of the benefits they see in working with your business.  Learn what your customer is interested in and why they choose to do business with you.

Third question:  Who is my competition and how do I stand apart from them?  Every business is competing for market share.  If there are no known competitors, then a business is competing to be first and hold that position.  If there’s a market for that product and service, you can bet competition will eventually happen.   Determine your business’s strength in the market. Is it your customer service? Do you have the best prices? Do you offer the best warranty?  What does your business do better than anyone else in the market?  And if your business has very little competition, think about what you are introducing to the market that is so beneficial to your customer base?

Once you have these questions answered, you will have a better understanding of your customers and your competition and how your business is unique, and how to capture your niche in the market.  Now that you know who you want to reach, it’s time to determine the most effective way your business can serve that customer base.

Fourth question:  What is your businesses message to connect with your best customer?  When thinking about this, you want to make sure that you are speaking your customers’ “love language,” meaning you’re communicating a message that speaks to their deeper emotion and what matters to them most.  If your best customers’ “love language” is saving money, your advertising might be better targeted towards your low pricing or current specials or deals.  If your customers’ love language is customer service, your advertising might be more focused on this strong or unique aspect of your business.

Fifth question:  What is the best method for delivering my message?  With so many options, you have to understand what your goal is in delivering your message.   Advertising methods work differently and serve different purposes.  Are you looking for direct response (e.g, you want someone to pick up the phone and call you as soon as they see your ad)?  Are you looking to build your brand in a credible manner (e.g., someone might not be ready to purchase from you, but they will remember your business when they get ready?  You need to understand how different forms of advertising work and how the advertising options apply to your business.

Last question:  What is my advertising budget?  You should have dollars allocated to the campaign you decide to implement.  Know what you are willing to spend in advance.  There is risk in advertising – you should accept the risk up front.  This will help you stay focused and not be reactive to emotion. Whatever you choose to spend your advertising dollars on, be sure that you are going big enough to make an impact.  The old adage is most often true – “you get what you pay for.”  In addition, if you are trying to take tiny steps in a heavily competitive market, your competitors will take pleasure in burying you through their ad spend.

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About the Author

Picture of Dan Shaughnessy

Dan Shaughnessy

Alpha Dog