Investing in a marketing campaign: How the economic downturn can benefit the small business owner

Tips For Business Owners

Submitted by Guest Author Deborah Held

Thinking of joining the social networking revolution or otherwise investing in a new marketing campaign, but it’s just not in the budget? Think again, because there is no better time than the present for the small business owner to invest in a new promotional strategy. Marketing, Web and interactive agencies — just like most other businesses today — are cutting costs, and their customers are reaping the rewards.

Investing in an updated marketing campaign has benefits for the business owner that go way beyond counting how many fans they have on Facebook or the number of people following their Tweets:

• This investment brings credibility to your company, showing the marketplace that your company is stable.
• Now is the time to go after increased market share, while simultaneously increasing your own bottom line. Since most companies are operating at lower budgets, any profitability should be felt almost instantly, no matter the size of the gain. The savvy business owner should be well-positioned to see a major return on his marketing investment.
• Marketing services today are more negotiable, thanks to the economic downturn. Prices have gone down for these services. (Buyer beware, however, as often, the cheapest price doesn’t include any measurability tools with which to track results.)

Consider the cost of hiring a marketing professional for a staff position, which can cost $30,000-$35,000 or more annually for a new graduate, and up to $120,000 for a seasoned veteran. That same lower end cost can instead buy a marketing firm’s entire array of professional writers, master designers and experienced media relations professionals. Sound too expensive still? Some firms charge much less, offering package deals at $500-$1,000 per month, or even less based on the size of the firm and the needs of the company. Seeking out the services of a well–respected solo practitioner or freelancer can also yield affordable results and extremely attentive service. As with any service, you get what you pay for.

So is promotional marketing in today’s social media world a job for the business owner him or herself? Likely not—or at least not as effectively as possible. One place to begin, however, is with your own client list, sending out e-blasts, newsletters, postcards, discount services and the like. This target market is already identified, the cost is minimal, and these promotions and communications can be managed right from your website and social networking pages. A word to the wise when going this route: Utilize a professional writer for your written communication. Is a misspelled newsletter or grammatically incorrect e-blast the impression you want to leave with your customer? Besides, as the business owner, your skills are usually better put to use steering your team and your vision from the helm of your business.

Today the small business owner has the ability to clearly define his marketing ROI, as one of the innumerable changes the past few years have brought to this industry is the availability of discernible marketing measures. Where TV and radio marketing were immeasurable, social media marketing has markers to measure the quantifiable success of any and all promotional efforts, thanks to Google Analytics and other like programs.

Remember, in the end, success is not always immediately measured in dollars. Increased website traffic and activity, more phone calls, greater walk-through traffic, even a larger presence in trade articles or other publications are all indicators of a surge in recognition. Ultimately, your promotional efforts are about building brand recognition.

Deborah Held

Deborah Held Guest Author

Deborah (“Debbie”) Held is an Atlanta-based freelance journalist and business writer who has written nearly 600 articles for local, regional and national publication. She helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses and increase their online presence through the targeted use of her on-point copy in newsletters, e-blasts, ads and promotions, articles, website content, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn management, and more. She lives in Atlanta with her teenage daughter, her beagle, her Italian greyhound, and Gavin, the cat. In her rare snippets of free time, she enjoys knitting. Please contact her at www.debbieheld.com or “friend” her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/debbie.held