This is the million dollar question.
Marketing is a black hole. You can spend as much or as little as you want on marketing. At the end of the day, ROI is the only thing that matters.
If you’re just starting out you may be in more need of marketing than a business that has been running for 10 years. Either way a good rule that I have lived by is spending one whole day, once a week, on marketing. That could mean you pay a part-timer to manage your marketing platforms. Or it could be as free as hosting webinars.
There are many things you can do to market your business but the main thing to remember in marketing is that you have to put a face to it.
What I mean is every business is marketing themselves and most of the time people forget about what they read the following day. But like the saying goes, a picture is a thousand words. So be sure to get the owner’s face, or the team’s face, or anyone’s face that matters to the business in the marketing plan. Adding a face to the plan will greatly improve your chances of marketing success.
In my experience I focused on ways to get right in front of potential customers’ faces. When I built my bike shop business from nothing I spent one day a week where my customers were… which was out on the bike paths. I offered my knowledge and time for free, along with free bananas and water. It was the best thing I did to grow my business with the little cash I had to spend on advertising. Within a few years my business was associated as, “oh yea, I know those guys… they are the banana guys!”. It was a great advertising tool that evolved into a branding tool. You see, the key to advertising is telling your story. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Customers will give you all the money in their wallet when you build that connection to the business.
There is no finite rule to marketing. Only the business owner knows best. They are the ones that are talking to their team everyday and finding out what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes you win big and sometimes you loose big. The most powerful tool is the data behind the marketing. So as more marketing strategies are implemented, the more data the business has to create an even better marketing strategy the next time around. So get out there and promote a face to the business!