How to Increase Cost-effectiveness in Small Business Marketing

To increase cost-effectiveness in marketing , do not cast a wide net. Tighten focus on communicating authentic key messages to your ideal client profile.


How to Increase Cost-effectiveness in Small Business Marketing

For an independent business to succeed, it must invest steadily in marketing. The on-going success of many companies in many industries over many years has proven this. Yet, since the global recession that began in 2007, many companies have sought ways to get high returns from a pared-back marketing budget.

Saving money and getting more sales must somehow go together. Let’s review three common tips, then let’s consider a more fundamental approach to achieving this objective.

option: frequent news releases
Some advise companies of all sizes to issue a news release whenever anything possibly newsworthy happens in the company. Local media could turn each news release into free publicity.

In practice, this is generally not so useful. Local media typically use a tiny minority of the news releases they receive. Thus, there is a high risk of wasting the time taken to write and submit news releases. Also, any company frequently issuing news releases could gain an unwanted reputation with news editors – like the boy who cried wolf.

option: networking in the community
Some say that networking in the community is the best way to get new business. You get to meet people in person and everybody prefers to do business with people they like and trust. While this is true, steadily bringing in new business from networking takes an extraordinary combination of charm and persistence.

Those who seek new customers at business mixers and conferences often find that most people they meet have the same intent: to get new business – not to find a new supplier. Working the room at grand openings, parties, and annual general meetings takes determined assertiveness. The chances of significant payback are often like finding a needle in a haystack.

Success at networking in the community requires a unusual blend of smarts, charisma, and perseverance. Additional time and energy with some acquaintances could eventually lead to sales, though. Any company seeking new business at low cost should understand this.

option: just getting your name out there
Some suggest that simply keeping the company’s name before the market’s eyes is essential to success. This, too , is easier said than proven profitable for a small business.

Many find that applying this truism on a modest budget quickly becomes hard to justify on the basis of traceable return on investment. Even those who monitor and adapt to the statistics from pay-per-click internet advertising find that awareness-based marketing can involve a high cost per sale.

there must be a way
Once issuing frequent news releases proves unreliable; once networking in the community proves best for persistent, charming extroverts; once casting a wide net proves hard to justify, a common objective reappears. More good sales at lower cost per sale call for a more targeted, more fundamental approach.

two pillars
To rise to this challenge effectively starts from:

  • certainty about your ideal client profile.
  • a key message that intuitively positions your product or service as the best remedy for the problems that the ideal client needs solved.

the customers you want more of
An ideal client profile covers the essential characteristics that the best customers share. If the clientele falls into multiple categories, then have an ideal client profile for each.

 A salon and spa, for example, might have an ideal client for hairstyling and manicure-pedicure work. This would differ from the ideal client for massage and bodywork. There would be notable differences between young men for hairstyling and retired women for reflexology. Each ideal client profile is a distinct bullseye for the company’s targeted marketing.

how they find you irreplaceable
For each ideal client profile, there is a view of the customer experience – why they consider the company the go-to source for the satisfaction it provides. As this becomes clear, remember this axiom of statistical reliability:

  • The higher the sample size, the lower the margin of error.

Learning why your best customers bypass your competitors, like defining your ideal client profile(s), requires gathering and wisely interpreting market intelligence. This is best done with the care or under the guidance of an unbiased expert.

make the right promise to the right people in the right way
With a credible, meaningful, authentic key message – ideally expressed in the words that the best clients use – any business could claim its turf as must-see experts, or the leading product, or the highest overall value.

Getting to know your ideal clients should reveal how to reach more people like them. This should include how to communicate key messages to the target market effectively.

hit the bullseye in one shot
If the company’s key message is like an arrow and the ideal client like the bullseye of the target market, then effective, economical marketing is like archery. Be a good archer and succeed in times of austerity.


– Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.