Isolated business woman As a small business owner, we are consistently asked to invest our dollars into all kinds of new and interesting marketing lead generation tactics. SEO, pay per click, Groupon, Deal of the Day, Local Marketplaces, Facebook, and local advertisements, all call to us with the siren song of more customers and revenue. But how do you decide which marketing tactics are best for your business when they all claim to be the “one”? The answer lies in the understanding you have about your ideal customer and how you connect with them. Here are three steps that will help you make better marketing decisions.

The first step is to know your target market and ideal customer. You’ve probably read or heard that a million times and don’t necessarily disagree with the statement. But do you really have to know your target market – really know your ideal customer? The answer is yes. In fact, the better you define and know who you are trying to attract the better you will be able to attract them. Knowing the demographics of your customer is a good place to start but if that’s all you know you are missing the best part. Their actions and behaviors are a much better indicator of good fit than demographics alone. What do they value? How do they get their information? Who influences them? These are all questions that can be used to give you a better understanding your target market and ideal customer.

The second step is to reveal the elements of your business that your ideal customer will most appreciate. Maybe it’s simply the least expensive alternative to a mandatory situation; auto inspections, for example, or the process you have for easy no hassle returns. Making it easy for your prospects to discover you is the first step in the Know, Like, and Trust journey of your prospect becoming a customer.

The third step is to devise a simple reporting and measurement system that will allow you to compare marketing spend in consistent ways. These can be; number of repeat business transactions from new customers, total number of new customers gained, total revenue gain, total cost, etc. Keep the measures simple and focused on your goals. Without the knowledge of which marketing activities are working and which are not you’ll be doomed to repeat mistakes and end up wasting marketing dollars.

These three elements; knowing your ideal customer, what elements of your business will most connect with them, and the results of your investments, will allow you to clear away the fog of too many choices and make the marketing decisions that are truly beneficial and impactful for your business.

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