Ah, imagine what we could accomplish if money were an infinite resource! Then, again, budget limitations allow us to think creatively, prioritize and focus on the most important thing: ROI . As a small business, no matter how tight your purse strings are (or aren’t), you need to be strategic about the way that you spend your money. So, before you spend that cash, sit down and think through the answers to the following questions:
1. What is the goal?
This one might seem obvious but it is often overlooked. If your goal is to land five new clients each month, be sure that you are investing in the strategy and tactics that will get you there. You might be tempted by the latest trends and technology. “We need a social strategy.” Maybe you do need a social strategy, but in most cases you need a combination of things to get you the traffic, leads and sales to meet your revenue goals. Resist the urge to chase the latest marketing trend or technology and focus on the things that will help you grow your business.
2. How will success be measured?
Before you invest, know the answer to this question. Your goal is to get a return on your investment, and in order to be successful, you’ll need to have an up front understanding of how success is defined and measured.
3. How much success do I need to get an ROI?
This is a good question to ask in order to get your investment in perspective. In other words, how much new business do you need to generate from your online marketing in order for it to pay for itself?
4. What is my timeline?
Along with clear goals and success metrics, it is vital for you to have realistic expectations in terms of when you will see results from your marketing efforts.
5. What will happen if I maintain the status quo?
Examine the consequences of doing nothing other than what you are already doing – maybe you’ll meet your goals. Maybe you won’t. It is important to meaningfully address exactly what it is going to take to go from where you are right now to get to where you want to be.
What do you think? What are some of the other questions that you ask yourself before you devote resources to online marketing (or any other initiative)?