Trying to find your best small business growth strategy? First you need to get serious!

marketing advertising growth

Which do you have more to spend: time or money?

Consider that question as you plan how you will promote your small business. In very general terms, you’ll want to commit yourself to an extensive marketing effort if you have time to spend. If you have money to spend, then you’ll probably want to invest more in advertising.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that “time is money” and lots of social media marketing programs are not fully DIY – you’ll end up hiring someone or assign an employee to the job. In fact, in both marketing and advertising, it takes a warm body to “place” the messages. However, with social media marketing, “running” the message is generally free. Of course, the opposite is true with advertising. When you commit to an advertising program, you’ll pay someone for the writing or design, and then also pay for the space, or clicks, or views that your ads use, capture or generate.

Let’s go back to the question that I used to kick off this article. Which is more abundant in your business, time or money? More often than not, small business owners will give “time” as the answer to that question – even though they may be running themselves ragged already. Their thoughts go something like this, “Well, I could come in a little earlier or stay a little later and find an hour or two here and there to work on social media marketing.”

That may be true, but if you’re planning to take that approach, you may not be giving your social media marketing program a fair chance – and this is really the point I want to get around to.

You need to invest sufficient time, talent and money into any promotional program to determine whether or not it has been, or has the potential to be effective. The ultimate success of your small business hangs on your ability to grow, through advertising, marketing, or both. If you conduct some trial programs, but do them poorly, you end up in a worse position than if you had not conducted trials at all. At least before your trials you know you are uninformed! After a bad trial you’ll be under the impression that you learned something when, in fact, you haven’t.

This means that the groundwork you do before you jump in with both feet on your trials, or experiments, is critical to your long-term success. You need to:

  • Read current books and articles that directly relate to your plans,
  • Talk to others who own similar small businesses and have had success in social media marketing or online advertising,
  • Interview either freelancers or small ad/marketing agencies that handle clients similar to yourself, and
  • Get a strong working knowledge of how the various social media platforms, and PPC advertising programs.

There are many small business owners who, through diligent work and careful observation, are able to maintain a substantial growth rate through lower-cost social media marketing. However, there are also many who discover that the real secret for their growth lies in targeted online advertising. Of course, a combination of the two is often the best strategy.

But to gather this critical information, you need to give your trials a “fair chance.”