By Marcy Mitchell, Owner of MTECH Internet Marketing

I just finished a great week at the Women’s Business Conference in Durango, Colorado. The event was filled with inspirational women speakers and educational topics on marketing, financing, personal growth, etc… As a business advisor for the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center, I got the priviledge of doing some counseling on marketing with a couple of participants.

Many small business owners in Colorado have limited marketing budgets. Yet, they know they need to market in order to increase revenue. I always get asked, how much should I budget for marketing? The answer is based on a few factors:

1. How fast do you want to grow?

2. Do you have an existing client base or are you just starting out?

3. What is your current revenue?

A rule of thumb for existing businesses is to spend somewhere between 4-5% of their revenue on marketing. For many small business owners, they are “boot-strapping” the business so funds are limited. Therefore, you want to make sure the money you do spend has maximum results. Here are a few tips to help maximize your return:

1. Determine your value proposition. What is the message you are sending? Are you promoting the “features” of your business or the “benefits” to the customers? What makes you unique in your market? If someone asks you “what you do” can you answer in 7 seconds and clearly explain your benefits? Without a clear message, your marketing won’t connect to potential clients/buyers no matter the media channel.

2. Identify your audience. Age? Interests? Are they tech-saavy or not? You won’t know where to market unless you understand your client. Too many business owners try to ”
do it all” instead of targeting key audiences and focusing their message to them.

3. Discover where your target audience “swims”? If you want to catch a fish, you have to know where they are biting. How does your target audience get information on your industry? Do they use social media, magazines, newspaper, Email?

4. Track Everything. With targeted landing pages on your website, web stats, and simply asking customers “how did you hear about me”, you can get a better idea on which marketing is the most effective.

If you want any help developing a marketing plan or discussing other Internet marketing options for your business, feel free to contact me directly at 970-731-6325 or Email: info@mtechbd.com.