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Are you a small business owner trying to accelerate company growth? If so, here are nine principles you should know about marketing to ensure greater success and drive ROI.

  1. Empower yourself with knowledge. While it takes time out of your schedule, it’s important to conduct research on your industry, market, direct competitors and consumers. You can never know too much—and you can certainly know too little. Just as athletes prepare for the big game, marketing success requires countless hours of practice.
  2. Know your budget. Identify the investment you want to allocate to your marketing. A good estimate is roughly five percent of your sales. It is critical to establish a budget, because this will allow you to properly and effectively plan your marketing.
  3. Create an identity. As a company, your brand is one of your greatest assets. It communicates and connects with audiences, and creates passion for your business. Think of your brand as a spokesperson for your company: highlighting your promises and propositions to the consumer.
  4. Formulate a plan of attack. Too many times, small business owners react instead of thinking about business implications, competitors and consumers. It is more fruitful to formulate a plan of attack, first. What media channels will you leverage to connect with your consumer? If you plan, your strategy will be more effective and your budget will remain efficiently intact.
  5. Strategy is king. What is the message you want to convey in all marketing components? What service or value do you provide that sets you apart from the competition? This single-minded idea should live throughout all advertising deliverables for an in-sync marketing message.
  6. Execute your strategy. How will you put your strategy to work? Print? Website? Online banners? Coupons and promotions? Radio? TV? Identify your deliverables and tools of attack.
  7. Create campaign consistency. Present one face to the market and your consumer. This strengthens your brand awareness and drives brand recall. Ensure that all components of your advertising are consistent and cohesive so a story can be told.
  8. Track. Measure. Record. Accountability is key, so remember to monitor and gauge the effectiveness of your budget and advertising campaign. By tracking leads via different media channels, you can identify those channels that give you the best ROI versus channels that need to be further optimized.
  9. Improvise!By utilizing what you’ve learned from data tracking, you can change-as-you-go. Proper measurement helps you discover how to better spend your budget, which channels to remove from the media plan, and which channels to try in the future.
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