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Small Business Digest


10 Marketing Must-Knows for Every Small Business Owner

Surveys have shown many small business leaders don’t follow certain basic marketing tenets to drive enterprise success.

Dan Antonelli, President and Creative Director for Graphic D-Signs Advertising, offers these marketing musts for small business leaders.

  1. Know Thy Market. While it takes time out of your schedule, it’s important to conduct research on your industry, market, direct competitors and consumers. The ideas and needs of your consumer base are always changing. You need to know why and how.
  2. Know Thy Budget. Not everyone needs a jumbo jet, nor can everyone afford one. There are plenty of options when it comes to transportation. Your marketing is the same way. Establishing a budget is critical for effective marketing expectation and execution. A good estimate is roughly five percent of your sales to start.
  3. Not a Business, but a Brand. As a company, your brand is one of your greatest assets. It communicates, differentiates, motivates, and establishes credibility. Think of your brand as a spokesperson for your company: highlighting your promises and propositions to the consumer. It needs to be on point.
  4. Massive Attack. Too many times, small business owners passively react instead of proactively plan for business implications, competitors and consumers. It is more fruitful to formulate a plan of attack before making moves that cost time and money. What media channels will you leverage to connect with your consumer? Know before you start!
  5. Strategically Speaking. What’s the master message of your brand? This single-minded idea should live throughout all advertising deliverables for an in-sync marketing message.
  6. Strategically Acting. How will you put your strategy to work? Print? Website? Online banners? Coupons or promotions? Radio? TV? Identify your deliverables and tools of attack. 
  7. Staying Consistent. Present one strong united front to the market and your consumers. It will bolster brand awareness and drive brand recall. Ensure that all components of your advertising are consistent and cohesive so a story can be told.
  8. Recording Results. 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. Keep It Fresh. By utilizing what you’ve learned from data tracking, you can change on a dime and make your budget really work. 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.
  10. Pay It Forward. Contributing to the professional community is a great way to gather respect and credibility from within your industry. Likewise, there’s always the chance that whoever you help may pay you back with some free press or plaudits. Pay it forward every chance you can and you’ll start seeing people advocate for you!

Dan Antonelli is the CEO and creative director of New Jersey advertising agency Graphic D-Signs, Inc., The Small Business Advertising Agency®. He is also the author of Building A Big Small Business, for more information, visit

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