How To Create A Small Business Marketing Budget

How To Create A Small Business Marketing Budget

Creating a marketing budget can be tough. Small business owners know that marketing is a crucial aspect of success, but determining the right amount to spend and what services to spend on can be difficult. The goal is always for marketing to provide a net gain, establishing new leads and driving conversions while increasing brand awareness. The key to having a successful marketing budget is creating a sustainable marketing plan.

Define your goals

Marketing is an investment.  For it to be successful, a vision of what you want to achieve is necessary:

  • Align your marketing goals with your business’s strategic goals. This will help you determine the amount of investment needed.
  • Make sure the entire business’s vision is oriented towards the determined goal. Everyone needs to be aware of and on board with the direction the business would like to go.
  • Start to create a formal strategy. Determine how much you would like to grow; this will help you to decide what spend is right for your business.

Set a budget

Deciding on a budget that aligns with your defined goals is an important step—a budget that doesn’t match a vision can lead to an unsuccessful marketing campaign:

Create a plan

Once you have a set budget, deciding what works best for your specific business can be challenging. Marketing companies, such as LNP Media Group, offer affordable solutions and provide expertise to ensure that your marketing plan is a success:

  • Identifying your target market is key to deciding what channels you will use. Once you know who you want to reach you can decide on which digital, print, or other methods you will use. Make sure to balance short-term lead conversion with long-term investment.
  • Knowing your sales funnel is crucial to marketing success. Either extracting your own data or using data provided by a partner marketing company will make this process easier.
  • Remember to treat marketing as an investment, not a cost. Tracking your ROI will help you develop more effective marketing campaigns over time.

Implement your plan

Once you’ve developed a plan, it’s time to implement it. A successful plan will incorporate multiple channels meant to target specific audiences, while planning for both short-term lead conversion and long-term expansion. Tracking your results will create knowledge for increasing effectiveness of future marketing campaigns, ensuring that you will get the most for your marketing dollars. LNP Media Group creates customized marketing plans for all sizes and types of businesses, helping you reach the consumers you need to grow your business. Contact our expert marketing team for more information, assistance, or to chat about what we offer.

LNP Media Group is committed to delivering exceptional experiences to our audiences, our customers, our vendors and our employees throughout Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania. We provide value to our marketing and advertising partners by building effective and innovative solutions and by delivering exemplary customer experiences.

LNP Media Group is a division of Steinman Communications, one of the largest and most experienced communications companies in the Mid-Atlantic. Steinman Communications is an innovative, multi-channel communications company that delivers high quality news, information and entertainment to diverse audiences.

Millennial Who? Marketers Move on to Generation Z

Millennial Who? Marketers Move on to Generation Z

In the past few years, many businesses have focused their marketing efforts on reaching the millennial generation. Today, the youngest millennials are finally entering the workforce making way for the next generation of influencers, Generation Z (Gen Z). According to Forbes, Gen Z is typically defined as those born between the years of 1996 and 2010. Gen Zs and millennials might share commonalities, but don’t let that fool you into thinking Gen Zs will respond to the same type of marketing. If you want to capture the attention of this influential generation, it’s important to understand their lifestyle. Here’s a look at what makes Gen Zs different and what these differences mean for your marketing strategy.

The digital world is their world

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up completely immersed in a digital environment. Having never lived in a world without the internet, connecting and engaging through digital media is not necessarily a conscious decision, but more so a part of this generation’s culture. As a result, studies have found that Gen Z is spending more time on their phones using social media apps than any other generation. Additionally, Gen Z tends to gravitate more toward video content, with 81 percent watching more than one hour of online video per day.

Take advantage of Gen Z’s mobile and social attachment by increasing your social media marketing and telling your message through video. These digital-first thinkers are available to see your ads at any given moment on their mobile devices. With social media marketing, you can target mobile users by interests, habits, age, and location to help drive Gen Zs into your local business.

They do their research

Gen Zs digital penchant might lead you to believe that they also prefer a digital shopping experience, but research shows that’s not the case. According to a study by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 67 percent of Gen Zs shop in brick-and-mortar stores most of the time, with another 31 percent shopping in-store sometimes, which indicates 97 percent of this cohort shop in brick-and-mortar stores at least some of the time. Once a Gen Z decides to visit your store, what sets them apart from other generations is how well-informed they are about the items they plan to purchase. According to IBM, 98 percent of Gen Zs know exactly what they’re looking for when they walk into a store. For Gen Zs, the decision-making process begins with online research where they look at cost, quality and user reviews. When it’s time to buy, the Gen Z shopper already knows what item they want and where they can find it.

If your goal is to attract Gen Z shoppers to your business, you’ll need to capture their attention while they’re still in the online research phase of the purchase cycle and the best way to do that is by grabbing their attention with video. Because Gen Zs spend more time conducting online research, it’s important to provide them with as much information as possible about your business’s products and services online. In addition to written descriptions and images, including informative videos on your business’s website and social media pages will help Gen Zs discover the features and benefits of using your products.

They’re more fiscally conservative

This is where Gen Zs and millennials really differ. According to Goldman Sachs, Gen Zs are acutely focused on the financial consequences of their decisions, which is a far cry from the millennial mentality to “follow your dreams at all costs.” Evidence of these opposing ideologies is also seen in generational definitions of success. According to the Cassandra Report, 66 percent of Gen Zs believe that having “a lot of money” is evidence of success, while only 44 percent of millennials believe the same (Goldman Sachs). Lincoln Financial Group’s survey found that Gen Z is saving much earlier than previous generations, with 60% already having savings accounts. The same survey revealed this generation’s top three priorities: getting a job, finishing college, and safeguarding money for the future.

The fiscally conservative nature and age of Gen Zs make them far less likely to do things like watch cable TV and listen to satellite radio. Instead, you’ll find Gen Zs streaming their favorite music, movies, and TV shows through sites like Hulu and devices like Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. To reach Gen Zs on these devices and sites, you can use OTT (over the top television) advertising. With OTT, your business’s video or commercial is sent through streamed media channels, rather than television cable network, enabling you to reach a massive new audience of people. Advertising your message through streaming devices comes with added targeting you won’t find with television. You can target OTT ads by user demographics, interest categories, and more, helping you reach Gen Z where they like to be.

Integrated Marketing: 4 Steps to Improving Your Strategy

Integrated Marketing: 4 Steps to Improving Your Strategy

As marketers, the team at LNP Media Group is always looking for ways to reach the right audience, one that will benefit from and welcome our advertisers’ messages. We think about who your customers are and what their habits might be. It’s likely that your audience is absorbing information through a variety of media channels. If you’re wondering what the best way to reach today’s interconnected audience is, the answer is integrated marketing.

To effectively reach your consumers, it’s important to integrate your ad messages through various media channels. The key to a successful campaign is choosing the right variety of channels, creating a strong core message, and tailoring that message appropriately to each platform. If you’re not sure where to start, here are four steps to help you launch a successful integrated marketing campaign for your business.

Step 1: Identify Who Your Customers Really Are

Examining your current customer base will provide you valuable insight on the best approach for your integrated marketing campaign. You’ll want to identify the demographics that you’re trying to reach, then develop a message that speaks to them on channels they’re likely to observe. Here are some questions that you can answer about your own business to develop a customer profile:

  • Do my customers tend to be within a particular age range?
  • Where do my customers live?
  • Do my customers share similar interests? If so, what are they?
  • Do my customers tend to have similar beliefs? If so, what are they?
  • How are my current customers learning about my business?
  • Do customers seem more interested in a particular product or service that I offer?

Step 2: Identify Your Marketing Goal

Your marketing goals play a large role in determining how, when and where you execute your marketing campaign. Use a clear, distinct goal to avoid diluting your message with multiple promotions or ideas. Here are a few examples to get you thinking about what’s most important:

  • Create brand awareness
    • Promote an event
    • Target new customers
    • Improve reputation
    • Launch new products or services
    • Increase sales

Step 3: Decide on a Budget

For most of us, the cost of marketing is top of mind as we consider the best strategy for our business. There are options for every business:

  • According to the Small Business Administration, business owners should allocate 7 to 8 percent of gross sales on marketing, however, this is not realistic for every business.
  • Find a comfortable amount you can spend annually, then break that amount down monthly to see where your budget will land.
  • The goal is for marketing to be profitable; you will want to track your ROI (return on investment) so you can adjust accordingly during your campaign.

Step 4: Outline Your Integrated Marketing Plan

Now it’s time to take all the information that you’ve gathered and use that information to design the perfect integrated marketing campaign for your business:

  • Outline each marketing channel that you’ll be using to promote your message, making sure to choose channels being utilized by your target demographic.
  • Decide exactly what you want to promote to your audience and create a strong message that speaks to them, adjusting that message based on the channel where it’s being presented.
  • Establish a timeline for your campaign—with all the moving parts, charts can be helpful for organizing each component of your plan.

Begin Your Next Integrated Marketing Campaign

If you’re ready to get started on your next marketing campaign, LNP Media Group can help. Our media experts are here to provide guidance from the ground up. If you’ve already created your idea campaign, we can help you get your message out through those various channels. As a full-service media company, we can design, place and report on your campaign to help you get the most out of your marketing. Contact  us today to speak with one of our experts about your business marketing ideas.

Digital Ad Targeting: 3 Ways For Small Businesses To Break Through

Digital Ad Targeting: 3 Ways For Small Businesses To Break Through

Today’s world is more digitally interconnected than ever before. With all of the different types of media available, the challenge for marketers has become how to best reach consumers and deliver a message that has impact. One of the most effective ways to do that is to incorporate a distinct message at the right time to target specific consumers; this can be achieved with precision through digital media. Here are a few types of digital ad targeting that can improve your marketing results.

Geo-Fencing: Target Users by Place and Time

Geofencing refers to the use of a targeted location, or fence, where prospective customers are found. Our geofencing software tags consumers who enter the geofence, so that they can be served ads on their location-enabled mobile devices. Ads can be served the same day the person enters the fenced area, or may be served later depending on your business’s needs. Fences can be as large or small as your business requires, down to a 400 meter radius.

  • First, you’ll need to identify a location you wish to target, whether it is a city or town, an event, a building, or even a parking lot.
  • When consumers enter the predetermined location, their mobile devices are tagged.
  • Your business’s specific ad or ads are then delivered to apps and websites being accessed on mobile devices.
  • This allows for ads to be targeted by time and place, giving businesses the ability to access very specific groups of consumers that might otherwise not be targetable.
  • Popular geo-fencing locations are sporting events, college campuses, shopping centers, conventions, concerts, and parts of cities.

Targeted Display Advertising: Target Users by Demographics and Interests

Have you ever noticed that some ads seem to relate to your interests?  This is the work of targeted display advertising:

  • Targeted display advertising includes the use of demographics, interests, and approximate location to display specific ads to consumers that match their interests and needs.
  • Digital agencies can target specific ads to consumers as they navigate the internet. Along with location, this allows companies to reach people in specific demographics, such as higher income adults who are interested in sports.
  • This strategy works well to create brand awareness or to advertise sales or events.

Paid Advertising on Search Engines: Target Users by Search Engine Queries

Paid search advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC), refers to an advertising pricing model in which advertisers pay based on how many users click on a digital ad that appears on a search results page:

  • This is the fastest and surest way to drive web traffic to your website and generate leads.
  • Ads are only showed to consumers who are using relevant search terms when using search engines, such as Google.
  • Terms are selected by the advertiser, in consultation with your digital agency, which means you have control over what products and services you promote.
  • Advertisers pay per click, rather than per impression, ensuring that ad costs are low and impact is high.
  • An effective PPC technique is to buy search terms such as “near me”, allowing advertisers to put their brands in front of consumers who are ready to buy.

Find the Right Technique for Your Business

These techniques are just the beginning of how you can use digital marketing to reach exactly the right customers at the right time and place. At LNP Media Group, we’re happy to help you plan the most effective ways to meet your digital marketing goals. We offer free consultations for you to discuss how to best advertise for your business. Contact us today and let us know how we can help with your next marketing campaign.

3 Pieces of Advice That Marketers Have for Accountants

3 Pieces of Advice That Marketers Have for Accountants

Accounting used to be a field where business owners could rely on the loyalty of their clients to sustain their firm’s profitability in the long-term. Today, 79 percent of consumers say they would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service. This swing in consumer behavior has transformed accounting from a stable career into one that’s peppered with unpredictability, but there is a silver lining. Changing consumer sentiment presents accountants with an opportunity to grow their practices more quickly than ever before by marketing to consumers who are willing to make a switch.

Savvy accountants who have realized this opportunity are taking proactive steps to market their brand in their local communities. When so many other local accountants are still working under the old adage that word-of-mouth is “good enough,” preparing and executing a marketing plan for your business will help you grow by leaps and bounds over your competition. If you’re new to marketing your business, we’ve got three pieces of advice to get you started.

1. Less is more

Regardless of how you decide to advertise your accounting firm, your marketing message should always be clear and concise. You will only have a few seconds to leave a lasting impression with potential clients, so limiting your message to one idea with minimal text will help your accounting firm stand out from the competition. You might be tempted to fill your ad with a list of services, but doing so will only clutter your message making your ad more difficult for consumers to comprehend. And according to Google, the harder it is for a consumer to process your ad, the less likely they are to remember your message. To illustrate this point, here’s a look at two ads at each end of the spectrum. Which one will you remember?

Less is more in advertising

2. Focus on how you help, not what you are

According to Accounting Web, there’s one single marketing mistake that’s killing the success of accountants, and most of them don’t even realize it. So what’s the big faux pas that’s draining the life out of marketing campaigns everywhere? Simply put, it’s when accountants market themselves as accountants. That’s it. Rather than focusing their ads on how they can help, accountants often focus on who they are.

You know what we’re talking about here. Picture an ad with a business name at the top, an image of three older men dressed in suits in the middle, and an address at the bottom. It’s a classic mistake that’s easy to make. If you’re guilty of committing this ad offense, it’s not the end of the world. A few simple tweaks will increase the level of impact your ad has on consumers. Here are some tips to help you promote how your accounting firm adds value:

Make a list of reasons clients love working with your firm. Do you offer special services that other accountants don’t?

Choose one service or benefit to promote in your ad.

Think about how to promote your message as simply as possible while still getting your message across.

If you’re not quite sure what a simple service-oriented ad would look like, here’s an example by Deloitte. This ad does a great job illustrating how Deloitte adds value to the lives of their clients:

Focus your ad on how you help

3. Your website matters

When it comes to personal finance, consumers still prefer to meet with their accountants face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean your website doesn’t play a vital role in attracting and retaining clients. Consumers who are in the market for a new accountant will typically turn to the web to find out what their local options are. They’ll also conduct online research, exploring websites and reviews, to learn more about local accountants and the services they offer.

If your local accounting business doesn’t have a website, you haven’t even made it past the first stage in the consumer research cycle. And if your website is subpar in comparison to the competition, what reason would consumers have to move your accounting firm to the top of their list? It’s important to remember that consumers will judge the legitimacy of your business by the quality of your website. You might not place high value on your site’s design, but your best prospects will. So, does your website accurately reflect your level of experience and the quality of service you deliver? If you’re not sure, can help. Our experts will evaluate your website by reviewing features like:

  • Responsive design capabilities
  • Content strength
  • Coding
  • Page speed
  • Usability

Once we’ve completed your website review, we will provide you with recommendations to delivering a better first online impression to your prospective clients. If you don’t already have a web designer, we have a team of experts that can help you get your website in tip-top shape. Contact us today to set up a website evaluation for your accounting firm.

Have a well designed website to attract consumers