Small businesses are founded in Chicago every day. They’re each built on different principles, have different goals, and meet different needs, but one thing every small business owner must consider is how to best market their products/services.
We interviewed small business owners in Chicago to answer the question: What was the best use of your marketing budget when you first started your business, and what has been the most successful use of your marketing dollars once you became established? Here’s what they said:
“When the store first opened, our advertising was dependent upon our building signage and the phone book. We progressed into print advertising, trade magazines and radio advertising. In today’s economy we focus primarily on online advertising, print advertising and social networking. Most recently, we are finding success in partnering with other complementary organizations (such as interior designers) in order to widen our target market.”
• Eric Richardson, website manager, Community Home Supply
“When we were getting started, our first mission was to establish our brand. Our early budget went to creating a logo, color palette, and a website to deliver our message and develop awareness. These initial investments were the launching pad for our small business, and were key to the evolution of our brand identity today. Through a bit of trial and error, we have learned to focus our marketing strategy and budget on differentiation, refined SEO, and enhanced messaging to reach a more defined target market.”
• Wini Mapel, account manager, EngagementHealth, LLC
“When I first opened up Advanced Dermatology, advertising in the local newspaper brought in many new clients to the practice. Over the years, we have grown an internal newsletter into a powerful marketing tool for the practice and have invested time and finances into the web, SEO and social media. Today, it can be difficult to determine the most effective source of marketing dollars as patients can see your message across many different channels before they make a decision to call you. What is a guarantee is our philosophy of always servicing patients with excellent customer service and treating them with state of the art technology. Investing in superior care is always the most successful use of our marketing dollars.”
• Dr. Amy Forman Taub, founder/dermatologist, Advanced Dermatology & Skinfo Specialty Skincare Boutique
Lyndsey Kramer is the director of business development at Digital Third Coast, a search engine marketing company based in Chicago. You can find Lyndsey on Google+ and also connect with Digital Third Coast on Google+.