The best strategic ideas not executed well will always end badly. They’re a waste of money, time, and in the end, you’ll be no better off than you were prior to the effort. And, in some cases, you could be worse off. So, before embarking on your next small business marketing campaign, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Am I ready? This seems simple, but in actuality is very complex. Take for example a recent campaign fail I experienced: A full page ad on the back cover of a magazine that cost $7500 (according to the magazine’s media kit) + creative costs, etc. It was perfectly attuned to the audience of the magazine, looked nice, had great calls to action, but when I went to their site I got several 404 errors. This is so bad…they didn’t check their links so that their back end would hold up and support their marketing. Embarrassing to say the least, and because I couldn’t get through, I couldn’t purchase from them.

2. Can I handle the new business? If you’re a solopreneur be careful that your campaign doesn’t blow you out of the water. Some examples I’ve seen are: Buying a list with a 5000 minimum, plus spending a huge chunk of your marketing budget to get to those names (postcard, for example), then scrambling not to fall apart on the back end because you can’t keep up. Hire temporary staff if you have to; recruit friends and family too; but do everything you can to prevent your effort from backfiring. This makes for a poor service model and while you may have acquired them, you likely won’t retain these new customers if they have a bad experience. Or, here’s another example: A local store put a Grand Opening ad in the paper, but didn’t have enough staff on hand to handle the customers. People walked out grumbling. Not a good first impression.

3. Do I understand exactly how the media works? Every day in the professional trade journals I read about more new technology platforms to use for marketing. However, if you don’t really understand how they work and/or what they can do for you then you may run into trouble. For example, I recently worked with a business owner who bought into a new app program thinking that he could adjust offers, etc. on the fly only to find out that yes, he could…once his turn on line in the workflow came up. Often this turned out to be a week or so too late for him to jump on an idea or take advantage of a news tie in. So the effort did OK, but it could have been great.

Always be sure that your back end will support the front end marketing effort you just spent a lot of your heard-earned dollars on as this can make or break your small business marketing efforts.

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