Marketing your small business: How did you find me?

In my business, I use very strategic advertising to market my business, along with many unpaid forms of marketing like blogging and participating in online communities. Whenever I receive an inquiry about my services, one of the first questions I ask is: "How did you find me?"

This has been one of the best moves I could have ever made regarding my marketing and advertising. No longer do I wonder if a particular piece of expensive advertising is helping my cause. I know exactly which publication or search engine sent a potential client my way.
The benefit to my business is obvious. There were certain advertising opportunities that were expensive and brought me absolutely no business. I'm not upset that I tried those avenues, as there did appear to be potential with them in the beginning. But I'm glad that I was able to find out quickly if they were working and not renew the ads. I've been able to put those advertising dollars to use on other opportunities that may net me some clients.

I also found out that some of the least expensive forms of advertising I use are some of the most effective. I never would have guessed that when I started my business! If you're in a business like mine where it's easy to ask potential clients how they found you, do it. You might be surprised to find out which marketing methods are working for you and which are not.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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