Good marketing is vital to just about any business, large or small, but it's not always available at low cost. That, in turn, can make it difficult for smaller companies in particular to be able to afford the kinds of strong efforts in which larger competitors can invest big sums of money. As a consequence, it may be vital for entrepreneurs to do all they can to make sure they're doing all in their power to squeeze as much marketing power out of every dollar they spend on these issues.

However, there are many obstacles to overcome in this regard, and it might be wise for small business owners to do a little bit of leg work to learn the ropes, so that they don't end up making any missteps as they try to grow their firms' footprints in their local areas, according to a report from Business 2 Community. Again, the lack of money to "properly" market a company is always an issue, but more often it's the lack of time or manpower to do it right even when it's low-cost.

For instance, when it comes to social media, a large and ever-growing number of businesses seem to recognize that this is a great way to market directly to interested parties for little or no money at all, the report said. However, it takes time and effort to do social media marketing correctly, and the investment there might be even more difficult for companies to come up with (at least at first blush) than the cash to back that investment.

What else can be troublesome?
In addition, it might be difficult for companies to determine whether social media, or any other platform, is even the best way to reach their desired audience, the report said. Some may still prefer the old-fashioned way of marketing themselves, such as around the community, in the newspaper, or on local TV or radio. However, investments in each of these should be monitored closely to see which options yield the best results over time, especially on a per-dollar basis.

For instance, owners may need to determine if spending $5,000 on a local TV ad that results in an uptick in sales is going to outpace the benefit of five $1,000 radio ads, or 50 social media ads that cost $100 each, the report said. Getting the most bang per buck is crucial here, so carefully tracking the outcomes on these expenditures is as well.

There are many marketing options available to small business owners.There are many marketing options available to small business owners.

Keeping up with the Joneses
Meanwhile, owners might want to also monitor what their competitors, both locally and in other parts of the country, are doing too, the report said. Keeping up with what is working for them and what isn't may help to inform ongoing business decisions for their own companies as well.

Often, the key for small business owners is simply marketing smarter, not more. Therefore, as they make efforts to adopt the best ways to put the word out about their firms, they will need to constantly evaluate their progress at every turn, and see how that fits into their financial plan.