By Danielle Cuomo, MBA, President

Clients come to our virtual assistant firm at all stages of their businesses – start-up, growth, scaling to sell, happy to stay at status quo — but despite their differences, there is one trait they all have in common. Marketing confuses the hell out of them. The general concepts are there, but questions pop up like: Where do I start? Whom do I target? How do I budget? Will this really work?

In addition to performing our virtual assistant tasks, we advise our clients in many areas of their small businesses. We won’t let them engage in ineffective, unproven or downright foolish strategies.

We believe in sharing knowledge, so here are the three lessons we believe you must learn in marketing to be a thriving, profitable business.

1) Know Whom You’re Targeting: You don’t need to get your product or service in front of everyone. You only need to get it in front of those whom will buy. At Virtual Assist USA, we know the type of clients we like working with and which groups to focus on. Define your ideal, in-a-perfect-world customer. Target that customer with benefits-oriented offers (“what’s in it for them”).

2) Focus: Loosing your focus means you will end up spreading your resources, team and time too thin. Look at everything you do from a brand-building perspective — are you molding into the service/product of choice for your market? Change your mindset in terms of what you’re paying investing for – you’re purchasing customers, not advertising or marketing. Profitability, success and growth comes when you’re hyper-focused.

3) Track it: Everything I did in graduate school boiled down to statistics, reporting and efficacy. Don’t spend your entire marketing budget in one area. Spend 10% to start with, report on it, measure it and make a results-based decision. Establish baseline performance numbers for your company and then to try to improve upon them. Measure customer response, move the needle when you have to and remember that if you focus on metrics when your competitors don’t, you can work your marketing in new, profitable ways.

And you will be way ahead of the curve.