Ask yourself these 5 questions to maximize your startup marketing budget

You only have one chance to enter the market, and every dollar counts. Here's how to be smart about it.

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It began with a stroke of genius. You’ve put in long hours at night and on weekends, quit your day job and eaten only ramen since 2013.

Now it’s time to launch your business.

You only have one chance to enter the market, and every dollar counts. To make sure you get it right the first time, start by asking yourself these five questions:

What’s the expected outcome?

Each marketing campaign should have a clearly defined objective. Are you trying to win customers? Raise startup capital? Understand exactly what results you want to see. If you can’t tie each part of your campaign back to your objective, discard it and allocate the budget elsewhere.

Why should anyone care?

People don’t buy what you do — they buy why you do it. Entrepreneurs are enamored with innovative technical features. But these things generally are not what move the market. What was the original problem you wanted to solve with your creation? Speak to why you developed what you did, and explain ways it will benefit your audience.

Who am I trying to reach?

Spend time upfront identifying who your best audience really is. “Young people” isn’t an audience. “Women between the ages of 20 and 28 who make more than $60,000″ is. The more specific you are in your targeting, the more return you’ll see for each dollar spent.

Where will I find an audience?

You don’t need to be everywhere. The demographics of each social platform, for example, are wildly different. Use what you’ve learned about your potential audience to determine where they’re most likely to be, and focus there.

How do I capture interest?

Marketing by itself won’t move the revenue needle. You need to develop a way to capture queries from your campaign. A customized landing page can help you collect contact information or convert sales more effectively than simply pushing your audience to your homepage. Consider what happens after your target clicks on a link, and whether it supports your expected outcome.

Just a little time answering these questions can lead to a marketing campaign that is highly efficient and can make just a few dollars go a long way.