Here is a great article for small business owners to read (in my opinion), it is directed towards startup groups and dot coms, however as we all use the internet to market our businesses there is something we can learn here for brick and morter/mom and pop type companies.

It’s practically a cliché to say that many startup CEOs are skeptical of marketing spending. To some, it’s a mysterious black box, voodoo laced with inscrutable jargon, or just a grand experiment. Well, I’m here to tell you that at least part of your marketing should be an experiment!
Why? Because marketing (particularly the part focused on arousing customer needs) is not a mechanistic process where you put in certain ingredients, turn the crank, and get out a predictable result. There are lots of variables:

Are you targeting the right decision makers?
Did you actually reach them?
Are the product benefits meaningful, relevant, and exciting?
Are your messages in the right medium?
Is the timing right?
Have you understood and addressed purchase obstacles?
Can prospective customers easily respond, learn more, or make a purchase?


Read the article here