Though the economy seems to be slowly getting back on track, stretching budgets is still top-of-mind for many businesses. Startups face particular problems because they have to spend more marketing money getting their name and brand recognized. So since marketing is essential in this digital age, how can you make sure every dollar spent on marketing is effective?
Cut the Budget
The simplest way is to simply spend less. If you’re concerned about marketing costs, it may be time to review your budget. Bring small tasks in-house or renegotiate contracts with agencies or marketing companies to create savings.
But for many businesses, there’s only so much fat you can cut on a marketing budget before you risk loss of market share and brand awareness. So instead of slashing away half of your marketing budget, consider trying to reuse effective pieces. Maybe you don’t need to develop a new campaign every two months. Or if you employ direct mail, keep your base message the same and only change your offer.
Take advantage of your social media presence. Maintaining a Facebook and Twitter page is free to do in-house. If you feel you can’t maintain it on your own, consider hiring a reliable college student or freelancer. Their rates are generally cheaper and in exchange, you get someone with considerable expertise in the social world.
This can be done with two of your complementary products or even with another company interested in joining up with you. If you’re marketing one particular service offering or product, cross-sell something else your customers might like. Cross-selling is the reason that some sales are so effective. Customers have a hard time turning down a free or steeply discounted product. Pairing up with another company means you get to split the cost of marketing while doubling your prospective reach.
If you’re a local business, everyone in town should know your name. And the larger you get, the more people you should know. Networking is essential to marketing success because it’s essentially a low-cost way to get your brand recognized. And it can be as simple as sponsoring a small charity event, placing a column in the newspaper, or asking your customers to refer a friend.
Adapt as Needed
If one marketing campaign isn’t creating results, then why keep spending money on it? Be willing to accept that not every strategy will increase your profits. When failures happen, it’s essential to move on quickly and adopt a new direction.
Stretching your marketing budget can be done quite simply. It only requires some attention and a willingness to shift gears when needed.