Unless you run a very big business, you probably have little time and even less money to spend on marketing. To get the most ‘bang for your buck’ on a limited marketing budget, here are six things to consider:
1. Start with a clean sheet of paper
Stop doing what you’ve always done just because it’s familiar and safe. It’s a different digital world out there and your business needs to move with the times. Digitisation and hyperlocality are two waves of change already affecting your industry and your business. What are you doing about it and what else do you need to do?
2. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Before you rush out looking for new customers ask yourself – “am I doing everything possible to maximise the value of my current customers?” Develop new habits to up-sell, cross-sell or sell more frequently to your existing customers. They’ll appreciate the extra attention and the improved service they receive. They may even tell their friends.
Provide channels for your customers to interact and engage with you, your business and members of your team – through your facebook page, your blog, your twitter feed and other social media sites.
3. Listening is more important than what you say
There are many inexpensive ways to find out what your customers like (or dislike) about your products and services, and these customer insights are extremely valuable. Armed with this information you can more accurately target your marketing spend.
An online survey or a facebook poll can provide a clearer picture of your customers’ habits and preferences. Learn everything you can about how, when, and why customers buy your products and services. Get to know the language they use to describe your brand and what interests or concerns them.
4. Bait your hook
Google rewards companies with rich and relevant content. Always use the language, phrases, topics and terminology that your customers use when choosing words and images for your website or for advertising, and directory listings, This effectively puts powerful ‘Google-bait’ on your marketing hook.
5. Brave new world
Depending on the type of customers you serve, and the prospects you aim to reach, some social media sites will be more important than others. Do you cater for ‘digital natives’, or customers who are just beginning their journey into the brave new world of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the like?
Social media need not be expensive. Social Media strategy (and courage) is more important than your budget.
6. Test, Learn, Focus
No-one likes that uncomfortable feeling when you’ve wasted your effort on a campaign or initiative that didn’t work. Sure you need to make every dollar count, but provided you are learning from experience, your marketing ROI will improve over time.
Monitor what works, or doesn’t work, and refine your marketing campaigns accordingly. Test different communication channels, different offers, and other variables to see which is most successful. Then stay focussed while you leverage the knowledge you’ve acquired. Strategic business is all about focus and prioritisation.
About the Author:
Jo Patterson is a Business Growth Advisor with over 20 years experience in Sales and Marketing. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Northern Chairman of the New Zealand Marketing Association.
Her business Grovia (Grow + Via = Pathway to Growth) provides sales and marketing expertise and practical advice on how to increase your sales revenue. Grovia specialises in assisting clients to develop clear marketing strategies and implement practical and affordable marketing plans: more satisfied customers, more leads in the sales funnel, better sales results.
Follow @jopatkiwi on twitter for business tips, inspiration and insights.