Small business owners are sometimes sceptical about investing in marketing – and with tight budgets, who can blame them? Some have received poor advice and consequently experienced disappointing marketing results, leaving them disillusioned.
So how do you get the most out of a small marketing budget? The following tips will help you focus your energies and give you the biggest return on your investment.
Five tips to help you maximise your marketing investment
Follow these five expert tips from Paula Hutchings at Marketing Vision and ensure that every penny you spend on marketing helps to deliver the results you need.
1. Know your target audience
Who is going to be buying your product or service? Don’t make the mistake of trying to reach out to everybody you possibly can – this will spread your limited funds too thinly. For small businesses this approach is wasteful of both time and money, and will likely deliver poor results.
Instead, dedicate time to defining your target market – for example, what is their demographic profile? What are their likes and dislikes? Where and how do they shop? Profile your ideal customer and ensure that any marketing activities are specifically directed at this targeted audience.
2. Focus on your objectives
What message do you want to get across to potential customers? Identify the core message that you are trying to convey and build your communications around this.
Don’t dilute the message by throwing in too much information. It can be tempting to try and squeeze in every single feature of your products or service (when you’re passionate about what you do, it’s hard not to!). Focusing on a core message will achieve a much greater cut through.
3. Choose your channels
Think carefully about how you are going to get your message out there. With so many choices of channel available – both online and offline – it can be confusing to know which are right for your business.
To help you make decisions about how to best invest your marketing budget, think about your target market and where and how they consume media. Support any paid activities with free social media tools to obtain a wider reach. Also be mindful of advertising in an over-crowded space. Whilst you might in theory be talking to your target market, it will be incredibly tough to stand out. With a bit more thought you can likely find a smarter (or even quirkier) way to get your message heard.
4. Measure, measure, measure!
Track and measure your marketing activities. Have measurable objectives for your promotional activities so that you can easily see what best delivers results. Example objectives could be a % sales uplift, improved sales conversion rates or increased subscription numbers. Google Analytics is a great tool for viewing website metrics and can give you invaluable insights (and it’s free!).
Seeing real-time results also gives you the ability to refine your approach again and again to ensure that you achieve your objectives. Also track any anecdotal feedback you might receive about your marketing activities. It’s all important information! This data will collectively support your business decisions about future marketing investments.
5. A matter of timing
A well-thought out approach will have more impact. Pulling together a calendar of marketing activities (and sticking to it!) will make your budget work harder. A scattergun approach dilutes potential impact. For example – businesses are often targeted by sales reps once they have a web presence. The promise of low advertising rates and a large audience who might want your product or service! Who could refuse? A structured marketing calendar will help you stay on track rather than go off on a tangent, allowing you to make considered decisions about new opportunities as they arise.
Also give thought to the timing of any promotional activities and how they might fit in with key dates or events in your given market or the wider world. Are there any events you can tie in with to gain wider exposure? Be proactive and consistent, and you will achieve much stronger results.
By Paula Hutchings from Marketing Vision.Paula Hutchings