If you own a small business or startup, you know how tight a marketing budget can be. There is no doubt that every dollar makes a difference when it comes to beginning your marketing efforts, and the goal is to make marketing efforts pay for themselves with lead conversions.
The good news is that with the increase in digital marketing, many of the best efforts you can make are low-cost or even free. Others, while taking up a larger portion of your marketing budget, can have really great returns if they are monitored and executed appropriately.
This article details six ways to successfully invest your marketing dollars without breaking the bank.
1. Hire a marketing manager.
A lot of businesses attempt to do their marketing in-house with existing personnel. The problem is that marketing is a full-time, 40-hour a week job for any business.
Divvying marketing responsibilities - like social media management, blog post writing and campaign management -- will probably wind up being unsuccessful because you're spreading your team too thin.
If you have the financial ability, the best thing you can do is have one person run your marketing. This person should not only manage your digital marketing efforts, but also do your traditional marketing tasks, such as attending events and promoting your company on the streets. Yes, this is an hourly or salaried position that you will need to account for, but it is worthwhile in the long run.
2. Utilize Google AdWords.
Google AdWords is by far one of the best ways to spend marketing dollars. Of course, improving your organic search results through good SEO is ideal, but that doesn’t mean that AdWords is irrelevant.
Pay-per-click (PPC) can really move the needle for your business by securing more leads. And when you’re first starting out, this can give you more results and more insights into your audience. For this reason, it's recommended that you start with AdWords before you rely solely on SEO in most cases.
Google searches are one of the top ways that customers find new businesses today; therefore, funneling marketing dollars into AdWords can be extremely effective.
A word of caution: You can't put AdWords on autopilot. Someone should be monitoring your AdWords account on a weekly basis - making sure bids are adjusted and that everything on the backend is running smoothly.
Furthermore, Google AdWords has an amazing support staff that provides free AdWords consultations and helps you get your account set up to be optimized for success. Yes, Google AdWords can be costly - depending on the PPC bids you set and local industry completion -- but it is a great way to generate new leads and secure more traffic to your website.
3. Promote posts on social media.
Have you ever seen sponsored content on Facebook or LinkedIn?
Businesses pay to promote their content on social media channels so that even more people see their content. This is honestly a really inexpensive way to promote events, blog posts, new website content or other things that are likely to draw traffic to your website and get visitors to convert.
Be selective of the types of posts you are promoting. You can boost posts for select audiences, and you really only have to spend between $5 and $10 per post to get more of a reach than you would have without the boost.
Blogging is one of the most important features of marketing that often slips through the cracks - especially when you don’t have one person responsible for your marketing efforts.
Ideally, you should be posting an 800-word - or longer -- post between one to two times per week on a relevant topic your audience will enjoy reading.
This is one of the things that contributes to good organic search results - fresh content, link building, keywords, etc. -- so it is extremely important and valuable to your digital marketing strategy.
It's also a good idea to reach out to other blogs in your industry and see if they would like to collaborate on a post or piece of content. This will generate links to content on your website and will also generate more mentions because it is also promoted by someone else - reaching their social media audiences.
5. Reward customers.
Usually posts on marketing focus on lead generation and finding new clients, but many believe that following up and rewarding your existing customers is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to drive new business.
When is the last time you followed up with big clients you worked with recently? Is there any promotion you can offer your loyal customers or any marketing campaigns that can get them to purchase more often? As important as it is to think of lead generation and getting access to new costumers, you also want to remember that clients who have come to you before are even more likely to come to you again, and they should be a top priority.
6. Send emails.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to spend your marketing budget.
Email marketing software typically ranges between $50 and $300 per month, but it is well worth the cost. Even with all of the other digital marketing tactics that exists in the world today, putting money and time into email is still a good idea. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to get your brand’s information out to the most relevant audience possible - the people who subscribed to your emails in the first place.
It can be difficult to decide how to spend your marketing money.
Marketing takes a decent upfront investment; and so, you want to make sure you are going to be getting the most out of your initial marketing dollars.
Hiring someone to manage your company’s marketing should be step No. 1 since many of the digital marketing tactics that exist are actually free or very low-cost. Hiring someone allows you to focus on bettering your organic rankings through content development.
After this, Google AdWords, email marketing and promoted posts on social media are a wise choice to funnel initial money into. Customer promotions, blogging and the other aformentioned efforts are usually very low cost - basically the cost of having someone do the work -- and can be extremely rewarding.