By Rachael Fischer Lyons, Marketer & CEO, Next Destination Marketing
Get out the spreadsheets, because it’s that time of year for marketing budgeting and planning! As a former director of a marketing department, I know this process all too well.
I built my career by bootstrapping marketing campaigns and being extremely strategic to make every limited dollar in my budget count. Over time, I learned how to prioritize the initiatives that would drive the most company revenue, and how to maximize ROI. Now, as the CEO of my own little marketing agency, I help my clients do the same.
These are my seven main strategies for building effective marketing campaigns without a big budget:
I always say that buying ads is like buying fish for your business, but spending on marketing that drives organic audiences is like buying fishing poles.
Spend on ads, especially Google Ads, adds up fast. Prospects that find you organically (i.e. not through ads) via Google search, your social media posts, reviews, or through links or referral, are more likely to be a fit for your business.
Spend your marketing budget on high quality, search engine optimized, valuable content that helps your most targeted audience find you. It won’t drive as many leads in the first month as an ad, but it will continually drive a larger volume of leads long after spend.
Yes, I am suggesting that you spend your ad money on a call to action that won’t make you any money. I might sound crazy, but hear me out.
Let’s say you run an ad for a free guide that requires your prospect to enter their email address to download. That ad will be less expensive and more likely to convert, because a conversion doesn’t cost the prospect any money. Now you have a highly targeted prospect that you can nurture via email and marketing until they’re ready to buy.
The flip side is burning ad money on a lead that was interested, but not ready to purchase, and promptly forgets about you. Am I making more sense now? Give it a try!
You should always start with the lowest-hanging fruit, and the fruit that’s right there, ready for picking, are the leads who have already expressed interest in your business. Increasing your conversion rate is usually way cheaper than sourcing new leads. There’s leaks in every sales and marketing funnel, so get out your wrench, and make a list of a few to fix early in the year. Here are some of the most common ways I see leads slip through the cracks:
Websites that don’t drive conversions, demonstrate value, or provide a great brand impression
No consistency, automation, or tracking in the sales response or follow up process
Failure to provide a channel for the client to communicate in the way that’s most convenient for them (examples: self-service, portals, email notifications, live chat, email)
Not understanding a customer’s needs, or timing your marketing to their buying journey
Above all, little to no follow up, communication, nurturing, or reminders that you exist!
This tip will vary by industry, but too often I see businesses failing to market to their referral sources or wholesale opportunities. If you have a limited marketing budget, you are probably better off using it to build and maintain strong relationships with people who can give you business again and again, versus a one-off customer. B2B marketing isn’t very different from B2C, after all we are all people, whether we are buying for our business or ourselves! You just have to pivot the messaging. Don’t forget, your current customers are also great referral sources!
You can have the best marketing campaigns in the world, but if the customer experience with the product or service is crap, it’s a waste. Marketing is all about demonstrating and providing value to your customers. If you’re a marketing department that’s not involved in the full customer journey, you’re only doing part of your job. Look for ways to improve communication, add value, and up the “wow” factor in the customer’s process with the business. Your marketing efforts will quickly multiply when it also drives repeat purchases and referrals.
There’s a million and one reasons why your marketing should be as inclusive as possible to all people. If you can’t see beyond cold, objective dollars and cents, it boils down to this: Would you rather your marketing efforts appeal to an entire audience, or only a fraction of that same audience for the same amount of spend?
I’m no DEI expert, but here’s a few basic steps you can take to make your marketing more inclusive in 2022:
Seeing yourself represented matters. Make sure your marketing imagery reflects a variety of races, genders, family structures, abilities, ages, body types, etc.
Get rid of demographics in your targeting and picture of the "ideal customer." A person's alignment with your business's value is not dependent on their race, gender, etc.
Consider how people in different communities may have different needs when they require your product or service.
Have diverse voices on your marketing team and vendor list. How can you know if your marketing is inclusive if there's nobody from that community to tell you if you hit the target?
My last tip is very self-serving, but it doesn't make it any less true. Consider using marketing contractors or vendors as a core part of your team. Contractors and vendors are usually more efficient due to their focus, expertise, and specialization on your campaigns. If you're not ready for a full-time hire in a marketing role, you can utilize outside marketers part-time until your business is ready to invest in a full-time employee. We also offer a valuable outside perspective for your business.
If you're ready to implement these strategies in your marketing budget in 2022 - let's talk! Schedule a free exploratory call with Next Destination Marketing, and we’ll come up with some ideas to grow your business in the coming year.
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