Category Archives: marketing budget

office desk with tools for planning marketing budget

How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Budget

Every dollar in a small business marketing budget matters, especially when the budget is tight. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips that help small businesses get the best return-on-investment for their marketing dollar.

Realize that growth requires spending

Unfortunately, small business marketing follows the old adage, “nothing in life is free.” (Though that doesn’t mean it doesn’t can’t be affordable.) While setting up a social media profile may be free, social media marketing is rarely effective unless the profile is maintained regularly with relevant content. The production and maintenance take time, and time is money. However, if marketing on social media is done well, it results in more customers and sales. Effective marketing yields results but effective marketing requires a regular allotment of time (such as a regular check-in with the marketing team or hands-on marketing) and funds.

Make a plan

One of the easiest ways to get the most out of a small business marketing budget is to make a plan. This step results in a documented strategy that ensures the budget is allocated into marketing tactics with a high ROI that can be regularly checked and evaluated. An effective marketing plan starts with a few simple questions and should include a marketing schedule. The schedule should follow the business’ sales cycle and clearly designate the party responsible for executing each tactic.

Choose tactics that target local customers

A marketing plan is only as effective as the tactics included. Small businesses should take this selection a step further and choose tactics that target a local audience, such as local SEO, social media, or on-page website optimization. These tactics typically have the highest ROI and strategically leverage every dollar of a marketing budget. Local SEO and on-page website optimization target local customers by building authority with search engines, allowing them to appear at the top of local searches. These marketing tactics are backed by statics. Search Engine Watch recently published a Google report that stated local searches led 50% of mobile users to a local store.

Outsource when needed

The crux of an effective marketing plan is productive execution. Regular marketing is an important part of building brand awareness and engaging customers. While small businesses tend to believe that marketing is cheaper when done in-house, the opposite actually proves to be true in certain situations. This is where a (quick) evaluation can be an important step toward yielding results. Businesses should ask, “What marketing do we need? Do we have the staff and time to effectively execute the plan?”

The answer might be a clear yes or no, or only a partial positive or negative. For some businesses, it is more cost-effective to outsource part—or all—of the marketing (a request for a quote can answer the question). To be clear, even if the answer is a completely positive and it makes the most sense to completely outsource, businesses still should plan on allocating some time. Regular check-ins and contributions are an important part of creating a custom marketing plan with the same tone and look.  

Tips for Allocating Your Marketing Budget Dollars in 2018 (Wisely)

businessman working on drafting marketing budgetA marketing budget is a precious thing; after all, you don’t spend those dollars on marketing tactics without expecting a return on your investment.

When it comes to online marketing investments, it can feel like you are chasing after a runaway train that’s always moving one bend ahead of the station. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of online marketing tips that have a proven track record of getting results (and still gets results) while not busting that precious marketing budget.

Put your efforts into a stellar website.

Mediocre websites are a thing of the past. Put simply, yesterday’s websites won’t get you results today. Today’s websites need to be structurally stronger, faster, and more customer-centric IF you want to convert your visitors to customers. A strong website is the foundation for all your future marketing activities, so don’t be shy about upping the efforts into your website (tips on how to improve your website here) or building a better website for the future (with these website musts).

The race for top search engine results are real.

If you want to get a good ROI from your marketing, use numbers to dictate your future decisions. Studies and statistics have shown that business websites at the top of organic search engine results page get a significant amount of clicks and visits. For 2018, invest in website optimization tactics (sound ones, not shady marketing) that get your website to the top of the list without busting the bank on paid ads. If you’re a local business, take that optimization a step further; search for optimization technology that can get your website in front of local visitors within a 30- or 50-mile radius of your business (the people you want to reach!).

Start a conversation with your customers.

Online conversations with your customer have a strong ROI, but you have to give your customers options. Today’s consumers are used to getting the information they need when they want it; you need to deliver that to them at their door step. Know who your customers are, and invest in channels they use. For a younger demographic, talk to them on the social media apps they are already on (use this social media demographic infographic here). The sky is the limit; be strategic about utilizing e-mail marketing and social media so you don’t get in over your head (your customers do notice).

Be responsive.

Customer service is alive and kicking, but with a new urgency. Studies have shown that today’s customers expect a response within an hour or two. Don’t wait for them to reach you. Be proactive. Designate a staff member you trust to answer your questions, and train them to give prompt answers that don’t leave your customer unimpressed with your company’s customer service. Impress them. Earn their loyalty and use these tips to deliver the same fantastic customer service online and in-person.

Embrace mobile marketing.

If you thought smartphones and tablets were a fad, you were wrong. Fact is, mobile devices are a part of modern American life. Mobile marketing is not optional anymore. For now and in the foreseeable future, embrace it. Keep mobile users in mind in every piece of online marketing you produce: website, videos, blog posts, and every other marketing investment you make in the future.