Budget Focus: Marketing in a Cost-Effective Way
In these difficult economic times every business needs to keep a tight rein on its budget.
Your first move should be to gain a full understanding of the current status of your cash flow and profit and loss accounts. It is only by taking this step that you will come to understand what money you have available to spend on marketing. If finances aren’t your strong suit it can be helpful to employ the services of a company such as Mercer & Hole, who pride themselves on making complex accountancy issues easy to understand.
Once you have ascertained the limits of your marketing budget it is time to start thinking creatively. Even if you have very limited spending power there are still numerous options available to reach out directly to potential clients.
Social Media Campaigns
Whatever your line of business, and whether you sell direct to consumers or B2B, social media networks have their distinct advantages. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, amongst others, are all places where consumers can be found and if you are in the B2B market then LinkedIn can be particularly good for your business.
Building a strong foundation across all the social networks you select to use should be your initial priority. The Pink Group offers a concise outline of all the image sizes and basic details of the key networking sites. It is important to ensure that branding and your business message remains consistent across all networks.
The key to building great campaigns across social media rests in its title, namely social. These are places where people hang out to communicate, to be educated and above all to be entertained. Social media is not the place for the hard sell but rather a place to inform your customers about the benefits of what you offer and to generate ways to get them to interact with you. Therefore, be sensitive to the platform you are working on at all times and tailor your message to fit. For example, Twitter is a great place to have conversations and to connect one-on-one whereas YouTube is the place to convey your branding message in a video format which should entertain.
The bonus is that all of these networks can be used for free, so the only cost to you will come in terms of the time spent using them and in creating your marketing collaterals.
Widening Your Marketing Campaign
Social media is the best place to start if you need to keep your marketing budget low but there are other options which are also very low cost or free.
Reporters and magazine editors are always looking for a good story or for experts in all types of niches. You can reach out to local newspapers and magazines if you have a geographically centred business or you can widen the net and contact national and even international publications if your business is online. Sites such as Help A Reporter Out allow you to sign up for updates relevant to your field of business, and if you ultimately get featured in an article this is an excellent way of garnering some free publicity.
The same is true of contacting websites and podcasts relevant to your field of expertise. You can guest blog, be interviewed or even have your company used as a case study. All of these methods are free, but it is surprising how wide an audience they can reach.
Marketing is an integral part of any business and those who view it as an optional extra will find that their sales will ultimately suffer. However, as we have shown here, even if the marketing budget is tight, or non-existent, there are still ways to get your business message out into the world. In fact, we are fortunate that in today’s society the traditional expensive methods of television, print and radio advertising have been replaced by a much more level playing field, where any business can be heard for free as long as they communicate in an interactive and engaging way.