How to Make the Most of Your Limited Small Business Marketing Budget•
Posted on June 26 2014
Small businesses are always fighting against the bottom line. They have to always worry about where the money is coming from, and where it’s going, and how to best streamline the entire process so that they can maximize their limited resources. Sure – if money grew on trees, you could throw any amount of money at any issue, and solve it clean as can be. But if you run a small business, you know that a poorly-thought-out or poorly-planned major marketing strategy could ruin you if it fails. And since there’s no sure thing in the world of marketing – what can you do?
First of all, when testing out a new marketing strategy, you’re going to want to start small. In traditional business practices, a marketing strategy may last six months – or more. In this day and age with a larger ability to track the effectiveness (click-throughs, views, followers, etc), we can get away with a shorter run for a marketing strategy and extrapolate its effectiveness more convincingly than we ever could a generation ago. Since a lot of marketing is done online which is cheaper and has a larger reach than the former go-to ways of marketing, you can create 3-5 different images or campaigns and pit them against each other immediately and test the results easily, after even just two weeks. Two weeks online now is the same as six-months of data 20 years ago, and the amount of demographic information that can be gleaned is mind boggling.
Second, in this day and age, we have an amazing ability to connect with our clients and customers. We no longer have to rely simply on a focus group that we then hope can be indicative of the greater public’s perception of our marketing strategy. People love to have their voices heard, and with Facebook and Twitter so popular, you can engage those who were attracted to, or turned off from, your product on this social media platforms. Go ahead and reach out to your customers and ask them point blank what attracted them to you. You can even offer an incentive – a raffle for a gift card or something similar – to encourage folks to answer your questionnaire truthfully. Surveys are cheap if not free, and people are already used to answering them. Even the idea of a lottery to win a gift card could inspire someone to spend the 5 minutes on answering the questions. The information you acquire will be invaluable.
Lastly, as we said earlier about two weeks now being the same as six months in the past, similarly, you must be willing and able to switch gears quickly and efficiently. If a campaign isn’t working, let it die, don’t sweat it, and move on. Pull the plug and cut your losses – if you’re doing it right, your losses at that point shouldn’t be too great. It doesn’t do any good to poll your customers and to try these two-week campaigns if you don’t listen to the results and react accordingly. The internet has such a wide reach that you can get really valuable information even in just a few hours. There’s no point investing a single second more of time on a campaign you know is not working. Don’t chase bad money with good, is the old poker adage.
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