These turbulent economic times we’ve all been going through for the last few years have taken their toll on almost every business. As consumers cut back on spending and have less disposable income to play with, those in the manufacturing, electronic and technology markets are often hit hardest. Being able to steer your way through these choppy waters requires a strong captain and a team behind you willing to pull out all the stops. This means you may have had to downsize your own business or cutback on projects you wanted to do. Marketing is one of the departments that often bares the brunt of these changes, but that isn’t always the answer.
Smart managers should be trying to get the most out of their budgets, rather than slashing them. Marketing is no different. If this difficult financial climate has you questioning your marketing strategy, then we have 5 great ways to get the most out of your money in the digital world.
1. Control The Budget
It might sound like an obvious place to start, but it’s crucial to understand your marketing budget and the current controls that are in place, if any. Marketing across many platforms means that it isn’t always easy to see where the money is spent and controlling all of them is difficult. Rather than spreading your budget too thinly across all platforms, focus instead on those which offer you full control.
If you use social media to boost posts or search engines to pay for ‘per-click’ advertising, then those can be controlled. Your marketing team will be able to see exactly where every penny is spent and the return you’re getting for your money. The more control you can maintain, the clearer you’ll be able to see what’s working, and what isn’t.
2. Socially Speaking
Most businesses will, or should, have a presence across almost all the social media platforms. One platform may be more suited to your business than another, but all the bases should be covered. It’s also where an analytics package will help you stretch your money even further.
Analytics will be able to measure both the source, and quality, of the leads your marketing is producing. Being able to compare and contrast your paid and organic traffic across all of your social media networks will really pay dividends. Look at which sources generate the majority of sales. It usually works out to a 80/20 split; sometimes known as the Pareto Principle. Basically, 20% of your traffic will generate 80% of the best sales. For smaller budgets, it can be around 90/10. Use this to focus your budget on those areas that are working the best.
3. Align Across Departments
Many companies have marketing budgets spread across a number of departments, rather than it being held centrally. The sales team might have one, and the R&D department may have another. This can often mean the messages coming out of your business are muddled and lack cohesion. To get the most out of the money you’re spending, you should begin to align your marketing message across the whole business.
The message you’re sending out as a business means that every resource available to you, including social media, print, trade shows and online advertising should be delivering a cohesive message about your business and the products or services it can provide. Get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, and it really will be music to your ears.
4. Build and Scale
Marketing any new campaign comes with its fair share of trepidation. No-one, however experienced they are, will know for sure how successful it will be at the beginning. This applies to online as well as offline marketing. For that reason, when you’re starting any new campaign, start small.
Once the campaign matures a little, and you begin to see it generating leads (and hopefully sales), you can start to build on it and scale it up. This shouldn’t be considered as blind luck. Starting small allows you to make a small profit from your initial efforts which creates a financial buffer for those campaigns that maybe aren’t working as well. It also allows you to see what’s working and let’s you build on the success you’re having, rather than chasing the losses.
5. Don’t Forget The Classics
Despite all the talk of social media and paid for advertising, there are still some things that are known to work well, are cost-effective and, thanks to inbound marketing, still play an important part in any marketing campaign. Email.
We’re not talking about going back to the bad old days of buying huge email lists, we’re talking about targeted, relevant, content-filled emails to those leads your previous campaigns have generated. Don’t forget to make your emails mobile-friendly to cater for those customers who, increasingly, now read their email on the move.
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