The current pressures on businesses are intense and what’s worse is we can’t set a timespan for how long a declining economy will last. During this time, of course, many businesses need to reassess their financial planning and make cuts where they can in order to streamline business outgoings. The main problem we see is some making ‘panic cuts’ to their marketing budgets when they need exposure and advertising more than ever…
Business owners may see ad’s, social campaigns, and PPC not performing as well as they used to and dismiss them as redundant. However, incoming leads will be slow for lots of businesses right now but it’s not due to campaign quality it’s because fewer people are prepared to spend right now. So, that means, in order to generate a steady workflow during these uncertain times, your marketing budget, at the very least need to remain the same and actually increased where possible. Right now, the more people who can find you and your products or services, the more chance you have of them choosing you. Your potential client pool needs to be larger than ever before.
Generally, it’s advised that new businesses allocate between 12-20% of their gross revenue towards their marketing budget, while established companies who already have a presence and existing customer base spend between 6-12% on their marketing budget. However, during these uncertain times, we would advise everyone to aim for 20% to gain as much exposure as possible as we have first-hand experience of how much it pays off.
Here are some things that we naturally do, and always recommend, in order to help our clients achieve the most out of their marketing budget:
Say no to boosted posts
Don’t use boosted posts on social media platforms, all social ads need to be specifically targeted to your demographic. Boosted posts just ping out the content to everyone and anyone meaning most of the spend will be wasted.
Don’t spend less; spend smart
Calculate some honest figures for yourself. Work out how much your time costs per hour and how much time you spend trying to generate organic traffic on social media than work out how much return you get from your efforts. You need to use this figure to compare it against how much you could pay professionals (like us!) to manage your socials and increase your return. Sometimes it’s not about spending less, it’s about spending smart. If you can spend the same or slightly more and see much better results, and save yourself time, then it’s worth making the change.
Your website SEO needs to be on point so potential customers can find you organically on Google and all your Google ads need to be scoring ‘Excellent’. If you don’t manage your own Google ads account, you need access and you need to be looking at the optimisation scores. Our clients have full access to the Google Ad accounts that we manage and we provide ‘no fluff’ reports showing exactly where and how the budget is being spent and how much return they are gaining.
Don’t go crazy with discounts
Go easy on promotions and discounts, and save them for special occasions. It is tempting to offer frequent discounts as it generates sales, and you gain instant gratification, but it also cheapens your brand. The more sales you offer, the more people will hold out from purchasing from you until you offer a sale, which ultimately has a negative effect on your overall business.
Utilize free online tools
Hubspot is a hugely underrated tool that many businesses are not aware of. We manage lots of our client’s accounts here and gain so much indispensable information from it. You can connect all your campaigns to it and monitor all leads, this allows you to see exactly how much return you’re making on your marketing efforts. They also have lots of great downloadable templates to help you manage your marketing budget.
Play to your strengths
Yes, we’re all about exploring the market and taking risks but this really is not the best time to experiment. Rather than spending your budget on spontaneous marketing campaigns or elements of marketing, you’ve not well rehearsed in, stick to what you know works and the things you have gained previous positive data from.
Speaking of data…
You need to be collecting as much as possible. By surveying your customers and prospective customers you can really gain a better understanding of them and how they view your business, products or services. You need to integrate short questionnaires, courtesy calls, follow-up emails, and review links into your daily processes if you don’t have them in place already. The more feedback the more improvements you can make and ultimately the more sales!