A new year is approaching, which means there’s not much time left to get that last minute budgeting chore ticked off your checklist. Tax season is right around the corner, and we’re all pretty much spent from holiday shopping. Even if you’ve got a business that’s making millions, even you recognize that the New Year season is one that isn’t friendly to your wallet.
It’s also nearing the deadline for 2017 marketing schemas. Some smaller ideas will come throughout the year, but now is the time to make projections and plan long-term strategies. If you’re not doing that already, you’ve fallen incredibly behind.
Marry these two ideas together: marketing costs seem to go up every year instead of down, even though more and more free resources are on the table. Why? Part of the reason is because marketing is more of a rat race than ever before. Another piece of the puzzle is overspending — we get overzealous, spend too much on a marketing idea and then find we’ve wasted money.
A new year means a new marketing investment strategy is necessary. Here are five different tips for making sure your marketing budget stays under control come 2017.
1) Create a solid plan.
One big mistake many marketers make is they don’t create and stick to a very laid-out plan. Planning marketing strategies is Entrepreneurship 101, but we often give ourselves too much wiggle room.
“But isn’t being flexible also part of being an entrepreneur or business owner?” Yes — but not too flexible. Self-control is also a key trait for any business professional. Sometimes when we give ourselves an inch we end up taking the whole mile. Spending an extra hundred here and there adds up, and it also mentally allows us to reason out spending more and more.
In short? Be determined to create a plan and be diligent about sticking to it.
2) Give yourself a cushion.
When you go to the grocery store, do you say something is $3.75? Or do you say it’s $4.00? Most of us don’t go into stores with our calculator apps open unless we want to know how much to tip, and rounding up is both easier for our brains to process and keeps us within a safe wiggling distance when it comes to our budget.
Your budget shouldn’t be precise — it should have a margin of error attached, and one that’s even larger than your grocery list. If you think an analytics service will cost you $320 for the year, don’t go to $350. Go to $400.
3) Marketing shortcuts.
Let’s say your content creation budget for the month is $1,000. This includes tweets, blogs, infographics, ebooks — the works. For a year, that equals $12,000 on content creation alone. You’d like to get that number below $10,000. What do you do?
First, understand that while Google rewards sites for unique content, they don’t necessarily penalize sites for duplicate content. It’s about ratio, not existence. This makes content recycling and repurposing very worthwhile. Instead of spending lots of money making new content every month, occasionally repurpose existing content into something different. Turn blogs into tweets, turn tweets into lists, turn lists into ebooks. The world is your recyclable oyster! Other marketing methods like utilizing user generated content work like a charm too.
4) Cut costs ASAP.
Whether you’re an ad agency or running your own business (or someone else’s), you need to use the best marketing strategies available. Thanks to analytics, we understand what works for us and what doesn’t. Say that you invest equal capital into each of the three social networks in regards to marketing: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. While LinkedIn helps you gain visibility within your professional network, your B2C business doesn’t profit from LinkedIn like it does from Twitter or Facebook. What should you do?
There’s no “good enough” in business marketing. If something isn’t working, cut it. You’re losing money if you keep funneling cash into something that isn’t working. Also consider your PPC ads and the like — about 46 percent of them aren’t even seen by your consumers, so limit spending in this area substantially. Or make sure you’re working with someone who knows how to optimize paid search effectively.
5) Take advantage of modern marketing.
There’s no reason why we, as tech-savvy business professionals should be paying for marketing like we are. Buying space for billboards and creating the ads for them shouldn’t cost as much as online, intangible social strategies — and it doesn’t have to! Modern marketing tools make it easy to save money while still finding great success on social media.
Want to learn more about how to optimize your investment using Google Analytics? Click here.
Look at your options. There are low cost marketing methods out there — but are you taking advantage of them? Want help? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.