We all know having a strong marketing strategy is vital to your business’s success. You’ve probably heard the phrase “You have to spend money to make money,” but is this true when it comes to developing a marketing budget? We have some practical advice for how to market your company without breaking the bank.
How do you market your business when your finances are stretched thin? Let’s dive in!
Why Does Your Marketing Budget Matter?
What exactly is a marketing budget? According to WebFX, it documents how much your business plans to spend over a specific period, whether that’s a year, quarter or month. When determining your finances, consider all costs, such as paid ads, hiring costs, tools, website maintenance and more.
One of the best ways to make sure your money is being well spent is to come up with a rock-solid plan to determine the best use of every dollar.
Now that you understand this term, why does it matter? We’ve outlined five critical functions this plan helps you perform:
1. Stay On Track Financially
Keep track of how much you spend on each strategy. By analyzing the results of each strategy, you can find your best ROI. If you skip this process, you’ll likely find yourself overspending, which might put your business in a rut.
2. Distribute Funds Strategically
This tool will help you put your funds in the right place. When you know what you can spend, you know how much you can put into each aspect of your marketing strategy. It allows you to determine how a specific strategy will work within your limits or if you can afford to enlist help.
3. Set Benchmarks And Goals
Having a well-defined cost analysis helps you create realistic benchmarks and goals that move your business forward. It allows you to set expectations for various channels and better understand the required revenue to make your efforts worthwhile.
4. Plan Long Term
Planning your entire 2024 marketing budget ahead of time gives you more certainty and allows you to map out the future of your business. This long-term perspective keeps you from scrounging for additional funds throughout the year or halting campaigns because of funding challenges. While you want to build some flexibility into your plan, a broad picture funding plan enables you to create a more consistent and effective marketing strategy.
5. Invest In Your Business’s Growth
It’s important to note that the money you spend on outreach isn’t a sunk cost, it’s an investment in your business’s growth and development. By learning how to strategically map out your expenses, you’ll help your business get the most out of your investment.
Additionally, having a marketing budget gives your team the clarity they need to funnel your money into projects that will have the most meaningful impact on your company.
CoSchedule also offers these two additional reasons your team should care about:
Creating a smart and strong marketing budget with your team is key to success.
- Proves Your Projects Create Growth: Knowing how much you’re spending on your marketing strategy can paint a clearer picture of your return on investment.
- Provides Data: When your company’s finance department determines how much to invest in growing their audience, having a document that outlines your needs can help build a case and show where all that money is going. Analytics reports from ad tech and mar tech are great resources for these conversations. If you can’t justify the cash flow your team needs, your organization will spend it somewhere else.
What Are My Low-Budget Marketing Options?
Now that you know what a marketing budget is and why it matters, let’s examine some foolproof tactics you can use in your strategy!
One of the best things you can do when it comes to saving money is prioritizing your most-used resources. A good rule of thumb is to spend about 10 percent of your gross annual revenue on marketing. Another option is to invest your time and money into multiple cost-effective options. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Send Out A Newsletter
Email is far from dead. In fact, it’s the preferred communication method for many customers. So, make sure you’re nurturing your email lists. You can inspire new sign-ups with incentives like exclusive eBooks, coupons and other offers. We suggest using a low-cost or free service like MailChimp within your marketing strategy to make your life easier.
If your business has a blog, you can send out an accompanying newsletter. Consider creating a newsletter with different content from your blog to make your subscribers feel like they’re getting additional value from their subscription.
Overall, email newsletters are a fantastic way to grow your audience without pushing beyond your fiscal limits. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with your customers.
2. Use Instagram, Pinterest And TikTok
Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok are terrific platforms to tell your brand’s story visually. Best of all, they’re free! Taking advantage of social media apps is a great way to keep your plan on track.
What kinds of content should you publish? Here are some suggestions for your content strategy:
- Behind-the-scenes looks at your business
- Images that show your products in a flattering way
- Hashtags and geo-targeting
- Short videos sharing advice
- Image testimonials from existing customers
- User-generated content showing how customers use your products or services
- Promotional opportunities
3. Get Involved With Your Community
Often when people think of marketing, they think of a large-scale national campaign. Sometimes it’s helpful to think smaller and see what’s happening in your community.
Can your business sponsor a 5K charity walk or a local youth sports team? Is there a nonprofit organization where your business could volunteer? What about organizing a virtual event with other local businesses? Can your business print out bookmarks with your info on them and leave them at your local library? Getting involved with your community helps your business expand its reach, and costs almost nothing to implement in your strategy!
4. Ask For Referrals
Referrals are one of the most effective ways to generate new business. The problem is we often feel awkward when asking for referrals.
Have no fear! Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to ask for a referral without having to feel uncomfortable. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Be direct and ask for referrals through an email, online, in person or at the bottom of your invoices.
- Focus on asking your best client or customers, instead of all of them.
- Offer incentives, such as, a gift card, a discount on future work, a small gift or charitable donation in their name.
- Make it easy for customers to refer others, possibly using an email script or recommend function on your site.
- Give referrals.
- Ask your customers to like your Facebook page.
- Join a referral or professional networking group.
5. Repurpose Your Content
Do you have old content you haven’t used in a while? If so, you can breathe new life into it by recycling it. For example, you could take a study you conducted and make it into an infographic. That collection of blog posts on a specific topic could be used for an eBook. The podcast you taped could become a YouTube video. There are limitless ways to repurpose your content without extending beyond your marketing strategy! Repurposing is one of the best ways to not break the bank.
6. Give Your Services Away.
This may sound counterproductive, but don’t hesitate to offer people a free trial of your service or a sample of your product. If they like what you offer, they won’t have any problems purchasing more of your products or services. This also encourages users to share your product or services with their friends, colleagues and family members. Don’t underestimate word-of-mouth advertising!
Bringing It All Together
Part of running a successful business entails investing in an effective content strategy. It takes time and resources, but the payoff is worth it, especially if your business is working with limited resources.
As you know, however, you want to make sure you’re spending your funds correctly. By taking the time to think through your goals, how you’ll achieve them and the various, associated costs, you’ll be able to develop a comprehensive strategy and reduce unexpected expenses.
Let Three Girls Media Assist With Your Marketing Strategy
If you have questions or would like the assistance of a professional marketing agency to help you develop a smart, effective plan, contact us at Three Girls Media! We offer free, 30-minute phone or video consultations to learn more about your specific needs and discover what we can do for you. We have a full staff of seasoned marketing professionals who are eager and excited to help you create a foolproof marketing budget.
Sign up for a complimentary consultation during January and receive an Email Marketing Guide valued at $475! We offer a 30-minute phone consultation with our CEO and can answer your questions and discuss your specific marketing needs – no strings attached. Call 360-955-1410 or contact us today to arrange your consultation!