More than they ever have before, businesses are re-assessing their line items this year to make sure ends will meet. If 2020 has forced your company to cut the marketing budget, but you still have goals to grow, it’s important to be smart with the budget allotted. We understand this need to reassess, because we are also looking for new ways to get smart with our budget and still stay in front of current and future customers!
Here are a few ways to ratchet down on your marketing budget but move into 2021 with confidence:
- Review what works - if your team finds themselves overwhelmed when trying to decipher what works and what doesn’t, it’s important to visit analytics. If you don’t have in-house capability to take a deep dive into analytics and reporting, it may be worth it to spend some of that budget investing in a freelancer or firm to analyze what is rendering the best results. At NWA Brand, we are thorough and committed to providing regularly scheduled reports that assess the users journey, website traffic, conversions, messaging, funnels, A/ B testing results and any custom, requested details from the client.
- Educate instead of advertise - over the past three years, the popularity of video content has increased exponentially and it’s expected that trend will continue. Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook Watch (featured on Facebook), IGTV (on Instagram), Tik Tok, and more are formatted ideally for sharing educational or value-added content. Written content, especially when hosted on your website, provides advantages such as SEO improvements, shareable social media content, and how-tos to share with clients. One might be surprised at the number of people that choose to buy your bread instead of make it, even if you show them how to do it step by step, like Austin-based business, Easy Tiger, did.
- Reduce the number of social media channels you are active on - not all social media platforms create equal results for your company. If you’re active on, say, four channels - chances are 1-2 are your most effective. While it’s definitely smart to diversify and secure the handles on all platforms - this year might not be the year for expanding. You might be able to reduce the overall costs by only running ads on your best performing platforms. If it makes sense (and is budget-friendly) for you to replicate campaigns at a reasonable price (like we do for our clients if we are replicating the same campaign to different platforms) - then it certainly doesn’t hurt to continue being active. But save your ad spend budget for where it will drive the most results.
- Invest in SEO - if someone is searching for answers to questions and you provide the answers or the solution they are seeking, the likelihood of building the relationship into an inquiry increases dramatically. Google ranks websites based on a list of characteristics ranging from high-quality content, keywords, inbound and outbound links, and longevity.
- Publicity - non-paid media placements have been a win for many of our clients this year. News sources and media have been looking for diverse articles and topics. You can start by simply making a list of media contacts, brainstorm newsworthy headlines/ topics, then draft the press releases. When distributing a press release, be sure that it is written in the industry-desired format. It should be written from a non-biased point of view and copied into the email, including an attachment with the article and any content that should accompany the distribution.
- Create a talk trigger - At the 2018 Content Marketing World convention, Jay Baer discusses the power of what he calls “talk triggers.” He gives the example of a restaurant in Sacramento called Skip’s Kitchen, where they do things a bit differently: when a customer orders a meal, the cashier will fan out a deck of cards for the customer to choose one card from. If the customer picks a joker, their meal is paid for by the restaurant. The incredible thing is that this marketing strategy costs the restaurant close to $0 dollars (other than paying for the meal), and yet there is constantly an out-the-door line to eat there. The point Jay is making is that good marketing means telling stories your customers will remember. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box, to share your story, and try something your customers will want to share with all their friends!
- Make fewer mistakes - turn to people who know what they are doing. Hiring internally can be challenging, especially if some reshuffling of roles is required, but if you think about it, your own employees can be the best qualified to tell your business’ story. See if there are any employees who have an interest and talent for storytelling. You may need to provide training on your marketing best practices (what language you use on Facebook versus LinkedIn, or what sort of visual content is on brand), but having someone who is multi-talented and knows both the details of your business AND knows how to share your story in a way your customers can engage with can be a real gem worth investing in.
2020 has truly been a historic year, but we believe that this year is teaching us and our fellow small businesses how to be nimble, adaptable, and innovative. By making some of these changes to help budgets stretch a little further, you can make sure 2020 doesn’t have to be the year that held you back, but instead the year that propelled you into further growth in 2021.