Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Making the Most of your Marketing Budget

If you’re a small business or a start-up then you’re likely to have a very limited marketing budget. As such, any success you have in this area may well reside in your ability to develop a creative marketing strategy that makes the best possible use of your resources. This involves identifying your core strengths, understanding the importance of customer relations and knowing when to outsource and when to do things in-house. Here are some key things to think about when you’re planning your marketing activities for the next year:

Trade Shows: It’s important to keep networking in order to build new business contacts, and one of the most efficient ways to do this is to attend trade shows. At these events you will be able to meet large amounts of potential customers in one single place, as well as finding out what your competitors are up to. But in order to make the best use of your budget, you have to do your research thoroughly first: look at which shows have the best attendance, who will be attending them and make sure they are definitely relevant to your particular niche.

Online Marketing: One of the best things about taking the time to develop a really well thought-out online marketing strategy is that many of the avenues available t you here are completely free. Twitter and LinkedIn, for example, are great ways to extend your network or reach out to new customers. Think of them as just another weapon in your marketing arsenal – a chance to communicate with your audience on a more informal basis. You might also want to consider thinking about SEO, online advertising and blogging.

Email Marketing: As an extension to the above, it’s worth spending time on your email marketing. Again, it’s about working out a strategy rather than any large outlay which is great for those with a small budget. The most important thing to bear in mind when sending out marketing emails to those on your mailing list is that they should be targeted to their needs. To this end, you need to break your clients down into separate categories so they aren’t being bombarded with emails that have no interest for them.

Know Your Weaknesses: Another aspect of cost-savvy marketing is understanding when a certain amount of outlay is appropriate in order to get the best results. In short: outsourcing where necessary may save you money in the long-term. For example, it’s well worth paying a professional web design company to put together a really well-functioning website to begin with. Your website is one of the most important marketing tools at your disposal so it’s something that shouldn’t be rushed.
Measure Results: Lastly, in order to make sure you are spending your marketing budget wisely you need to make sure that every campaign you put in place can be tested for results. For example, with your email marketing, keep track of the responses you get so you can begin to build a picture of what works best and for which kinds of customers.