Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on print, radio or television advertising campaigns with no measurable results? Many start-ups and small business owners get sucked in by slick advertising pitches and great looking ads only to be disappointed when the campaign falls short of their expectations. Why is that?
Marketing doesn't have to be expensive, but it needs to be strategic to provide the best return on investment (ROI). Just because your business is doing well at the moment and has the cash flow to advertise doesn’t mean you should spend it. Instead, consider less expensive ways to promote your business, such as a promotional event or digital marketing. Also, you should not spend money to promote your business unless you have a clear message and know what action you want prospects to take.
Digital marketing has dramatically impacted the way businesses need to market. I am not saying never advertise in print, on radio or on TV. All three mediums have their advantages and disadvantages depending on your target audience and ad message.
However, the fact is digital marketing is making it easier and more affordable for any business owner, big or small, to reach exactly the audience they want 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s the good news. Yet, great online marketing campaigns still require thought and planning ahead.
Before implementing a new marketing plan, conduct an audit of what you're currently spending where. Look for ways to save. You might consider eliminating or reducing your budget on advertising media that you have used continually for two or more years. Caveat, the best marketing campaigns do require commitment and consistency. Your marketing campaign should run a minimum of 13 weeks. By creating a monthly marketing budget, it will help you avoid impulse spending, make it easier to manage, and help you measure the effectiveness of each campaign.
Here are some other ways that online marketing can save you money, improve customer loyalty, and increase your brand awareness.
1. Use Social Media
Social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest cost nothing to sign up for and are easy ways to alert followers about special promotions and company news. You can also use social media to get customer feedback and connect with referral sources.
2. Keep Your Website Up-to-Date
There are many reasons that your website content should be updated, the obvious of course, is for accuracy. If you have moved or an employee is no longer with your company, make sure these changes are addressed (forgive the pun). Also, remove services and products that you no longer offer. It can be frustrated for someone to come to your business for a product that they saw on your website that you no longer carry which could lead to a negative online review.
If you are outsourcing your website management, to save money, you may want to arrange for training to make your own content updates or switch your website to another web platform that you can edit.
3. Think Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For those not familiar with search engines optimization, it is the number one factor that influences whether your website is on page 1 or page 90 of the search results. To improve your SEO, you need to determine what keywords best relate to your brand and what customers are likely to search for online. Than make sure these keywords are included in your web content. If your website does not have an SEO plug-in, such as Yoast for WordPress, add it. A SEO tool will help guide you towards optimizing your website.
Marketing can be time-consuming, stressful, challenging, and expensive if you let it. Do not make decisions based on either emotions or your likes and dislikes. Always keep in mind the demographics of your prospective client.
Digital marketing is here to stay and offers easy to use tools to measure results. If you are not analyzing your marketing efforts, regardless of where you spend your money, you are probably not maximizing your return on investment. Marketing is like a having a baby, you don’t just leave it alone to survive, you have to constantly nourish it in order for it to thrive.