Many companies are looking for ways to extract increasing value from their marketing budget. There are right and wrong ways to go about this as cutting corners in the wrong place can leave your company looking cheap and unprofessional. To help, we’ve created a guide to how you can save on your marketing costs saving your money in the right places:
1. Update the website yourself.
Today’s modern websites are built using a content management system that lets you add news, images, or files as you need. This is not hard to do and simply involves logging in with a username and password to an administrative section of your website. Most new posts only take a few minutes (provided you know what you are going to say…).
2. Share with your target market
Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn allow you to share your latest products or services simply and easily. Photos are a quick and easy way to show what you do, so upload them regularly with accurate descriptions of what they are. For example, if you’re a builder, a quick snap of your latest work (particularly before and after) is a great indication of the benefits you provide. You don’t have to be on all the platforms so pick one you feel comfortable with and use it often. Get into a routine of contributing and using a tone of voice which you want to reflect your business.
3. Set up your Google Business page.
Get yourself found in local online searches by having yourself listed on the Google Business page. This ensures you will be listed in search, maps and Google + for your business. This is a quick and easy fix to make you more visible when potential customers search for your services. Microsoft’s Bing has a similar service that you should also register on.
4. Do your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) yourself.
Possibly sitting in the advanced category of digital marketing here, but it should be pointed out to people that SEO is not rocket science no matter who tries to tell you that. In a later blog post, we’ll go into more detail on this but essentially the following can be done yourself:
– label your photos on the website with descriptions of what they are by adding an ALT tag to them.
– give all your pages on your website a meta title and description
– ensure each page on your site is about something and stay on track. Set a keyword or set of keywords that describe the page and ensure that keyword exists in your description,
Most of this can be done by utilising a plugin on your website. For WordPress, you could use the free Yoast SEO or a similar plugin.
5. Run your own advertising campaigns
Use Google Adwords to run your own advertising campaign. Adwords runs an auction system so it is possible to end up paying large amounts per ‘click’ but you can set a £ per day figure to keep within your overall budget. Many customers begin their search for a product or service online through a search engine. It’s easy to do. Start with one advert and see how you get on. Competing on short, popular keywords can be expensive but targeting long tail keywords can be cheaper and successful. Once you get comfortable with that, looking into text message software would be the next logical step. It can’t be overstated, you must diversify.
6. Word of mouth marketing
Leverage your existing customers, clients, colleagues, friends and family to create a network of ‘true believers’ who trust your service and products. Ask them to refer your business to their friends and you can encourage this behaviour through discounts for their own future purchases or by incentivising each successful referral they are able to provide. Keep your service levels high and customers’ will continue to promote your business among themselves.
7. Email advertising
Hopefully you’ve been collecting the emails and addresses of prospects and customers to build a database of contacts. If not, start doing so! From this, you can start emailing your database regularly with your latest products, testimonials, examples of work, and sales. Simple newsletters are easy to create and you can do this by utilising one of the online providers like Mailchimp which allows emailing of up to 2,000 contacts free.
There you go. That’s a significant reduction in marketing spend we’ve created. However, there are some things where cutting corners isn’t advisable. These are the places you should channel your investment. Here’s a list of items you shouldn’t scrimp on.
Quality shots of your goods / services will present your work in the best light. If you can afford it, hire a good photographer to take photos of your products. A professional will give your products a life and quality beyond their inanimate self. At a minimum, try to take photographs on a clean white background as well as images of your products in use. If you run a service business, use professional stock photos from a library to showcase the kind of experience customers can expect from you.
There’s no point taking those lovely photographs if you can never find them. Spend some time developing a method of storing photos in various sizes – hi-resolution for print and lo-resolution for sharing on the web. You can use Dropbox to safely store your files in the cloud and then provide secure links to your designer to access them. Files won’t get lost and you’ll always know where your key corporate assets are.
A decent logo and corporate identity communicates the uniqueness of your business. Investment in a good designer to create a bespoke mark for you is money well spent. They understand how to translate the intangible into a logo and brand and will ensure it works on all devices from digital to print. There is more to designing a logo than knowing the programmes – this is a real skill worth investing money in.
Decent paper stock for your business cards
A flimsy business card looks and feels rubbish. If this is your only ‘leave-behind’ from a meeting then make sure it feels and looks quality, encouraging people to hang on to it and reminding them of your excellent service. A poor paper stock leaves a poor impression.
We often see our clients lost in a myriad of small tactics that don’t always add up to a cohesive whole. A professionally developed marketing strategy gives you the flexibility to fulfil a lot of the deliverables yourself while knowing that everything is driving towards the same goal. This doesn’t have to be expensive and can be as detailed as you need, but a strong framework will give you a solid base for all your activities and ultimately save you money in the long run.