In Internet Marketing, SEO, Tech Trends

In these uncertain times, many businesses live and die by their bottom line, which includes the success (or lack thereof) of their marketing strategy. For small businesses, it can seem even more imperative to remain in the black which can require walking a fine line when it comes to spending money on marketing. So what can small businesses do when they are forced to work on a tight marketing budget? We have some ideas, so let’s get into it!

Why Does Marketing Cost So Much?

We’ve all heard the old adage “You get what you pay for”, and these wise words definitely apply when it comes to paying for small business marketing. Unfortunately, marketing really has become a pay-to-play landscape (especially when it comes to social media), so there’s no denying that businesses large and small must spend money to make money for quality marketing strategies. However, we believe that there are ways to strategize that will not break the bank, and when done smartly, can continue to bring in conversions far beyond the initial spend. 

Another reason marketing can feel like a large burden on a company’s budget is because marketing encompasses so many areas: from hiring a marketing staff, to spending money on research and strategizing, to advertising and content creation costs, to the expenses of trade show expenses, to software purchases and subscriptions. This is such a large area of focus for the budget, that it can feel overwhelming to a small business owner. Just remember to breathe and take one step at a time!

What is a Good Minimum Marketing Budget for a Small Business?

Sadly, there is not an easy answer to this question, and again, many factors must be considered when setting a marketing budget. At a basic level, most experts suggest spending anywhere from 3-6% of your revenue just to maintain the status quo. If a small business can spend up to 10-12%, then they should expect to see some movement in their growth. But there is much more to consider, and outcomes are never guaranteed – there are too many factors that play into the performance of a marketing strategy. A few points to ponder when deciding on a budget include:

  1. Setting clear objectives and goals – a small business needs to understand exactly what they want to achieve and what the goal posts are in order to measure their success.
  2. Understanding your industry and competition – without understanding who they are and what they are up against, a small business will be blind to almost everything regarding the potential of their marketing.
  3. Determining your targets – small businesses must be acutely aware of who they are targeting, as well as what to use in order to reach them. 
  4. Reviewing past strategies – if we don’t learn from our past, we are bound to repeat the same mistakes. Whether that is because it was poorly done or just wasn’t the right path, knowing the results of past strategies can help in future endeavors. 

Creating a Low-Cost Marketing Strategy

When creating a marketing strategy with a low budget, it may feel like there’s not much you can do. Don’t fret! Once you’ve gone through the process of setting your budget, now you can delve into the meat of the project. There is no one perfect path to take, but there are many ideas to throw out and try. Some lower-cost suggestions include:

  • Create original content – one thing the internet loves is quality original content. This is an investment that should never lose its ability to draw conversions, though it may take some time to show its worth.
  • Maximize organic reach – now that the original content is created, share it far and wide! Create organic social posts using it, engage with followers when they comment on it, and encourage sharing it on every platform.
  • Try community networking – take your talents around town and connect with your community! Attend networking events, speak at the local chamber of commerce, sponsor a charity or collaborate with other businesses. 
  • Employ public relations – paid advertising isn’t the only way to spread the word about your business. If you have a compelling story to tell, reach out to your local journalists and pitch that story!
  • Utilize social media for contests and special offers – engage with your followers using contests and special offers. Everyone loves free, so why not include your most loyal customers and ask that they spread the love which will in turn give you free advertising! 
  • Include visuals, such as images, video and infographics – the written word will only go so far, so make sure there’s something eye-catching to gain their attention. 

How Hiring Outside Marketing Can Actually Save You Money

Though it may seem like having an in-house marketing team would be the most cost-effective, for small businesses, the opposite may be true. Paying out salaries to a small team along with the general marketing costs can cause the budget to skyrocket. Plus, in order for the team to really produce, they must keep up with the current trends, which means continuing education or potentially running the risk of a team that is not up to par for the current times. This is when hiring an outside marketing team can really prove their worth – not only will you have a full team of experts, but a team of marketing professionals whose only job is to know the current trends and practices to employ. Marketing software? They already have it. Expert tools? Got ‘em. Ability to quickly scale and adjust based on analytics and results? Done and done. 

If you’re a small business looking to create a marketing strategy on a small budget and need some help, reach out to us today. As your tech partner, we are here to help you make your mark!

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