Manage Advertising Costs With These 4 Ideas For Cheaper Marketing
There’s no sugarcoating it – a successful marketing strategy will always dent your budget. Just as you wouldn’t stop renewing other essentials like packaging and equipment, your marketing should run continuously to really do your business justice. However, just as you would save what you can on physical spends, you also need to make smart savings on your marketing spend.
Remember though, that this comes down to how much you’re willing to pay to generate a sale. Cutting your spend will probably reduce the number of customers on the phone or coming through your door and could hurt your returns in the long term, but sometimes, advertising costs, like all outgoings, have to be managed, and these four tips should help relieve pressure on your balance sheet while helping your reputation grow.
1. Take advantage of listings sites
People’s first port of call when looking for a service or business was once a greying copy of the Yellow Pages. Now an array of listings sites serve up that information at greater speed, but the principle remains the same. People rely on listings services to discover the businesses around them, and listing yourself on these sites is essential and (mostly) free.
Even if you can’t remember uploading your details to any of these sites, you can check that you’re listed on them, and should assume that potential customers are already using them to discover you. With such a direct channel to your customers available for free, it’s vital that all information about your business on these sites is correct and up-to-date. Johnston Press can help you with listings management
Google now feature a mini business directory as an integral part of their search engine. Called the “Local Pack”, it displays nearby businesses on a map at the top of the results page to anyone nearby who makes relevant searches. Your competitors who appear in this section are there because they’ve registered with Google My Business. You can claim your business too, and boost your visibility for zero cost.
2. Become a datahead
Information is a marketer’s greatest asset. To make your strategy as cost-efficient as possible, you must thoroughly understand your customers and target audience. If you gather data on who they are and how they interact with your business, you’ll know the best ways to use your budget to appeal to them.
If you do one thing after reading this article, it should be to get Google Analytics set up on your site. This free software offers an unparalleled range of information about how people use your site and respond to your digital ads, from the number of visits from Facebook to the average time spent on a landing page.
Do some benchmarking before you start your campaign so you know what “normal” traffic is, decide which measurements to keep an eye on, and monitor them as your campaign progresses. Marketing technology is so immediate that you can switch off the least effective channels in real time, pouring more of your budget into where it’s paying off. If you’re not sure how to start and what to monitor, download .
3. Start content marketing
Publishing on blogs and social media like Instagram can help you develop a reputation on a shoestring. A strong presence on these platforms takes time to nurture, but can be set up and managed without cost, and could go a long way towards boosting local awareness of your brand.
With a bit of creativity, you’ll have an arsenal of reusable content (e.g. useful articles or videos) to pull out whenever you need a free, quick way to promote yourself.
The holy grail of content marketing is achieving ‘thought leadership’ – becoming known as an authority in your field, able to dispense valuable advice alongside great products. Businesses from DIY stores to restaurants can benefit for free by showcasing their expertise, and attract return customers from all over their communities.
4. Use Pay-Per-Click carefully
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a model of digital advertising that you see everywhere on search engines and social media. It’s fairly self-explanatory: you are only charged when someone clicks on your ad, so you don’t waste money on people unlikely to become customers.
The biggest players in PPC are Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) and Facebook Business, who both offer extensive options for advertisers on their networks.
Both allow you to pre-set your budget and target by demographic, areas of interest or exact location, so your spend can always be controlled and funnelled in the most lucrative directions.
Google Ads works by showing text ads for your business that look like normal search results to users who have searched for keywords connected to your business. Google rewards keeping your copy brief and relevant to these keywords with a lower cost-per-click for advertisers.
Facebook allows you to target particular posts at different demographics, ranging in precision from people with specific job titles to fans of particular bands, without them appearing publicly on your own page. Noting which ones perform best and optimising your strategy in line with the results will save you money in the long term.
Squeezing the maximum quality out of the minimum spend should guide everything a business does, and these four tips can take your marketing further for less, leaving you more money for all the other must-dos of running a business, or to set aside for your company Christmas party.
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