Every dollar in a small business marketing budget matters, especially when the budget is tight. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips that help small businesses get the best return-on-investment for their marketing dollar.
Realize that growth requires spending
Unfortunately, small business marketing follows the old adage, “nothing in life is free.” (Though that doesn’t mean it doesn’t can’t be affordable.) While setting up a social media profile may be free, social media marketing is rarely effective unless the profile is maintained regularly with relevant content. The production and maintenance take time, and time is money. However, if marketing on social media is done well, it results in more customers and sales. Effective marketing yields results but effective marketing requires a regular allotment of time (such as a regular check-in with the marketing team or hands-on marketing) and funds.
Make a plan
One of the easiest ways to get the most out of a small business marketing budget is to make a plan. This step results in a documented strategy that ensures the budget is allocated into marketing tactics with a high ROI that can be regularly checked and evaluated. An effective marketing plan starts with a few simple questions and should include a marketing schedule. The schedule should follow the business’ sales cycle and clearly designate the party responsible for executing each tactic.
Choose tactics that target local customers
A marketing plan is only as effective as the tactics included. Small businesses should take this selection a step further and choose tactics that target a local audience, such as local SEO, social media, or on-page website optimization. These tactics typically have the highest ROI and strategically leverage every dollar of a marketing budget. Local SEO and on-page website optimization target local customers by building authority with search engines, allowing them to appear at the top of local searches. These marketing tactics are backed by statics. Search Engine Watch recently published a Google report that stated local searches led 50% of mobile users to a local store.
Outsource when needed
The crux of an effective marketing plan is productive execution. Regular marketing is an important part of building brand awareness and engaging customers. While small businesses tend to believe that marketing is cheaper when done in-house, the opposite actually proves to be true in certain situations. This is where a (quick) evaluation can be an important step toward yielding results. Businesses should ask, “What marketing do we need? Do we have the staff and time to effectively execute the plan?”
The answer might be a clear yes or no, or only a partial positive or negative. For some businesses, it is more cost-effective to outsource part—or all—of the marketing (a request for a quote can answer the question). To be clear, even if the answer is a completely positive and it makes the most sense to completely outsource, businesses still should plan on allocating some time. Regular check-ins and contributions are an important part of creating a custom marketing plan with the same tone and look.