How can I market my business whilst keeping costs down?
It’s no surprise that this question is more common now than ever.
You want to keep outgoing costs down but appreciate that you need to market your brand in order to drive business. Sound familiar?
Many businesses have already had to make some difficult decisions to ensure that they stay afloat, and marketing spend is often one of the first things to get cut. This can save you money in the short term, but massively reducing or ceasing marketing completely will cost you in the long run.
Without ongoing marketing, your sales will begin to drop off.
So how can you keep marketing your business without it costing the earth?
Here are some of our top tips:
Focus on your existing customers and clients
It is widely known that retaining customers is far cheaper than acquiring new ones.
People who have purchased from you before are already interested in your product or service and trust your brand. They are therefore more likely to return to you.
Put more effort into communicating and converting previous customers and clients rather than spending lots of time and money in trying to always find new ones. Could you run a loyalty scheme to encourage return business, for example? Do you contact your customers after they have purchased from you?
Use free resources
There are a huge number of free resources online for businesses. You don’t have to look too far to find free training courses, top tips and guides on how to grow and market your business.
This of course takes a bit of time, but if you’re really wanting to improve your knowledge and skills and save on costs, then utilising free resources to help enable you to market your business better is a must.
Here are some of our favourite free online resources to help get you started:
- Google Analytics – This is a must for any business with a website. Knowing who your customers are, how they found you, how they navigate your website and who is purchasing from you is half the battle (we’ve even dedicated a whole ‘top tip’ to using your data below). It’s free and you can quickly and easily set it up on your website and start tracking data immediately. Bonus point: Analytics Academy is also free and can help train you on how to best use Analytics.
- Google Search Console – Another free tool from Google that simply helps you see how you perform in organic search. You can find out popular queries searched for to find your website, impressions, clicks and also identify any errors with your website coverage.
- Facebook for Business – Facebook offers a business resource hub for both small and large businesses. You can find support on here from help setting up a business page to online courses on how Facebook Ads work.
- Yoast SEO – There are a number of on-site SEO plug-ins that help you optimise your website for search. In our experience, this is one of the best and easiest to use, even if you’re not a specialist. This is a free plug-in with a premium upgrade option that helps set you up with best practice on-site SEO.
- LinkedIn Learning – LinkedIn is another social media platform with a great array of free business resources. They have numerous courses (paid and free) covering topics from motivations and presenting to SEO, copywriting tips and social media trends.
- Canva – Okay okay, so our Design Team might not agree, but if you really don’t have the budget to pay for basic marketing visuals, Canva is a great tool for putting them together with very little technical skills. Just be sure to keep in mind it’s usage, your branding and maybe don’t try and create an entire brochure with it…
(P.S) We also have some of our own which you can find, here!
Use social media
Depending on what your business offers, how you’ll want to use social media will differ. However, there are a number of channels with slightly different demographics and purposes so it’s usually just a case of figuring out which will work best for you.
Don’t spend your time posting across all the major channels if your audience is really only on one. If you’re short on time and budget, be sure to focus your effort in the right place.
Using social media is completely free and is another way to reach potential and existing customers. You can directly communicate with your audience here and build brand awareness. Create and share engaging content that will get noticed. Use relevant hashtags to help get you found and aim to drive traffic back to your website wherever you can. You can use these avenues to build an online community, run competitions and list your services and products.
Make sure your profiles are fully completed, have clear call to actions and represent your brand correctly. Don’t forget those all-important insights too so that you can check what your audience enjoys most and do more if it!
Use your data
I know, I know, data. Zzzzzzz. BUT, data really is your best friend. (The kind who tells you the truth, even if you don’t want it hear it, is always annoyingly right but who is ultimately there for you, all the way. Ahhh)
If you understand your customers, you stand a better chance of correctly marketing to them.
Do not ignore your data. Even if you think you know your customers, you should monitor your data regularly. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that things can change in an instant, including who your customers are, how they purchase and what they are purchasing. Being aware of these changes means you can respond quickly and effectively.
As we’ve said, Google Analytics is a must for any business with a website, even if it’s a small one and it’s completely free. Free tools and resources exist to help teach you how to use them too, so there really is no excuse for not using this information.
All social media platforms have insights too, which are available to all with a profile/page/account. Even Google My Business has insights which can help you understand your customer behaviours a little more. Piecing all of this information together will help give you a really clear understanding.
Take the time to plan (and measure, again)
Unforeseen costs can often be down to poor planning. If you need something done quickly, you’ll usually have to pay more for it.
By being organised and planning ahead, you can avoid these unnecessary costs.
Being organised can also help you with planning your content. Set up a schedule with key dates for the diary that apply to you and your customers (psst, we have one here you can download for free!) Create online events around these such as giveaways or blogs and give yourself enough time to generate the content you need for them.
Planning time to measure your results and keep an eye on what is working and what isn’t, will help you streamline your marketing and ensure you’re not wasting time and money on strategies that aren’t working.
Yes, all of the above requires your time and sometimes, you just don’t have that.
Outsourcing work will cost but is often cheaper than hiring someone in-house full-time and more ideal if you’re only needing support for a limited time.
You don’t have to spend huge amounts of money to outsource work. Outsourcing specialists can cost in the immediate but pay-off eventually, so it’s worth considering as an option.
Time is money, as they say, so finding someone experienced who will get the job done quickly, may not be that more expensive than you spending more time doing it yourself.