An age-old marketing question: How do I get more out of my current marketing budget? Although it’s usually true that you have to spend money to make money, the solution to making more money is not always to spend more. Yes, there are “non-traditional” options in marketing that allow a penny-pinching business to spend relatively little for a marginal payoff and increase to their bottom-line, but let’s focus on squeezing the most out of the more traditional and current marketing strategies. We will look at approaches that most mainstream businesses employ, which along with a typical marketing budget, is the life-blood of new business revenue.
Fresh look and feel
When you’ve marketed for a while, it’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of the latest new marketing medium or even fall prey to the “grass is greener” syndrome. Taking risks in marketing, although there can sometimes be a payoff, often leaves business owners feeling jaded, tricked or wondering what they did wrong. More times than not, sticking with what has always worked is the best approach. Rather than switching up the advertising vehicle (medium), oftentimes the best thing to do is bring a fresh set of eyes and ideas to your message content and/or offer. Whether it’s through a company-wide brainstorm session, including more than just your marketing team (you’d be surprised what insights you’ll get from receptionists and floor employees), or by bringing in a new graphic designer or hiring an agency to handle your creative, you will find that a little competition and fresh creative flow can be the key to renewed marketing success. Just be easy on the trigger when deciding to pull out of an advertising medium just because your data shows a downward trend lately, especially when that medium has provided a steady cost-effective flow of leads and value over the past months or years. Experience has shown that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and more often you will end up wasting your time and dollars, and be left in a worse position than before you made a change.
For another way to get more out of your current marketing budget, take some time to audit and improve your lead conversion process. Help those involved in your new business lead conversion process to understand how much money it takes to “get the phone to ring”. For small businesses especially, each new lead is as good as gold and needs to be handled with attention and care. First, you’ll need to do some number-crunching to compute on-average how much each lead costs you and your business. It’s easy for those on the front lines to forget or never be aware of how much you pay to get that phone call, a prospect email, or a potential customer to walk in the door. Knowing this will help your front line people to take more care and be more accountable with leads, and by being more invested in the workings of your business, they’ll be less likely to simply throw away or give up on those not-so-easy leads.
Another important practice is to make sure you’re responding to leads as quickly as possible. The easiest time to close a sale or book an appointment is when that lead comes in or calls. Try to employ a smooth process at the beginning and have enough staff on hand to handle call volume and inquiries without delay, interruptions, or making prospects wait to have their questions answered. Your sales and reception team should be responding to voicemails as quickly as possible. The easiest way to lose a sale is to wait too long to contact the prospective buyer.
Lastly, don’t forget to remarket as much as possible to existing, past, and prospective clients. You’ve already spent the marketing budget to get that lead and it only takes a bit more effort and time to stay in front of those prospective clients. This can be done through newsletters, social media, annual birthday cards, appointment reminders, calendars, or even refrigerator magnets.