Finances, you can't live with them and you certainly can’t live without them. Remember the first time you approached your boss with a killer marketing plan and the first words out of their mouth were, “what’s it going to cost and what is the return on investment?” Never were more foul words spoken.
Determining the best place for a small business to spend their money can be tricky. There is payroll to meet, creditors to satisfy and supplies to purchase. Often, the marketing budget is the one that gets squeezed because the boss secretly wonders if it is really worth it.
Every marketer will tell you it is worth it! If you could just put calculate a ROI for the excitement you feel after hitting send on an email campaign and watching the opens and clicks take off, the boss would never shoot down another proposal.
Sadly, reality requires you to be fiscally responsible with the pittance of a budget you are given.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways and strategies to maximize the ROI on your marketing dollars, and the best part is they are all measurable!
- Online advertising - One of the best ways to spend you online budget is to experiment with online advertising. You can choose to go with Google Ads or try social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Each area has its pros and cons but each allows you to be very specific about whom you want to see the ads.
Google Adwords allows you to reach a very broad audience, but their cost per click (CPC) has risen dramatically the past few years. Facebook—with all of their detailed user data—allows you to be very specific about who sees your ad and where they are located.
Their costs remain reasonable and the results are solid. If you are in the B2B market, LinkedIn ads might be the way to go. Advertising on LinkedIn is relatively new, but you can define your target market and your ad views are similar to those on Google or Facebook.
- Content strategies - Once you have traffic to your website, you need to make sure you have quality content to keep them engaged and coming back. Content is an often overlooked area of a companies website. Many businesses figure that once they have posted their brochures online and created a witty About Us page they are done. How wrong they are!
For small companies with limited time and money, hiring freelance writers to create new content on a regular basis is a win-win proposition. You can get quality 600-800 word articles for between $25-50 dollars. These articles can be written to your specification and include the keywords and phrases specific to your industry. For as little as $200 a month you can hire a freelance writer and publish two new blog articles each week.
- Video content - Along the lines of creating better content is adding video to your website. It is no secret that web surfers love video and marketers everywhere are trying to hit the holy grail of marketing by creating a video that goes viral. Spending $1,000 to create one or two high quality videos or investing in a HD camera and editing software will pay big dividends.
A great example of what a well-done video can do for a company is Dollar Shave Club’s first video. The video cost approximately $4,500 and in the first 48 hours converted 12,000 visitors into customers. To date the video has over 19 million views and continues to be shared on all of the social networking sites. Like a great blog post, a strong video can live forever and continue to bring in quality traffic.
- Developing a new website - The final place to consider spending your precious marketing dollars is on your website. Google’s recent rollout of their mobile ready update is forcing many businesses to evaluate their website. Responsive mobile design is critical in today’s mobile environment. You design should be based on the products and services you provide.
While working on your site, make sure to spend time optimizing for local searches. Google’s mobile update is directed at providing more relevant, local responses to mobile searches, so your website SEO needs to reflect that.
Regardless of where you choose to spend your marketing dollars, you can do so with confidence because everything can be tracked and measured which makes asking for more money easier.