Make the Most of Your Marketing Budget
Posted January 6, 2015
Creating an annual marketing plan may sound tedious … maybe even pointless. But trust us, it’s an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
What is a marketing plan, you ask? It’s a comprehensive document that outlines your target audience(s), your goals, and your strategies to reach your audience and achieve your goals. It delves deep into your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and brand exploration.
We recommend outlining a full year of marketing. By creating and reviewing this outline, your company will have measurable data to show what’s working, what needs to be tweaked, the peaks and valleys of specific campaigns, and other data to help you improve your efforts.
Here are some tips to make the most of your marketing budget:
Think Digital. With over three billion people worldwide using the Internet, it’s wise to take your online presence seriously. Social media allows you to reach targeted audiences at no cost. These sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, and countless others, provide insights about reach, shares, retweets, pins, and stats to illustrate what topics/posts are gaining the most traction. You can expand your digital presence to include internet radio (such as Pandora and I Heart Radio), videos on YouTube or Vimeo, and display ads on targeted websites and social media. An added bonus – online and social media ads provide metrics so you can gauge what’s working and what’s not.
Track Results. Create customized landing pages for special campaigns. Evaluate the analytics provided by social media. Or go old school and simply ask your customers how they heard about you. No matter how you collect the data, it’s an integral part of your marketing strategy. Once you have the data, you can determine how many leads or prospects actually turned into customers, then adjust your marketing as necessary.
SEO. While we’re talking about results, you can use programs like Google Analytics to review your website. What pages have the most traffic? How long are people staying on certain pages? Where did the web traffic originate (organic search, click thru, etc.)? Are you missing title tags on photos? What keywords are people using to find you? Taking all of this data and updating your website accordingly can help increase your search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective customers to find you.
Stick With Tradition. It’s important to note that, although we talk about online, digital, and SEO, we are still big fans of traditional marketing. A well placed print ad, a clever radio or TV commercial, or an eye-catching direct mail piece can reach your target audience. And this is exactly why a strategic marketing plan is so important … you need to know who your audience is and determine the most effective methods for reaching them.
Network. Expand your reach by networking online and in your local community. LinkedIn and Google Plus are just two of the ways businesses connect online. Locally, join and attend Chamber of Commerce functions, set up a booth at business events, or talk with other business owners about mutually beneficial arrangements, (such as a donut shop providing breakfast for an event in exchange for an hour of marketing consultation). Networking is not always fun, but it’s an important part of growing your business.
Thank You. Never underestimate the power of a simple thank you ... verbally, of course, but also take the extra step to send a written note or a small gift. Not only will the customer appreciate your appreciation, the note/gift will serve as a marketing tool for future business (top of mind awareness!) If you choose to send a gift or promotional item, make sure it reflects your business and your brand.
Review. Examine your marketing strategy a few times during the year and make adjustments as needed. Change what is not yielding results and repurpose that time and/or funds to another outlet that is proving to be successful.
If you need assistance with a marketing plan, the team at HighRock is here to help. All you need to do is contact us!