Not all businesses have a big budget dedicated to their marketing efforts. Yet, you must allocate a sufficient budget to meet your marketing goals [see below for some thoughts about how much you should allocate to marketing]. The big question is how to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to developing a detailed marketing budget. Today we’ll discuss 5 affordable marketing methods that produce high returns on your investment.
Below, you have some idea of how big a percentage of your revenue you should allocate to marketing depending on your industry. The highest percentage of revenue dedicated to marketing occurs among consumer packaged goods companies, while the lowest occurs in the energy industry (likely a function of the monopoly status of most energy companies around the country that eliminated customer choice).
Although somewhat similar, further guidance on how much you should allocate to your marketing budget comes from Web Strategies:
- Total marketing budgets range between 5% and 12% of the allocated marketing budget
- B2Cs generally spend more on marketing compared to B2Bs
- Smaller companies, especially start-ups, spend a higher percentage of their revenue on marketing due to their increased needs to achieve awareness and attract customers
- Search and display ads through Google Ads (and similar products from other search engines) represent the lion’s share of a firm’s digital budget
Regardless of your stage in the business lifecycle, from start-up to enterprise organization, determining how to spend your marketing budget isn’t an easy choice. Today, more money flows into digital marketing channels than traditional channels for the first time. It’s unclear whether this transition to digital marketing reflects an inherent value potential in this channel that is greater than in traditional marketing channels or whether increased spending reflects the ability of digital marketing to prove its connection to revenue or due to the general affordability of this method for marketing your brand. Below, you can see the transition from spending on traditional media to digital media.
Image courtesy of Web Strategies, Inc
Today, we plan to share our top 5 affordable marketing methods and offer some tips for implementing these tactics. So, read on.
Affordable marketing methods that produce high returns
1. Magazine ads and other types of printed materials
You may think that print is dead, however, that’s not really the case, especially if your target market includes older consumers who are less likely to be on social media or use Internet search. Although magazine advertising is a highly targeted means of reaching a niche audience, such as hobbyists and those with interests that are off the well-worn path of the masses.
Other forms of print advertising are also effective because they have more permanence and shareability than digital options. For instance, folks might keep your coupon tacked up on the fridge until the next shopping trip or share your printed menu with friends when ordering food. You might consider printing brochures, flyers, or even your own magazine distributed to customers shopping in your physical store.
2. Social media
Digital marketing is a modern and effective way to drive success at a very reasonable price. Social media is an affordable marketing method that potentially involves $0. By creating a profile on platforms used by your target marketing and gaining engagement through content marketing on those platforms, you reach a large audience of customers and potential buyers.
Achieving success without using social media advertising on social platforms involves posting content of value to your target audience through a combination of videos, images, text, and links. The best social media users know that social media isn’t public relations or advertising, but works toward building an authentic relationship with your target audience by sharing content they find interesting, entertaining, or informative.
Social media is free unless you decide to pay for sponsored posts or advertising that promotes your brand. The advantage of such advertising is:
- Highly targeted reach to ensure your message meets the needs of your audience and motivates them to action
- Relatively inexpensive
- Advertising opens opportunities to increase engagement and 50% of consumers use this user-generated content to inform purchase decisions
- Drives visitors to your website or online store via multiple options including coupons, contests, and other offers.
3. Get a free Google My Business account
For local businesses especially, a Google Business Profile is one of the most affordable marketing methods available, as well as an effective tool. Obtaining a Google My Business account requires a physical location for your business and Google verifies that location prior to activating your account. This free listing allows your business to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search which includes a map showing your business and links to valuable information such as your phone number, menu, and website. See below for an example appearing when I searched for shoes.
Because local businesses enjoy a priority location on the search page and consume a large amount of that page, this strategy works well to drive local users to your business as well as reaching visitors to the local area. Of course, you need an effective local SEO strategy to ensure your business shows in the top local businesses displayed prominently on the results page. Google also encourages reviews of your business as part of their local strategy as you can see in the results.
4. Utilize email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to get new visitors to engage with your business and it’s an effective tool for lead nurturing. Email marketing also helps maintain relationships with existing buyers to encourage loyalty.
And, though email marketing isn’t new, it’s still one of—if not the—most reliable ways to achieve a strong return on your marketing investment, as you can see in the graphic below.
Image courtesy of Data Mentors
Here’s how to ensure you optimize this affordable marketing method:
- Put thought and creativity into your subject lines.
- Make sure every email has a call to action (CTA) that encourages your readers to take the next step.
- Track your performance and run A/B tests to see what copy and offers resonate with your list.
- Clean your list to keep it fresh
- Create a lead magnet to encourage visitors to subscribe and upload owned lists such as customers, webinar attendees, etc. (New laws in the US and EU make it a punishable offense to purchase or rent lists)
- Test different frequencies for sending campaigns. Some lists respond well to daily emails, others to weekly, or bi-weekly messages
5. Create a blog
Like social media, a blog offers a totally free tool for marketing your brand online. You can build a basic blog as a section of your website and use that tool to sell your products, share new releases, offer answers to questions about your products, distribute explainer videos showing how buyers can get the most from their purchase, engage customers, and more.
Almost every major brand operates a blog as part of their digital marketing strategy because they produce a high ROI through a combination of increasing awareness via SEO strategies designed to drive more visitors to your website and lead nurturing through content that drives visitors toward conversion.
Creating A blog can cost as little as $100 or $200, depending on whether you already have a website or not. If you don’t have an existing website, you need to purchase a domain, arrange for hosting, buy a theme, and start creating content. If you already have a website, it’s relatively simple to add a blog to your existing site at no cost whatsoever. Due to the low start-up costs, blogs are one of the most affordable marketing methods you can use to drive revenue.
Blog content is a great way to improve your SEO, while also providing value for your leads and customers. The more quality content you publish, the higher your content appears on the search engine results page (see below), thus garnering more clicks. By writing about valuable topics that are important to your audience, you can work to build trust and credibility with your leads and customers.
Image courtesy of Moz
I hope you found this discussion of affordable marketing methods valuable. I’d love to hear your feedback or answer any questions you have about employing these affordable marketing methods. Just reach out using the comment section below.