As an entrepreneur, you know full well that every penny counts. Most small and medium-sized enterprises cannot afford to waste money on anything, let alone ineffective marketing efforts and unprofitable promotional campaigns. In a start-up business, every little bit of cash must be optimised to increase revenue, in order to balance out upfront costs.
Ask yourself - is marketing helping or hindering your enterprise? Here’s how to make the most of your promotional budget to ensure it aids growth instead of crippling your business.
Think outside the box
The rules are changing, so throw away that archaic guidebook and develop some creative ideas of your own. If you do the same old things everyone else is doing, why would you expect to stand out to a customer? In today’s climate, you’ll need to be (or become) tech-savvy and master social media. A fearless attitude is vital to success. Innovative marketing campaigns may put you outside your comfort zone, but if that means catching the attention of a large customer base, it’s worth it, isn’t it?
Do your homework
Know your target audience. Extensively researching your target demographic before you try and reach out to consumers is essential, otherwise your message could fall on deaf ears, and your money will be wasted. Attempt to understand what a typical customer likes, dislikes, needs and aspires to. Use what you’ve learned to develop a targeted marketing campaign with a clear message - something your consumers can relate to.
At this stage, it helps to put yourself in a consumer's shoes. If you’re hoping to tap into the 24 to 29 year-old market, for example, you can assume your customers will be interested in progressing up the corporate ladder, building a family and improving stability in their life. Now, consider your product and service, and relate it to those needs. How will your merchandise help a young professional advance their career? Will it make home life easier? Is it in tune with their busy lifestyle? Consider the needs of your customer and address them in your outreach efforts. By doing so, you’ll add value to your product and catch the attention of the buyers you’re looking to attract.
Harness the power of the internet
These days, people use the internet for virtually everything. It’s an easy way to stay connected with friends and family, and a streamlined portal for shopping. Make sure your website is optimised for e-commerce, otherwise you could be missing out on a huge portion of potential sales.
First, however, you need to ensure that your website is highly visible online. That doesn’t mean you should spend a fortune on advertising. Instead, search engine optimisation is far more useful. Appearing near the top of a search engine's results is a highly effective way to drive traffic to your site. Content marketing in the form of industry-related blogs or news may help you rank higher than your competitors.
In addition to this strategy, produce a quarterly B2B newsletter, and send one out every few months to your clients. Become a credible, useful source of information and your consumer base will eventually trust and rely on you.
Finally, social media is key. People spend hours every day on Facebook and Twitter - take advantage of this by building an online presence and interacting with customers. Listen to feedback, respond to it, and build your business around it.
Measure your marketing
Every quarter, set aside some time to analyse the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Find out what’s working, what isn’t, and what’s costing more than it should. Pick out strategies that are getting the best customer response (regardless of whether they’re resulting in customer conversion) and capitalise on them. Chartered certified accountants will help you understand how marketing is affecting your overall finances.
Social media strategist Rick Mulready said: “Too many businesses spin their wheels with social media efforts and have no idea whether what they’re doing is impacting their revenue and growing their business.” He advises establishing an objective and setting a timeframe for when you want to achieve your goal. Set some checkpoints to examine your strategy’s success along the way. He added: “It doesn’t have to be complicated, but always have a way to measure the success of what you’re doing.”