To be honest, ‘marketing on a budget’ is a misleading title. The truth is: every business is marketing ‘on a budget’. There’s no company in the world with enough marketing dollars to do all of the exciting marketing activities it would like to. (The exception being that cash cow universally loved/loathed by parents: Epic Games (if you know, you know)).
This is because, in some cases, the company is not making the revenue it would like, but, for every business, there is a conflict between spending profits on marketing versus paying shareholders a dividend. This means that all marketing heads and business owners are constantly doing their ‘marketing on a budget’. Right now, with the threat of global recession over our heads, the need to keep marketing costs as low as possible is very real.
We wrote a blog post back in June 2018 about reducing the cost of marketing, but even in that short time, marketing techniques have advanced, technology has become even more complex and useful, so this serves as an update to that post. Here are some new suggestions for ways in which you could cut the cost of marketing without diminishing its effectiveness.
1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
In boom times, it’s nice to commission fresh new content created by a professional team. But, in today’s economy, it’s time for recycling. Before you spend time or money on creating content are you sure you’ve squeezed all the juice out of what you already have? Look at your archive of content through the 2020 lens. Is it still relevant? You invested time or marketing bucks to come up with original copy, could this investment now be leveraged by repurposing? There’s more opportunity available than just a quick edit and a reshare. Take an old blog post you could:
a) Turn it into a social media video made of stills and quotes using software like this.
b) Pull out the juiciest quotes and use them to create social media graphics linking back to the post on your web site.
c) Turn the main learning points in a blog into a series of Instagram stories.
d) Record a video of yourself talking through the key points.
e) Track down a guest post opportunity on someone else’s website and redraft using new language so it’s fresh content.
f) Turn it into a sales email.
g) Turn it into a standalone LinkedIn or Instagram post.
h) Create a ‘carousel’ post on Instagram by pulling out the key ideas and using each one in a single image of a presentation deck. (Here’s a good example)
i) Develop the content into a more detailed webinar or lead magnet like a white paper or ebook.
2. Narrow your focus
Need to tighten your belt? You could choose to save a few pounds here and there by cutting the cost of each individual marketing activity in your plan, or you could make a big saving by eliminating your marketing spend in one area entirely.
It’s really tempting to take a broad approach to marketing – hoping that if you share your message in enough places, in enough ways, it’ll get through to your target audience. In our experience, you can get a better result by doing a small number of things brilliantly, than a wide range in a mediocre fashion. This is good news for your marketing budget.
We often advise clients to shut down efforts on the full range of social media platforms and focus instead on just one or two social media sites. Promotion via social media is like jam. It’s far better to have a generous, thick layer over just a couple of slices of toast than a translucent, meagre veneer spread patchily across half a dozen.
Use Google Analytics to work out which of the social media platforms is delivering the largest number of visitors to your website, If it’s LinkedIn, for example, eliminate the time or money you are investing in Facebook and Twitter and put it towards understanding and getting as much value as possible out of LinkedIn activity instead. With content designed to work on a specific platform and within the context of the specific algorithm of that platform, and a consistently high level of attention, you’ll see a compound effect in your return on investment.
If you are worried about visitors not being able to find you on Facebook or your Twitter feed looking unloved, create a ‘signpost’ post directing visitors to LinkedIn instead, and explain that you focus your efforts there. We do something similar here.
3. Go homemade
At the time we wrote our last budget blog post, fancy, slick videos were all the rage. If you had a video series you had to make sure it was professionally recorded, with a beautiful backdrop and make-up artist waiting in the wings with a powder puff.
Nowadays this is no longer true. Thanks to technological advances, like Facebook Live and even Tik Tok, we’ve become very used to seeing candid footage, shot on an iPhone, with presenters looking more natural. This means that for some types of video you can DIY. As long as you use:
- A tripod if you are sitting/standing still to shoot.
- Good lighting – do not have your back to a window.
- A captioning service such as Rev.com
Give it a go, the results will probably surprise you (and the engagement will make it well worth your while!).
If you need help with any of this, give us a call, as marketeers with over 50 years of experience between us (ouch), we know a thing or two about which are the right corners to cut. If you are marketing on a budget (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) we’ll be able to advise you on where to save and where to invest.