You Have Your Marketing Budget – Here’s Where to Use It

Managing all of the pieces of your own business can be daunting, but managing your marketing budget doesn’t have to be. You know that you need to market your company to get the word out about the products or services you offer – as well as create awareness for your brand – but you also have to keep an eye on your bottom line.

Given that roughly half of all small businesses can only afford to spend $300 or less on marketing each month, you can’t just go throwing money at the problem. (Read more about where your small business dollars are spent here). You need to know exactly where to spend your marketing budget to get the highest return on your investment.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your small business, there are some areas that are just begging for your investment.

1. Email Marketing

Now matter what your industry, email marketing can be a highly lucrative. “When you’re a small business, email marketing is a perfect opportunity to establish loyalty,” explains WordStream. “If your customers and prospects are handing over email addresses, it opens the door to send out sale or event notifications.” You might also consider sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter in which you celebrate your company’s successes or share personal stories about your staff. Whatever focus you choose, email marketing as a digital marketing channel returns an average of $38 for every single dollar spent.

For the best return on your email marketing investment, pay attention to email best practices. For instance, test different subject lines and times of day to see which format gives you the most responses. Also, make sure that your emails are mobile-friendly so that people who might be reading your emails on their phones or tablets are able to see your marketing.

2. Your Company Website

Did you know that roughly half of all small businesses do not have a website? If this sounds like your company, you are missing out. “Having a professional-looking website is one of the most important assets you will create for your small business,” says HubSpot. “This is where you will show who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how a potential customer can get in touch with you.” If you don’t have a website, you could be missing out on customers who want to do business with you.

3. Search Engine Optimization

Websites alone won’t get you more customers. You also need to invest in search engine optimization, or SEO. This tactic involves strategically placing keywords throughout your website so that your company’s website appears higher in search engine rankings. Now, obviously, you are competing against lots of other businesses, each trying to rank higher than the other, but there are things you can do to improve your search engine rankings so you can beat out the competition.

Start by looking at the way your customers word questions about your company or its products/services. This will help you see how they search. For instance, if you sell vacuums, do people in your area say “vacuums” or “sweepers”? Next, use a keyword tool to identify opportunity keywords or search for different keywords and look at the search engine results. Finally, incorporate those keywords throughout your website. Wherever you can, incorporate those words or phrases in your website content, page titles, article titles, image names or meta tags.

4. Social Media Engagement

Social media is a major part of most lives. Over 80 percent of people in the United States have a social media profile. In order to engage with these people (a.k.a. potential customers), your company needs to be on social media too. In fact, a recent study by MarketingSherpa found that 58 percent of people use social media to follow their favorite brands – but that’s only part of it. According to Dreamgrow, over 50 percent of consumer purchases are influenced by something they saw on Facebook (both online and offline) – and not necessarily on the Facebook Page of the company in question. What’s more, Brandwatch says that 96 percent of people who discuss brands do not actually follow those brands’ pages. This means that you need to be engaged on social media, both via your own profile and by monitoring any chatter about your company.

5. Analytics

Finally – one of the most important yet often overlooked parts of your marketing budget – make sure that you set aside a piece of the pie for analytics. Let’s say that you decide to launch a website, start an email newsletter and begin participating in social media on several different platforms. Those efforts will certainly help you attract more people, but how do you know what do those people bring to the table?

Through analytics, you can see which areas deliver the best return on your marketing investment. You might find that your Facebook ads attract the most people but you still don’t attract many visitors to your website. Or you may find that most of your website traffic comes from people who click the link on your Instagram profile. Using analytics, you can also set up A/B testing to see which images or ad wording gets the most response. This information is valuable because it helps you identify where you can beef up investment, and it informs your strategy by revealing which efforts aren’t working and which ones are worth it.

No matter what you are spending your money on, make sure it is working for your business and achieving the goals you’ve set. For instance, don’t spend $100 on a social media ad without tracking whether or not that ad is bringing you new business. Spend time looking at how well the ad converts, how many clicks it gets and how many of those clicks lead to new sales.