Ways to stretch your marketing budget
Most business owners, (of every size), are constantly having to deal with the challenge of trying to make their marketing budget dollars go further, and deal with the frustration when they do not. Here are some ways to stretch your marketing budget-
- Try not to over present yourself. A strange thing happens to some business owners when they get a little extra money in the ad budget: they see fancy four-color brochures, gold embossed mailers and fat annual reports produced by Fortune 500 firms. That's a serious mistake. You should keep in mind that the look, tone and image of your promotions should be dictated by your product and your market, and not by what other companies in other industries put out. It's important to understand that producing literature that's too fancy for its purpose and its audience is just a big waste of money. And worse yet it can even hurt sales, your prospects will look at your overdone literature, and wonder whether you really understand your market and its needs.
- Do it yourself-It is important to understand that tasks such as distributing press releases,or creating simple squeeze pages,can usually be done cheaper in-house than outside. You should save the expensive agency or consultant for tasks that really require their expertise. If you do not have a marketing manager or assistant, you may want to consider hiring a full-time or part-time administrative assistant, to handle the detail work that is involved in managing your company's marketing. This is a far more economical solution, than out-sourcing administrative work, out to the agency or doing it yourself.
- If something works, stick with it. This is important since too many marketers scrap their old promotions, and create new ones, because they are bored with their current campaign. That's a huge waste of resources. The bottom line is that you should not create new ads or promotions, if your existing ones are still accurate and effective. You should run your ads for as long as your customers read and react to them. It is important to understand that there is no statue of limitations on how long you can effectively use an ad. Some ads have been found to have even pulled more inquiries then when they are first published even years earlier. If a concept still has selling power, but the promotion contains dated information, you can update the existing copy. Whatever you do, don't throw it out and start from scratch. While this approach isn't fun for the ad manager or the agency, but it does save money.
- Make sure that you get maximum mileage out of existing content (text and images).-This is also related to sticking with what works. Photos, illustrations, layouts and even copy that has been created for one promotion, can often be lifted and reused in other pieces, to significantly reduce creative costs. For example, copy created for a corporate image ad can be used as the introduction to the annual report. Keep in mind that you can also save rough layouts, thumbnail sketches, headlines and concepts that were rejected for one project, and use them in future ads, mailings and promotions.
- Use your ads for more than just space advertising. Ads are expensive to produce and expensive to run. However, there are ways to get your advertising message in your prospect's hands at a fraction of the cost of space advertising. The least expensive way to do this is to order an ample supply of reprints, and distribute them to customers, every chance you get. When you send literature in response to an inquiry, be sure to include a copy of the ad in the package. This reminds a prospect of the reason he responded in the first place, and reinforces the original message.