Marketing on a shoestring budget: What key areas to consider
With marketers continually being asked to work with less, and yet drive continued success (or better), taking a step back and identifying a marketing strategy that works with the budget you have available should always be the first step.
It can be tempting to look at bigger competitors and follow suit when in reality their campaign strategy only works due to the huge budget they have at their disposal and the economies of scale they can achieve.
What this article aims to highlight is what considerations should be applied at the early stages of strategising how to spend your ‘shoestring’ budget.
Understand User Behaviour
This can be done through a variety of methods, through commissioned third-party customer research to analysing user behaviour across owned marketing assets such as social media profiles and brand websites.
Website user behavior tracking software like Hotjar or Crazy Egg offers priceless insights into how your customers navigate around your website, identifying clear barriers to conversion, confusing UX and more crucially, what is working well.
Additionally, from experience using Hotjar far more extensively, it is worthwhile making use of the poll functionality available to license holders. There is no quicker way to get useful user feedback than strategically placing polls on the key commercial pages around the website for instant feedback on how users are finding the user journey, and what can be improved on.
Make sure to carefully consider the question, are the questions specific enough to get a suitable enough answer that you can use to improve the website flaws?
The initial investment is not very expensive, and with the improvement in UX potentially driving an increase in sales/applications that will far out way the outlay. Hotjar provides a range of options to suit your budget and business needs so it is definitely worth checking it out.
By ironing out any kinks in the user journey prior to investing the small budget you have for marketing is the investment that could give you an advantage over competitors. User experience (UX) and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) are areas of marketing that are commonly overlooked, with the main focus directed at solely traffic acquisition. Read our previous blog on how SEO, UX, and CRO can all be used cohesively to achieve success.
Invest in the Right Channels
As previously mentioned, the easy route to follow is to mimic what the other brands in the sector are doing regarding what channels the marketing pounds are being assigned to.
Understanding where your target audience spends their time is paramount to any marketing strategy and as tempting as it may be to jump on the bandwagon of the ‘channel of the moment’, research this stage extensively.
Social media is a good example of a channel which presents vast opportunities in terms of enormous reach and brand awareness potential and at a relatively low cost (at companies like Marketing Heaven) but is this the best channel to reach your target audience? If you are after a high valued customer type or targeting a specific niche, then the lure of Facebook might turn out to be the wrong move. Always revert back to your campaign objectives, and ask yourself;
- What is my objective?
- What message am I trying to promote
- What determines success?
- Is it the best use of my limited marketing budget?
Listen To Your Customer
Listening to your customer can come from actually getting out in the real world and speaking to people face-to-face, but many companies will often pass up the chance to speak to their customers in person when given the chance.
From a brick and mortar retailer to a car dealership, many brands will engage with customers every day, passing up the opportunity to learn more about their buying habits, what brought them to your place today, and how did they find you. You may find customers are much more honest when asked in person, as opposed to rating something 1 to 10 online.
Again reverting back to my previous point, does the question you ask allow for meaningful answers to be gathered, and for actions to be taken off the back off it?
Resist the urge to rip it up
When a new marketing or brand manager come into a new company, it can be a natural instinct to want to put their own spin on something, completely disregarding what has been done previously. If results as a whole were not great, you may think the natural reaction is to assume everything that was being done did not work.
However, potentially the less fashionable approach of simply building incrementally on the existing strategy might be the right (less glamorous) approach. By nurturing the existing marketing strategy and not ripping it up, you can earn the cumulative benefits that were only achieved by building on what was done before you, not to mention it is the more cost-effective approach a shoestring marketing budget requires.
The important thing to remember is that even if you operate in the same space as many other brands, both big and small, a good strategy is a way of leveling the playing field, and in some cases achieving that competitive advantage that all businesses strive for.
Small marketing budget or not, CandidSky has experience working across a wide range of sectors and marketing budgets, driving continued growth in increasingly competitive markets.
To see what we can do for you, why not get in touch on 0161 956 8963.