Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, but let’s face it, the current state of the economy isn’t exactly making it easy for them. With a recession looming, many small businesses are tightening their purse strings, and one of the first things to go is the marketing budget earmarked for digital and PR activities. But, let me tell you, this could be a fatal mistake.
Why? Well, in a recession, the last thing a small business should do is cut activities that drive growth. Instead, they should be using data to ensure that every dollar is well spent and delivering the necessary results.
Now, I know that sounds like a tall order, but it’s not as hard as you might think. From my 20-plus years working in communications and digital marketing, I’ve compiled a few key pieces of advice to help small businesses get the most value out of their marketing budget.
How to get more value out of your marketing budget
Build relationships with earned media
Don’t neglect earned media. I know, I know, it’s not as glamorous as paid advertising, but building strong relationships with journalists and media outlets can help small businesses earn valuable earned media coverage and increase visibility. This can help businesses reach new audiences without spending a huge budget on traditional advertising.
Align your digital marketing
Digital marketing, including social media and email marketing, is often more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods. Utilising these platforms can help small businesses reach a larger audience and drive conversions. So, if you want to reach more people without breaking the bank, go digital.
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s not just about doing one thing right, it’s about doing everything right and making sure it’s all aligned. That’s why the integration of channels is critical to success. You want to make sure your email marketing, social platforms, website, podcast, blog, and everything else are all working together to create a seamless experience for your customers and are essentially saying the same thing.
Analyse your data
Track the success of your digital marketing efforts by making data your best friend. Collecting and analysing data can help small businesses determine which tactics are performing well and which are not. This information can then be used to optimise future campaigns and maximise the return on investment.
One of the most important ways that small business marketers can use data and analytics is by conducting a website audit and benchmarking relevant statistics. This will help you understand how your website is performing and identify any areas that need improvement. You can then use this information to optimise your website and make sure that it’s working as hard as it can for your business.
Set meaningful KPIs
Another key way data and analytics can help small business marketers is by setting business impact KPIs. These KPIs will give you a way to measure the success of your marketing efforts and see if they are having the impact you want them to have on your business.
You might set a KPI to measure website traffic, conversion rates, or social media engagement. By regularly measuring these KPIs, you can see how your marketing campaigns are performing and make any necessary adjustments.
It’s important to use the data as a learning tool to inform your strategy and make improvements to drive better results moving forward.
Collaborate with the right businesses
And lastly, collaborate with other small businesses. Collaborating with other like-minded non-compete small businesses can help spread the cost of marketing efforts and increase exposure.
For example, we have a gin brand that just launched a new product in Australia, and they partnered with an innovative bakery to run a joint promotion for Valentine’s Day with a gin-infused and delectable croissant creation. The campaign included earned media, sponsored content, social media, and influencer relations. This partnership increased the visibility of both the gin brand and the bakery, helping both parties to reach new audiences in a cost-effective way.
In conclusion, small businesses don’t have to break the bank to get the most value out of their marketing budget. By leveraging earned media, data and analytics, digital marketing, and collaborating with other small businesses, they can reach new audiences and drive conversions without spending a lot of money.
So, even though times are tough right now, don’t forget to invest time and energy into the activities that drive growth.
This article was originally published on flyingsolo.com.au and has been edited for brevity and republished here with permission.