With many small and medium-sized enterprises keeping a watchful eye on every last expenditure these days, industry experts have predicted that some firms will opt to minimize their overhead by cutting back on marketing costs. However, while the rather abstract nature of marketing and branding outlays make this cost category a likely candidate for cutbacks, it’s important for managers to weigh the long-term implications of such a move before drastically slashing their advertising budgets.
If your firm has been lucky enough to build up a readily recognizable brand image and reputation, this has probably been the result of an extended process based upon a combination of both hard work and savvy marketing. If you let one of these elements fall by the wayside, even for a little while, it may be tough to regain lost ground later on.
So even if you’re facing a budget crunch, try not to forsake your marketing efforts altogether. Instead, you might consider a compromise, such as falling back on lower-cost marketing techniques for the time-being.
Here are a few marketing concepts that are bound to net you a sizable return on investment. Use these ideas as a jumping-off point for your very own brainstorming session.
Angle for coverage in the local and regional press. Laypeople are often surprised to find out that a very high percentage of local, regional, and national newspaper stories have their root in press releases issued by private firms and corporations. If you can think of a novel or interesting way to tie your products and services to current events or hot topics, try your hand at a press release. Two hours of writing and revision could land you a lot of free publicity.
Establish a high-quality online presence. If your firm’s website is a basic boilerplate that functions as little more than a glorified contact page, consider adding additional functionality. You get bonus points for maintaining a blog, podcast, or interactive features that invite audience response.
Consider a focused, highly targeted postcard campaign. Rather than blanketing the market, focus on past customers and pre-qualified prospects. Choose text that is eye-catching, strongly worded, and offers an irresistible deal or promotion. If you’ve narrowed down your list, this kind of targeted campaign can deliver unbeatable ROI.
Exploit synergy and marketing partnerships. You can decrease your advertising costs by splitting them with partner firms or other companies in your neighborhood or community. Seek out partnerships with firms whose products and services complement your own.
Fall back on your network. Even experts admit that word-of-mouth beats traditional advertising hands down. Ignite your own guerrilla marketing campaign by working your rolodex for referrals and potential prospects.
What are your best ideas for getting the most bang for your marketing buck? Chime in with your two cents in the comments.