Approaching your marketing strategy as an SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) is a consistent challenge and has been for decades. Unfortunately, the switch to digital marketing hasn’t made that any easier.
A typical mistake made by start-ups and small businesses is the idea that you can save money by halting marketing spending, which, as Henry Ford once said, is like stopping your watch to save time.
Investing in a robust marketing strategy is the first step to sustainable growth for your business and one you should consider carefully. There are many products and services to spend your budget on, but not all are right for your business.
The good news is that we’ve broken down marketing strategy on a budget for you here and some of the products or services you can’t be without.
Defining a Marketing Strategy for Small Business
A marketing strategy is defined as being a plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service. The marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
The first thing to do when wondering what to spend your money on defines your budget. You’ll need to calculate how much money you’re prepared to spend, which experts say should be around 7 – 15% of your total business revenue.
You also need to define your marketing strategy and what success looks like. You can do this by analysing past efforts to see what worked well and what didn’t, which will give you a good idea of where to focus.
If you’re in your first year of business, you may need to look at growth tactics and methods relevant to your activity. For example, if you have a new website, you may need to promote it with content marketing and social media campaigns.
With success and goals defined, let’s look at how you can achieve those goals and what you might want to spend your money on
In the Digital Marketing world, “content is King” …and has been since the dawn of the internet.
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and publishing different forms of online material. These materials include blogs, podcasts, social media posts, and videos.
Content marketing is a great, free way to build trust and authority with your audience through value-driven content.
In an age when the public is consuming content on a minute-by-minute basis, producing different forms of content regularly and consistently is a great way to get found and promote your business.
Content marketing works in two ways: it builds trust with your audience, showing them you are an authority in your field and convinces them to buy. It also helps drive organic search engine traffic through SEO keyword placement in blogs that search engines pick up on.
Search engines value engaging, valuable content that solves a problem for the audience, so, as a result, your search engine rankings will improve naturally.
Remember to incorporate all of your sales, costs, and cash transactions in your cash flow forecast as much as feasible. However, your projection doesn't have to be complex to put together or precise to the penny, so round numbers are a
Building an email marketing list is one of the foundations of a strong marketing strategy. It uses email to promote products and services, sending out offers, news, updates, and incentives.
You can collect email addresses through your website, incentivising customers to sign up to an email list in exchange for information or free trials.
You can find free email management systems such as MailChimp online, but the best versions are usually premium or paid versions.
The paid versions are great for growing or larger businesses, as they offer more features and capabilities and the removal of third-party branding.
The free option is great for start-ups just getting off the ground, offering everything you need without the expense.
Search Engine Optimisation was rated as the number one priority for 61% of businesses at the end of 2020, highlighting its importance in the 21st Century.
SEO is the process of optimising your website and its pages to drive organic (non-paid) traffic. Unfortunately, SEO is a lengthy and often frustrating process, which is why many businesses outsource their efforts.
Although outsourcing SEO can be expensive, it can also be worth it with a high return on investment (ROI).
One of the best ways to drive SEO is through regular content, which ties in with the previously mentioned Content Marketing – so it’s worth considering.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
The procedure of creating a cash flow forecast is siPPC click is the practice of paying for the placement of ads at the top of search engine results pages or on social media feeds.
Whilst effective in getting your brand in front of a large audience, it can be expensive as you pay for every click you receive.
This means that you must have a high conversion rate on your website to make up for the money spent on PPC ads. However, with well-written ads and a well-structured website with converting copy, you can increase your ROI on the ads.
Social Media Campaigns
One of the best free ways to build your brand is through social media.
With over 4 billion people using social media in 2021, there’s clearly an audience waiting to be tapped into.
Social media allows you to build your brand, tell people who you are, and sell your products or services online completely free of charge.
Of course, you can have premium accounts and run ad campaigns on social media, but there is almost no need once you have built a following.
Building a following takes time, but as with content marketing, if you offer value and engage with your audience, you can achieve great things through social media.
Although it may be tempting to spend your marketing budget in one fell swoop and on the shiniest products, it is wise to save some for future strategies.
As your business grows, you may need to spend on new options, so you should hold back some of your budget for this eventuality.
You should also keep some back for experimentation, which will help inform future marketing strategies. For example, you may only want to test PPC and not spend all your budget immediately.
Preparing for the Future
With so many options available for your marketing budget and strategy, it can be overwhelming working out what to spend your hard-earned cash on.
With this guide, though, you’ll be set with some low budget options and some essentials to get your business moving.