The challenge of every business especially for small businesses is allocating marketing budgets efficiently. Marketing is essential for the survival of any company. There is a reason why successful companies such as Apple invest more in Marketing then in Research and Development. But the big question is how much and in which marketing activities to invest. The magic number is 10% according to the American Marketing Association. It is recommended to invest on average 10% of your annual revenue in marketing activities. Some marketing and design focused firms invest even as much as 60% of their annual revenue in marketing. Here some budget friendly marketing activities before you invest in national TV, print or online ads:
- Hire a professional: There is a myriad of marketing specialists and publicists with extensive marketing background you can hire. Look for boutique style marketing or PR firms that won’t break the bank. They will not only save you time and money in the long-run but also have the INSIDER knowledge of tactics that actually work in real life. Before you hire anyone make sure you clearly communicate your goals and check their portfolio and resume.
- Social Media: It’s free to open up social media accounts and very cost effective to run ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The key is to be very specific when targeting your audience. Also be intentional with your ads, determine very specific goals. Do you want to expand your reach? Do you want more traffic to your website? Do you want specifics known about your company? Etc. I’ve seen great results with promotional campaigns and events taking advantage of social media ads for as low as $10/day. Implement great visuals and please don’t run the same ad all year-around. If you need overall tips and tricks for social media check out my previous post here.
- Product Endorsement of a Celebrity or Influencer: When going this route you have to ensure that it makes sense. What I mean with that is: Choose someone that has a similar audience as your brand (gender, age, income, geographic area, interests) and can influence his/her following. An indicator of influence is engagement. Do people comment, repost/share content, and cosign what the influencer posted? Engagement and reach are way more important than followers and likes. The posts have to be authentic, no one wants to see another of those tea ads. We all know they don’t really drink tea or wear waist shapers all the time :-). Also make sure you clarify your expectations (how many posts, type of shots, things you want highlighted, tags and hashtags, etc.) in writing and have an agreement signed by both parties if possible. Also include a return label in case items don’t fit or won’t be used. I continuously see brands sending Social Media Celebs product, for which they don’t receive any credit for.
- Direct Marketing at local events: I love local events, trunk shows, markets etc. I see it as a real life research study while selling directly to customers. You will take away so many insights such as who your real target market is vs. who you would like your target market to be. If you’re a designer you will learn which sizes and styles to focus on. These events further teach you whether you have to tweak your prices or keep them as they are. If a potential customer is interested in your product don’t be afraid to ask what they liked or disliked. Listen to your customer and pay attention. You should be collecting customer data (name, email, area) at every event. When selecting events the same rule applies to them as to identifying brand ambassadors – it simply has to make sense for your brand. If unsure simply reach out to people that participated in the past. Price wise a vendor booth at local events can range anywhere from $200-$600 depending on the scope of the event, whereas market space is more expensive with a price tag between $1000-$3000. First impression is key, ensure you have appealing marketing materials and display your product offering in a professional manner.
If there are any points you would like for me to go into further detail, comment below or send me a message. Hope this helped some of you guys. Let me know what you think!