It just so happens that when the time comes for budget cuts, marketing is the one that gets tightened. This can, however, be counterproductive because you need to market and bring in business in order to get more money for the budget. But don’t fear, if your budget has been cut there are still ways that you make the most of it.
It’s all about not panicking, evaluating the situation and prioritising your efforts. It may mean a revamp of your marketing strategy so that it focuses on reaching your objectives but also measures your Return on Investment (ROI).
So let’s get started with 4 key actions to take:
1. Evaluate your existing data against your goals
This seems like an obvious first step but it’s actually a really important one which many businesses carry out incorrectly. Some businesses only focus on vanity metrics such as overall traffic or likes on Facebook. But these metrics may not actually mean anything in terms of clients coming into your business and buying your products. In order to know if your marketing is working you should map out your tactics and channels and limit it to only transactions which have happened and total revenue from these.
This will help you to see which forms of marketing are working for you and which are not performing as expected. Once you know this, you can re-distribute your budget into the channels which are better performing. Limiting your metrics to these also allows you to better prove your ROI, so when the next budget comes around you can prove your worth when it comes to marketing.
2. Narrow your targeting
Understanding your audience is vital to impactful marketing. However, your audiences may change over time. As a result of this, you may be wasting money targeting the “wrong” people. So it may be worthwhile re-connecting with your audiences in order to define who your ideal customer is and who is more likely to buy from you.
This could be done through a survey of existing customers in order to find out more about them (budget depending). If you include questions such as “How did you hear about us?” you can also see how well your marketing channels are working. Utilising analytic tools online can also help find out where people came from to make your data more reliable.
3. If you have limited data, go with what you know
Sometimes the data isn’t complete, or isn’t what you need, when you need it. This isn’t a problem limited to just your business, in fact, quite a few businesses suffer from it and have done for years. As a result, you may not have all the data available in order to make an informed decision about which channel to go for. If this happens, it may be best to make some “safe bets”.
For example, email marketing. It’s perhaps one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, but is still very effective and trackable. It can be used to give your customers useful information but, if used correctly can also lead them towards making a purchase. It is also fairly cheap, meaning you usually get a very good ROI.
Also keep on top of your SEO and content as these can also produce good ROI.
However, beware following what “always” works and use this as a temporary holding solution as other channels may have better reporting and metrics.
4. Invest in efficiency
This isn’t always about doing more in less time, but about making the most of your time and doing the right things. As the adage goes “Work smarter, not harder”. This can boil down to 3 core elements:
Technology Having the right technology can optimise workflow and even automate time-consuming processes. This can be a great way to impact your efficiency.
Training If the marketing budget has been cut, it’s likely that there have been other cuts taking place too. This may include internal resources. In order to make the most of what you have available to you, re-training staff is a good way to improve things. Whether this is expanding skill-sets or levelling-up current skills, having your team working to the best of their abilities is a great way of making the most of what you have.
Agency partnerships Partner agencies have the expertise in their field, they can give you insights and support in order to maximise your ROI. This can be a cheaper solution than hiring someone with the equivalent skills.
Budget cuts aren’t fun for anyone, no matter what department they’re working in. So use the knowledge you have to redefine your marketing strategy from both a tactical and measurement standpoint. Hopefully this will allow you to see where your money is being spent and what you’re getting back from it, and could help to protect you from future cuts.