7 Ways to Save Money on Marketing Your Small Business
Small business owners face a number of unique concerns that entrepreneurs of older, more established firms don’t have to worry about. The biggest concern? Budgeting.
Small businesses tend to be less established, leading to uncertain revenue projections, volatile operational practices, and little room for flexibility between revenue and expenses. As a result, expenses that are seen as “superfluous,” like marketing, tend to get cut.
The problem is that cutting marketing from your budget limits your future revenues. Marketing is an investment, and without it, your business won’t grow nearly as fast as its true potential holds.
Still, if you’re concerned about how marketing fits in with your budget, you can use these seven tricks to save money without compromising the effectiveness of your strategies:
1. Rely on free platforms.
There are plenty of ways to earn free visibility. This mostly applies to the digital world: you can create a basic website (mostly) for free, you can claim all your social media profiles and use them to post for free, and you can guest post on other blogs for free as well. But this also applies to the real world. Look for ways to get your company involved in local events, or listed in directories or industry organizations. All of this can cost you zero dollars—it just takes an investment of time to track these sources down.
2. Get free advice.
Whether you’ve worked in marketing before or you don’t know the first thing about it, there’s always someone who knows more about it than you do, and they’ll usually be willing to give you some advice for free. If you know an experienced marketer, get his/her advice on what would be the most efficient platform to use and how to best use it for your business. If you don’t know someone, start attending in-person networking events until you do. The simplest of conversations can sometimes lead to great insights about the efficiency of your future marketing campaigns.
3. Do it yourself—mostly.
For the most part, your marketing strategies can be done in-house. Whether you have one marketing associate, a small team, or you’re literally doing everything yourself, spending time is almost always more efficient than spending money. Do your research in advance; there is an unlimited amount of information available online for practically any type of marketing. However, if you run into a problem or you find that your efforts are not working as well as you thought they would, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional. The right professional agency or freelancer can do in one hour what might take you three or four days to figure out. In these scenarios, the expert help is well worth the cost.
4. Focus on one campaign at a time.
Don’t get distracted by trying to run multiple advertisements on multiple platforms while also pursuing an inbound campaign. If your marketing budget is a point of contention or concern, limit your spending by focusing only on one campaign at a time. If the campaign isn’t working, then try something else. Not only will this save money directly by eliminating exterior costs, it will also make the money you do spend more efficient as you gradually gain more experience in your dedicated platform.
5. If it works, keep it.
Let’s say you run an ad in a print magazine, and you see great results for it. You can consider this a small victory, but most business owners would immediately think to themselves, “How do we come up with another ad this powerful?” The answer is, you don’t come up with another ad that powerful. You use the same ad. This reduces creative costs, time spent brainstorming, and even reduces your stress because there’s some degree of certainty to its use. If something already has been effective, try using it again in the same way. Chances are, you’ll see similar results.
6. Keep things simple.
Most wasted marketing dollars are wasted in enhancing, transforming, or otherwise investing in things that need no further change. For example, you may know a business owner who created an elaborate, 50-page website for a relatively simple product that could have done fine on a basic 5-page setup. In this way, many successful marketing campaigns are borne from minimalism—think about exactly what you need to be successful, and use only those components to build your campaign.
7. Don’t be afraid to recycle.
In my fifth point, I referenced that an ad that works well should be kept as is. However, it’s not always possible to replicate these types of conditions exactly—for example, marketing during a temporary local event cannot be duplicated exactly. In these situations, you can “Frankenstein” a strategy together by taking the best bits of your previous campaign—maybe it’s a graphic element, a specific bit of copy, or even just a branded approach. Learn from your previous campaigns, and don’t hesitate to recycle some of your old assets in new ways. It will save you time and money.