How to trim the fat from your marketing budget…without impacting results
No matter how big (or small) your marketing budget, you need to ensure you’re getting the most out of it. There are a few simple steps you can take to trim your budget without impacting your results.
Are you sitting on some golden eggs?
For every pound you spend, you must ensure that not a penny is wasted. Yet it is amazing how many leads are left to cool before sales or customer services get to them. There are a few things you can do:
- Put controls in place to ensure all leads are followed up and feedback is captured on the quality of the lead. If you’re investing heavily in a channel that is delivering low-quality leads, you need to review the way you are using that channel or consider moving spend elsewhere.
- Don’t neglect cold leads. It can be easy to get stuck on the ‘‘I must generate more leads!’’ treadmill. So, you throw more money at Google Adwords, you keep doing more of what you’ve been doing before and all the while, you are probably sitting on a few gold nuggets in the form of untapped leads. Review the data you have, consider running some reactivation campaigns. For organisations with a long sales cycle, this is especially important. A ‘not sales ready’ lead might become a hot lead in six months time. But if it’s left languishing on your company CRM, you are unlikely to be in the running to win the prospect’s business.
Be selective with your keywords within Google Adwords
Even if you’re happy with your PPC, you may be wasting budget without realising it.
By focusing on a smaller number of keywords and ensuring your campaigns are really tight, you can reduce spend quite easily and still get results. Review the keywords and campaigns you are running, pause any that are delivering a minimal click through rate (CTR). Google links CTR to quality score, so by keeping the quality score higher, you can reduce the bid costs, which will improve your return on investment.
Identify less competitive keywords that your prospects might use to find you and trial a campaign with a small budget to gauge results.
Consider other platforms
If you’re running a Google Adwords account, it’s probably likely you are putting some spend into Bing. While Bing may not be as dominant as Google, it is the default search engine for Microsoft Edge. Many corporates use Microsoft devices and if this is your market, you would be well advised to put some ad spend into Bing.
Facebook offers an incredibly powerful platform, you can be really targeted and the cost is a fraction of Google Adwords. Many businesses shy away from Facebook as they feel it’s more suited to consumer brands. This is not the case. The lines are much more blurred as to how and when people consume content.
Make sure you convert website visitors
It might sound obvious, but there’s no point investing heavily to get people to your website and then not focus on converting them. Yet, according to Econsultancy ‘For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. (Econsultancy, 2016). Increasing conversion rates isn’t always as complex as it sounds. You can use heat mapping software to see how visitors are interacting with your landing pages and then trial different aspects using A/B testing.
Give yourself some time to think differently
I touched on the ‘marketing treadmill’ earlier. You have a marketing strategy and tactical plan to deliver. But it’s worth giving yourself a bit of breathing space and taking time to re-evaluate.
For example, you attend the same trade exhibition every year. But do you need to have a big fancy stand, lots of printed brochures and giveaways? Are there other ways to engage with industry prospects and differentiate from competitors? Sometimes thinking a bit differently can make a big difference. I attended a Financial Services exhibition at Earls Court, all the big players were there with large and expensive stands. But, Virgin Money had produced huge bags for visitors to their stand. Every visitor to their stand put everybody else’s branded goodies into this huge Virgin branded bag. As you looked around the exhibition hall, it looked like a Virgin Money branded event. It wasn’t, it was just a simple but hugely effective idea.
Don’t neglect your internal resources and customers
The internal teams will have information to share in terms of insights and customer feedback. Spend time with your sales team. Find out what pain points your customers have and ensure your marketing is relevant. Better still, go to meetings with customers and prospects, shadow the sales team. The only way your marketing can improve is by really understanding your customers and what drives them to purchase from your brand.
These are just some suggestions from my own experience. There are many other tweaks you can make to your marketing and budgets to improve performance, but the key thing is to ensure you understand your customers and your marketing is aligned with company strategy.