Marketing budgets can be hard for some business owners to figure out. For some owners they understand the importance of marketing, but don’t always set aside enough in the budget for it, as they may not see an immediate ROI from it. When companies make cut backs, marketing tends to take the hit. But marketing is the single most effective way to grow a company’s brand or image within an industry. Therefore, if you are put in a position of managing this budget, it’s important to spend it in the right areas and make use of the money that you do have. Here are some tips on how to do that effectively.
Use Social Media
Depending on how you use social media, the size of your company and the current skillset, there could be little to no costs associated with it. There could be salary costs associated to your marketing department if you staff a Social Media Manager position or other social media related positions. Depending on your needs, you can also consider hiring someone part time or on contract. There are skilled consultants that you can hire to set up your social media accounts and then teach you how to use them. Whatever your budget, or social media knowledge, there are many different solutions available. I would caution against using an intern though, unless social media is their background. You have to make sure that whoever is handling your social media, that they are skilled and knowledgeable in what they are doing. They are representing your business in a very public forum and need to understand your brand, voice and the messaging which you want to convey.
It’s also important that you understand your audience to make sure that you are using the right social media platforms to reach them. Being on a particular social media platform just because everyone else is on it, is not a good reason to be using it. Every social media platform has different demographics associated with it. Which ever platforms that you decide to use, whether they be Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, etc, the key is consistency. Be consistent in your social media use, be helpful and provide value to build up relationships and trust within your industry.
Another budget consideration when using social media, is what type of social media management software you will use to help you manage your social media profiles across the different channels. Having a good social media management software saves a lot time as you can plan, prepare and schedule content across multiple channels from one place. I recommend and am a huge fan of Hootsuite. They do have a free version but for businesses who want detailed analytics and reporting, and the ability to add multiple users, then I would recommend their pro version or enterprise solutions. Hootsuite supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi. Additional social network integrations are available via Hootsuite’s App Directory, including Instagram, MailChimp, Reddit, Storify, Tumblr, Vimeo and YouTube. Hootsuite also provides social media courses and training through their own Hootsuite University, has great customer support, and an active ambassador community to help out with questions or problems.
Social media is a very effective way to raise your company’s profile for very little outlay compared to other areas of marketing.
Work With An SEO Company
This is the absolute best way to get yourself higher up in Google rankings and search results. Your business might be perfect for somebody and exactly what they’re looking for. However, if they can’t find you online when using search engines, then it is like you don’t exist and you could be losing out on a lot of potential business. Search engine optimization is a fantastic way of making sure that the most suitable people find your business online. This can be achieved by using a good SEO Company. They will be able to put your business on the map with some effective digital marketing strategies in a very small amount of time. SEO marketing is fairly costly, however, so expect a big chunk of your budget to be eaten up by this method.
Don’t Forget About Your Website
Before your try and drive more traffic to your company website by using social media, and before hiring an SEO company, you should make sure that your website is up to date, that it is mobile friendly and that it creates the right first impression. Your website is your online presence, and thus creates an image of your business in the minds of potential customers. The saying you only have one chance to create a good first impression is right when it comes to your website. If it is difficult to navigate, too slow to load, over crowded with information or hard to read then people will leave it quickly and they won’t come back.
There are many different options to consider when creating a business website, depending on your budget and computer know-how. The inexpensive route is to buy a domain name and hosting package and then create a site through a template on WordPress, or secondly, hire a web designer. A web designer will cost a lot more but the costs do not compare to the benefits of having an incredible looking site, believe me. A web designer will make your business’ website look and feel outstanding. They can work with you on your branding to create consistency and uniformity across multiple pages and even into your social media channels.
Ultimately, if you follow these three tips, then you will have successfully made use of your business’ marketing budget. It’s important to spend wisely while also holding back in some areas. SEO marketing and web development are expensive, but the results gained from these areas are worth it.
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