Growing a Marketing Plan On a Budget
Anyone working in retail knows how important it is to closely watch budgets and profit margins. Marketing can be a major factor in the overall business equation that will make or break your ongoing success.
Based on my experience in working with a variety of thrifty clients over the past decade, I have curated a simple set of rules to help maximize marketing dollars. Here are the top lessons learned in a decade-long quest to offer inventive ways to do more with less.
Keep It Simple
I always tell my clients I would rather see them do one thing exceptionally well than participate in several marketing activities at a mediocre level.
A website, Google My Business profile and a business page on at least one social media outlet are considered a must for businesses to maintain a digital storefront. Beyond that, you can really create your own rules.
When building an integrated marketing plan, think through the ways to repurpose content across all marketing platforms. If you are creating a direct-mail campaign, make sure to use the same elements in your e-newsletter, social media, website and in-store displays. Also consider taking your top-performing social media posts and repurpose them by sending out weekly, bi-weekly or monthly emails. The key is to be consistent.
Remember, less is more in branding 99% of the time. A brand book with guidelines outlining the look, feel and tone of your brand is recommended. When building your brand, there are a few basic rules to help you focus on the bigger picture: professionally designed logo, a brand color palette and a set of fonts to be used for consistency.
Inexpensive Resources for Marketing Success
Utilize Canva.com, an inexpensive resource, to help get your brand profile set up. The site has a user-friendly, professional account option for around $10/month that can help you create images, flyers, signage, videos and more.
Other sites like Fiverr.com or DesignCrowd.com can help with your logo design at extremely affordable prices.
You can also contact your local university’s marketing department. Often these departments like to provide students real-world marketing case studies, and you may be able to benefit from this.
Have a Measurable Plan
You don’t need a fancy plan, it can be a simple outline in a spreadsheet, but it should outline all the marketing activities you need to accomplish on a monthly basis and tie those activities to both your marketing budget and measurable goals. A plan keeps you accountable.
Include line items for website, e-marketing, social media, digital ads, direct mail, billboards, public relations, events and telemarketing (text or voice) activities to start. Each business typically has its own custom items to add to this list. Remember to build in ways to measure the results of each item.
Focus On What Is Making You Money
Track how much each marketing element is costing you and which items are leading to sales. Every piece of marketing you create should be trackable. For example, use different coupon codes for mailed or digital campaigns and for each marketing channel. Pick the winners and invest more money in those! The goal is to bring in more sales than you are spending on marketing.