When you're working with limited resources, sometimes it's hard to know where or how to spend your marketing dollars. Below are two of the most common mistakes I've seen small businesses make when it comes to their budgets.
#1 - No sales funnel or system of measurement
If you’re putting your brand out there but you don’t have a sales funnel in place, it’s pretty much the same as going fishing without plans to reel in any fish. You’ve got prospects on the hook but no plan on how to turn them into customers.
Here's an example: There’s a billboard in town and you get a great deal to advertise your business, so you take advantage of it.
Was the goal of the billboard to drive traffic to your website? If so, do you have tools in place such as Google analytics to measure the number of unique visitors to your website? After they visit your website, what do you want them to do? Sign up for your newsletter? Follow you on Facebook? Here's my point: If you’re building a funnel, what are the next steps to get them to move through your sales process?
Maybe the end goal of the billboard wasn't to drive traffic to your website. Instead, it was to increase the number of orders you sold during that time frame. If so, are you tracking new sales from month to month? Another tip is to ask customers how they heard about you. While it may have taken several impressions for the actual transaction to occur, this simple question will help you better understand the tipping point at which your potential customers take action.
If you don’t have a sales funnel or a system of measurement in place, you’ll probably look back at the money you spent on the billboard and assume it was ineffective, which is not always the case. But if you’re not aligning your advertising with a clear, concise plan, including a way to measure your efforts, then you’ll just play a guessing game at what’s really effective for your business. So, start with the end in mind and build your communications plan from there.
#2 - Equating the expense of marketing to products, rather than services
Most small businesses do not have a full-time (or even a part-time) staff member who specializes in marketing or public relations. So it falls under the responsibility of the owner, manager, or intern. (You know, that whole “other duties as assigned” part of the job description...)
It takes time to manage this effectively for a business, no matter the size. But when asked about outsourcing this work, you’ll commonly hear from small businesses that they simply don’t have it in the budget.
That's because most businesses view marketing as an expense similar to products or office supplies. So when you have this perception, it’s easy to eliminate it from the budget because it can seem expensive in comparison.
Instead, view it as an investment, because that's what it really is. Consider your marketing budget similarly to the resources you allocate for your accountant, bookkeeper, lawyer or your company’s top-producing employee. You know they're worth the investment, right?
So why would you not allocate the proper resources to communicate your brand effectively? After all, a company’s biggest asset is its brand. Don’t believe me? Ask some of the ones who have seen their fair share of negative press.
And whether you decide to outsource or to perform these tasks in-house, remember to have tools in place to measure those efforts as mentioned above.
Ready to map out a game plan for your business? Let’s talk.