As much as you want the freedom to develop products, serve customers, and market your business in any way you want, there is one thing you must always bear in mind—the budget.
When it comes to marketing, your budget is make or break. So how do you get the best from this budget, optimising and maximising your available funds?
Set Some Benchmark Maximums
You need a benchmark maximum to work from. Essentially, this means analysing your entire operational budget and assigning a portion of this to your marketing campaigns. For instance, you might allocate 12% of your operational budget to marketing or 10% or less if you do not wish to spend too much on promotion.
Start with a small and manageable proportion. This way, you can assess the success of your campaign over the first year and scale your budget up if necessary. Bear in mind that increasing your spending is not a guarantee of success – this is simply a way to get a handle on how you are using your operational budget each year.
Identify the Value of Your Targets
On the face of it, this is pretty simple. If you spend $10 successfully marketing a $25 product to a customer, you’ve made $15. Except, you haven’t made this — you still need to consider production costs, storage and delivery fees, and other expenses associated with developing and providing your product. These must be subtracted from the raw profit.
In addition to this, marketing tends to be pretty complex. You probably aren’t going to be promoting products to customers one-on-one. Instead, you’re going to be mass communicating, and only a small percentage of your audience is going to convert. And what happens after they convert? Customers that stick around, purchasing more products and services, will be more valuable than one-off purchasers.
You need to take your benchmark maximums and hone these further. By understanding how much each user action is worth to you — for example, a mailing list sign-up, a product purchase, or a service subscription — you can avoid underspending on each area of your strategy. Underspending can be just as disastrous as overspending.
Find a Balance between Paid and Organic Marketing
If you devote your entire budget to paid marketing, you might achieve some results, but you’re not optimising your spending. Instead, you should look at how you can save money by avoiding paid ads when possible.
This is not about compromising — this is about maximising your returns. Between 70% and 80% of search engine users will ignore paid ads in favour of organic search results. Of course, paid advertising is still very useful, but this must be supported by high-quality organic SEO.
Identify where you can gain the most value from paid ads — ranking for tricky search terms or advertising with a high-authority partner in your industry. With this knowledge, you can use organic search engines and social media marketing to maximise returns and optimise spend.
Invest in Reputation Management
Knowing what your customers and leads are saying about you online is important. Often, this is fairly easy to find — you can search for your brand on social media channels and read user comments, or you can check out customer review platforms and verify yourself as the business owner. In other instances, you might need a bit of help. AI-based tools can help you learn more about customer opinion and your online reputation.
Respond to negative customer reviews wherever you can, offering constructive and positive replies. This can turn a poor customer experience into a good one and can demonstrate to other users that you are serious about customer care.
Around 94% of consumers say a bad review has made them avoid businesses in the past. Meanwhile, over half say businesses should respond to negative reviews within a week, and around a third say responses should come within three days. Never ignore negative reviews; instead, turn them into an opportunity for free publicity.
Marketing Budget Optimisation and Maximisation with Impressive
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