4 Ways to Get More from Your Marketing Budget

There will be a lot of enduring business lessons from 2020, but in the long run, one of the strongest takeaways will probably also be the simplest: be careful how you spend your money.

You could take our industry as an example. It’s relatively easy to get good online marketing results when the economy is healthy. Throw in a bit of uncertainty, though, and suddenly things that used to work automatically no longer generate returns.

That can put marketers in a tough spot. On the one hand, a few businesses can’t afford to waste money right now. But on the other hand, those same businesses can’t afford to stop marketing either, at least not if they want to continue generating sales.

From our point of view, the answer is to simply be smarter about your spending. To help you out, today we want to give you four ways you can start getting more from your company’s marketing budget…

1. Trace Leads and Sales Back to a Source

You can’t maximize your marketing budget if you don’t know what’s currently working. That’s why we always recommend tracing the source of any new lead or sale. Whether it’s through web analytics, phone questionnaires, or a combination of other tactics, you should do your best to determine how buyers are finding you. Then you can work on emphasizing those sales and marketing channels.

It may be the case that several marketing campaigns are working in concert to generate returns. However, it may also turn out that a big portion of your time and budget are being wasted.

2. Spend with Your Head, Not Your Heart

We frequently meet with business owners who engage in marketing campaigns that are based on their preferences rather than customer behavior. For example, many like posting messages on Facebook and Instagram, because they are personally familiar with these platforms, even though they aren’t generating real results.

After you’ve taken the time to figure out where new business opportunities are coming from, you need to pour your time, energy, and money into the ideas that are working… even if that means ignoring other options that are more fun or comfortable.

3. Adjust Your Budget in Increments

As a general rule of thumb, you never want to increase or decrease your marketing budgets rapidly. Doing so can lead to wasted money and missed opportunities.

When you scale up too fast, you often become less precise in your targeting. You reach for new demographics or audiences that don’t convert at a high rate. When you cut spending dramatically, you can unintentionally stop the flow of new leads and customers into your company. Neither approach is going to be efficient.

4. Spend a Little to Save a Lot

Many years of experience in this business have taught us that an expert eyeand a different perspectiveare crucial when you’re trying to make good marketing decisions. It helps to have someone who knows the ins and outs of web design or search engine optimization, for example, especially if they can help you evaluate the results you’re getting with a critical eye.

Business owners sometimes think they are saving money by doing everything on their own. In reality, they waste countless hours and dollars because they don’t have access to the expertise they need.

How COVID-19 Changed Business Forever

It’s easy to say that COVID-19 has changed virtually every aspect of life in the past nine months. However, while some temporary measureslike social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoiding public gatheringswill probably fade away, some other changes will be permanent.

In our business, it’s easy to see how the pandemic emphasized the importance of having a strong website. Even though some entrepreneurs will be anxiously waiting for things to go back to “normal,” we think many of the shifts are irreversible. In other words, all the reasons your website was critically important to your company in 2020 will continue into the future. That’s because we were already moving towards a digital-first business landscape.

As a full-service agency, we deal with everything: print ads, branding, package design, and digital strategies. But this year has been all about online business. The internet has been critically important to marketers for years, of course, but current circumstances have shown what is possible and accelerated a trend that was already in motion.

What does this mean for you and your business going forward? Let’s look at a few things that are already becoming apparent…

Your Website is the Primary Point of Contact for Your Business

In many ways, your website is your most important piece of real estate, your best employee, and your biggest source of referrals all in one. That’s because it can be seen and interacted with by many times more visitors than you, your building, or all of your employees combined. That’s especially true if you’re using search engine optimization and social media to their fullest powers.

When you have a strong website in place it enhances your credibility. It’s easier for people to trust you, and to understand the unique advantages of your products or services. In order to gain these benefits, though, your website has to actually be impressive. It also helps if you can use interactive toolslike online chat and real-time social media feedsto engage visitors from the first moment they arrive.

It’s Not Just about Looks Anymore

Although we are in the “business web design” industry, we recognize that term has become something of a misnomer. That’s because the design (or aesthetics) of a website are no longer the primary or only consideration. What you can do with your pages is just as important as the way they look.

We’ve already mentioned the big benefits that come with using online chat to engage with visitors directly in real-time. What we have also seen this year is that ecommerce plugins, online scheduling tools, and video training modulesto name just a fewcan all make a website more valuable. These kinds of features boost revenue, save money, and make it more convenient for customers to do business with you.

COVID-19 Will Pass but Digital Business is Here to Stay

Speaking of decreased costs and increased revenue, it’s important to remember that bottom-line considerations have been driving business website upgrades for many years. There are a lot of business owners out there who only made changes to their websites out of necessity in 2020. Now that they’ve seen the benefits, though, they won’t be going back.

There aren’t many silver linings to the struggles we have seen in 2020. However, it’s never a bad thing when entrepreneurs and executives can discover lasting ways to find customers or save money. That’s why it’s a safe bet that the “new normal” of relying on business websites is going to be with us even as the pandemic stops being an ongoing concern.