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- Assessing Your Marketing Budget in a Challenging Economy - November 26, 2008
How do you continue to grow your business when you feel forced to cut back on marketing due to economic adversity? Well for starters, you never want to completely cut back on all of your communications with customers and prospects because they are the very people that can get you through tough times. Taking important steps to spend wisely can make the difference. That’s something we are committed to helping you achieve at VerticalResponse. Here’s a quick guide to evaluating some common marketing expenditures:
First determine whether your print ads are actually working for you. Ask your customers how they heard or read about you either online or at in person, then track the number of times a specific ad or referring site is bringing you the most business. If you aren’t sure the effect cutting your advertising campaign could have on your business, consider a simple change like reducing your ad sizes or renegotiating positions with publications. Until you ask, the answer is no.
Efficiency is the key. If you sell or serve locally make sure you’re not spending to show ads in other areas of the country. Invest in your area only. Google let’s you do that. If you have campaigns running up a daily tab that have not offered the response you are looking for it may be the right time to pause them for a few months.
You don’t have to cut here at all and it’s not just because you might be a customer of ours. Now, VerticalResponse (and some other ESP’s) let’s you send unlimited email for a low fixed monthly fee in addition to a flexible pay-as-you-go option. This enables you to increase your email sends and keep growing your business. Reducing the frequency of your email communications can also lead to an increase in your list members unsubscribing which also hurts your best source for referrals and viral marketing.
Instead of cutting tradeshows out of your budget altogether, you might be able to reduce your presence. Why not share a booth with another complementary business? Do you really need 3 people to go or can you do it with 2? Maybe you can have a smaller table or booth? Make sure you don’t skimp on printing business cards, but use the back of your card for a promotion instead of printing on a larger datasheet. There are simple ways to reduce, while still getting your message heard.
Start a Refer-a-Friend Program
Ask you customers to refer their friends and share a discount or free gift every time their friends purchase. This only costs you a percentage of revenue or gift and it’s a fantastic way to spread word of mouth.