How to invest your small business marketing budget with confidence
When your small business marketing budget is tight, you need to make smart investment decisions.
It’s crucial that you spend your budget wisely to get the biggest bang for your buck (‘return on investment’ (ROI)).
But with an ever-growing number of potential marketing activities available to us, how do you make the right choices for your business?
Worry no more, we’re here to help! Before you invest in any marketing activity, take a moment and ask yourself these three important questions:
Q1: Will it help me reach my target audience?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself when you’re planning any marketing activity, is whether it will get you in front of your target audience. Will it put you in the space where they hang out?
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Yet so many businesses jump into totally untargeted marketing campaigns that can only generate disappointing results. A complete waste of precious funds.
Business example: If you’re a creative business considering exhibiting at a fair, be sure to do your research. What type of visitors will the fair attract? Do these visitors match your target customer profile? Are your products a good fit for the event? Who else is going to be exhibiting there?
The event organisers will be able to provide you with this information and/or you can often find it detailed on their website. Fairs can be a significant investment for a small business, especially if they involve travel and overnight accommodation. You need to consider the full investment (of both time and money) and potential ROI before you sign up.
TOP TIP: Always keep your target audience top of mind when you’re evaluating potential marketing activities. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, don’t try to force your business/brand into the opportunity. Instead, trust your gut and hold off – find something that’s more appropriate for your target audience and you’ll see a far better return on your investment.
Q2: Will it help me achieve my broader business objectives?
Once you have an online presence, you’ll likely be regularly approached with potential marketing opportunities. Anything from website and digital marketing services, to branded promotional items, discounted advertising opportunities and more.
Many of these ‘opportunities’ will come with scarcity tactics (‘Offer ends TODAY’, ‘Only 5 places available!’ and so on) along with promotional pricing to tempt you.
But before you say yes, take a step back and ask yourself whether the marketing activity in question will help you to achieve your broader business goals.
Also remember that some marketing opportunities are harder to turn down than others, but that it is still completely fine to say no.
Business example: If you are invited to speak at a business event, whilst it may be flattering to be asked, take a moment to consider whether it is the right fit for you.
Ask about the audience and other presenters, and of course the format and purpose of the event. What are the associated costs and how much of your time will be required?
If you feel it would be beneficial to your business (or at least a positive investment of your time and/or budget), then go for it. Guest speaking can be a great way to raise your profile, boost credibility and generate new business. But if you find yourself questioning the true value of the opportunity, it might be better to politely turn it down.
TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to say no to marketing opportunities if you don’t feel they will contribute to your broader business goals. It’s ok to say no! Far better to remain focused on your end goal(s) and take your business forward in the right direction for you.
Q3: How can I maximise a small marketing investment?
With any of your marketing activities, always look for clever ways to spread your message that little bit further.
Think savvy. Be creative with what you have. Connect with influencers. You don’t need to spend big to get results, even a modest marketing budget can achieve great things with a bit of smart thinking.
Business example: Collaborations are a great marketing activity for small businesses on a budget. Joining forces with like-minded brands who share a similar ethos can be great for growing a business. Brand collaborations and cross-promotions (think Instagram collaborations between relevant brands) create the perfect opportunity to get more people talking about you and build your audience.
Maximise your investment by leveraging all your available marketing channels and push your message further – website, social media platforms, your email list and so on. Be where your audience are. Be consistent with your message. Be relevant. Be heard.
TOP TIP: If you’re collaborating with another brand, get your heads together early on to brainstorm all possible marketing channels that you can jointly engage to promote your offer. Before, during and post-collaboration content is perfect for your social media platforms. Remember, it’s all about maximising your marketing investment and making it go that little bit further!
So, there you have it! Three important questions you should ask yourself before you invest your small business marketing budget. Do you have a budgeting tip to share? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
Or get involved in the conversation on Instagram. Join our growing Instagram community for our latest marketing news, tips and small business inspiration – we’d love to meet you!
(Note: When making budgeting decisions, there are of course other factors to consider such as the life-stage of your business, your longer-term plans, available budget (hopefully you have a budget worked up for the year) and so on – but these three questions will help you get started with sense checking your marketing investment decisions).