In a guest post appearing on Entrepreneurship In A Box, our owner and president Christine Wetzler gives SMBs a few tips on how to keep marketing when budgets are tight. The full text from the website appears below, but do visit Entrepreneurship In A Box for even more valuable insight.
Marketing and PR is one of the first areas to see cuts. It’s inexplicable to me as a marketing person since I know this is one of the best ways to continue getting leads. But, as a business owner, I understand that long-game tactics sometimes need to be evaluated when you’re tightening your belt.
That’s why I’ve identified five ways you can keep promoting your business on a reduced budget. It’s a good idea to reduce your spending but please don’t ever stop promoting your business.
Don’t print anything
Stop producing print materials. Find a way to provide that information electronically or personally. Chances are, this is easier than you think. Most online tools do not have a steep learning curve and electronic documents offer greater flexibility in almost every area – measurement, distribution, edits, and targeting each audience.
Stop paying for social ads
I can already read the nasty comments on this one but hear me out. Unless you have a definitive ROI coming from these ads I recommend eliminating or pausing them in favor of online remarketing ads. If you’re a retail direct-to-consumer company and must use social, I’d recommend focusing on Instagram and only if you have the 10,000 followers required to have a “buy now” button.
Create compelling content
If you are not already doing so, start to think about the interesting stories you can tell on a blog or similar publisher. People like to read about results, so even if it’s a short 300-word post on LinkedIn about a project, it counts. You get bonus points here if you can also push this content out to high-value media and online publishers. This is something you can do yourself or pay an agency to do if you’re short on time or knowledge.
Side note on this point: doing it yourself is possible but not advised. It’s kind of like saying you can build a backyard deck. Can you? Sure. Should you? No, unless you’re also a carpenter. You can find a range of people and organizations to assist you at every price point.
This is one of those areas where you need to strike a balance between cost and quality. The way you can do that is to go into it with clear intentions that you can clearly articulate.
Focus on your website
Audit and improve your website. Make sure it’s easy to read and appears well on mobile devices. Use this opportunity to make sure it looks and feels the same as the story you’re telling about your business.
Google Search Console is free and easy to use. It will tell you where you can improve your website and, later, if any changes you’ve made have made an impact. Google Analytics is now even easier to use as well. There are free or low-cost opportunities to be had by updating your website. Find them.
Audit your public information
Google your company – are all the places you appear showing the correct information? You can also find online resources like Whitespark or MOZ Local to find out if your business is linked to the right directories online. Further, many of these companies can help you get and manage reviews. You can also do that on your own by asking your most positive customers to review you on Google or Yelp.
Lastly, here is some bonus advice that applies to all of these suggestions – you can find a person or boutique PR and marketing firm that can help you at a low or reduced price. Focus on the nexus between cost and quality and don’t get locked into someone else’s definition of success. A good communications partner can show results. They have clients with good experiences.
Just be sure you know what you want to do before you look for help.
Christine Wetzler has owned the boutique firm Pietryla PR & Marketing since 2002. It has offices in Chicago and London and has been recognized as “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur magazine, and as one of the top 20 firms in Chicago by Expertise. She is also a member of Forbes’ Agency Council.