The amount of spending a business should allocate for its marketing efforts varies from industry to industry.
The general consensus pivots to smaller companies spending about 5-10 percent of their revenue on marketing, while larger companies can stretch this up to over 14 percent.
Marketing is such an indispensable part of a business’ operations that it becomes important to put your best foot forward with every move.
Smaller companies often struggle with not being able to allocate enough funds to their marketing efforts.
However, there are many marketing and communications strategies available that help you achieve impressive results without spending hefty amounts on them.
Let’s take a look at some cost-saving strategies for businesses of all types.
#1 Invest in in-person interactive events
Seventy-two percent of the marketing budgets are dedicated to digital marketing efforts. This trend is the result of the growing focus on electronic means of communication as they offer a way around the limitations of traditional marketing.
However, traditional on-the-ground marketing is still a powerful tool if used wisely. Smaller companies often go for it because it involves travel and other logistics that online marketing simply saves you from.
But by not indulging in any traditional marketing efforts, you end up losing potential opportunities. Real-world interaction is important for networking and growing your business. And it has especially found a new resurgence after the pandemic.
The pandemic had forced people to interact through screens, making them crave human interaction more than ever. As things started to get back on track, people were eager to go out and interact with other people.
Businesses can take advantage of this trend to host in-person interactive events for their brands. Don’t shy away from traveling, instead incorporate cost-effective corporate travel practices to boost savings.
Cost-effective travel methods help you manage to travel in ways that aid marketing efforts while opening up new avenues. It gives you the confidence to tap opportunities you might have considered out of your reach otherwise.
Here are some excellent benefits of conducting brand events:
- It helps you establish genuine connections with your audience.
- It instantly differentiates you from your competitors, especially as people indulge in digital marketing more now.
- It gives your brand exposure in the real world.
- You can merge other on-the-ground marketing techniques such as handing out samples, saving costs in the process.
- It serves as an opportunity to increase brand loyalty.
Example: Korean brand’s in-person events in the USA and UK
Let’s understand the above-mentioned point with the example of the Korean skincare brand Glow Recipe. It has garnered a loyal customer base in just a few years of operation courtesy of its excellent formulations and inclusive message.
It started out as an eCommerce brand but has steadily been growing its real-world presence. Conducting events and inviting customers to them has played a major role in this transformation for the brand.
It started out with customer events in the USA and has now taken the momentum to the UK, eyeing other major countries in the near future. The brand did not shy away from corporate travel, in fact, it embraced it to expand its presence.
These events have put the brand on the map in the real sense and have allowed it to engage with its customers in personal settings. The customers in turn post about the events on social media, giving it positive PR.
#2 Respond to people who interact with you
A highly cost-effective marketing strategy that has the potential to yield paramount results is simply replying to online reviews and comments by customers. This particular aspect of online interaction is often not even considered by brands as a necessary step in their marketing efforts.
However, its impact is far-reaching. A 2023 survey found that a whopping 89 percent of customers are highly or fairly likely to engage with a business that responds to its online reviews, while 57 percent will not engage with a business that doesn’t respond to online reviews.
Your response to the reviews you get is a massive factor in their future interaction and potential customers’ engagement with you. First of all, you need to understand that receiving negative reviews is completely normal.
Customers have every right to give you their opinion, even if it’s a bit harsh. You need to take it in your stride and learn from the criticism you get. Try to see the crux of the matter and understand what upset them to rectify it in the future.
Here are some tips to respond to negative reviews online:
- Reply in a timely manner. The longer you put it off, the more ire you’ll likely draw.
- Apologize right away for the upsetting experience the customer had with your product or service. But make sure to not take responsibility for things that aren’t your fault.
- Thank them for reaching out to you as you’ll make sure to rectify the situation right away.
- Let them know you understand their concern.
- Ask them to elaborate on the situation if it’s unclear. If not, present immediate next steps they can take.
- End the response by letting them know your team will be in touch with them.
- Keep the response brief.
- Maintains a neutral tone.
#3 Incorporate email marketing
Email marketing has been a pioneer in digital marketing practices and it still continues to yield a remarkable ROI that’s much more than its contemporaries. One of the factors contributing to a high ROI in email marketing is how cost-effective it is.
You don’t need much to set up an email account and send emails to your target audience. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to market a business that yields targeted results. All you need to do to ace it is understand its nuances.
Here’s what you need to start email campaigns in a cost-effective manner:
- A platform: The most important tool you need to do email marketing is a platform. This is important because simply sending emails from a regular service will instantly get you blacklisted as a spammer. Using a platform allows you to send messages technically categorized as advertisements by a brand. There are many platforms available that can be used for free and offer a plethora of benefits.
- Creating emails: You will need to craft different types of emails to send to your contacts. You may do this yourself, or dedicate an employee/team to it. There are many templates available on the platforms you’ll use or elsewhere online. This is the most important element of your marketing as this is the message your customers receive from you, essentially laying the stepping stones of your connection with them. Make sure to pay attention to the quality of the content you craft in your emails as it’ll be what determines the success of the campaign.
- Contact list: Your contact list is simply the people who have agreed to receive emails from you. The goal with your contact list should be to segment them based on different demographics such as where they stand on the sales funnel, their likes, dislikes, etc. Moreover, you should look to grow your contact list by promoting it on different communication channels.
- Sending timely emails: Manually sending emails in bulk is simply not feasible. You need to set up a system with your email marketing platform where you send emails to your audience in a timely manner. This ensures regular contact with your audience. For this, you’ll also need to figure out the best times at which you should send the emails to get maximum engagements. This can depend on various factors such as their time zone, own schedule, and preference.
Once you have the essentials sorted to execute email marketing, create campaigns for different purposes to maximize your impact. Some common email marketing campaign types are:
- Newsletters: Keep them updated with happenings about your business that might interest them.
- Welcome: Invite new contacts and let them know what they expect from you.
- Lead nurturing: Provide contacts with valuable information that will be useful to them and strengthen your connection with them.
- Alerts: Inform them about things such as sales, offers, discounts, and events going on to nudge them to engage with you.
- Abandoned cart emails: Remind them about the items they’ve left in the cart at your website, often coupled with lucrative offers.
#4 Create stunning content
Blogging has become a necessity for businesses to stay relevant in the digital space. However, most companies make the mistake of creating content just to fill up space on their website. When in reality, they can create excellent marketing opportunities with their content.
Blogging is a cost-effective marketing tactic that allows you to:
- Present valuable information to your target audience and engage them.
- Show the humane side of your business and build loyalty for your brand.
- Stand out from your competitors by trying out unique ideas.
Companies with bigger marketing budgets can conduct elaborate surveys and research that surely consume resources but also help them create unique, original content. Smaller companies simply don’t have that luxury.
However, there are many ways to create valuable content that don’t require a high budget. Start small and simple. The end goal of any content creation is to engage the customer or potential customer with your brand.
So, creating content directly meant for customer engagement is an excellent way to engage them without spending much on it. For example, create articles, blogs, and how-to videos that directly relate to your product, such as:
- How to use the product.
- Different uses of the product to help the customer make the most of it.
- How to maintain or repair the product for longevity.
- FAQs about the product.
Such content is fairly easy to create. If you’re writing articles and blogs about these topics, all you need is to focus on giving clear instructions in easy-to-understand wording. You don’t need to do something extraordinary for this.
Similarly, if you’re creating videos about the above-mentioned topics, all you need is a good-quality camera and a decent background to display your products. None of these require a high budget, only your dedication to helping your customers with the solutions they seek.
The biggest benefit of creating product-centric content is that it’s timeless. It won’t go obsolete in a few weeks. People are going to visit it again and again whenever they look up anything about your products.
This serves numerous benefits, such as:
- Boosting your SEO rankings,
- Expanding your online presence,
- Bringing users to your website, and
- Keeping users on your website.
#5 Make the most of social media
Nearly every business is on social media today. But not many can make an impact. This is because they create non-engaging content. Instead of creating content about what your brand is, make it about the problems your target audience is facing and how you can help them.
This is the type of content that engages an audience. Once again, it doesn’t require many resources, simply a targeted approach dedicated toward helping your target audience find solutions for their problems.
Most social media platforms are free to join, and platforms such as Instagram provide tools on their own to help entrepreneurs.
Make use of them to create a page that provides valuable insights. Don’t be afraid to try out different post types to see what works best for your audience. And post at regular intervals to keep momentum.
Focus on establishing connections with your audience to find success with cost-effective marketing
Marketing plays an indispensable role in the success of any business. When looking for cost-effective marketing strategies, focus on establishing authentic connections with your audience by helping them solve their problems with your product.
Conducting in-person interactive events has helped companies make the most of people’s desires to go out and meet people, using it to their aid to form connections with them. On the digital front, email marketing, content creation, and social media marketing are some impactful cost-effective strategies to engage audiences.
Let us know in the comments what you think are the best cost-effective marketing strategies for businesses in 2024.