How to make the most of your marketing budget in 2019
Budgets. Not a marketer’s favourite subject, right? Having your ideas and strategies constrained by the realities of figures on a spreadsheet is frustrating, especially if you’re working within a company that doesn’t quite get the huge value that marketing can contribute to the business.
Unfortunately, until someone finds a money tree, the reality is that our marketing activities will always be constrained by a budget. But thankfully there is plenty you can do to stretch out whatever finance you’ve been allocated and make the most of it this year to drive genuine results that will make your MD sit up and take notice.
Refine your research
You can create the most amazing marketing plan in the world, ticking all of 2019’s top trend boxes (augmented reality app, anyone?), but if your marketing activity doesn’t appeal to your target market then you’re never going to make back your investment of money or time. There’s no point spending a fortune on a glossy magazine ad, for example, if your target clients are more likely to be swayed by an influencer on Instagram.
Before you do anything else, go back to your client personas and check they’re still relevant. Dig into your data and find out what has been working in terms of generating leads and sales recently, so that you can do more of that. Consider market research - either formal or informal, via social media or in person - and make that the platform on which you build your marketing plan.
To make sure you’re not wasting your marketing budget you need to be sharing the right messages at the right times on the right channels in order to connect with the right audience.
Repurpose your best content
Before you start thinking about all the new content you need to budget for this year, have a look at what you already have. Chances are there’s a lot of value that you haven’t quite made the most of. Even simply re-sharing evergreen blog posts on your social channels - or publishing them directly on LinkedIn if you haven’t already - can boost the return that particular piece of content generates and it takes barely any time or effort at all.
But there are lots of other ways to take existing content and use it to reinforce your messaging or reach new audiences. For example:
Repurpose several blog posts on a single subject into an ebook and use it as a lead generation tool.
Use relevant data you’ve collected over the last few months to create a useful infographic.
Take key quotes from old blog posts and use them to create inspirational quote cards to share on Instagram.
Lift reviews and testimonials from your LinkedIn or Facebook page and share them as posts.
Record old blog posts as audio files and launch a podcast series or summarise key points to camera in a live video feed.
For more ideas on how to repurpose your content to maximise your marketing budget, read our post on How to share one piece of content 11 ways.
Be time efficient
Whether you are a business owner or marketing manager, there is a cost associated with your time, both in terms of salary and also the impact and results that your invested time has.
Wasting hours doing menial chores like uploading blog posts or scheduling your social feed, which could be delegated to a junior staff member, is a poor use of your resources. You’re far better off working the room at a relevant networking event or making new connections with local media representatives. Likewise, if there are any tasks that can be automated then make sure you do this in order to free up your time to focus on more valuable tasks.
On those jobs that do remain within your remit, use time saving tips including batch tasking, which improves efficiency, and scheduling tools to ensure that you’re always working at maximum capacity.
For more time saving tips, read our post on How to save time with your content marketing.
Plug the skills gaps
The only way to ensure your marketing plan is successful and therefore not a waste of money is to ensure that you have the skills on board to effectively implement it. Is there any training you should be investing in for yourself or your team? Do you need to hire in new talent? Or can you bring in experts to help you with things like blogging or design work?
Outsourcing work - or, as we prefer to see it, insourcing experts - may cost money but ultimately if it helps you get things done quicker or better than it’s a worthwhile investment that will generate a positive return.
If you’re interested in improving your blogging skills, Rin is running a workshop on how to Level Up Your Business Blog in March.
Monitor the data and stay agile
Just as you took a look at your data when you were setting your 2019 marketing strategy, make sure you keep checking in on a regular basis throughout the year. By doing so, you’ll see what’s working and what’s not in real time so that you can make small adjustments and ultimately save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort.
The agile working approach has gained a huge amount of popularity over recent years and is a good way to get buy-in from colleagues. They’ll see the results you’re generating and begin to understand the value of blogging, social media, video, audio, website updates and so on. You never know, you might even earn yourself a bigger budget for next year!
Want to read more? Try this - How to maximise the ROI of your business blog