09 September 2020

By testing and measuring, you can save thousands of pounds in paid advertising

Decades ago, creating a marketing budget for your small business used to involve a lot of trial and error, which was both expensive and ineffective. Then, at the dawn of the Internet age, everybody seems to have become marketing experts. They seem to have all the answers, and that means you need to pay them to give you the answers.

Now, marketing — especially digital marketing — costs a lot. Furthermore, wading through hundreds of marketing options can become so overwhelming when you already have so many other business expenses to consider. What if you don’t have enough money? What if the money you do have gets wasted on something that turned out ineffective?

Allocating a budget for a marketing plan is stressful, but it’s essential for business durability. If you want your business to not only survive but compete, you have to embrace marketing. Here’s how you can save money in marketing that actually works.

Test and measure

This method is basically testing a new approach and then measuring the results you get. For example, you’ve been paying a marketing agency £3,000 per month for a “marketing package” that involves email marketing, paid Google ads and search optimisations. But by doing a simple test and measurement, you’ve discovered that a majority of the enquiries you’ve been receiving are actually from your social media accounts, which you’ve been running without any cost at all. That will then lead you to try a new approach, such as cutting back on your marketing agency spend and reallocating the funds to boosting social media posts instead. If the result is an improvement to the previous approach, then that means you were able to enhance your marketing and save money at the same time.

This continuous tweaking, based on testing and measuring, is how you improve your marketing. Remember, the objective is always to leverage your most effective marketing channel, so you get the best possible return you can. This also means it is never perfect and is always a work-in-progress.

Understand the process more

The next thing to do is to understand more how your sales funnel works. A sales funnel is a series of steps your potential customer has to take in order to acquire your product or service. Understanding your sales funnel will help you figure out how your clients find you in the first place.

You will also need to determine what potential customers need to know before they buy or take action.

Knowing the major factors that contribute to their final decision will help you create a more effective marketing plan. Map out each possible sales funnel that current customers take to purchase from you. Identify which sales and marketing approaches are yielding good results, and find out how much you currently spend on these channels. Is it possible to reduce the cost even more without affecting results?

Now it’s time to set goals

Once you’ve fully understood which marketing tactics work and how to optimize them, the next step is to set goals. How much revenue are you aiming for? How many sales do you need to hit your revenue target? Calculate how many leads you need to convert the right number of sales. At what rate do your leads typically convert? If you’re new to all these concepts, research typical sales conversion rates in your niche to establish a realistic goal.

There may be a lot of marketing “experts” out there, and in some cases, they might actually have the answer. That doesn’t mean you can’t try the practical approach first. By simply testing and measuring, you can come up with a winning strategy to attract more customers without having to allocate a sizeable chunk of your budget. Just because it costs a lot doesn’t mean it’s automatically effective.

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