When times are tough, one of the first things to go is the marketing budget. Advertising suddenly seems like a luxury.
But that’s not a good strategy. In fact, businesses that prosper often market themselves more aggressively during lean times. The key is to batten down the hatches and get the most out of the money available to you.
Here’s what we suggest.
The days of ‘traditional’ advertising are fading fast. Digital not only lets you reach more customers, it allows you to do it on a tighter budget.
Looking to stretch your marketing spend? 80-90% of your focus should be online.
Keep SEO top-of-mind
With PPC (Pay Per Click), you can pay to get to the top of Google, but you’ll often end up forking out a lot of money for the privilege.
SEO – or search engine optimization – is a cheaper strategy.
What’s more, while PPC might get you clicks in the short-term, getting to the top organically will net you far more traffic over the long term.
Here are a few upfront strategies to get you going from an SEO perspective:
Make sure your site is optimized for mobile and that it loads quickly.
Cut the fat from images, and prioritize speed over flashy imagery
Implement a blog on your site and then start writing posts regularly – Google rewards sites that have a regular stream of fresh content
Make use of an internal linking strategy; i.e., link between different blog posts on your site
Seed what you’ve created to third-party sites, and invite them to link back to the original post
Have topics/keywords that you want to rank for in mind. If you’re stuck, start typing a sentence into Google and see what the search engine giant suggests people are searching for. Alternatively, start paying for a keyword tool like SEM Rush.
Get the meta data right – posts titles, descriptions and URLs all count
Use A/B Testing
A/B testing is a split test. It splits your audience randomly down the middle and shows two different versions of your site to the two different audiences.
The upshot? You analyze which version does “better”; i.e., which version keeps people on-site longer.
This then allows you to work out what works and what doesn’t – you cut the stuff that makes people “bounce” (leave your site) and harness the elements that seem to be working.
Even with a relatively small sample size in play, an A/B test is incredibly effective at giving you a path forward.
In other words: never make wholesale changes to your website without testing those changes first.
Use heat maps to learn more about your consumers
Heat maps are a deceptively simple marketing strategy that give you a real edge.
By installing one on your site, you get a visual representation of where people are clicking, and how often.
The map is simplicity incarnate: a carbon copy of your website lined with heat signatures. The darker the signature, the more clicks you’re getting.
Right away you know what people are seeing – and clicking – and what they’re not.
Got an important link on your site? The heat map will tell you whether it’s getting any love or not, allowing you to act accordingly.
Use word of mouth
Old marketing strategies still hold weight, and word of mouth is a viable strategy no matter the time…
A few strategies to do this:
Create a referral program that rewards people for recommending your service.
Create an Instagram profile that accepts – and posts – user generated content (this might not make sense for every business).
Attend conferences, either as a speaker or as a regular attendee.
Stay tuned to the site for more marketing and advertising info – we’ll be back soon with more ways to wring the most from your marketing pot.