How to avoid burning through marketing dollars

With the rise of inflation, your marketing dollars or budget may be shrinking, and everything comes down to the ROI. With each penny spent, you’re faced with questions like “Can it save or make me money?” “Can it save me time?” “Will it bring me more business?” And when everyone seems to be coming at you with the next big marketing idea, “How do I know this won’t be the equivalent of setting my money on fire?”

Unfortunately, the last question is probably the toughest to answer, and small businesses often end up being the most vulnerable. Next time you get that sales call for a new marketing tool, stop and ask yourself these questions before pulling the trigger.

What’s my business or marketing goal?

Maybe it’s awareness of a cause, an increase in sales or fulfillment of an exit strategy. Whatever your goal, your marketing strategy and tactics better support it. We don’t craft custom marketing plans for fun. (Well, we do, but that’s not the only reason.) When done right, marketing, public relations and advertising should all help reach your goals in a real and measurable way.

Can I afford the marketing dollars for new software?

Marketing is an investment, but you’ll never see the results you’re hoping for if you aren’t able to commit to a reasonable amount of time. On the flip side, your public relations professional, marketing expert or media representative should recommend tools that will move the needle within your budget. Additionally, we have a slew of tools that we offer with our clients. From help with social media listening to media analysis to measuring SEO efforts, it’s likely we have a tool to fit your needs.

Does this give me the most bang for my marketing buck?

It’s our responsibility as your advisers to find the best use of your marketing budget. Remember, marketing is not a one-shot fix. You could be in need of a campaign where buying billboards is a huge component to your success in reaching goals. However, it’s possible that strategy would never work for your business or goal.

Do you think you need a LinkedIn ad to help recruit new hires? Well, after conducting research, we may find that platform won’t help you meet your goals. Don’t worry, we’ll always provide the most budget-conscious and efficient avenue. TikTok may be fun, but it may not be worth the resources you’ll have to allocate to be successful.

Is it measurable?

We know you’ve heard of SMART goals, and that acronym isn’t thrown around just for fun. Before committing to put your marketing dollars toward a certain initiative, you always want to make sure it includes a component that can be measured. Perhaps it’s scans from a QR code or an increase in website traffic.

It’s not just conversions or sales that you should focus on (although we know that’s the main goal!). It’s important to remember that people won’t convert if they don’t know you exist. For example, here are just a few of the many ways you can track brand awareness:

  • Social media engagements or follower count
  • Video views
  • Website traffic

How much can I trust the person recommending this to me?

Get referrals. Interview your sales person, even if you know them personally. Most importantly, this is a business decision, and you have to view it through that lens. These are your hard-earned marketing dollars, and they need to work for you – not the pocket book of a sales person. Trust is everything in a good business relationship, and if you’ve been burned, you know it’s hard to come by. Does this company or person truly have your best interest at heart? If you’ve done your homework and still can’t answer that question, it’s time to move on.

In the end, marketing and public relations are a bit of a risk, particularly if this is a new endeavor for you. Finding someone you trust to recommend strategies that move the needle for your business within a budget that makes sense are key to achieving that ROI – and keeping the flames off your cash.