It’s a story that permeates the marketing industry, particularly when it comes to smaller or newer businesses. Often, business owners balk at the prospect of shelling out money on marketing. To them, it seems like a large expenditure that may or may not bring in results.
While this is absolutely a risk, and something that happens frequently if money is not spent wisely, this is no reason to avoid having a marketing strategy altogether.
In fact, there are many ways to have a solid marketing plan even without a large budget. Startup capital is hard to come by, and the dollars are precious. And for a business that’s bootstrapping its way to success, those dollar piles are even smaller and more valuable.
But failing to have any marketing strategy whatsoever can spell disaster. If a business does not have a way to amplify its voice and gain new customers and followers, where will the success come from?
Even products or services that are aimed towards the business to business market need sufficient marketing. If nothing else, having a strong online presence (which is something most, if not all, businesses need now) requires a marketer’s brain. With just a bit of finesse and attention, even the smallest marketing budget can be turned into a valuable asset and expenditure.
Start with the Budget
A budget for marketing doesn’t have to be huge. Any budget can be utilized to the best of its ability — the important thing here is to identify a budget and to then find the best possible use for that money.
Let’s say a new gym in town has about $1000 a month dedicated to marketing. When compared to larger businesses, this may not seem like a lot. However, there are several ways to divide up this budget in order to make it work for the company.
But identifying a budget is a critical first step, as it prevents oversight and costs that will be damaging to the company in the future. It’s okay to be conservative when defining an initial budget.
Do Some Tests for the Best Results
Once a budget has been defined, do some deeper dives into how that budget can be spent and what the projected return on investment (ROI) may be.
This also depends on the goals of the marketing plan. Is the goal for this new gym simply to boost its visibility in the neighborhood? Is it to entice people to sign up online for free trial memberships or group exercise classes? All of these will factor into how the marketing budget is spent.
Luckily for local businesses, Google does not allow paid promotion for a business to show up in local search results. This is a free opportunity to become the top visited site in the area! The online profile of the business — reviews, photos, accurate hours and address, and a robust website, etc. — will help boost the quality score that Google assigns to the local listing. The higher the quality, the higher the gym will rank on local results when someone nearby searches for a gym or fitness center.
Don’t worry if the first experiment done with the marketing budget doesn’t bring in the results you seek. Sometimes, it takes a few tweaks and adjustments to make a marketing plan perform at its best.
When using platforms such as social media ads or Google Ads, make sure to give any changes sufficient time to work before making further changes. Otherwise, the algorithm has less time to learn the behaviors of the business and you risk losing visibility with too much shifting.
With these tips, a business with a small budget can still find success in marketing. What’s important to remember is that marketing should never be overlooked. It can be intimidating to push money into something that may not bring in overwhelming results, but with enough attention, any marketing strategy can be made to perform at its absolute best.
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