It never fails. Right after we ring in the New Year, they start coming out of the woodwork; every possible kind of solution to the problem of how the holidays forced us to loosen our belt buckles. Each claim is a “sure thing,” guaranteed to bring back the svelte and lovable you. As they say, fat is not phat!
What a great analogy to an overweight marketing budget. Why not use this time of the year to get out the magnifying glass and really analyze whether there’s not some areas of fat in your marketing spend that could be trimmed out?
- Start with Yellow Page advertising. If you’re doing it, stop. Nobody looks at that book anymore and landfills are full of unopened directories. If you are addicted and are afraid you just can’t do that, then cut it to its minimum and see if your worst fears are realized. My thinking is, nobody will notice and sales will not be affected.
- Take a hard look at any print advertising or direct mail you’re paying for. I’m not saying it’s not working but these are hard mediums to measure success on. Consider using a unique telephone number or establishing a PURL for each ad. What is a PURL you ask? It stands for Personalized URL or many refer to it as a unique landing page on your website which corresponds exactly to what was in the print ad or direct mail piece. Using your website analytics, you can then measure actual responses to your ads and can then justify the expenditures there.
- Unless you have an incredibly extensive website with a shopping cart of tens of thousands of items, or the security of your website is mission critical, you probably shouldn’t be spending more than a couple of hundred dollars per year for hosting. I’ve run across small businesses spending $500 per year! There are some very good hosting solutions out there for under $80 per year.
- Speaking of websites, if you are paying a webmaster to make each and every change that is needed to keep your website content fresh, that’s fine but there may be a better solution; it’s called a Content Management System and means that you can make those changes yourself without having to understand programming languages. Now, this may not be for everyone. Some business owners just don’t have the time or notion to do this. But, if you want to save some money, this may be for you.
- Pay close attention to the analytics on your email campaigns and websites. It could be that you are spending a lot of money and time and getting no email opens or a ton of website “bounces.” These events mean that nobody is paying any attention to what you’re saying. Some changes and further testing are warranted.
- Have a strategic marketing plan. Lack of a plan is a sure way to end up going in a lot of worthless directions throwing money at anything that is shiny. If you have a plan there is a purpose for everything you do. You will have specific objectives associated with each activity and you can make changes quickly as needed based upon measurable results.
It’s time to get that marketing budget fit and trim. Don’t wait, because just like last year, 2011 will fly by and before you know it, we’ll be looking at 2012.
All my wishes for a prosperous New Year, and if you feel like you could use a “marketing trainer,” let us know, we would love to help.