As the coronavirus crisis continues to hit cash flows, force redundancies and cause disruption to normal business operations, thousands of companies across the UK are currently operating on reduced marketing budgets.
Though putting marketing efforts on hold can be tempting when money is tight, firms should never stop promoting themselves if they want to avoid customers gravitating towards competitors who have remained active throughout.
Instead, they should focus on what they can do to make their reduced marketing budgets stretch further and work harder for them, and there are several ways that this can be achieved.
We reached out to Charlotte Holmes, Client Services Director at Citizen Communications, to learn more about the topic.
Charlotte Holmes is client services director at Citizen Communications
Focus on social media
Over the years, social media networks have evolved from platforms for meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones to global business hubs that are highly effective at promoting brand awareness, sharing company news, encouraging customer engagement and increasing income.
Given the central role that social media now plays in digital advertising, it is important that businesses keep it as a key part of their marketing strategies – even when working on a tighter budget.
This is because social media is one of the best methods for acquiring new leads and driving sales. In fact, a study conducted by software application company, Buffer, found that 73% of marketers believe social media marketing has been either ‘somewhat effective’ or ‘very effective’ for their business.
Taking advantage of the range of affordable and free design tools at your disposal, such as Canva, is a cost effective way of producing impactful and eye-catching social media content, while using stock imagery rather than regularly paying for new pictures is another sensible approach.
In addition, encouraging user-generated content not only helps keep costs down but also allows you to engage with your audience, create trust and ultimately win sales.
Monitor your results
Regardless of whether your business is a startup or has been established for some time, tracking the results of your marketing efforts is crucial to getting the best possible Return on Investment.
This can be as simple as finding out how new customers learned about your business, and tailoring your advertising strategy based on the feedback you receive.
There are also a wide range of digital analytics tools designed to help monitor the effectiveness of your campaign and identify which of your marketing messages are getting the best results.
Knowing which aspects of your campaigns are working and which are not will allow you to remove any parts of your strategy that aren’t garnering strong results and dedicate more of your budget to marketing techniques that are more likely to deliver a better RoI.
Invest in SEO
In a world where companies are becoming increasingly reliant on technology to drive sales, Search Engine Optimisation [SEO] is another marketing activity that simply cannot be ignored and should be at the heart of your strategy.
SEO can be defined as the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of traffic a business’ website receives, as well as the exposure the brand receives via non-paid – also known as ‘organic’ – results.
Though investing in SEO is vital at the best of times, it is especially important in times of financial downturn due to how effective it is in helping your business to remain competitive and attract your target market.
Despite some companies believing that they have to spend lots to get good results from their SEO, this is simply not true and there are a number of basic things that can be done to improve your SEO without breaking the bank.
These include looking at the highest-level category pages on your website and tweaking the title tags where necessary to make them more specific or relevant, updating content on the pages to include keywords, and creating new pages with text, graphics, audio and video that boost user engagement.
Taking the time and effort to focus on optimising your SEO can help your business climb search engine rankings and increase the chance of a potential customer coming to your site before a competitor’s.
Although an end to existing COVID-19 restrictions may be in sight, it is likely that the economic fallout of the pandemic will continue to be felt by companies for some time to come.
Along with this uncertain financial outlook, the crisis has brought about an accelerated shift towards e-commerce, meaning those companies that rely heavily on other, more traditional methods of advertising, are less likely to weather the storm.
If businesses want to stay afloat – and ultimately flourish – in a constantly moving and increasingly competitive marketplace that has been forever changed by the events of the past 12 months, they simply cannot afford to neglect their digital marketing.