Stretch your Marketing Budget

Stretch your Marketing Budget

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With tightened marketing budgets a reality, business owners need to make every rand count. Here are eight ways to get big results from a smaller budget.

1. First, use your ads for more than just space advertising

Ads are expensive to produce and expensive to run. But there are ways to get your advertising message in your prospect’s hands at a fraction of the cost of space advertising.

The least expensive is to order an ample supply of reprints and distribute them to customers and prospects every chance you get. When you send literature in response to an inquiry, include a copy of the ad in the package. This reminds a prospect of the reason he responded in the first place and reinforces the original message.

Turn the ad into a product data sheet by adding technical specifications and additional product information to the back of the ad reprint. This eliminates the expense of creating a new layout from scratch. And it makes good advertising sense, because the reader gets double exposure to your advertising message.

Ad reprints can be used as inexpensive direct mail pieces. You can mail the reprints along with a reply card and a sales letter.

If your ads provide valuable information of a general nature, you can offer reprints as free educational material to companies in your industry. Or, if the ad presents a striking visual, you can offer reprints suitable for framing. Use your ads again and again. You will save money — and increase frequency — in the process.

2. If something works, stick with it

Too many marketers scrap their old promotions and create new ones because they’re bored with their current campaign. That’s a waste. You shouldn’t create new ads or promotions if your existing ones are still accurate and effective. You should run your ads for as long as your customers read and react to them.

If a concept still has selling power but the promotion contains dated information, update the existing copy — don’t throw it out and start from scratch. This approach isn’t fun for the ad manager or the agency, but it does save money.

3. Use ‘modular’ product literature

One common advertising problem is how to promote a single product to many small, diverse markets. Each market has different needs and will buy the product for different reasons. But on your budget, you can’t afford to create a separate brochure for each of these tiny market segments.

The solution is modular literature. This means creating a basic brochure layout that has sections capable of being tailored to meet specific market needs. After all, most sections of the brochure — technical specifications, service, company background, product operation, product features — will be the same regardless of the audience. Only a few sections, such as benefits of the product to the user and typical applications, need to be tailored to specific readers.

4. Use article reprints as supplementary sales literature

Marketing managers are constantly bombarded by requests for ‘incidental’ pieces of product literature. Engineers want data sheets explaining some minor technical feature in great detail. Reps selling to small, specialised markets want special literature geared to their particular audience. And each company salesperson wants support literature that fits his or her individual sales pitch. But the ad budget can only handle the major pieces of product literature. Not enough time or money exists to satisfy everybody’s requests for custom literature.

The solution is to use article reprints as supplementary sales literature. Have your sales and technical staff write articles on these special topics. Then, place the articles with the appropriate journals. Article reprints can be used as inexpensive literature and carry more credibility than self-produced promotional pieces. You don’t pay for layout or printing of the article. Best of all, the article is free advertising for your firm.

5. Explore inexpensive alternatives for lead generation, such as banner advertising, organic search and PR

Many smaller firms judge marketing effectiveness solely by the number of leads generated. New-product press releases lead the list as the most economical method of generating leads.

Post all your press releases in a media or press section of your website. Optimise them with key word phrases to draw more organic search traffic.

6. Do not overpay for outside creative talent

Hire freelancers and consultants whose credentials — and fees — fit the job and the budget.

7. Get maximum mileage out of existing content

Photos, illustrations, layouts and even copy created for one promotion can often be lifted and reused in other pieces to significantly reduce creative costs. For example, copy created for a corporate image ad can be used as the introduction to the annual report.

8. Pay your vendors on time

Why? You’ll save money by taking advantage of discounts and avoiding late charges when you pay vendor invoices on time. And, you’ll gain goodwill that can result in better service and fairer prices on future projects.