If you want your business to grow, you have to invest in marketing and advertising. These strategies are meant to increase the visibility and recognition of your brand, and incentivize people to buy your products and services. If you can get a strategy that works, it can easily multiply your sales and sustain your business’s growth.
However, there’s a major problem new business owners face: marketing and advertising can be expensive. If you’re starting a business from scratch, possibly with your own savings, you may not be able to afford the hundreds to thousands of dollars a month associated with a traditional marketing and advertising campaign.
Fortunately, there are some strategies that can sharply reduce those costs—while still giving your company the visibility and attention it needs to grow.
Improve Your Knowledge
First, try to improve your own knowledge with respect to the world of marketing and advertising. There are many topics to learn and thousands of free online resources that can help you understand the basics. If you learn enough about marketing fundamentals, you may be able to design and launch a campaign entirely on your own—forgoing the need to hire someone or pay an exorbitant fee for their services.
Your knowledge can also help you shop around for the best marketing providers. With a better understanding of how each campaign might work, you’ll be able to truly understand the deals you’re getting, and possibly negotiate for a better price.
Focus on ROI
It’s tempting to base all your decisions on marketing costs, but it’s more efficient to focus on your return on investment (ROI). Marketing ROI refers to the amount of revenue a campaign generated, compared to how much you spent on that campaign. For example, you might balk at the idea of spending $5,000 on a new string of advertisements, but if those ads generate $10,000 in new business, it’s well worth the investment. By contrast, you might be willing to pay $300 for a new marketing asset, but if it generates only $400 in new business, it’s barely worth it.
The problem here is you may not know the ROI of a campaign until you start executing it. Look to projected ROI rates, and the ROI businesses like yours have gotten in the past.
Experiment With Different Mediums
There are many different ways to get involved in marketing and advertising, and most of them have distinct advantages and disadvantages. If you’re trying to save money, lean toward campaigns that are financially accessible. For example, if you get your brochures printed online, you can get them for a ridiculously low price. If you leverage the power of social media platforms, you can broadcast your brand messages for free (or nearly free).
The only way to see how these campaigns might work for your company is to experiment with them. Try them out, see how they fare, then cut them from your budget if they don’t work. If they do work, invest more heavily in them.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
When budgeting carefully, new and small business owners usually try to stretch their dollars by getting as much as possible. They spend money in a way that gives them the largest number of ads, or the most marketing assets. However, it’s usually better to prioritize quality over quantity, even from a cost savings perspective. For example, in content marketing, it’s better to have one fantastic, detailed blog post than a dozen (or even a hundred) shoddily-written posts that nobody wants to read. Even if it costs a bit more per-piece, you’ll get far more results with quality.
Balance Short-Term and Long-Term Approaches
Frugal marketers often struggle with the dilemma of choosing short-term or long-term marketing approaches. Invariably, long-term approaches are more cost-efficient; they generate more ROI eventually, and often utilize long-term assets that are practically permanent. However, only short-term approaches will be capable of generating immediate revenue (which you’ll need to keep the business running). The right approach is usually a hybrid of these two; you’ll need short-term strategies to fuel your business immediately, but long-term strategies to bring your overall ROI down.
It’s intimidating to review the average prices of various marketing campaigns as a new business owner, but this is still one of the best and most important investments you can make. Rather than avoiding marketing and advertising, it’s better to take the plunge, capitalizing on a variety of inexpensive mediums and emphasizing quality over quantity. Over time, you can weed out the tactics that don’t work, recapture your capital from the tactics that do work, and eventually build a marketing machine that consistently generates new business for you—far in excess of the money you put in.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze