When’s a good time to save money on marketing? No, it’s not a trick question. Clearly, we all want to be cost-conscious, and marketing is the area where it’s especially important.
As budget time approaches, there’s no shortage of us who are thinking about our financial forecasts. But no matter what time of year or industry we’re in, budget concerns are a fact of life.
For marketers, budget time can be more stressful than ever. But not to worry — even if your available marketing funds are shrinking, you can still make an impression without breaking the bank.
Here are a couple of ways that we recommend (especially for those of you at budget-conscious start-ups) to save a little money on your marketing efforts.
Branded Notecards Are Your New Best Friends
No doubt about it, handwritten messages have only become more important as we’ve become more and more dependent on email and other means of digital communication.
You’ll want to give handwritten cards and notes on many occasions, but how can you do it without spending a ton of money on stationery? Enter: the branded notecard.
A simple, well-designed notecard with your logo and website can be the multi-purpose tool of your marketing dreams. From birthday cards to thank you notes to quick follow-ups, it’s an all-purpose way to get in touch that’s on-brand and on-budget.
Use Logo Stickers, Get Instant Branding
When it comes to thank you gifts or drop-in goodies, it’s almost impossible not to blow your budget on customized goodies, right?
Wrong—but you have to do it the right way. Spend some of that marketing budget on logo stickers (simply your logo in a sticker format) and you’ll have instant branding on anything with room for a sticker.
For example, let’s say that you bought a jar of trail mix as a thank you gift for a referral source. Why not use your new stickers to place your logo on a prominent spot on the jar? Every time your client enjoys your gift, they’ll be reminded of you.
Use Your CRM to Actually Manage Customer Relationships
We all know it costs much more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. So, despite all of the good intentions of the budget-savvy marketer, it all falls to the wayside without the appropriate follow-up and ongoing communication with referral sources and customers.
This is where your CRM tool comes in.
Most organizations have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, so if you have it, make sure you update it regularly. (You’d be surprised how often information can be missing or inaccurate just because it hasn’t been updated promptly.)
Once your CRM is current, explore ways you can expand its uses beyond your normal habits. For example, don’t just record your outreach efforts; use the software for personal reminders, too. You can add someone’s birthday or job anniversary, then send them a quick email or note (using your branded notecards) to congratulate them when the time comes.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow for a formal CRM tool, you can fashion an Excel workbook and some calendar reminders to accomplish many of the same things. Whether you’re using Excel or a more established system, your CRM tool can do wonders to help you create (and maintain) lasting relationships with referral sources and customers.
So, let’s put it all together!
Maybe you met a new referral source at a networking event. Great! You send them a quick follow-up note on your branded notecard, which leads to a one-on-one meeting. Not long after that, your referral source generates a new customer for you.
To thank your referral source, you stop by their office with some kind of treat — with a big logo sticker on the front to remember you by. While you’re there, your referral source mentions that their child is graduating from college soon.
In tough economic times, it’s imperative that businesses of all types find a way not only to satisfy, but engage, their employees. When consumers have a tendency to show support and patronage to a business through their wallets, it’s the engaged employees who show up and provide the customer service that keeps consumers coming back.
You add this tidbit to your CRM system, so a few weeks later you remember to send another note to congratulate them on their child’s graduation.
Nicely done! You’ve started the process of creating a long-lasting relationship – without over-spending on marketing.
Marketing budgets keep fluctuating, and it can become challenging to start (and maintain) relationships with referral sources and customers. That’s why it’s even more important to get some budget-friendly tools and tactics to keep you visible and relevant. What budget-savvy tips have worked well for you?