How to get the most out of a small marketing budget

Whether you are a seasoned marketer or a small business owner, a small marketing budget can throw up some incredibly difficult challenges. Every penny counts and there’s more pressure to get a result from less. When you’re starting out it can be intimidating, there’s so much you can spend the marketing budget on and you might look at competitors and feel the need to replicate what they do without knowing what works for them. Not to fear, whether you’ve got hundreds or thousands of pounds the marketing team behind UK Car Finance & Refused Car Finance are here to share their top tips to ensure you don’t go wrong.

Tip 1 – Know your audience

Before you reach for your wallet you must first make sure you know who your target audience is. Once you have a clear understanding of who will buy your product or service you can then go and find them. If your audience are fashion boutique selling on trend clothes to style conscious millennials, you’ll have to market very differently to a small rugby club looking to attract more members.

It’s important to understand how certain demographics respond to advertising. Is your target audience likely to fast forward your TV advert, listen to their own music in the car and miss your radio advert, do they consume social media at all? Not all advertising is suitable, so don’t waste your money where your customers are not. Consider this situation from an author’s perspective – they have to weigh up whether it’s worth getting a professional Book cover designer on board to make their product stand out – after all, books advertise themselves via their cover and it’s possible that potential customers could be put off from buying if they don’t think the cover is appealing. If it’s an Ebook, would they pay attention to the cover at all? Who knows?

Tip 2 – Know your ‘Unique Selling Point’

Don’t forget what your USP is for your business. Every business should have a USP and you mustn’t forget to make that clear to your target customers. For example, Refused Car Finance are bad credit car finance specialists whereas UK Car Finance have a unique car finance calculator that allows the customer to check what their likely monthly payments would be before applying. If you want your money to get the most for you, ensure you have a strong message, delivered well.

Tip 2 – Monitor & analyse everything

When you don’t have much money to play with it’s even more important to make sure every penny is counted for. This can be easier with digital marketing but it’s also possible with offline marketing as well.

Digital Marketing

  • To start you should install Google Analytics (it’s completely free) onto your website, so you can monitor what traffic sources your customers are coming from. Are they using search engines or social media?
  • If you chose to spend your budget on Facebook advertising, you should install the Facebook Pixel tracking too. The last thing you want to do is stop an advert because you thought it wasn’t performing but it was really due to incorrect monitoring.

Offline Marketing

When it comes to offline marketing it is trickier to monitor, that said there are still things you can do.

  • If you are running a radio advert to increase brand awareness, you can do on the street market research before and after to see how many people have heard of your brand.
  • You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner to see how many people are searching for your brand name per month, if it’s working it should be increasing.
  • Lastly, you can add promo codes that are unique to an offer to see if that works, if you are putting out an email or leaflet and you want to track how people took the offer up ask them to enter a unique promo code (or even scan a Qr-Code).

Tip 3 – Fail Fast

Accept that you won’t always get it right and to develop you will fail. It’s a hard lesson to learn but it’s impossible to have all the answers before you start. Just ensure when you fail, you fail fast. Then learn from it and apply your new knowledge to your future marketing activities.

Tip 4 – Do as much as you can yourself

The more you can do yourself the cheaper it will be. Whether it’s following Youtube tutorials or reading online guides, there’s a wealth of knowledge you can absorb. Learning how to design a leaflet, how to advertise on Facebook or how to perform search engine optimisation, there’s a lot you can do.

Tip 5 – But know when to ask for your help

That said, sometimes it can be more cost effective to outsource. Ideally if you know someone who has skills that can help you, maybe a nephew is a graphic designer, or you have a friend who advertises on Facebook themselves that can cut your costs down further. However, when it comes to some of the more complicated advertising platforms it can be more cost effective to get an expert in to ensure that the money is well optimised. If you do decide to outsource just ensure you compare prices and have a get out clause that if they aren’t delivering you aren’t tied into a lengthy contract.

Tip 6 – Freebies are your best friend

Our final tip is to try and take advantage of all the free advertising you can. Ensure you’re active in your community. Ask previous customers, family and friends to spread the word about your business for you. Post regularly on social media platforms that your customers are active on. Contact news outlets with business news.