If your marketing budget got cut recently, you can thank Rona for that. Though many of us are finding (hopefully temporary) grooves while we navigate this time, your business might be feeling the effects of the coronavirus.
And when your clients just aren’t buying your products or services the way they used to because of this global pandemic, cutting back is a relative no-brainer. Marketing budgets are often the first to get cut. While they aren’t fun for anyone, they’re not the end of the world, either.
The good news, if you have to cut your biz marketing budget? You can get creative and make the most of what you got.
The thing is, you might be hearing a lot of contradicting advice on how to deal with your budget cuts. “They” — meaning all those marketing pros and entrepreneurs out there — have a lot of opinions on what you should and shouldn’t be doing when you have less money to devote to marketing your biz.
Well, we have opinions, too, dammit! (And we’re never hesitant to share them, if you didn’t quite get that vibe from our other blog posts.)
Here are a few suggestions to help you get creative when you’re playing with a lower marketing budget.
Stick with what you know right now.
What they say: You don’t have time to waste figuring out some new marketing strategy and waiting to see if it hits the mark. Fall back on the experience you have and avoid trying anything new right now.
What we say:
Now is absolutely the time to create or try something new, as long as it’s within your means. When COVID-19 sparks change every day, sometimes even every hour, you have to learn how to adapt. If you don’t, you’ll get left behind.
A few ideas on how to adapt your marketing strategies and try something new if your brain isn’t coming up with ideas on its own…
Pick one of your social media accounts and consider what you can do even better.
Where do you get the most interaction with your audience? What sort of content gets engagement? That’s a sign you’re doing something right, but there’s always room to do better! What can you tweak in your photos, captions, engagement, or hashtag use? Is there something you’ve been meaning to create or share, like Facebook/Instagram Lives or graphics you know will get shared?
Pick a new social media platform and learn how to use it for your brand.
Want to try out YouTube and see if video content gets more traction? Maybe you haven’t used Pinterest to share blogs or other content before. Or maybe this means you might finally learn what the heck TikTok is for. (Latasha is adamantly against TikTok, but it may serve your audience, so it never hurts to try.)
Invest some time into boosting your email marketing.
Do some email list housekeeping. Double-check your lists, segments, and/or tags to make sure your audience is getting the content most catered to them. Check that the language in your emails is on-brand. Make sure your emails are easy to read on mobile. (Most people open and read emails on their phone.) Email marketing is more important than ever when you can’t connect with your audience in person.
There are countless ways you can experiment with new marketing techniques or adjust what you’re already doing to see if you get better results.
Ditch the marketing strategies that feel fake, weird, or difficult.
What they say: Figure out which marketing efforts are draining your energy rather than uplifting you. Then, cross ‘em off your list and forget about them for the next few weeks. No need to invest resources into something that doesn’t feel good or get you results.
What we say:
Who has time for marketing strategies that don’t feel right for your brand? The longer you keep doing them, the more you’ll start to hate them. This might seem like it contradicts our previous advice about trying something new. Hear us out.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling out a new social media platform or creating a challenge to boost engagement. If it fits your brand and feels genuine, great. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick with it if it’s too complicated, too overtly salesy, or makes you feel old and out of touch. (See Latasha’s hatred of TikTok.)
Assess your marketing to-do list. If the items don’t feel quite right for the current climate, tweak your strategy and content. Or just shelve them for a later date and try again then.
Focus on what feels good.
What they say: After you’ve crossed those draining marketing efforts off your list, look at what’s left. These are the marketing strategies that feel good and easy to keep up with. Focus your attention there.
What we say:
We are all about “finding what feels good,” as our favorite internet yogi Adriene Mishler says. When you devote your time and resources to what feels good for your biz, your efforts feel… well, effortless.
However, that doesn’t mean you should stick to what’s safe and easy. Everyone is sticking to what’s safe and easy right now. That’s why you’re seeing so many of those self-care idea posts on Instagram and Facebook, or those feel-good “tag 10 people!” challenges on Instagram Stories and TikTok. They’re starting to get old.
To stand out, think about where your audience is now and what you can be doing to serve them. Look at Scribd, digital content publisher that knew people would be going stir-crazy when Quarantine 2020 hit. The company offered everyone 30 days of reading for free, and so many people took them up on their offer that their site kept crashing on the first day.
Embrace the budget cuts
Budget cuts are not fun, but remember that things could be much, much worse right now. We don’t have to tell you how. You’re seeing how much worse things can get on the news.
Look at your marketing budget cut as a challenge. A fresh start. How can you create better advertising and marketing campaigns with a scaled back budget?
What wasn’t going well or eating up too many resources that you have time to improve now?
What does your audience really want from you, and are you giving it to them?
When every dollar counts, you’ll produce quality marketing that works, that matters. And no, we’re not even going to tell you to hire us. Because, while we know we’re great at what we do, we know that right now is the time to support you with free resources that help you boost your biz.
We know you’ll come back stronger than ever once doors open again IRL.