Here are some ideas about how to make the most of your small marketing budget. Keep in mind that each company has unique business objectives and strategies so not every idea will be applicable for your company.
Fulfilling your retail customers’ needs should be a top priority. If they need in-store point-of-purchase materials to sell your product, give the POP line item your first dollars. If those retail customers need “merchandising” or “marketing” dollars (usually a percentage of sales), determine a ballpark figure and set that aside. If you’re lucky, those funds could come out of a separate Sales budget rather than the Marketing budget. These are truly costs of doing business and are often not optional.
The next line item to fund is a website. Many consumers turn to the web for product information. Find a web firm that can deliver what you really need and can come in within your budget. Be realistic about what you “need” versus what would be cool to have. There’s always time to do more fun web stuff when you have more money available.
Public relations is another critical tactic that needs adequate funding. Public relations is an extremely cost-effective way to get your product and company in front of a lot of people. Word of mouth and reviews in respected magazines and newspapers give your company instant credibility. Consumers today are skeptical of slick advertising so pr is becoming an even more important way to reach them. An experienced public relations firm like Firefly Publicity already has relationships with key editors and writers. You might want to hire them to promote your company’s products for you so you get results faster. Many pr firms also have databases of media contacts so they can spread the word to more media targets that you could on your own. PR firms know how to work with journalists and pitch your story. They will be pro-active on your behalf. While everyone has good intentions, public relations often gets pushed to the side when you try to do pr in-house. There’s always another fire to put out or hot deadline that demands your attention. For the optimum results, budget for a monthly pr retainer and for product samples to be shipped to the editors.
Next, fund some advertising. Advertising allows you to control what your consumers learn about your company and products and where they see the message. You should consider all forms of advertising including Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising if you sell on-line. For some industries, magazine advertising is best, for others it’s newspaper, banner ads, TV, radio or billboards. Remember to budget for the creation of the ad as well as the price of the media space. You might want to hire professionals to help you create an effective ad and negotiate the best media buy for you. Be realistic about your budget and what you can afford. There are often very good advertising resources available at small ad agencies that can accommodate small budgets. Many small ad agencies are staffed by experienced pros that have learned their trade at prestigious ad agencies so don’t overlook them as options.
If you still have money available, go back and beef up the line items that can help you reach more people and sell more products. To be successful, create a realistic marketing budget and monitor your expenses each month.
Visit www.fireflypublicity.com for more information. Firefly Publicity works closely with writers and editors to place products in media like magazines, newspapers, on-line content, radio and television. Public relations is a cost effective way for companies to maximize their marketing or advertising budget. Firefly Publicity is a results-oriented pr firm located in Red Wing, Minnesota. If you’re interested in gaining exposure for your company’s products, please contact Kim Emery at Firefly Publicity.