The importance of marketing for your business is critical to sustaining and growing your customer base, but many small business owners often find marketing to be intimidating or confusing. Especially when times are tough, businesses often cut back on their marketing budgets thinking that this will help them preserve cash – but that’s actually the last thing you should be doing.
Based on our experience with thousands of small businesses, here’s the perspective that top performers take when it comes to marketing – and what you can do to ensure your marketing is powering a healthy, thriving business.
The Role of Effective Marketing in Business Health
Effective marketing achieves a number of important tasks:
- It introduces your business to new potential customers
- It keeps you “top of mind” for previous customers
- It helps you maintain and strengthen relationships with your customers and community
Ultimately, some amount of marketing is crucial to sustaining and growing a business, and this is a statement some businesses overlook simply because they get terms like “marketing” and “advertising” confused. There’s a lot of overlap between marketing and advertising, but the former can be free or paid while the latter is virtually always paid.
Understanding the types of marketing and advertising your business can invest in, and then developing a strategy around those approaches, is critical to supporting your business’s health.
Defining Your Approach to Marketing
Your small business marketing plan should be diverse, consisting of a number of strategies and methods. Today, for businesses of all sizes, content marketing should definitely be a significant part of the strategy.
Content marketing – or organic marketing – involves publishing content across platforms, like on your blog and social media, that educates customers and offers them high-value information. An example of content marketing for a plumbing business would be creating content that answers common plumbing questions, especially those a potential customer may be searching (like, “how to unclog a drain”).
Often, implementing a content marketing strategy is free in the sense that you’re not paying to run ads anywhere, although you may be paying for someone to plan and write the content for you, or expending your own time creating the content. When approached correctly, content marketing goes hand-in-hand with your SEO strategy, and it will drive organic (i.e., free) traffic if given enough time.
Organic marketing strategies like SEO and content marketing are often not enough to hit your goals – especially if you’re in a hurry, as they can take months or even years to reach their highest level of performance. They also require ongoing effort, like regularly publishing on your blog. Meanwhile, paid advertising can start bringing traffic to your business today.
Ultimately, your business should invest in both marketing and advertising, setting aside some of your budget for paid ad campaigns and designating the rest to building sources of organic traffic.
Why You Shouldn’t Reduce Your Marketing Budget in Hard Times
Your marketing budget should be comprised of paid and organic marketing methods, but no matter how you earmark your marketing dollars, it’s essential that you try not to cut your marketing budget in hard times. If you’re still able to conduct business, the last thing your business should do is cut off its primary source of traffic.
If your business is met with constraints, instead of reducing your overall marketing budget, you should actually try to increase it. Meanwhile, you should consider shifting priorities a bit. Since organic marketing methods, like publishing on your blog, aren’t likely to bring immediate traffic, you should consider allocating a larger sum of your budget to paid ads that will bring immediate results.
Shifting your small business marketing budget to better meet your needs at the moment will prove far more effective than shutting things down out of fear. If you act under pressure and reduce or stop your paid and organic marketing strategies, you’re only going to end up in a tougher place financially. To survive, you need business coming in, and that means stepping up your game and trying harder to get it.
As the great Henry Ford said: “The man who stops advertising to save money, is like the man who stops a clock to save time.” In other words, the market will always keep moving forward, with or without your business. You need to stay in front of your customers and continue to serve them, or someone else will.
Get More Aggressive With Your Marketing
Where does your business stand right now? Are you enjoying a steady influx of customers that are sustaining your business? Are you seeing the numbers decrease by the day? Do you have so many leads coming in that you don’t know how you’ll ever get back to everyone?
Your small business marketing budget should never be stagnant. Ultimately, your marketing budget should be adjusted and re-adjusted regularly as your business reaps the rewards of organic marketing and invests varying amounts in paid advertising. There’s no formula or one-size-fits-all approach that can determine how much you should invest in one or the other. Your marketing budget should be adjustable and consistently altered to conform to your current business needs.
If a major event causes the local market to slow down, your small business’s marketing budget should respond by allocating more to paid ads to keep leads coming in now. If your business is struggling to keep up with all of its prospects, it’s time to dial back the paid ads so you can catch up, while organic marketing sets the stage for steady future growth. It takes work to alter your marketing budget, but that’s what’s required to ensure your marketing budget is working for your business.
With consistent effort and adjustment, you’ll get even better results over time by properly allocating paid ads and organic marketing when and where it’s needed.
Another great tool you can use to measure and track the effectiveness of your marketing is our Business Warrior product. LOLA POS has partnered with Business Warrior, a leader in small business marketing, to offer excellent rates on their marketing analytics as well as enhanced SEO and digital marketing services. You can learn more at https://businesswarrior.com/ and then use our LOLA POS signup form to ensure you get the best pricing.
Saving in Other Key Business Areas
While it’s hard to dismiss the importance of marketing, it’s even harder for some businesses to find room in their budget to increase their marketing allocations. If you find yourself in that boat, you’re not alone, and you’re not without hope.
Are you looking to invest more into marketing and growth? Are you trying to spend less on business expenses overall? LOLA POS. is the Merchants Account That Works for You®. By partnering with LOLA POS, your business can save money on some expenses while making more room in the budget for growth costs, like marketing. Learn more and get started today!