Marketing costs are a significant chunk of expenses in any business. According to a report by the Iowa State University, start-up businesses should spend anywhere between 20 to 30 percent of their total annual budget on marketing. But if you are an established business, this figure can come down significantly to the 7-8 percent mark.
Regardless of what stage of business you are currently in, it is important to focus on the quality of your marketing spend rather than the quantity. By reducing your marketing costs and optimizing your spend, you will be able to free up your resources that can then be used to invest in newer channels of marketing and customer acquisition. In this article, we will take a look at some ways to do this.
1. Don’t Invest In Monthly Subscriptions
SaaS tools have soared in popularity over the past decade and most online tools today charge a subscription fee to use their tools. This pricing model makes sense for the vendors, but as users, it creates a monthly liability that can significantly hit your marketing budget. One solution is to go back to the software alternatives that charge a one-time license fee. Another way to do it is to find competitor products that offer customers a ‘Pay As You Go’ solution.
Compared to monthly subscriptions, PAYG services only bill you for your consumption. This way, you are never charged for resources that you did not consume. If you do not find a tool that fits the bill here, do not hesitate to contact your favorite tool provider and request for a PAYG model. A lot of SaaS tool providers are accommodating with these requirements.
2. Use Multi-Channel Marketing Services
Businesses typically invest in anywhere between 4-6 different marketing channels. This includes a suite of offline (print media, trade shows, TV ads, etc.), online (PPC, SEO, social media) and hybrid (SMS, fax, etc.) channels. Investing in niche tools that cater to these different channels independently can be prohibitive and the costs can easily add up.
Instead, identify multi-channel marketing tools that can do several channels together. For instance, instead of paying separately for SMS marketing, email marketing, fax marketing, etc., use a tool like HubSpot or Hubbion that can do multiple kinds of marketing from the same platform. This way, you do not end up spending separately on each of these different tools. Similarly, if you use social media marketing, do not sign up with tools that specialize in just Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Instead use a tool like HootSuite that does all of this from one place.
3. Audit Your Expenses Each Month
Marketers routinely sign up to try new and interesting products that they think can grow their business. If left unchecked, a lot of these tools that a marketer never intended to use, could silently remain active and could bleed your business a lot of money each month. The best way to ensure this does not happen is by conducting monthly audits on the expenses incurred on your business credit cards and unsubscribing from tools that you do not intend to use. You may also go a step further and calculate the ROI from each of your paid tools so that you may be in a better position to unsubscribe from any service that is not providing you with enough value.
4. Ask For Discounts
It is now common for marketing tool developers to have a ‘Pricing’ page on their website that contains all the information regarding the various plans and features. Typically, only enterprise customers with large volume orders are provided with a quote commensurate to their use. Unbeknownst to a lot of businesses, the pricing plans displayed on the website are not always fixed and it is always room for negotiation. Before you pay for a service, always remember to ask for a discount. Even if you save your business a few dozen dollars a month, the overall savings from various tools over a year can add up fast and can help your business save a significant portion of your spending in the long run.
Featured photo credit: Benjamin Child via hd.unsplash.com