How to get the most out of your marketing budget

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With many business to business companies, a main pressure point is the marketing budget. It’s a common business aphorism that you have to spend money to get money, but in order to operate a business successfully, it’s important to make sure that the marketing budget is being spent on effective promotions that drive business. But how do you know which promotions to greenlight, and which ones to scrap? While a lot of those decisions are individual to a business, there are some general guidelines that can help you know what to do for your company.

Know who you are marketing to
Before you do anything else, make sure you know who your customer really is. Don’t assume; use all the tools available to you, from website analytics to customer surveys, to find out who your customer is, what their pain points are, and what you can do to help them. Until you know these things, it’s impossible to target your marketing properly, and you will waste money trying to connect with people and businesses that don’t care about your product.

If you think your product is for everyone, then you need to dig deeper on your customer analysis. No product serves every customer in either the B2B or the B2C world.

Invest in content
High quality content may be the simplest but most important way to drive customers to your website and create buzz and interest around your B2B company. While search engines used to reward very artificial use of keywords to allow websites to rank high on results pages, more recent developments have made it necessary to spend time creating high quality content that your customers will find valuable and shareable.

When creating content, remember that not every article has to be about your product or service. In fact, one of the best ways to interest your customers in the content you create is to think about what your customer needs to know, and create that content. You could offer helpful to do lists, opinions or news regarding developments in your industry, for example, or talk about how economic news in your area may affect your customers. And don’t be afraid to create the content your customers want. From email newsletters to video blogs, your job is to communicate in a way that your customer is ready to receive.

Similar to graphic design, remember that it is very possible to hire competent and experienced freelancers online, if it’s not feasible for you to create this type of content in-house on your marketing budget.

Maximize your mobile real estate
For the past several years, more and more of customers’ free time has moved online, but 2014 saw a clear shift towards mobile use instead of desktop. Mobile technology is much more accessible and usable than it was several years ago. People are finally adopting it as their primary digital source, and we have seen a clear trend in 2014 that will only increase in years to come. Mobile is changing everything about how we work, how we search, and how we interact with each other.

With that in mind, companies can no longer afford to disregard the importance of marketing on a mobile device. The same snappy web page that generates leads or brings in customers by the hundreds in a web browser may be barely functional on a smartphone, leaving your customers clicking away in frustration to find your mobile friendly competitor. Google, the primary search engine, has also stated plainly that it will begin privileging search results for companies that have mobile friendly websites.

Mobile marketing is a new sphere, and many companies are finding new ways to connect with their customers in the new marketplace. Large retailers allow customers to take a picture of an item they want, and be presented with similar items for purchase. If your company has a great idea for how your customers might be able to use their smartphone in a new way to interact with your business, it’s worth investigating whether or not it might be feasible.

Bring it all together
Once you know who your customer is, how to market to them, and how to communicate with them, remember that all of these things can change. While changing up a promotion just because you’re bored with it is a waste of money, adjusting or ending a promotion or marketing campaign that isn’t working for you is good business. If you’re seeing decreasing engagement on social media or on your website, try to find out why. Are customers no longer interested in your content? Do they no longer feel like you’re fresh or relevant? What do they need to see in order to become engaged again?

Remember that a business is only as successful as the business it pulls in. While catering to your customers’ whims may not be a long term strategy that’s good for business, being aware of their changing thresholds of need and interest are crucially important, and just make sense.

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