If you’re like most business owners you’re looking for ways to make your budget go further and pinch a few pennies here and there. In times of economic uncertainty, it can be tempting to make drastic cutbacks, or trim the fat as they say. Advertising often looks like the low hanging fruit when it comes to cutbacks, for a lot of us advertising and marketing represents the largest line item in our budgets, but I would exercise caution before you slash spending there. While it may look like reducing those advertisements will save you a bunch of money today, the long-term detriment to your business will be much larger. Instead, why not look for ways to make your advertising budget work harder and smarter?
The following 10 tips will help make the most of the advertising dollars you do spend, and if followed should result in overall cost savings without jeopardizing the reach of your advertising campaign.
Review all of your current advertising
Look at any and all statistics and metrics you have on your current advertising campaigns. Cut the advertising dollars from what is not working, or from areas where you are seeing the least return. Then…
Redistribute advertising dollars
Take the money you cut in step one, and apply it to those areas that are working. Find your top performing advertisements and add to them.
Explore the free advertising options you have available
Email, Newsletter, Press Releases, Guest blogger, guest interviewee, etc
Quit ad hoping
Advertising takes time to work. If you aren’t getting results immediately resist the urge to “ad hop”, or bounce from one type of advertisement to another. For one you will loose any meaningful stats or metrics by doing that, (so you will never know if something truly didn’t work) and for another, there could be cost savings in establishing longer relationships with your advertising outlets.
Negotiate your rates
Advertising rates fluctuate, it does not hurt to negotiate or renegotiate. What you paid yesterday may not be the same rate you’d get tomorrow. Also see if there are discounts available for longer term ad agreements. You may realize a discount for booking two months instead of one.
Look for package deals with the outlets you advertise through
This can be a great way to leverage your dollars. Many times you can get a package of advertisements that reach your market cheaper than buying each ad individually.
Generate your own leads
If you are paying for leads, email list, or call logs look for ways you can generate your own list. Can you have customers sign up in your store for a newsletter, or collect information from your customers on your own in some way?
Do it yourself
Are there currently things you are paying for that you could do yourself? Create your own graphics, write your own copy, prepare your own mailings, etc. These are all things that you may be paying for that you don’t truly need to outsource. Obviously you need to watch time management, and say no to somethings, but picking the bits you can do yourself can be a winner.
Pay on time
Many times you will get a discount just for paying on time, or at least avoid late fees.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Look for ways to continually reuse what you’ve paid for in the past so you don’t have to pay for it in the future. Reuse copy from previous campaigns, recycle old artwork or graphic design where you can.
What are you doing to help stretch your advertising budgets?