If you’re a start-up you probably know that in the first year or two, your spending often exceeds the rate at which your revenue grows. The same is also true when you’re expanding into new product or service areas, or if you’re experiencing an economic slump. For this reason it’s important to watch your spending, but you should also be careful not to skimp on your marketing budget in a way that negatively impacts your growth potential. Remember that in order to make money, you have to spend money. If you don’t have clear strategic goals when deciding how much to spend on marketing, or if you’re not seeing a good return of investment on your spending, it may be time to re-evaluate how you’re investing your money into advertising and marketing. Here are some quick tips on cutting back on tradeshow marketing costs without hurting your results.
DEFINE AND MEASURE YOUR KPIs
Leads and sales are usually the most obvious key performance indicators (KPIs) to track. But if you also have marketing goals related to brand awareness, customer loyalty, engagement etc., you then need to have clearly defined KPIs that are unique to each of these goals in order to help monitor your performance. These indicators could be website traffic, social media mentions etc. The key is to make sure you have these performance measurements in place. This way you will be able to determine which of your marketing or advertising campaigns are working and which are not.
DON’T REDUCE. STREAMLINE.
Making cuts across-the-board to your marketing budget can be tempting, but this can result in several missed promotional opportunities and, ultimately, a drop in leads and sales. Instead, look at which marketing campaigns are showing the best ROIs and focus on spending more there. If you’re running a department in a larger company, this is a better way to hold onto your marketing budget rather than going back later to ask for your old budget back after cutting it the year before. Streamlining your marketing spending will also allow your business to grow during economic downturns – when your competitors are becoming less visible, you are continuing to shine. When the economy improves you’ll end up enjoying improved brand awareness and better market share.
SPEND YOUR TRADESHOW MARKETING BUDGET ON TRUE CONVERSIONS
If most of your spending has been focused on creating more site traffic, you may want to consider moving your focus towards generating leads instead. Or, if what you’ve been doing has resulted in a good amount of leads it might be best to continue investing in that area, rather than in trying to generate new leads. But if none of these seem to be resulting in conversions it may be time to put more emphasis on upselling or cross-selling your existing customers. The standard cost of gaining a new customer is five times higher than the expense of maintaining an existing one, so it often makes more financial sense to focus most of your marketing budget on targeting your best customers rather than on trying to find new ones.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Strategic email marketing is quite cost-effective and is generally a better way to measure success than with a brand-awareness campaign. But remember not to hassle your email subscribers too much as this will result in fewer email-opens and a loss of subscribers. Rather focus on personalizing your messaging, dividing your audience into segments and finding ways to reward your loyal customers.
Like email marketing, social media is a budget-friendly way to reach out to customers. There are many opportunities to reach larger numbers of prospective clients organically through social media while being able to set your own marketing budget. Social media is also a great meeting place between you and a wider audience when your budget doesn’t allow for you to travel. This allows you to have an audience that is growing when attendance elsewhere seems to be diminishing.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO OUTSOURCE
Rather than spending a substantial portion of your budget on fixed payroll costs, consider outsourcing some of your marketing tasks. Not only will this dramatically lower your expenses, but it will also allow you to focus more of your time on creating leads and sales rather than on trying to come up with tasks to keep your internal staff occupied.
Marketing automation frees up valuable time by automatically generating communication with prospective and existing customers. From instant thank-you notes to prospective trade show clients, to links to site materials that support your trade show message, automation delivers tradeshow marketing communication on your behalf while allowing you to allocate valuable staff time to other tasks.
Trimming down your tradeshow marketing costs doesn’t mean that your visibility has to be reduced to a fraction of what it was. By streamlining your budget, outsourcing some of the work and switching to automation, you can optimize what you spend on marketing and advertising and get more done for less. Let Xtreme Xhibits show you how. Contact us today!