How to Save Money on Marketing

A graphic of a blue woman watering a money tree

Most small businesses will find it tough to identify areas where they can tighten up the budget, because we’re not playing with the casual millions that big corps are.

But we can do it. Finding waste, improving targeting, working on efficiency and marketing more to our existing customers are four places to start.

1. Identify the real waste in your marketing spend

The easiest way to save money on your marketing is to stop spending on things that don’t work. Simple, huh?

If you’re doing a lot of advertising but seeing little return on investment (ROI), then stop doing it! Not everyone will like the idea of cutting back on the sexier stuff, like ads or radio, but if the ROI isn’t there, it’s not justifiable.

We all have channels that don’t give us return, that we’ve kept around because we’ve been doing it forever, or because an exec has a fondness for it. Take a stern look at where time is being wasted on vanity platforms. Reallocate resource and budget into the places that actually give you and your customers value.

2. Tighten up your targeting

Spend money on the audiences you know convert and drop anything you’re doing that takes a spaghetti-at-the-wall approach. We don’t want to hit millions of eyeballs: we want to hit the hundreds of eyeballs that will love us.

Your business has data, no matter what you’re selling. Find that data, scour it and apply it. It could be as simple as: ‘Our sales assistants say the vast majority of our customers are over 60’ – which is amazing to know. No point spending money advertising your shop to Gen Z (unless you’re trying to move into a new demo) when you have that kind of knowledge.

3. Start a project of finding efficiencies in your sales journey

Incremental improvements. One percent here, 2% there. It adds up.

This one comes down to data, too. Being able to eyeball your sales funnel can mean finding those ‘ah ha!’ moments that add up to real money. An easy place to start is Behaviour Flow in Google Analytics. This tool shows you the routes your customers take through your sales journey, ordered by volume. You can see at a glance where the biggest exits are.

If you can find places in your sales journey where you have significant dropoff – say, over 5% – you know where to focus your efforts first. It usually takes just a bit of internal resource to make a difference, like making a call to action clearer or removing noisy content that doesn’t aid conversion.

Get that exit rate down and conversion up. Fish in a barrel.

4. Cross-sell and upsell to your customers

The best customers are the customers you already have. 1. They’re more likely to buy from you because they’ve already done that trust exercise. 2. The more they buy from you, the better their lifetime value, lowering the cost of acquisition (a customer you acquired for £30 coming back twice = £10 CPA rather than the £90 you’d spend on three new customers!).

Retention should always be on your mind. Engaging your customers so you maintain the potential to remarket to them is a great way to increase revenue without increasing your budget. The more they buy, the more loyalty you build – and then you’re into word-of-mouth territory, too.

Areas of your marketing not to scrimp on

1. Website

It’s you. It’s the face of your brand. It doesn’t cost a lot more to look good on your site than it does to do a mediocre job.

Try to keep it up-to-date no matter what. There’s nothing worse than going to a business’s website and picking up the vibe they’ve gone out of business because everything’s a bit neglected.

2. Platforms that have driven value for years

If something has worked for you consistently, it’s a keeper. Don’t panic and try switching to TikTok marketing because you feel you should be ‘moving with the times’. That’s a cognitive bias called The Appeal to Novelty!

3. Positions where you’re unique and hold a respected position

It’s very hard to stand out in the modern marketing landscape. If you’re the only business of your kind advertising in a certain space or you’re very well-known on a platform, it’s worth hanging onto that position.

4. Local advertising

Staying local tends to be cheaper but higher conversion. Advertise to the people most likely to know you, appreciate you and visit you. We can cast a wider net when we’re rich.

Opportunities for saving money on marketing are everywhere.

Identify the channels and tactics that are not delivering a good return on investment and cut them out. Tighten up your targeting to spend money on the audiences that you know convert and start a project of finding efficiencies in your sales funnel. Cross-sell and upsell to your existing customers, and put effort into the marketing that just needs an investment of time, not money.

With some focus in these areas, you can maximise your ROI and save money on marketing.