If you aren’t actively marketing your company, you’re potentially missing out on a huge source of new customers and sales. Marketing requires a lot of planning, research and proportionate financial investment for it to benefit the business.
Without this, your marketing could end up costing you more money than it would earn.
Fortunately, there are ways of avoiding expensive pitfalls and keeping your marketing strategy on track.
Have your product ready to go
Getting the product right is a massive task in itself; there’s a reason why some products take years of tinkering and refining before being brought to market. We’d, therefore, advise you not to set your heart on a marketing strategy before the product is ready to go. An exception to this rule would be when you’re crowdfunding a product that’s in development.
There’s nothing wrong with thinking about marketing before the product is ready, and it’s good to plan. However, your plan should reflect the product that is on the market, and not an earlier design that no longer reflects it.
If your product isn’t ready for market; has no defined audience, or doesn’t serve a purpose, you’ll struggle to market it. Simply ploughing more money into something that has fundamental problems is a sure-fire way to drain your bank account.
Manage the budget carefully
Your marketing budget will vary depending on the business’ size and how much capital you have to invest. When you plan your campaign, you should ensure your ambitions are in line with your budget. That budget should also be allocated accordingly across the number of channels you’re planning to advertise on, so your online budget isn’t eaten up by excessive spending on magazine adverts.
Ideally, that budget would be proportionate to your income, so your business isn’t pushed into crippling debt if things don’t go to plan.
Only use the tools you need
While you may manage using your office tools to advertise your business, there is a massive market of products to help you produce everything from social media posts and look books, to posters and videos.
While it might be tempting to purchase every app in the Adobe Creative Cloud, you should consider what channels you want to advertise in and whether you could do the same thing without having to buy more than you already have. Doing so will save you both money and storage space.
Focus on what works
Expanding outside your usual marketing channels can help you reach new customers and potentially generate new sales. That said, you must monitor the results of these experiments. Doing so will help you see what does and doesn’t work and will be useful when planning for future marketing campaigns.
Not analysing your data, or not gathering it at all could lead to wasted money, invested in unprofitable marketing channels.
Have a plan for if you encounter debt
Although you can hope the worst won’t happen, that doesn’t mean your business won’t face debt. Falling into debt can be a scary experience, particularly for sole traders, where your personal finances could be at risk. In these cases, it may seem like a good idea to cancel all your campaigns and go dark while you alleviate the debt.
Which debt recovery option you apply for could affect your marketing activities. Some debt recovery plans allow a company to continue trading while working through times of insolvency. Customers may not even notice, so you should attempt to maintain your marketing as if it’s business as usual.
If, however, your debt has reached such dire levels that business is affected, or you must make cutbacks that will impact your customers, you might have to let people know. Doing so needs to be done with careful thought and consideration, so customers don’t automatically assume the worst.
Marketing mistakes can be expensive if you launch a poorly planned campaign. Your product needs to be ready before starting, and your marketing budget should be divided proportionately among each channel you intend to use.
Invest in the channels that bring in the most customers, but leave some room for experimentation, in case you find a channel that reaches a new audience.
Make sure the tools are worth the investment, and if your company gets into debt, you don’t necessarily have to stop marketing altogether, but you should consult with a licensed insolvency practitioner before taking serious action.