Sponsored by VISA Business:
As the tax season draws to a close, there is no better time to re-evaluate your business budget and financial goals for the year.
Financial planning should factor into every aspect of your business, including your marketing budget. Marketing is an expense, and controlling your expenses is always a priority. How can you achieve measurable results from your marketing efforts without breaking the budget?
Thanks to many of the free and affordable tools and applications available online, there are more ways than ever to control marketing costs without sacrificing results. Following are several marketing tools and applications that you can use to streamline activities, stretch your marketing budget, and boost the return on your marketing investments.
Social Media Management
Using a social media management tool like HootSuite or SproutSocial, you can streamline your social media publishing, interactions, and results analysis. Log into one account to manage all of your social media activities, track results, build relationships, and more. You can even give team members access to your social media accounts to manage the process, or you can assign tasks to them while you retain control.
Website Development, Design, and Management
If your company is small or mid-size and you don’t have a technical team, then you should be using WordPress to build your business website. It’s incredibly easy to use, it’s free, and there are so many themes and plugins that you can use to add just about any feature you can think of to your site for free or affordably. The WordPress community is huge, and you can always find an answer to a question online quickly and easily. Affordable WordPress help can also be found through freelance designers and developers.
Don’t pay for a full-service web company to design and maintain your business website. Instead, invest a bit of time and a small amount of money to do it with WordPress, and use the money you saved for other marketing investments.
Inbound marketing is a hot term these days that is used to refer to all of your marketing activities that drive consumers to your website or to contact you so they can learn more or make a purchase. To ensure you’re streamlining your activities and effectively tracking your results, use a tool like HubSpot or Kissmetrics (which is a bit more affordable than Hubspot) to manage your marketing initiatives.
Lead generation is important to every business, but there are many tools that can help you generate more leads without spending a large amount of money to get them. For example, Leadpages makes it easy to create splash pages and every other type of web page you can think of to capture leads. Want to capture leads in your online videos? You can do that with LeadPlayer. And if you use WordPress, you can use the Hybrid Connect plugin to quickly build your mailing list. These tools also integrate with many popular email tools such as MailChimp and AWeber, so you can streamline your marketing activities even further.
Bottom-line, there are tools and applications to help you do so many marketing activities at a fraction of the cost that you had to pay to do them five or 10 years ago. One of the first places you should look when you’re analyzing your budget for financial planning is your marketing expenses. How many of these expenses can you cut by leveraging the tools that are available to you? Yes, you’ll need to invest a bit of time up-front to learn how to use them, but the payoff will be worth it.
What marketing tools help you do more for less money? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.