Advertising can be critical to a business’s success. For many businesses, there is no way around it, they need to advertise. But it can also be a substantial expense. Finding ways to advertise cost-effectively is important for every company. Even reducing your ad budget by a few percentage points can really improve the bottom line. If you are looking for 5 ways to save money on advertising, consider the following ideas.
Start by improving your inbound marketing tactics. Inbound marketing is a strategy where you create content or social media tactics that spread brand awareness, and then attract people to you. The idea is to have prospects come to you based on information you have provided. This is the opposite of outbound marketing where messaging gets pushed to the prospect in disruptive methods such as TV advertising, billboards, etc. Outbound marketing can be much more expensive.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the first places to start with inbound marketing is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. You do not have to spend money on SEO to rank higher on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As most people know, the higher on the page your listing, the more traffic you will attract. Study the most important ranking factors for Google and work to improve them on your website. Continually update your content. Look to add back links to your site. And study the technical side of your website. How fast does your site load? Is it mobile friendly and easy to use? Does it link internally? Every little bit helps.
Blogging will position you as a credible and trustworthy source within your industry and allow your target audience to find you. It is a great way to continually add content to your website and improve your organic ranking. Through a blog you can establish rapport and engagement with your target audience. It is another place to tell your story and build your brand. To blog effectively you should develop a strategy that will build your reputation and increase SEO. You want to have content for every stage in the marketing funnel.
Developing video content is another way to improve inbound marketing traffic. Not only is YouTube a great place to watch videos it is the number two search engine in the world, behind it’s sister company Google. Video is another way to build engagement with your audience. And it can be a very useful tool on your homepage, to immediately connect with your visitor. Of course, a good video can be re-purposed for multiple uses. It can be emailed and used in social media posts. And video is a great way to increase conversion rates. Some businesses use video on landing pages to help close the sale. Others create videos with testimonials and case studies, which are great ways to move prospects to conversion.
The value of reviews is often underestimated. The research into the importance consumers place on reviews is overwhelmingly conclusive. Reviews greatly impact sales. It is estimated that 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business. One study concluded that 88% of consumers trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations. There is no doubt that great reviews make you look more trustworthy. And reviews also impact SEO. While all of the major search engines have their own algorithms for how they rank listings reviews help with trustworthiness. At the very least, they should increase traffic to your site which will help your rankings. Never stop asking happy customers for reviews.
Speed to Leads
Another way to save money on advertising is to make it more efficient. Few companies think about efficiency in terms of how they respond to inquiries. Response times can make or break a sale. According to Forbes, the average lead response time is 47 hours, almost 2 days! A study from the Harvard Business Review also notes that businesses that respond within an hour are almost seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a decision-maker. If the prospect is reaching out to multiple vendors, the first to respond usually wins the business. Improving your speed to lead is a sure way to convert more leads and make your advertising more efficient.
Finding ways to generate leads and sales with less expense is something every business should consider. However, notice that we did not say “without expense” because even if you don’t spend money your time investment is worth plenty. But inbound marketing tactics can be done with less expense than outbound. And inbound marketing is sustainable. By increasing your thought leadership and reputation prospects will want to do business with you. Because so much of inbound marketing is done digitally it is quite trackable, so optimizations are easy. This is not to say that outbound marketing should be abandoned, but the cost-effectiveness of inbound marketing makes it something every business should incorporate into their marketing strategy.