Coins spilling out of a glass jar, signifying running a marketing program with a significantly reduced budget.During uncertain times, marketing is often the first budget to get slashed. And right now throughout most industries, CMOs are being asked to do more (or at least, as much) with less –  meaning less staff and reduced budgets. A recent Gartner survey of 260 U.S. marketing executives reported that 76% expected a decrease in their marketing budgets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining leads and conversions with significantly less spend can be challenging, but here are some tips for doing just that.

Refocus On SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more cost effective than outbound marketing efforts in the long term because it targets users who are actively searching for your products or services, and therefore results in better qualified leads. A frequently referenced 2012 Hubspot study indicated that inbound leads cost an average of 61% less than outbound leads. So how do you refocus on SEO if you have little to no time or budget for content generation?

You may be able to secure some significant gains by examining your current content library. First, review Google Analytics to see which pieces of content are garnering the most and least organic pageviews, then check SEMrush or Ahrefs to find out which articles are ranking well for relevant keywords. Once you’ve compiled this data, here are some strategies to consider:

  • Repost – Resharing your best performing content is a strategy that requires very little lift and can provide great gains. This is an opportunity to reach more of your audience and increases the content’s chances for being shared. As an example, a Twitter study by Buffer showed that each time content was reposted, it could expect 75% of the retweets from the prior posting.
  • Rework – If you have relevant content with mediocre performance, try expanding it with up-to-date information and do some keyword research to find high-volume keywords to include. Identify relevant informational search queries and craft content that provides helpful information that is relevant to the query. Over time, your content will rank higher in search results and enjoy a higher click- through rate.
  • Refine – To ensure search engines are able to best understand your content, be sure your schema is up to date. If you’re not able to do this work yourself, it’s worth it to have an SEO conduct an audit of your site to ensure the correct schema is in place.
  • Retire – Old, irrelevant content, or content that is too similar to other items in your library probably isn’t driving any leads to your website. We recommend removing this content and redirecting the URL with a 301 to something else within your library that is related but more relevant.

Rein In Your Paid Search

A paid search campaign can bring in quality leads, but if it’s not well-optimized it can also result in wasted spend. Take a close look at your campaigns to see which are most profitable. You may be able to realize substantial savings by simplifying your campaigns. For example, you may be able to bid on fewer keywords and utilize fewer ad groups. Identify and focus on those keywords that best match user intent. By being more specific, your ad spend will decrease and your return on ad spend will improve. Here are some additional tips:

  • Use negative match to avoid spending unnecessarily on terms that are not relevant.
  • Ensure ad copy is well matched to the keyword.
  • Ensure the landing page copy is closely tailored to the ad copy.
  • Consider manual bidding, rather than relying on an automated “maximize conversions” model that will likely result in higher spend.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin On Social Media

Crafting content for, scheduling and monitoring multiple social media platforms can be a major time suck. If you don’t have time and/or staff to regularly post and monitor a particular platform, consider putting it on hold for now. Instead, select one or two platforms that have delivered quality leads for your business in the past – perhaps Pinterest and Instagram for a design company or LinkedIn and Facebook for a technology consulting practice. Use a social media scheduler like Hootsuite, Buffer or Loomly to automate posting, but dedicate a small amount of time each day to check in personally and respond to messages and shares.  

Retain Your Best Customers

There are many reasons to keep current customers happy, but just in terms of financials, customer acquisition studies have shown it can cost 5X more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. Identifying your very best customers and maintaining a loyal relationship is critical as this group is likely your best source for referrals, positive reviews and perhaps even industry insights and product/service feedback. Make sure that this group knows they are appreciated, provide stellar customer service and look for creative ways to provide additional value.

Reconsider Your Marketing Resources

If you’re concerned about executing your marketing strategy with reduced staffing and/or a drastically smaller ad budget, consider what components of your marketing activities could be outsourced. Handing off some of your marketing tasks to an agency can be a more economical solution compared to hiring even one additional full-time team member. This option provides you with access to an entire team of professionals, with more collective expertise and bandwidth, as compared to one person. It is often less expensive to pay a monthly agency retainer to cover a predetermined scope of work than it is to pay a full-time salary plus health, dental and life insurance, 401k contributions, payroll taxes and bonus.

Of course, not every agency provides the same value, so you’ll have to do your homework. Video conferencing and remote work are novel for most of the U.S. professional workforce, but periscopeUP has employed the virtual model since our founding in 2009. Our team of marketing professionals leverage technology to communicate and collaborate. With lower overhead costs and a geographically dispersed team, we are able to fulfill client requests quickly and economically.

Interested in doing more with less? Call 443.475.0787 or contact us today. Our team is ready to help execute your marketing strategy.