There are more marketing channels today than ever before. You can run display, search marketing and social media advertising campaigns on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook and others. You can blog, tweet and build a Facebook page, run webinars, exhibit at tradeshows, run email campaigns, do press and analyst outreach, and the list goes on and on.
Before you spend a lot of time and marketing budget on new campaigns, remember that in almost all cases starting a campaign is the easy part. The real work comes with ongoing optimization and maintenance. If you don’t think you’ll have time to continually develop content or optimize a particular marketing program, you’re better off not starting it in the first place.
Instead, clearly define the goals for your marketing program. Are you trying to generate qualified sales leads, drive sales or create brand awareness? How many leads or sales do you need to generate and at what price? Once you have your goals clearly defined, decide where you think you’ll get the biggest bang for your marketing buck and start there. Once you have a few marketing programs successfully up and running, you can add new campaigns based on your time availability and budget.
You’re better off doing a few marketing programs really well than doing a poor job with lots of campaigns that will ultimately be ineffective and costly.
Don’t ignore your data.
As I mentioned earlier, starting a new marketing program is the easy part. It’s the ongoing optimization that takes time. And before you can optimize your campaign, you need to analyze the performance of the campaign. Make a habit of reviewing performance data for your campaigns on a daily or at most weekly basis and set aside time to optimize the campaign. If you don’t have dedicated time scheduled to review your campaigns, you’ll inevitably get busy with other things and the next thing you know your campaign will have run for weeks and wasted hundreds or thousands of dollars with no return.
Data is the best friend of time-strapped marketers. It will tell you where to spend your time most effectively. But only if you take the time to review and make decisions based on what the data are telling you!
Use social media to amplify your message.
You may not have the budget to run big display or search marketing campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your message out to your target audience. Instead, develop great content that will get passed around on Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, blogs, etc. Good content takes time, but the long term benefits can be well worth the effort.
And the best form of amplification is happy customers telling the world about their experience with your product or service. Ask your best customers to write a blog post or tweet about their experience, and thank them with simple gifts like SWAG or gift cards. Positive customer referrals/reviews are one of the least expensive and most effective marketing programs you can run (beware: the opposite is also true). Engage with your customers and let them do the hard work of amplifying your message for you.
Leverage Crowdsourcing to do the work for you.
Trada was created after Niel Robertson, our founder and CEO, realized how time consuming and challenging running an effective paid search campaign can be. Crowdsourcing was the perfect solution for advertisers who lack the time or expertise to run a paid search campaign on their own (i.e. pretty much all marketing departments of one!).
Search marketing (and now Facebook) is just one example of crowdsourcing marketing, however. 99Designs, CrowdSpring and others leverage the power of crowdsourcing to help marketers get high quality work done without hiring a team of people.
Just as On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog, nobody knows you’re a marketing department of one either. If you run focused, data driven campaigns and leverage the power of social media and crowdsourcing, you can compete with the big guys!
Photo courtesy of Flickr user tango_28