5 Questions to Help Make the Most of Your Paid Marketing Channels

By Jonathan Chan

Do you really have to spend money to make money?

In an era where small businesses are fighting tooth and nail to keep their budgets as tight as possible, it’s only natural to hold off on paid marketing. After all, today’s businesses have been spoiled by a wealth of totally free traffic sources such as social media and blogging.

Although such channels are effective to helping your business make its voice heard without spending a dime, they’ll only take you so far.

For SMBs, Paid Marketing is a Matter of “When,” Not “If”

Considering that marketers are ramping up their budgets in 2017, relying solely on free channels is an uphill battle for those looking to generate more leads. Sooner or later, businesses hit a wall where they must integrate paid channels into their marketing strategy if they hope to scale.

According to MarketingCharts, social media, content marketing and personalization are the top three areas businesses look to invest in this year:

If you’re skeptical of paid advertising, you certainly have every right to be. However, scaling your business doesn’t have to translate into wasting money. Before investing in paid marketing, take a step back and understand the following five questions to help ensure that your marketing budget is well-spent.

1. “What Are My Competitors Up To?”

Sometimes it pays to spy on your competition.

By conducting a personal audit of your competitors, you can better understand what you’re up against from a marketing perspective.

First and foremost, compile a list of your top five competitors. Then, take the following steps to assess their marketing firepower:

  • Opt-in to their email lists. How often are they sending messages? Are they using a paid or free provider? What sort of calls-to-action and offers are they blasting to their lists?
  • Follow them on social media. Are they running ads on Facebook? Are they getting love in the comments section? Do they use a post scheduling platform such as Hootsuite or Buffer?
  • Take a close look at their company blog. What does their posting frequency look like? Do their posts appear optimized for SEO? Using a competitive SEO analysis tool, you can better understand how your competitors are leveraging content marketing.

Remember: smart competitive analysis isn’t about playing the role of copycat or stressing out

over what your competitors are doing. By objectively assessing these three points, you can better understand where your competition might be lacking.

2. “What Does My Budget Look Like, Anyway?”

Conventional wisdom tells us that businesses should spend a set percentage or dollar amount on marketing. For example, according to recent small business budget data, the average business spends about $400 a month on digital marketing or approximately 4% of their revenue.

Yet in the digital era, such hard and fast numbers become a bit fuzzy. Not all businesses are created equal in terms of their marketing needs.

For example, a solopreneur running a web-based business may be able to get by on a $10 Hootsuite account and a $50 MailChimp subscription to successfully market to Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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