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Many small businesses tackle marketing budgets as an afterthought; if we have enough in our budget after our expenses, we may spend some money on marketing. But in reality, marketing should be tackled proactively and business owners should set aside a monthly budget to spend on these tools.

Setting a marketing budget, though, is only the first step. Next, an advisor must figure out where those dollars should be spent. This may be an overwhelming task, which is why we want to guide you through three of the most common ways to waste marketing dollars and offer some money-saving alternatives. 

Buying Followers or Likes

There are countless applications and websites available to spam social media and make it look like your pages have thousands of Likes and follows. While this may seem like a quick fix, in reality you aren’t going to get much traction with these bots. These packages can range in cost, but regardless of how much you spend, the chances are that very little of these followers will be your target market.

Instead of buying Likes, focus on targeting your ideal market and distilling your value proposition. While this may not generate as many numbers as the above strategy, it will be more efficient (and free!). It is better to have 10 followers that are deeply invested in what you do than 10,000 bots who are fake or aren’t your clientele.

Investing in SEO Companies

You’ve likely been tempted by SEO companies that promise first page Google rankings, increased traffic, and perfect SEO keywords. While in an ideal world that would all be great, search engine optimization isn’t that easy. And even worse, these companies charge thousands of dollars, usually monthly, to keep up your SEO with no solid guarantees.

We don’t want to say all SEO companies are scams because they work for large corporations or unique circumstances, but for most of our clients these aren’t the answer. Instead of spending all this money for something that changes rapidly (even SEO companies can’t keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithms), think about small tweaks you can do to boost your SEO yourself. For example, with our FMG Local Search tool, you can make sure all of your business listings have the same information which is a great way to boost your SEO.

Another thing to consider when searching for that elusive SEO Golden Ticket is that most people coming to your website are either referrals or directed there by quality content. Whether you automate or write your own posts, content is a great way to increase your site traffic. 

Ordering Large Runs on Tangible Marketing Materials

Marketing materials such as brochures and sales packages can be invaluable tools, particularly for service-based businesses. But gone are the days when an advisor has to print thousands of copies to get a good deal.

If you are hosting an event and need flyers or programs, think about working with a local designer because their costs will be lower and only ordering as many copies as you need. Even better, consider offering the material digitally. Most people have constant access to smartphones and tablets so providing these materials digitally will save time and paper.

The myth that marketing is a notoriously expensive budget for business owners comes from age-old techniques that are outdated in today’s digital society. The truth is that, when approached efficiently, marketing can cost very little and deliver tangible results.

If you would like more tips on how to stretch your marketing dollars, check out what Craig and Brandon have to say in our Marketing Tip video.

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