As the year comes to a close, many B-to-B organizations have spent their budgets yet still need to find ways to drive leads. Here are 10 marketing ideas to fill the budget gaps.
As the calendar year winds down, your thoughts are probably focused on your marketing plan for the following year, yet it’s important to close out the current year strong. You may be one of those marketers who has already blown through your budget or is looking for ways to stretch what little budget you have left. If that is the case, consider these high-impact, low-cost ideas:
1. Consider Remnant Advertising Space
In the advertising world, remnant ads are advertising spaces that the media companies and/or publishers have been unable to sell. This could happen for many reasons. Perhaps due to lack of interest in a particular issue and/or time slot, the costs, tight budgets on the buyer’s side or an overabundance of space available. If the space is not sold, publishers/media company will place filler content in its space. Rather than missing out on a revenue opportunity the publisher/media company will offer this space at a reduced rate. For marketers, last-minute media buying can boost your overall branding and visibility, save you money and play into your overall marketing mix. Remnant space includes any type of media: print, billboard, radio, TV, online, etc.
2. Repurpose Your Premium Giveaways / “Swag”
We all have them sitting on our desks at work; the pens, coffee mugs, note pads and gimmicky toys that we’ve picked up or been given by our vendors. They simply are everywhere and your customers and prospects almost seem to expect them. As you look at what is left of your yearend budget you may not have enough dollars to allocate to purchasing a large quantity of items. Instead take a look at what you have left over from the year. Usually it’s a combination of many items, a handful of pens, a few dozen flashlights and a box of t-shirts. Be creative with this leftover merchandise. Some of the ways that you can use it include a small targeted direct mail campaign, personal drop-off with a note, or an added bonus for a prospect for accepting an appointment. Make sure that you put a follow-up plan in place to reach back out after your swag gift has been sent. This will provide that opportunity to continue to nurture the prospect into the next year.
3. Pump Up or Start Posting on Social Media Sites
One of the best ways to stretch your marketing dollars is via social media postings. The best part about social media: It’s free and it can generate awareness and create buzz. Even if your company does not currently have a social media presence it’s easy to create one. Time spent on setting up a page on LinkedIn or Twitter will yield results. So what should you post or tweet? The list is endless! Try promoting an upcoming event, a new product, repost or retweet a relevant industry news article, announce a new hire or a marketing asset such as a white paper or an upcoming webinar. All of your postings don’t have to be call to action-driven; they can simply be a way to broaden your marketing visibility.
4. Attend Your Local Chamber of Commerce Meetings
Are you a member of your local chamber of commerce? If so this is another great way to build your eco-system, create awareness and build your presence in the community. Another advantage of membership is that it keeps business owners on top of ever-changing issues, trends, and happenings within their community and the local marketplace. Take a look at your local chamber’s events calendar, is there an upcoming event that meets your needs? Or do you have an upcoming event to promote via them? Contact your local chamber and find out how they can help you leverage your business!
5. Advertise in Your Fall High School Sports Programs
Believe it or not, this is a good strategy and cost effective! It’s football season and no other high school sport draws more parents and alumni than football. Take advantage of this audience and reach out to the high school Booster’s Club and find out about sponsorship and advertising in the high school program guide. Advertise your business, promote an offer or simply use this as way to brand and differentiate yourself in the market place.
6. Don’t Forget the Donuts
Yes, if done right even donuts can help market yourself and your company into the next year. Stop by your local bakery to arm yourself with two dozen donuts, hot coffee and add your infectious smile! Drop the morning breakfast treats off at your customer with a small note wishing them a great day. By day’s end I’m sure your phone will ring with a message of praise and thanks. This is a great way to get a conversation started about the next project that they may have or an opportunity for you to introduce a new product or offering.
7. Issue a Press Release
Pumping up your public relations reach is a great way to increase your visibility and branding initiatives. Issuing a press release is a basic mainstay of public relations and it’s a great way to gain attention in the marketplace. Think about items going on in your business that are topical or newsworthy. Remember, all releases need a strong hook so they will appeal to editors and give your story a good chance of gaining additional coverage. Some reasons to issue a press release include:
New product launch
New branch office opening
A strategic new hire (C-Level)
Landing a new contract or large customer
Whatever your topic or subject is it should appeal to your target audience and provide benefits. At the end of the day you want your phone to ring so you can connect with potential new customers.
8. Launch an E-mail Marketing Campaign
Nothing says “high-impact, low-cost” better than a simple e-mail marketing campaign. They are little-to-no-cost to run, they can be segmented and they can reach a large target audience. E-mail campaigns have mass appeal to marketers for many reasons, a few of which include the ability for tracking their effectiveness and the availability via mobile devices. Think about your organization and ways that you could benefit from launching an email campaign. Some may include:
As a way to keep customers informed, i.e., a newsletter
Drive traffic to your website via an offer
Drive foot traffic to your location via a coupon offer
Announce a new product or service
For lead generation via a new marketing asset (white paper, case study, infographic, etc.)
9. Team Up With a Partner
Do you have business partners that you regularly network or partner with on deals? Are they a great addition to your product and/or services portfolio? Why not team up with team and jointly share the expense of an activity to drive branding, leads and opportunities. The old saying is true “two heads are better than one.” Being able to co-brand is beneficial for both organizations as it enables you to reach a wider customer base than simply your own. Embrace the power of both organizations and promote your product/services jointly. Some ideas include:
Share booth space at an upcoming tradeshow;
Joint and co-branded email marketing campaigns; and
Co-branded give away premium items.
10. Develop a Customer Referral Program
A well-developed customer referral program can be an extension of your own sales team. Why not have your best customers do the work for you in promoting your business? In putting together a customer referral program you can achieve multiple results. You can gage the satisfaction level of your current client base, you can thank them for their business and you can gain new clients. When developing a customer referral program it’s important to make the program simple. You should also be sure to include these three items when developing your program:
Make the referral process clear;
Make the submission process easy; and
Make giving a referral rewarding.
Now that you’re armed with a general ideas on what types of activities you can do at year end to drive business, it’s time to take action. Every business is a bit different so take the ideas that fit your organization best and go from there.