3 ways you can spend your marketing budget more ambitiously in 2010

Today I’m going to suggest three things which you could spend some serious marketing budget on in 2010. Many companies will look at the list and say “they’re hardly radical, Chris”, but based on the dozens of companies I’ve talked to in industrial marketing this year, most of them need to do one, two or all three of these. I’ve put a cost next to each, based on what we’d charge at the moment (other consultancies are available). And before you say “where am I going to find that much money from?”, I’d ask: “instead of continuing to slowly cut down on things which stopped working years ago, like exhibitions and magazine advertising, isn’t it about time you just stopped them completely?” You are allowed to, you know.

Right, here we go.

1. Rebuild your company website. Why? Because it’s almost certainly not working for you as hard as it could, unless it was done in the last year or so, and by someone who really understood both your market and the requirements of B2B websites. Your website is the most important piece of marketing collateral you have. It must be the first thing you get right, because whatever other promotional activity you might do, that’s where nearly all of your prospects and customers are going to end up. If your company website is out of your hands, because it’s run by the parent company or the chairman’s wife, think about product-specific microsites which you can control. Cost: Anything from £3,000 to £10,000 for a typical industrial B2B website, more only if you need IT integration with accounts, CRM or inventory systems, or require an online store.

2. Advertise with Google AdWords. Why? Because if you sell products or services which prospects are searching for, quite simply: it works. Some people say: “Is paying £1.50 a time to get someone to visit my website really such great value?” …to which I say: “If you took out a £500 advert in a magazine, and it got even 100 people to your website, you’d think it had done well, I’d imagine. So what’s not to like about an advertising medium which gets several times the response, and works on a no-results, no-fee basis? Cost: Anything from 50p to £2 a visitor if you manage it yourself; add a percentage if you want it managed by an advertising agency. Or (ahem) subcontract it to Business Marketing Online’s fixed-rate, no management charge service.

3. Get a company blog started. Why? because it enables you to add all sorts of content to your website (and therefore to the search engines), as frequently as you wish, without the constraints of your normal website. Blogs can be separate from the main website or integrated into it. They can be targeted at specific customer sectors. What’s more, they can be set up so that their contents are distributed, automatically, via email, Twitter or news readers to what will become a growing and significant number of prospects and customers. Cost: From £500 to £2,000 to have it set up and designed professionally, ready for you to add content. Or you could subcontract out the content to a professional technical journalist for £500 to £2,000 a month, depending on how much material you want added to the blog (much of this could be distributed as press releases or as articles to magazines, so effectively it replaces some of your existing PR commitments).

I realise that the above just sounds like an advertisement for Business Marketing Online’s services, and it is. But I’m not encouraging this stuff because it’s what we happen to do. We do it because it’s what’s working at the moment, and it pains me to see so much money still being wasted, almost for old times’ sake, on marketing activities which no longer produce results. It’s time to get radical.

Discussion

  1. David Gibson, SPLat Controls

    1. Doing that.

    2. Tried it and for us it didn’t work. YMMV. Vital to get the keywords and filters right, otherwise you are paying huge bucks for off-topic visitors. A big factor may be whether you are selling a “buy now” product or a “consider it for 24 months before buying” product. Ours is the latter. I estimated $1000/month for a handful of visitors who did not bounce straight out, and those would constitute maybe 5% of my organic traffic. As the website does not produce $20K/mo of new business, hardly a value proposition.

    3. Similar. Precious little feedback to indicate anyone but spammers are aware of it.

    4. Get active on LinkedIn Groups. I have identified several that are relevant to our type of widgets (the search features allow quite fine grained selection) and I have started posting “valuable, commercial free content” material, naturally with links to our website. In one week, with one article replicated on 8 groups, I’ve had more responses (all praising/positive) that in 12 months of blogging. One respondent actually asked for more of the same kind of stuff. Still early days but definitely interesting.

  2. Chris Post author

    Thanks David, valuable insight. However, I was a late convert to using AdWords, and it was based on the surprisingly positive experiences I was seeing from industrial companies with long buying cycles. AdWords proves to be a brilliant way to get prospects “into the fold”, so you can then start to work on them with your newsletters, special offers and (sssh) salesmen.

    I suspect YMMV (your mileage may vary) applies even more to blogs. Your website clearly allows for great flexibility in adding whatever material you wish. For most companies, constrained by a horrible content management system, or a rigidly overbearing parent company, getting anything more than a new product data sheet onto their website is a miracle. Having a blog opens up a whole new world for them.

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