13 Ways To Create An Effective Marketing Campaign On A Tight Budget

Creating an effective marketing campaign is the goal of every successful marketer. While this can be wrought with challenges on the best of days, adding budgetary constraints to the mix increases the complexity of your efforts. With marketing expenses likely to top $103 billion nationwide by 2019, according to Forrester research, it is crucial for marketers to determine the right budget for their campaigns.

It is possible to do more with less and develop a powerful marketing campaign that is as impactful as it is cost-effective. You can make the most of your marketing endeavors with the right approach.

Below, 13 communications executives from Forbes Communications Council share their top tips for making your marketing strategy work, even under the tightest of budgets.

All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

These communications executives share tips for creating effective marketing campaigns without going over budget.

1. Test, measure and learn fast.

You have to put a focus on measurement and be able to adapt in real time if something isn’t working. Set cost per customer acquisition goals and hold your team accountable for staying within your KPIs. Recently we’ve cut back on larger conferences and print media, shifting toward smaller roadshow events and content marketing, and have seen our cost per customer acquisition cut in half. – Heather Dueitt, NoteVault

2. Simplify your channels.

Focus on one or few channels to deliver your message to the right audience, as opposed to spreading your ad budget or exposure too thin. If you can concentrate your frequency in the top place, your prospects will see your message and that can go further than minimal exposure on a wide range of channels. You run the risk of your campaign being missed by being too segmented. – Charlie Riley, Lawley

3. Apply agile marketing.

If the campaign is a product, it’s designed to achieve measurable goals beneficial to customers and the business. Apply agile marketing to control costs. What’s the minimum viable campaign? Where will the majority ROI be generated? Use agile sprints to test, learn, iterate and ramp costs over time. By gating sprints, create “option value” and reinvest, optimize or eliminate based on ongoing results – Harsh Jawharkar, Narvar

4. Create partnerships that share the cost.

Partnerships are a great way to reduce the cost of a campaign. These can be things like co-op advertising, where you group together symbiotic (non-competing) brands for broadcast, print or digital campaigns. You can also incorporate other brands for free but require that they support it by spreading the word through their own media channels, which increases visibility for digital campaigns. – Krystal Covington, Women of Denver

5. Update successful content and campaigns.

Don’t be afraid to repurpose successful campaigns and content. Too often marketers tire of seeing the campaign, feel like it’s been around too long, retire it and start from scratch. Remember, your audience is not seeing it nearly as often as you are, and repetition is key to recall. Improve upon existing work with new, relevant information or distribute into new channels and monitor results. – Christy Uher Ferguson, ASG Technologies

6. Never compromise and be creative.

No matter the budget, your campaign must be high quality. In times of budgetary restrictions, it’s critical to lean on your metrics and market insights to be highly selective about the channel and vehicle you pursue for maximum value generation. And be creative. Think outside the paid ad/sponsorship box and leverage relationships as well as free, high-traffic content media platforms. – Terri Sanders, The Chartis Group

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

7. Leverage the community.

Asking your customers to refer their friends and family, give you quotes and even tell their stories is not only free, but is extremely effective. I also find the process of collecting quotes and stories rewarding as it further connects the team to the brand. – Stacy Wakefield, Credit Sesame

8. Do it in-house and check SEO.

Use the skills of your team. A team member with an eye for design can leverage free tools like Canva. The data junkie can run comprehensive analysis of your marketing activities and make SMART choices quickly. Take a look at your website’s SEO. Rank in Google by conducting a thorough keyword analysis based on what your target searches for and update your web content accordingly. – Freya Smale, The Millennium Alliance

9. Prioritize and sequence.

Every marketer faces budgetary constraints. Even those with the largest budgets have finite resources. It’s important to prioritize the areas of greatest strategic impact to your business. From there, sequence your strategies and tactics. Depending on campaign duration, sequencing can capture the most important/immediate elements in the current fiscal year with any extensions in next year’s budget. – Greg (Gregor) Perotto, DocuSign, Inc.

10. Go granular.

Identify your target persona. Be specific. Learn where this consumer is on social. Create a campaign that speaks to your target persona and design the campaign for the right platform. Is it Facebook or Instagram? Create the content, sweeps, promotions or events that engage and build your audience through data capture so that you can remarket later with future campaigns. – Judy Herbst, Worthy Inc

11. Focus on high-value evergreen content.

It depends on the way a campaign manager allocates the budget. In a budget constraint campaign, marketers often allocate a large portion to content distribution instead of content creation. Investing in creating high-quality content increases the chances of organic growth. Creating evergreen content gives a campaign a longer shelf life as well. – Lu Chen, THINX

12. Ask customers for reviews.

Consumers trust online reviews nearly as much as if it were a recommendation from a friend. Reviews can be done quickly and do not cost anything. It can be a great way to help boost the effectiveness of a campaign. The reviews can be used in multiple places, such as landing pages, email newsletters and social sharing. – Clayton Johnson, Clayton Johnson SEO

13. Leverage advocacy to raise awareness.

If your company is focused on raising awareness — more broadly or within a specific target market — turn to natural advocates like employees or happy customers. While it may require an investment of time over budget, an advocacy program will help your campaign reach new heights by tapping ambassadors who already have personal networks full of your target audience. – Andrew Caravella, Sprout Social

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