Category Archives: Marketing Budgets

Phases of the M.O.A.B. (Marketing on a Budget)

Building a marketing strategy that works for your business (and budget) is as essential as it is challenging. It must be as unique as your business and molded according to what you can afford, while ensuring you’re hitting all the crucial components you need to grow your company.

How can you have an effective marketing strategy on a budget? Working your plan through a series of phases can help you succeed.

Start with what you know you absolutely need in order to function as a business. Every business will be different, and your plan will be determined by the amount of resources available to you through your marketing budget. Typically, this would include a website, social media activity, basic SEO and maybe some office essentials like business cards.

The key to phase one is to have a foundation that opens the lines of communication between you and your target audience. If your budget is a little bigger, the first phase of your strategy may reach far beyond the few aforementioned components. If your budget is on the smaller side, maybe you’ll be able to start with one or two of these and build on them as your company grows.

Wherever you are, start with the essentials your customers will need in order to find you and learn more about your business.

As your company grows, so should your marketing budget and strategy. Enter phase two! Break through the plateau at the end of phase one by putting more of your budget into expanding on what your current strategy includes.

Maybe your initial budget only allowed you to have a one-page website with a company description and phone number, but you’re ready to transform it into a several-page site complete with a blog, photo gallery and product videos.

If you started with a Facebook page to establish a presence on social media, enhance your strategy by increasing the frequency of posts and activity, and exploring other social media platforms on which to create business pages to increase your reach.

Look into upping your SEO game in phase two if your initial budget in phase one only allowed you to do the basics. This will help you be more easily found by potential customers and like-minded audience members across the web.

Continuously reshape your strategy to expand and cover more bases as you grow. Use phase three as a time to continue to expand your current efforts, while also exploring other marketing avenues to research and invest in that will allow you to reach more of your target audience.

Again, every business’s strategy will be different, including its timeline from one phase to the next, level of growth and avenues for marketing. Start where you can and always be reworking your strategy so it’s in line with your ever-developing company.

At Stray Media Group, we work with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them find the marketing strategy that best fits their needs while being conscious of their budget. Our goal is to help you succeed within the means that you have, so you can work on growing your company to its full potential.

Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you define and execute a marketing strategy for your business today.

Video Marketing Stray Media Group

4 Things Your Video Marketing Strategy Needs

Connecting with your audience and building relationships – this is why we do what we do in the marketing world. There are countless ways it can be done, but some frontrunners prove time and again to be the most effective. A specific genre of marketing that amplifies your overall strategy by providing viewers with a dynamic and captivating way to consume content is what we like to call video marketing.

Did you know 65% of your audience are visual learners? With content marketing best practices continually evolving to accommodate short attention spans and cutting through the overwhelming amount of content already out there, video marketing can be your cut-to-the-chase saving grace.

What makes great video marketing? Here are four of our go-to tips:

Add value

Your video marketing strategy should have a strong focus on providing value. Just like in a content marketing strategy, it’s important not to push a sales angle but rather give answers to the questions that your audience is asking. Testimonials can also be a valuable tool – having other real people talk about how your products or services actually helped them will be a great addition to your strategy. Positioning yourself as a reliable and follow-worthy expert in your industry will help you build credibility, grow your audience and gain leads.

 

Inspire

Messages should be compelling and inspire viewers to do what you are promoting. If they are not moved by it, why would they share it or even keep watching? We are bombarded by ads all day every day (some estimate upwards of 5,000 a day) so when it comes time to press that ‘Share’ button, it had better be worth the customer’s time and effort.

The feeling you’re going for here is like this:

via GIPHY

 

Dare to be different

Dare to be humorous, edgy and fun. Show a human side of your business – people connect with this engaging type of content, so it provides an exceptional opportunity for them to see your team, products or services in a different light.

Some companies or more professional industries feel that taking risks with their content – written, video or otherwise – is too dangerous. In our eyes, it’s more dangerous to be so cautious that you end up morphing into every other business just like yours. It’s important to note that “edgy” should not be confused with explicit or offensive – there should always be a level of tastefulness to any marketing strategy. Rather, our caution here is to not stifle yourself into a boring state for fear of daring to be different.

Dare to be different...its where the magic happens

 

Make videos concise

You’ve got about 10 seconds (or less) to captivate your audience with a video before they hit ‘Skip’. Make it so good they can’t possibly click that button. Give them the valuable content that they are looking for, but in a concise and to-the-point manner. In the vast sea that is existing content, it’s important to cut through the noise. Package up those videos in nice, quick and informative nuggets so they’re easily digested by audiences.

65% of audiences are visual learners

Video viewership continues to increase exponentially each year, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. This medium gives audiences a fast, convenient way to get the information they want, in the visual manner that has proved to be how the majority of consumers prefer to learn.

Every business can benefit from including video marketing in their stratgey

One of the best things about video marketing? It could be applied to literally ANY business, industry or promotion, and – with the right SEO – get successful results. We believe video marketing should be a cornerstone in every company’s strategy. If you’re ready to shine some lights, camera, action on your marketing plan, give our team at Stray Media Group a call to see how we can help.

 

Target Audiences

Target Audience – 3 Need-to-Knows

Marketing is all about connecting with people – you must listen to what they want or what problems they face that need solving, and be the business to provide the solution they’ve been pining for. Before you can swoop in and save the day, your business must first know who your target audience is, what they are saying, and how to reach them with your solution.

 

What a Target Audience Is

Target Audience – the demographic of people most likely to want your product or service. Essentially, these are the people with a problem that your product or service can help them with. When you think about it, we’ve all been doing this for ages. Back in your young days, did you ever ask your dad for permission to do something because you knew that your mom would say no? Classic case of targeting your message to the right audience for the best result.

Definition of Target Audience

The scope of target audiences varies greatly from wide to narrow. For example, let’s say you own a specialty dog boutique with high-end supplies for the die-hard pooch enthusiast. Your audience is going to be narrower than that of a general pet supplies store that is geared towards a wider audience of pet owners, from cats and dogs to parakeets and gerbils.

Or perhaps you own a car dealership that specializes in expensive luxury sports cars. This product will need to target a sliver of the consumer population that can afford that price tag, such as business men in their 40s or 50s that make over $250,000 a year, vs. your local pre-owned car dealership.

Regardless of what your company does or produces, every business needs a target audience and a strategy for how to reach them.

 

Why your business needs a target audience

Why are target audiences vital to the success of your business? To market or advertise your business, you first need to know who you want to reach and where to find them.

If you’re thinking to yourself “Why would I limit my audience to a small group of people instead of sharing what my business has to offer with the entire world?” you are not alone. While on the surface that may sound like the more logical explanation – to include everyone – when you have a defined marketing budget that isn’t labeled “sky’s the limit” (psst…none of them are) you need to work smarter, not harder, to reach people.

Work smarter, not harder, to reach your target audience

By defining your target audience and marketing to the people you already know would potentially be interested in buying (or at least learning more about) your product or service, you are able to:

  1. Craft your message to speak to them directly
  2. Make a relevant connection between a potential consumer and your brand
  3. Focus budget dollars on mediums you know are more likely to reach your audience

 

How to find your target audience

You know what a target audience is, and understand the importance of defining it for your business. What now? Go out and get it! Thorough market research is key here, whether that means hitting the pavement to do your own legwork or gathering data from research companies or resources.

Ideas for market research include:

  1. Experiments or trials
  2. Focus groups
  3. Interviews
  4. Observation
  5. Product pricing
  6. Social media insights
  7. Surveys
  8. Website analytics

The goal here is to get to know your potential consumers, what problems they experience, what they do about them now, and how your product or service can make their life easier. Learn the ins and outs of where they get their information and outline game plans for how to best reach them.

Is your product an online project management program for small businesses? Chances are your audience is more likely to be reached through digital marketing – website, blogs, online ads, email marketing, etc. – vs. more traditional methods that may be more fitting for targeting a specific area with offers for your local supermarket – print ads, direct mail, TV commercials.

Need a helping hand to define your target audience and develop a marketing plan for how to best reach them? That’s what we’re here for. Our team at Stray Media Group would be happy to meet with you to determine where your business is and what we can do to help you grow. Learn more about our work and how we can take your marketing to new heights by contacting us today!

 

 

3 Keys to Understanding Marketing Budgets.

3 Keys to Understanding Marketing Budgets

Ahh…the age-old questions, “Why do I need a marketing budget, and how do I determine what it should be?” We hear this a lot from companies of all industries and sizes, ages and market share. Figuring out the sweet spot can be challenging, but we can help. Take a look at these three keys to understanding marketing budgets to get you started in the right direction.
Calculate what you currently spend on marketing now.

Many companies have a fixed percentage of revenue devoted to marketing, while others have no clue what they currently spend on marketing in a given year. Whether or not you realize how much you currently spend on marketing, your business is in some way, shape, or form currently putting dollars toward customer acquisition.

Do you have employees? How about an office building? Company cars? Uniforms? All of these are what we refer to as ‘touch points,’ and they are all moving pieces of your business’s marketing budget. Touch points are essentially any encounter a customer or potential customer has with your company or brand.

For instance, let’s say you own a pizza pub and one of your employees goes above and beyond to make sure a new customer has the best experience possible. That customer’s positive encounter with your brand will likely bring them back for repeat business, and motivate them to tell their friends and even become an advocate for your brand by giving a great review on Yelp or sharing a food photo and checking in on Facebook.

Now let’s imagine you own a plumbing business with company vehicles that are rusting all over and always filthy, and the drivers tend to cut people off when driving. When people that could have been potential customers encounter a poor experience with your brand, the chance that they will ever think of you the next time they need plumbing service is slim to none, and they may even go so far as to tell friends or coworkers about their bad impression of your company.

All of these pieces work together to market your brand just as much as a television commercial, website, print ad, or any other marketing medium. Every company should have a marketing line on its P & L that calculates each touch point for your company. Factoring those in when analyzing your budget will help you understand more clearly what you are actually spending each year on marketing.
What the industry says across the board about setting your marketing budget.

From business type and revenue to overall growth goals, every company is unique and the process for developing a marketing budget is no different. While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to setting a marketing budget, there are industry guidelines and suggestions that should be targeted.

The general rule of thumb is that 10-12% of your annual revenue should be put toward marketing. The Small Business Administration advises allocating 7-8% of revenues for companies less than $5 million. Will this be effective – or even possible – for every business? The answer is no. “Around 10% is the industry standard, but we usually tell people anywhere from 2-15% depending on what their marketing goals are and what type of business it is,” says Dave Gilbert, President of Stray Media Group. “Typically in the immediate area we serve – the upper Red River Valley – we see companies that are much more conservative with their marketing budgets, and they range between 1-5%.”

If you have a smaller company, especially one that’s still heavily in the growth phase, your magic number will need to (greatly) increase in order to create the customer following your business needs to grow in the right direction. When would it be appropriate to decrease the percentage? If your company is a strongly differentiated, well-established leader –Apple, for instance – this number may decrease because you already have a solid, loyal customer base. Even in the case of monster companies like Apple, a non-existent marketing budget or one under 1% won’t work hard enough for your business, so it’s important to think long and hard about the best plan for achieving your goals.
How to find your magic number when it comes to setting your company’s marketing budget.

Ultimately, setting your company’s marketing budget is going to first take some analysis of your current efforts to calculate what percent of your annual revenue you are currently spending. Then you need to do some serious thinking about what your business’s goals are for growth and what you want to get out of your marketing, to help give you perspective on where your budget should be.

When working to find that magic number for your company, realize going into it that marketing is an essential part of gaining new customers and should be a line item on your P & L (if it isn’t already). A <1% marketing budget won’t get you much, and goals like new customers, growth or expansion, and being top of mind in today’s competitive marketplace should be worth a lot more to any business.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Ben Franklin

Are you a progressive company with a strong focus on growth? Hoping to increase customer engagement? Maybe you’re looking to stay top of mind with your existing audience? Regardless of your current company status, start by evaluating your overall business goals and plan your budget to match.
Feeling overwhelmed? Let us help. At Stray Media Group, we recognize that every company is unique. We can customize and prioritize a marketing plan that fits your budget and helps reach your goals. Contact us to help you start growing in the right direction today.