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If entrepreneurs aren’t strategic, they can end up spending large quantities of funding on marketing without receiving much feedback in return. While paying for SEO and social media ads can be useful, there are many ways to market your brand, product or service at lower costs, and even for free. Follow these tips to get the most out of your marketing plan and budget.

Step 1 :

  • Set goals. Before you can do anything, you must decide what you want to do and how long you want it to take. Remember that the goals you set will be the starting point for all other planning.
  • Set a budget. This can be a little difficult to estimate from the jump, but these plans are not set in stone. If you realize down the line that you need a bigger budget or different goals, merely adjust your plans. When determining a budget, begin by choosing what spending tier you fit in based on your funds and finances.
  • Plan. Setting goals and a budget are critical to planning. But now that you have a direction in mind, it is time to plan how to utilize the budget to expand your product/service to reach your goals, including what platforms and channels will be the most effective for your target audience.
  • Testing. When planning out your approach, there may be different techniques that seem appealing, but you are unsure of. That is where testing comes into play. Rather than jumping right in, allot part of the budget to testing new routes of promotions. Try out your creative ideas and see how people respond. Then analyze and refine.

Step 2 :

  • Allocate Marketing Budget. An overall budget is vital to get an idea of where finances lie, and what kind of funds are available for each department. Using your goals and marketing budget to create a tactical plan to turn your ideas into reality. Plans should include social media, SEO and paid advertising, lead conversion and nurturing, and content offers, blogging and email marketing, as well as traditional advertising.
  • Execute. While each entrepreneur should determine what is best for them, it may be beneficial to build a team to help implement the marketing plan. This could consist of an in-house marketing team– copywriter, designer, social media marketer, a freelance team (best for individual projects), or a hybrid team–a small in-house marketing team dedicated to specific tasks.
  • Understand Current and Future Trends. This is important for the sustainability of your budget and product/service. Companies should be aware of and on top of new and different technologies to keep up with the pace of industry changes.

Step 3 :

  • Network. Social media has become one of the best ways to network with sites such as LinkedIn dedicated to networking. Make a group page for your business on all platforms, join a local business group and participate with group members. But don’t stop there. Face to face networking is still the best way to make a great first impression so look for events that you can attend to meet new customers and other entrepreneurs.
  • Use Videos. 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week, and one-third of online activity is spent watching videos. They’re a great way to engage your audience and increase brand visibility.