3 tips to maximize your small business marketing budget

(BPT) - The effects of the global pandemic have led to economic uncertainty, and small businesses are the most vulnerable due to their lack of resources. According to a survey by Goldman Sachs, 89% of small business owners say broader economic trends, such as inflation, supply chain issues and labor shortages are having a negative impact on their business. Due to a variety of issues related to these trends, consumers are also spending less.

With consumer spending trending downward and operational costs going up, small businesses will need to reduce costs and attract new customers to stay competitive. Digital advertising is a cost-effective way to achieve these goals and you don't need to be an expert to get impactful results. Here are three tips to make the most of your marketing budget:

1. Understand your customer

Modern consumer behaviors have changed drastically over the last few years, including how people shop and make purchasing decisions. Whether your customers have switched to working from home or embraced new tools and technologies, it is important to understand these trends.

Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Where are they spending their time - and are they making purchase decisions at different times of the day? What do they care about most in today's environment? For example, 85% of consumers say they'll only consider a brand if they trust the brand. As you think about your ad strategy, look beyond just product features and pricing. Using advertising tactics that reflect your values helps create meaningful connections with potential customers. This could include everything from audience targeting to keyword selection to ad copy. And staying connected to your customer also means incorporating social media into your strategy. Having a social media presence and creating a schedule to post regularly will allow you to reach your customers where they are spending time.

To learn more about your customers, ask for feedback through surveys, in-person, email or even social communities. Also, leverage insights from sources like your own website traffic reports and industry reports on consumer trends. Keeping these learnings in mind will help you make more informed decisions on what messaging will resonate and where your marketing dollars should be spent.

2. Take a multi-channel approach

Small businesses need to be strategic about how and where they advertise to reach those most likely to purchase their product or service by showing up at key points in the decision-making process. These can often span more than a dozen points across devices (PC and mobile) and websites or apps and take place over days, weeks or months. This requires businesses to take a multi-channel approach to their digital advertising, placing advertisements across search engines, websites, video and social to reach people at different points in their shopping journeys. Building and managing campaigns across these different types of ad products and sites, not to mention learning the ad tools that power these, may sound complex. However, it can be a lot easier than you expect thanks to modern tools that help you build and manage campaigns across different websites and apps.

You can save time and run multi-channel campaigns with a one-stop solution like Smart Campaigns from Microsoft Advertising, which helps small businesses get started with digital advertising and connect with the right customers online. Its new redesign provides a simple and efficient way for advertisers of all sizes and budgets to run ads across devices on Microsoft properties such as MSN, Bing and Outlook.com, and partner properties, including sites like Yahoo, AOL, DuckDuckGo and more. Plus, the new Multi-platform feature makes it easy to run ads across leading advertising and social media platforms, including Google Ads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, all managed from one convenient place.

3. Use automated tools to save time

Time is a limited and diminishing resource, especially for small businesses. To save time and help reduce the stress of promoting your business, consider automated marketing and advertising tools that require minimal maintenance and help streamline the process. These tools often work within a certain set of parameters that you define, along with your desired outcomes. They use various signals and machine learning capabilities to make adjustments in real time to give your ad the best chances of showing to the right person at the right time in the right place. Tools that use automation take the complexity out of daily advertising campaign management to allow you to focus on other business priorities like quality, customer satisfaction and retention.

Maximize your time and resources while growing your business by leveraging these three tips in your digital marketing.

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