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Where to Focus Your Small Business Budget During Hard Times

When marketing on a budget, small businesses face a lot of challenges. Add the volatile business environment in the mix and some small companies can be in real trouble. But there is a way out!

In 2020, the Australian government adopted a business-focused budget. While this was good news, the budget didn’t offer everything that would unlock small business cash flow.

Business owners expected corporate tax cuts and some leeway in industrial relations. Nevertheless, there are incentives such as the Instant Asset Write-off scheme and the JobMaker hiring credit. 

Along with other government measures, the incentives should help you streamline your cash flow.

Even so, the typical budget for small businesses could be much different from what you’re used to. But before you find out where to focus on, it pays to consider certain industry-specific challenges.

Not All Industries Are Equal

While digital advertising spending is growing in some niches, others are at a standstill. In the second quarter of 2020, the retail, travel, and auto industries took a major hit. And there was a significant drop in ad spending as a result.

The decrease made headlines and may have caused some small business owners to panic. But there’s no real reason to worry, as not all business experienced the same fate.

For the same months, the e-learning industry experienced a big surge. So did cybersecurity, video conferencing, and a few other sectors.

So now, most companies are rushing to implement digital operations. Software and service providers also have more business than expected because of it.

It’s clear that not everyone experienced the negative effects of the pandemic. But even if you operate within the affected industries, there are still ways to remain afloat.

Investing in Lead Generation

Without a doubt, lead generation is among the top priorities for small businesses if they aim for profitability. And if your budget doesn’t allow you to do it in-house, you should consider outsourcing.

Of course, it’s critical to partner with a reputable agency or service provider. And since this industry has been booming, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the right vendor. Still, there are a few aspects you need to consider.

At this time of writing, it’s clear that most people prefer to research and purchase products online. But what’s interesting is that they might not be willing to speak to you directly. 

So you should focus lead generation efforts on online SME marketing campaigns.

To that end, it might be tricky to get in touch with your prospects via a landline. Even more so if you’re operating in the B2B space. It’s because a lot of people forward business phones to their private mobile phones. So you should focus on getting in touch using an online means of communication.

It’s safe to assume that your marketing efforts lost momentum over the past 8 to 12 months. Due to this, you might be rushing to recoup and compensate for the lost revenue. And one of the strategies that can help is purchasing MQLs (marketing qualified leads).

As long as you get MQLs from a trusted supplier, you may expect to recover some of the losses pretty soon. 

That said, MQLs need to integrate into your existing campaign. Plus, you should double-down on client onboarding efforts to quickly convert the leads.

PPC Ads – Are They Still Relevant?

In early 2020, PPC ads spending went down significantly, and this applies to both Google and Bing. But in April of the same year, PPC campaigns rebounded and showed a trend of growth. 

Now the question is, should you make PPC ads one of your priorities?

The quick answer is yes.

If you’re not already heavily invested in paid search, now is high time to do it. The competition in the PPC ads space is getting tighter as the majority of businesses have shifted their focus to digital.

Some surveys indicate that you can get the biggest gains from Bing search conversions. But you shouldn’t rule out Google either, although it might require a more tactical approach. 

And there’s more good news.

Email Campaigns Rule

Email is among the main drivers of digital marketing. For small business owners, it represents the key element that generated leads, sales, and revenue. 

But more importantly, email has even experienced an increase over the past 12 months.

Though the volume of sent emails remained almost unchanged, the open rates spiked more than 15% and the trend is likely to continue. What does this mean for you?

If you want to get TOFU (top-of-the-funnel) leads, you should boost your email marketing campaigns. Sponsored newsletters, for example, may generate a decent ROI. The same goes for content syndication efforts via email campaigns.

Of course, this also ties in with your lead generation efforts. In addition to your spending, focus on the follow-up and client communication aspects of email campaigns. Again, this is something that should boost your conversion rates and may increase cycle lifecycle.

You should know that email is the most valuable when used as part of a long-term marketing campaign. And this is in-line with the rising trend of email users and their behaviour.

Independent studies suggest that there’ll be 4 billion email users in 2022. And many of them will be using more than one email address. So why miss a chance to capitalize on this?

Be Wise About Your Marketing Budget

In times of crisis, it can be very hard to stretch a small business budget. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With the available government incentives and a clever approach to your marketing efforts, you’ll do just fine. The key is to create an actionable strategy that corresponds to your current situation.

It’s also perfectly fine to take a calculated risk and apply for an online business loan. This may just give you the additional leverage needed to set you apart from the competitors. Plus, you’re free to use an unsecured business loan to fund your lead generation and email campaigns.

Are you ready to take the next step? Unsecured Finance Australia can help with your next business loan. Click here for more information.

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