ecommerce marketing

Marketing is a critical, yet expensive part of any modern business. Most major brand name companies spend a considerable amount of revenue on marketing; Salesforce, for example, spends a whopping 53 percent of its revenue on marketing, while social media giant Twitter commits 44 percent.

Regardless of how much your company can or wants to commit to marketing, it is nonetheless a costly affair.

Here are a few tips to help reduce those costs, and still generate leads and make sales.

Optimize Your Social Media Presence

While there are numerous platforms in which to market your products and services, social media is the newest; it also shows tremendous potential for marketing effectiveness at a reduced cost. Social media platforms like Facebook are a terrific medium for relatively economical, highly targetable online ads. This way you can reach your target market at a reasonable price.

The social media platforms themselves enable you to build brand awareness and loyalty, both through paid as well as organic content; often the mix of both helps to generate significant buzz about your company and to generate leads. You can further positive word-of-mouth on social media by providing discounts to customers who write positive reviews. The social media platform Twitter can serve as an effective email distribution list for your company, alerting the public to new products or sales.  

Finally, you can use all of the social media platforms that are out there to maintain contact with your customer base. The perk? It’s essentially free! Use your interactions with them to help expand it.

Leverage Data

Don’t waste your time or your company’s scarce resources advertising to consumers who are not there; instead, employ data to help shape your marketing plan, and how you execute it. A good place to start is with your current customer base. Determine what makes them tick in regards to your company, and why they continue to rely on your products and services.

Online, written, and telephone surveys can help provide a window into the consumers who are buying your products. Your company could also employ other powerful tools, such as Google Analytics, to sift through marketing and online data, and the tools to help make it useful to your company. Using tools like this can help you to calibrate your marketing efforts to achieve maximum effectiveness while minimizing overall costs. Finally, ensure your company takes advantage of the troves of free and accurate data that is out there.

Government sources, such as Data.gov and the U.S. Census Bureau, can provide critical information to help you market more effectively, and at a lower cost.

Remember the Basics

The high-tech tools, you apply, or the new frontiers in media you venture into doesn’t matter. Following long-standing marketing principles remains one of the best ways to market your company effectively while controlling overall costs. Avoiding costly mistakes, in print and online can help prevent from putting your company in a negative light.

Avoiding costly changes to your marketing strategy when the current one is working (as your detailed data clearly shows) is another way your company can manage marketing costs and still make good sales. Investing in well-trained marketing staff – through targeted recruitment, effective training, and follow-on education – is another way that you can have the most effective marketing department for the cost.

Finally, remember, one of the best ways to reduce marketing costs is to retain the customers you already have. Repeat customers are responsible for 40 percent of a given business’s revenue on average, so retaining customers is another great way to reduce the costs incurred in marketing to find new ones.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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