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Tight B2B marketing budget? A strategy to make the most of what you’ve got

If you’re like most B2B marketing professionals, you’ve never got enough money for all the marketing you’d like to do. I recommend focusing first on driving leads and sales.

By investing one-third on online marketing, one-third on database-driven direct marketing, and the remaining one-third on “everything else,” you’ll be able to provide demonstrable results when it comes time to determine whether your budget will go up or down.

Focusing on leads and sales

Yes, brand image is important to your company’s success. But unless you can spend a half-million dollars or so on brand advertising, such efforts probably won’t move the sales needle much.

The good news: If you spend a fraction of that amount on marketing designed primarily to generate leads, you should see a big impact on sales. And responding quickly to inquiries while maintaining the quality of your website and marketing materials also helps enhance your company’s image.

Invest one-third of your budget on online marketing

Your website is probably the initial stop for prospects who are new to your products and services. Invest time and thought into improving the messages to prospects and clients who are currently visiting your website. Stay cost-effective by focusing your goal on moving prospects from awareness to inquiry to consideration to purchase. Don’t just aim to give it more window-dressing. Instead,communicate and convert.

Search engines are, of course, the first place many prospective customers go to research solutions to their business issues.

Consider search engine optimization (SEO) before investing in sponsored links on search results. “Organic” or “natural” search engine results typically receive nearly 75 percent of clicks, with sponsored links getting the rest.

In many cases, fixing your website’s top 5 SEO problems makes a noticeable difference in your rankings. Perhaps not enough to unleash a torrent of traffic, but commit to continuous improvement and you’ll reap the rewards. If you don’t want to do the heavy lifting yourself, you can partner with a reputable SEO company.

Invest another third in database-driven direct marketing

Review your existing database, and identify the most profitable clients or customers. Create models for the best types to target with one-to-many marketing programs. Then acquire a database containing information on these kinds of companies through database marketing services.

Aim to communicate with your database contacts every month so you’re top-of- mind when they’re ready for solutions. But don’t rely solely on e-mail follow-ups; experts estimate that between 70 percent and 80 percent of opt-in messages are blocked from reaching the intended destination. If you don’t have e-mail addresses, or don’t have permission for e-mail contact, try contacting your best prospects via direct mail or by telephone.

Invest the final third in “everything else”

Now support the investments you’ve made in the first two-thirds of your budget. You might use the money to:

  • design, print and mail information kits, case studies or checklists
  • create a monthly newsletter
  • provide a series of webinars
  • arrange in-person events
  • keep improving your website’s conversion rate and resources
  • Exhibit at industry shows
  • invest in a few sales tools as well

Would this approach work for you?

A number of marketers would take issue with my recommendation to put branding on the sidelines in favor of leads and sales. How would you divide the always-limited marketing budget?

Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com