Small business owners and entrepreneurs have a lot of expenses on their plate, and marketing spend is one that is vital but can add up. If you’re struggling with the cash flow that will allow you to pay for all the marketing costs you need, there’s financing that may be available to you. Learn the top small business marketing tips, how to finance marketing, and the latest small business marketing trends that you might consider for your small business.
Changes in Small Business Marketing
The biggest changes in small business marketing campaigns in recent years involve online marketing. Marketing strategies have evolved from focusing on customer service — where customers come to the business with questions — to customer outreach and engagement. Customer engagement is proactively reaching out to customers who post about issues on social media channels. In our online world, customers expect to be able to reach out to brands in a number of convenient, digital ways — and get fast responses. Keeping up this expected level of engagement may require you to hire and pay an employee, such as a social media manager.
Another way that digital marketing has changed the way small businesses market themselves is by providing more affordable options. Email marketing can cost much less than traditional newspaper ads, for example. But that doesn’t mean it’s free — you may need to pay for customer relationship management software, email software, and employees to run it all. It’s also easier to track results and metrics online. Additionally, small businesses can more easily personalize messages to specific customers than in the past.
Small Business Marketing Budget: Cost & ROI
Whether you have a chief marketing officer (CMO), a small marketing team, or just you on your own, you’ll need to budget out your marketing spend. A budget for your marketing plan includes all your marketing costs across every marketing channel, such as:
- Display ads, social media ads, or any other paid advertising
- Marketing team salaries, like content marketing writers, data analysts, public relations specialists, or SEO experts
- Physical marketing materials, like printed brochures, trade show booth materials, or giveaways
- Marketing software
- Video costs, like software, filming, and editing
- Travel expenses for trade shows or conferences
Also, you’ll need to include the expected return on investment (ROI) in your budget. To find your marketing ROI, you’ll subtract your marketing costs from your sales growth. Then divide that by the marketing cost.
Once you know the ROI, you can decide whether your marketing efforts are effective and, if not, make adjustments.
Financing Options For Small Business Marketing
You have many options to fund your marketing expenses, such as business credit cards or small business loans from credit unions, banks, or online lenders. Some common loan options are lines of credit, term loans, or merchant cash advances.
Here are some of the best options:
When you’re looking for funding, consider the length of repayment, interest rates, and total cost of debt. Be sure to use Nav to find personalized recommendations based on your business’s details — instantly.
Additionally, establishing and building your business credit is one of the best steps you can take to get better funding. Learn how to establish business credit in this guide from Nav’s experts.
How to Apply for a Dental Marketing Loan
Lenders give out financing to most small business industries, including dental offices. If you’re looking for funding for your dental business’s marketing investments you’ll apply the same way other small businesses do. If you apply through a bank or credit union, you may need to apply in person. However, online lenders typically have fully digital applications that only take a few minutes to complete. Have your personal and business details on hand before starting the application.
Best In-House Software Platforms for Small Business Marketing
There are countless software options for small business marketing, so choosing the right ones depends on your business needs. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are one of the most obvious since they are easily accessible and free to use (although you may pay for advertising). There are services that automate and optimize your social media marketing, like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, that might be worth using.
You may also need a platform like Salesforce, Mailchimp Marketing Platform, or Marketo to help you determine if your marketing campaigns are successful. Additionally, a project management software like Asana or Trello might be useful to make sure your whole team is aligned.
Latest Successful Small Business Marketing Trends
Marketing automation is off to the races — automating your small business marketing using software as much as possible is the way forward in the coming years. You’ll reach your marketing goals faster, get more new customers, see data-driven metrics, and hone in on your target audience more easily. Just keep in mind what you can afford. If you’re a new business, it might make more sense for you to add one or two services to make your marketing efforts easier and then expand as needed.
Whatever you need to pay for, business funding can help you achieve all your marketing goals. Work with Nav to find the best financing options for your business today.
This article was originally written on February 17, 2023.