During these difficult times, it’s become clear that some businesses are thriving (particularly those in the loo roll market) and others are having to temporarily close or reduce operations. Those who are closing or scaling down are rightfully looking at ways to reduce expenses to relieve strain on their almost stagnant cashflow.
Well, here’s another helping hand for those businesses. Here are 8 ways to reduce costs as a marketer. This is in the hope that it helps small to medium business to continue ticking over without resorting to staff layoffs or cutting contracts with small businesses.
1. Marketing Spend
Even businesses that have stopped their operations are still advertising for brand awareness on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Youtube and Snapchat. This is a good thing to do even when the business is closed as CPMs (cost per 1,000 impressions) are at all-time lows right now so brands can reach large audiences at a low cost in the hope that the message they convey is remembered when everything goes back to normal. Although I don’t advise to cut back marketing spend if it’s working for your business, you can change the way that you pay for it to ease the pressure on cash flow.
I see many businesses paying for their marketing spend via debit card or direct debit. However, the majority of ad platforms allow you to pay with a credit card or even a credit facility offered by the platform.
Paying by a credit card will give you an extra 30 days to actually pay up the funds, plus if you use a business credit card with rewards, like those offered by American Express then you’ll also earn rewards points or cashback on the ad spend. What you earn will very much depend on the card you choose but in general, the American Express cards tend to give back a value of around 1% of what’s spent.
Paying via a credit facility offered by the platform will also release strain on your cash flow and you can essentially miss a months ad spend payment in your cashflow by floating it on credit. This is usually recommended when running large monthly advertising budgets of at least 5 figures. You will have to apply for this and each platform has different requirements for application and acceptance.
Domain holding is a fairly common practice which nearly every online business does. Usually, businesses will own multiple variants of their brand name as domains along with any future business ideas or brands that they have in the pipeline. However, this can be super costly, especially if you’re holding expensive TLDs like .com or .io. The average cost of a .com domain is around £15 per year, multiple that by 20 domains which you have on hold and that quickly becomes a £300 a year recurring cost for something you’re not using.
Try to let go of some domains which you aren’t using, be firm but reasonable and ask yourself: Is this domain currently offering any purpose? Will I use this domain in the next 2 years? If I lost this domain tomorrow would it really matter? Will the loss of this domain and registration by someone else damage my brand?
Just remember, a business isn’t made on the quality of the domain you manage to get, if your upcoming business idea is truly amazing then that will be the leading cause of success, not the domain, so it doesn’t really matter if you have .com, .uk, .online or .io. The business will create success, the domain is just an address.
If your business is one of those which has been impacted by this global pandemic and has been forced to temporarily close or reduce operations and you operate your website or infrastructure on multiple cloud servers, then there’s some opportunity to make savings. During this time, it’s unlikely that you will receive the same amount of web traffic, bandwidth or demand to your servers so you can probably get by on fewer servers and less processing power which will reduce your monthly cloud hosting costs. Depending on the infrastructure size this could amount to thousands of pounds per month in savings.
4. Email Platforms
Now is the time to tidy up your email platforms, I’m talking about MailChimp, MailerLite, MailGun and all of the others. The majority of these services charge on a usage base, usually, on the number of subscribers or emails sent. Now that you have a little more time on our hands, take some time to remove any continuously bouncing addresses, un-subscribers and spam emails from your lists. This will reduce your subscriber and email quotas hopefully bringing your account down a payment tier or at least extending the time before you hit the next tier.
5. Analytics & Data Platforms
In a similar statement to point 3, if your business has temporarily closed or reduced operations you probably don’t need to track as much data or you don’t need to track any data at all. So if you pay for services like Google Analytics 360, Big Query, Stitch Data or any other similar services then you could potentially pause these services completely or reduce the plan that you are on.
6. Adobe Creative Cloud
Now, this is something which I have seen bouncing around Social Media and I haven’t tested it for myself. Apparently, if you have an Adobe CC subscription for software such as Photoshop and Illustrator then you can log in to your account and go to cancel the monthly subscription. When you do this, Adobe offers you 2 months completely free so you can continue using the applications and not pay a penny for 2 months. Considering the monthly subscription cost is £59 +VAT per user per month for businesses, this can be a significant saving for large marketing/creative teams that use Adobe CC.
7. Video Conferencing
The ‘new normal’ is all about working from home and utilising video conferencing apps to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family. However, it still surprises me that businesses are paying high monthly subscriptions for these video conferencing apps, especially small businesses with less than 50 employees.
As detailed in my 25 Free Video Conferencing Apps post, there are plenty of options on the market that will allow you to video conference all-day long completely for free. Just recently, probably the best free video conferencing offering came about from Facebook. It launched a desktop app for it’s Messenger service on the 2nd April, alongside also announcing that video calls over Messenger would allow an unlimited number of people on the call for an unlimited amount of time. All this completely for free. This is a great move by Facebook and it will really help people to stay connected across the world during this difficult time. There’s no reason why you can’t utilise this in your business, so long as everyone has a Facebook account and is willing to use it.
8. User Licences
Again, in a similar statement to point 6 about Adobe CC licences, you can also save on other user license costs whilst your business is temporarily closed or running reduced operations. Software packages such as CRM systems, Office 365, G Suite, Canva and marketing apps can all have fairly costly licence costs and whilst your staff may be on furlough or just running a minimal operation you could potentially pause or temporarily remove some of these licenses if you’re not using them. Collectively, for a large marketing team this could amount to significant savings.
Just to make it clear, all of these points above are just speculation and for entertainment purposes only, what you choose to do with this information is completely up to you. However, I hope this offers some value for those businesses who are potentially struggling to keep ticking over.