Marketing to Grow Your Business in 2015

463140017How’s your 2015 marketing budget shaping up? Oh, you haven’t thought about it yet? No problem, below are some tips to guide you when developing your marketing budget for next year. As a staffing company owner, I know you are juggling multiple balls and, while you likely understand that you have to market your business, you’re probably not sure what that right budget amount should be or what marketing activities to focus on.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts, staffing firms spend, on average, 0.4 percent of sales on marketing, so if sales are $2 million that means the marketing spend is typically about $80,000. Again, these are rough averages so you need to determine what’s right for your business and take into account your growth goals, how long your company has been in the industry, etc. Remember that investing in marketing is a long-term growth strategy and those with aggressive growth goals are spending at least 2 to 3 times that in my experience.

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Once you land on a number, how can you ensure that you’re spending those precious dollars in ways that will help grow your business? Here are my top 3 tips:

1. Look at what you spent on marketing in 2014 to date and determine what worked and what didn’t. Many times companies keep doing the same thing year after year because it’s easier than digging in and figuring out what generated a positive ROI and what fell flat. Having those difficult discussions about what activities to cut is not fun, but the flip side is being able to redirect dollars to activities that drive sales leads and support business growth. Just because “we’ve always sponsored this event” doesn’t mean you should continue to do so, especially if it’s not delivering results.

2. Keep an eye on the changing marketing landscape. Social media has been all the rage for the past several years, but, as we’re seeing, the organic (or free) reach on social media sites like Facebook is rapidly decreasing. No longer can companies rely on “free” social media sites to connect with and build audiences. So now what? If social media isn’t driving leads, are you prepared to pay to have your posts seen and, if so, what is that doing for you in terms of developing business? If nothing, you’ll have to determine where else can you allocate those dollars.

3. Measure, adjust, measure. More than anything, determine what you are going to measure (remember the old adage of “measure what matters”!), check in every month or quarter to see how the initiatives are working out, and then adjust if necessary. Especially in this day and age, companies have to be nimble and ready to change if required. This applies to your marketing efforts as well. Don’t keep throwing money at something that’s not working.

Last year, most of my clients focused their marketing spend on updating their websites to ensure they were responsive and developing content to drive organic traffic. This year, my initial planning conversations are around outbound marketing efforts like target account programs and candidate recruitment (especially in IT staffing).

If you’ve got questions as you start your 2015 budgeting and planning process, or just want to learn what marketing activities have worked for other companies in the staffing industry, feel free to contact us.

MORE: Are you underspending on marketing?

Michelle Krier

Michelle Krier
Michelle Krier is vice president of marketing and digital solutions for ClearEdge Marketing. She can be reached at mkrier (at) clearedgemarketing (dot) com.

Michelle Krier

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