Suddenly, it's a whole new world and every expense is up for examination. So repeat this mantra after me: "Dollars spent should generate revenue." If you follow this mantra, your marketing priorities will arrange themselves.
Here's another simple idea: When considering a number of different actions to take, put dollar signs next to each action based on whether it will generate a lot of revenue, a little revenue, or somewhere in between. Take the actions that generate the most dollars and leave the low-dollar actions for another day.
I'll give you two examples of where these guidelines played out recently in my own practice.
A former client asked me to edit conference track descriptions for an upcoming event. I took one look at the descriptions and saw that they were completely fine as is. There was no need to belabor rewriting copy that only interested prospective attendees would be looking at anyway. So I just told her to save her money, and parlay the extra funds into creating a high-impact e-mail that brings in more conference registrations.
Another client of mine was considering a monthly subscription program to bring in steadier revenues but had doubts as to whether it would work. They felt they might get three new subscribers at most from one e-mail blast.
I thought otherwise; I thought we had a great opportunity to gain loyal subscribers and a consistent revenue stream. So I funneled my best creative into an e-mail, using a template of a successful e-mail approach a colleague shared with me. And instead of getting three new subscribers, they got 300.
That's 300 new subscribers at $10 a month, or $36,000 in new revenue a year, from one test e-mail. Now we know this particular monthly subscriber approach works and will be scaling this effort up further.
E-mail is a marketer's best friend when budgets get tight. You can use this time, when you might have to shelve bigger campaigns, to test all the low-hanging fruit. Brainstorm every kind of testing scenario you can think of, then use the dollar-sign approach to prioritize them.
I'm confident you will see brand-new revenue from a bunch of unexpected places -- and your boss will no doubt be thrilled at your resourcefulness.
What low-dollar techniques are you using to increase your revenue in these tough economic times? Share your tips with Karen.
Today's column originally ran on October 29, 2008.
Join us for a one-day Online Marketing Summit in a city near you from May 5, 2009, to July 1, 2009. Choose from one of 16 events designed to help interactive marketers do their jobs more effectively. All sessions are new this year and cover such topics as social media, e-mail marketing, search, and integrated marketing.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Karen Gedney, an award-winning creative director and copywriter, shared her insights as a ClickZ Experts contributor from 2000 through 2009. She was known for her successful track record of achieving high e-mail response rates for Fortune 1000 companies and leading organizations. She died Nov. 16, 2010.
March 19, 2014