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4 Strategic Tips for Marketing on a Budget

In today’s episode, Jenny shares her top four tips for marketing on a budget. The vast majority of folks in the healthcare space operate on a smaller budget, and Jenny shares the following tips for maximizing marketing performance when budgets are tight:

  1. Know your audience. Who are you marketing to? Develop and understand personas around your target audience, so that you know you’re effectively reaching them.
  1. Create an annual plan. Rather than playing catch up or trying to squeeze a lot of results into a smaller time frame, create an annual plan that maximizes your budget throughout the year to drive consistent results and growth.
  1. You are a bottom funnel marketer! Be sure to target people who are actively looking for the services you offer and are actively seeking a solution to their problem. Be sure to leverage Google Grants if you are a nonprofit.
  1. Build a measurement plan and dashboard. Make sure you understand your marketing performance and results. Track all key actions on your website, so that you can effectively optimize performance for prospective customers.

This episode is worth the listen, as Jenny shares all the details marketers need to know when marketing on a budget.

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Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi, friends. Welcome to today’s episode of “We Are Marketing Happy.” I am your host, Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and owner at Hedy and Hopp, a healthcare marketing agency. I am so excited to be here today to talk to you about marketing on a budget. So, often, we talk about regional systems, national payers, all of these organizations that really have a higher level of marketing budget.And along with that comes marketing sophistication. 

But, the vast majority of providers and payers and folks in the healthcare space have a way smaller budget. So today’s episode is going to be dedicated to y’all. So if you have a marketing budget of $30,000 a month or less, this is for you. Some folks we talk to have marketing budgets of $15,000 or less.

Again, this episode is for you. So let’s dive in immediately. I’m going to give you four tips to be able to make sure that you’re really being as strategic and smart as [00:01:00] possible with your marketing budget. So the first thing we want to talk about is again something that people often overlook when they have smaller budgets. Whenever people have smaller budgets when they approach us and talk about how we might be able to lean in, a common trend we see is that they have overlooked what we believe to be the most important step and that is knowing your audience.

Persona development and developing your messaging against those personas is really important. It can be very easy to step over this step and immediately start developing a go-to-market strategy or marketing campaigns. But if you have a smaller budget than every single dollar you spend really has to resonate.

So we strongly suggest if you are a smaller budget marketer, definitely pause, and spend some time really refining who you are marketing to. Who is the patient or the decision maker that needs either your care or your health insurance plan? And definitely make sure [00:02:00] you understand what are the emotions that are the key drivers?

What are barriers for them to make a decision? What’s their age? What is their typical web browsing behavior and decision making process for care that you provide? Once you document that you will then be able to really refine your entire marketing program. And, every single ad you deliver will be massively more effective. So number one, know your audience. 

Number two, pause and create an annual plan. So often folks with smaller budgets, we see that they’re always playing catch up. They feel as though this is what they’ve shared with us. They are more of an order taker. Where they have the CEO or somebody who runs a service line really more dictating what they need to do from a month to month basis, and there’s no big picture strategic plan.

Again, pause. A great time to do this is ahead of a fiscal or a calendar year, but really pausing and saying what are we doing for the [00:03:00] year, two key questions you need to answer in that annual plan are, what are the service lines? or the business lines we’re going to be focusing on? and what are the goals? How are we going to measure and understand success? 

You then can, of course, build out campaigns and tactical execution underneath that. But mapping it out on the annual plan really helps you look at it big picture. Avoid pivoting quickly without strategy. So kind of being told top down what you need to be doing, you will have already created a plan, shopped it, had it approved by senior leadership.

And you have then aligned on the service line or business line prioritization throughout the year, taking into account seasonality, et cetera. But then you’ll have a much stronger foundation to operate against versus going on a month by month or quarter by quarter basis. 

Number three, friends, if you have a limited budget, you’re a bottom funnel marketer. And I mean that with so much [00:04:00] love. Quickly let me verbally for those of you watching the video visually define what I mean by bottom funnel. If you imagine a funnel on the bottom funnel are people who are actively trying to find you. So people who are going to Google or Bing and typing in “healthcare provider near me” or “health insurance plan,” “Medicare plan available to me.”

They’re actively trying to find you and solve a problem that they have. Those are your customers. Those are your immediate buyers. That is bottom funnel. One step up is people that are like your typical buyer. So they match that persona, but they aren’t necessarily trying to solve a problem immediately.

So they aren’t in that decision making pivot at that time. They’re not actively researching solutions. They just happen to be in your right Demographic and psychographic for your typical buyer. And then upper funnel is much more brand awareness. So think even things like out of home, broad [00:05:00] programmatic, if you’re thinking about digital, et cetera.

Not a whole bunch of targeting goes into it. Some does, of course, geographical, but you aren’t really usually going down to a demographic or psychographic level as much. So if you have a limited budget. Friends, bottom funnel, you want to maximize people that are actively trying to find your services. And that means Google ads, Bing ads, and really making sure from a Google local listings perspective that you’re optimized and really maximizing reviews.

Here’s a good call out. If your organization is a nonprofit, make sure you’re leveraging Google Grants. So Google Grants is additional media spend, $10,000 a month, available for nonprofits. A lot of healthcare organizations are nonprofit entities. And if you are, if you’re a 501(c)(3), go to Google Grants, we’ll link to it in the comments, and apply.

And that can secure an additional $10,000 a month to your media budget. Now you have to have somebody manage it for you [00:06:00] that knows how to manage Google Grants because you have to have certain performance metrics to really maximize that budget or else they take it away from you, but it’s free money. So definitely go and apply.

And the last thing I want to say is, my friends, have a measurement plan and a dashboard in place you can understand performance. You need to make sure all of your key actions on your website, whether it’s a form fill, a phone number, whatever, are actively tracked. You need to understand how many new or how many prospective customers.

And then hopefully if your data is clean enough, how many actual customers you drove in the door with your marketing campaigns. That is the way to be able to effectively optimize. And make sure you’re marketing in the right places and then be able to ask for more budget if they want to market more, because again, you’ll have a case that you’re doing a really clean and efficient job and they will be able to delegate more dollars, perhaps to additional business units or service lines to expand [00:07:00] marketing’s overall scope for the organization.

Do realize that there’s lots of technology you can integrate to improve tracking. For example, there’s a lot of call tracking software, CallRail, Invoca. All of these organizations have HIPAA compliant call tracking, basically changes the number on your website. When the person calls, uh, it’s marked according to how they found your website.

So you could accurately track that, say, a Google ad drove a phone call. So it’s very easy to implement. You can do form tracking for conversions through a web analytics event. All of these things are easy to do, but it takes a strategy to sit down and pause and figure out what are those key actions on our site that show marketing is working and then an action plan to actually implement it.

So again, friends, if you are a small budget marketer, these are the four things you should be actively doing. Number one, know your audience. Slow down, figure out if you need to prioritize specific service [00:08:00] lines, what the goals are for each of the different audiences. Slow down and get aligned. Then develop an annual plan and take into consideration any service line focus, any seasonality, actually document any tactical or campaign pivots you need to do according to seasonality, get that approved, and get aligned throughout your organization.

Number three, be a bottom funnel marketer, you got to focus on those tactics where folks are actively trying to solve a problem. It’ll be the least expensive conversion that you’ll pay for with your marketing budget. And number four, develop a measurement plan and a dashboard. So each month you can report on the number of new conversations and new customers you actively drove through the door.[00:09:00] 

So again, Hedy and Hopp, we are a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency. We work with organizations of all sizes. We love working with large regional and national players, but we also are really passionate about helping smaller organizations. So if you are, you know, a marketer with a smaller budget, reach out, grab some time to do a one on one with me.

We’ll put a link in the show notes for you to schedule an appointment. I’d love to chat about your strategies and any questions you have about being more effective with your marketing spend. As always, be sure to give us some love on whatever streaming platform you’re listening to. We’d love some stars and some comments.

And let us know if there’s a topic you’d like for us to cover in the future. Have a great day. And thanks for tuning into today’s episode of “We Are, Marketing Happy.”



About the Author

The Hedy & Hopp digital production team is the glue that keeps all activation work running. From auditing websites and tagging, to content strategy and CRM implementation, our digital production unicorns ensure the tiniest detail is reviewed and accurate before it gets to our clients. Their determination in finding solutions for any challenge makes this team marketing happy.

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