Digital budget spend optimisation
Unless your company name ends in ‘ex’ you are probably feeling the pinch at the moment, so there has never been a better time to get your digital budget and spend optimised. It’s something that you would generally not have the time to sit down and do. This is an exercise that can really be an eye-opener.
Even if you think that it’s not worth your time, a lot of it covers recurring costs, so it will pay for itself eventually. These services may be handled by a 3rd party for you, whether that be a freelancer, consultant or agency. This doesn’t change anything, you can get them to audit anything you notice in their billing and they can do the streamlining for you.
The first port of call is to look at all the software you pay for, whether that be monthly, on a quota basis or yearly.
Business Software Tools
It’s really easy to sign up for tools, let the free trial expire and before you know it, you are paying a monthly fee for something you integrated half-heartedly or don’t even use.
You need to know how much these services are costing you, if they are worth it and if there is a more suitable and cheaper alternative on the market.
If you have had to cut down or furlough parts of your team then you need to make sure you are doing the same with the software you use. Don’t pay for seats that are not being used. Say for example you have 5 staff using a service at £5 per month per person and they don’t come back for another 4 months. You would save £100 just by removing those seats in the short term. The actual saving could be much more depending on your situation.
Just be sure to think of the implications of removing the user or service before doing it, will you lose any valuable business data or messages that may need to be retrieved later down the line. These are all things you can discuss with the service directly.
Website hosting can be a huge one to go through depending on the size and scale of your web projects. Hosting costs cover everything from domain names, company email addresses to your monthly server spend.
If you have been hoarding domains you don’t use, you are not alone, lots of people do it. Now is a good time to think about culling some of those domain names and if you can’t bear to lose them then compromise by moving them to a cheaper domain provider like NameCheap (other providers are available). Prices of .com domains are set to rise so don’t waste unnecessary spend on something you are not even using.
Business email accounts
Run through your list of email accounts and make sure you aren’t paying for accounts of staff who don’t work with you anymore. For old accounts that you don’t need, you should have the option to deactivate them and forward on the emails to another email address at no cost. Depending on what the pricing structure is, you may save some money per user or manage to get into a lower pricing tier. Either way, it’s good housekeeping to have all of this up to date.
Businesses using ‘pay as you go’ virtual server providers may have the option to scale down their server specs during the next few months to compensate for quiet periods.
Renewals on hosting can get very expensive so now is a good time to try and trim any of the fat you can. If you pay for SSL certificates you can consider moving them to a fee self certificate if that is a viable option.
Find out how many of the services you use on your pricing tier for hosting and see if you could come down to the lower tier. If you are locked into a long contract then talk to your hosting provider and they may be able to discount some other services for you to compensate. They don’t want to lose your business.
If you have had to cut back on all ongoing development and are paying for staging or testing servers then now is a good time to temporarily suspend or shut them down if you can.
If you really don’t like your current hosting provider due to bad customer service, uptime or speed then what better to migrate your website to a new hosting provider. In a lot of cases for smaller sites, moving to a new hosting provider can save a lot of ongoing costs.
Try to get the site maintenance down to a minimum.
Check what your maintenance covers and how you could make any savings on it, services like backups and security updates will still be required but there may be other services you don’t require in the short term.
For people using platforms like WordPress, this could be as simple as having a plugin audit. This ensures that you are not having to update plugins that are inactive or no longer needed on the website. Again, this is just good practice because it will improve your website speed slightly if you can disable and delete plugins you don’t need or use.
Depending on where you sit in the market this may be something that is no longer needed. It’s tough to turn around to a long term business relationship and say you no longer require their services in the foreseeable future but right now that is reality. If they provide no value to your business then they are no longer an asset.
All the best marketing individuals and agencies will pivot to focus on the clients that are making money and keep going with or without your business. You have to focus on your business as number one and just offer what you can to the other businesses around you.
If you run your own online marketing then be sure that you are only running campaigns for services that you can still offer right now. Otherwise you are wasting ad spend on services for things customers may not actually be able to take you up on for months and by then they will have forgotten. The same goes for any remarketing and email campaigns, be sure to audit everything in this area with a fine-tooth comb.
Optimising your digital budget and spend is something that is vital in keeping your running costs down over the next few months. Even sitting down for an hour or so and creating a top-level service audit will be time well spent. I have a very crude online budget calculator you can use here if needed.
I hope this helps, good luck and stay safe!