Jean Caragher, president of Chesapeake-Va.-based Capstone Marketing and speaker at the Accounting Firm Marketing Forum in New York, offers several tips for maximizing return on your firm’s marketing budget.

Pointing out that most firms, including those in the Top 100, designate only one to three percent of their annual net revenue toward marketing, a figure that may also even include the salary of the firm’s marketer, Caragher stresses that face-to-face activities such as networking and mixers are two of the most effective, low-cost marketing tools. Advertising, she notes, especially in small, often local venues, ranks as one of the biggest money-eaters, and something many firms do simply because their competitors do it, too.

Networking is most effective when properly tracked, she adds. You should be surveying staff to find out where and with whom they network now, and find out where clients network. She recommends setting specific networking goals for staff, such as how often a week to get to networking events, and the number of new potential clients to meet. When tracking networking activities, Caragher recommends keeping a master list of partners and staff and the organizations they’re affiliated with, as well as a database of clients’ networking activities.