Planning your marketing budget may seem easy, but there are some factors you need to consider before spending a single cent. So, what are they?
In this blog, we’ll cover the five things you should think about when planning your marketing budget.
Let’s jump in!
1. Where are you in your business?
Are you starting out at day one or are you 30 years in? Regardless, marketing is still important! However, your tactics may vary based on your experience and the resources available.
For example, if you’re a brand new business, people don’t know you exist yet. That’s completely normal!
A great starting point would be to do a combination of digital and grassroots marketing efforts such as brand awareness ads and in-person networking! This combo can get you in front of people and building relationships while also creating a digital presence to support your in-person efforts!
On the flip side, if you’ve been in business 30 years in the same location and have a strong client base, maybe it’s time to work on your referral business and generate some positive reviews to reach out to people you haven’t worked with before!
Another idea would be to promote a new or different spin on a product or service you offer. Sometimes your marketing can get stale or the channels or strategies have changed!
2. What is your business's seasonality?
What are your peak seasons and slow seasons?
Typically, people plan their budget in the third or fourth quarter of each year. This year you can look back on a vast majority of data and see what has worked, what hasn’t and what can you leverage to go to the next level. This can vary by industry based on your peak and slow seasons.
If your top season is Q4 (October through December – like most retail stores), that won’t be your peak planning season. That being said, you need to make sure you have a game plan in place to make sure you’re building brand awareness prior to Q4 (so in Q2 and Q3) and then measuring your results in the following Q1.
The absolute worst thing you can do is stop all marking because you’re slow. Slow seasons are truly the “recovery and planning” season for quality marketing efforts.
3. What marketing have you done before?
Have you paid thousands for billboards, tv and radio ads? Have you spent a few hundred on paid advertising? Have you been too nervous to pull the trigger on advertising at all because you just aren’t sure it works?
Regardless of which of these you have said yes to, there’s value in all of them. That being said, not all efforts work the same for every business or industry.
Just because Business A killed it with radio ads, doesn’t mean Business B will have the same results. There are so many factors that play into “getting results.” This can include ad copy, messaging, call to actions or segmentation, or even the actual product or service offered. The marketing mix has to be on point to get the conversions right off the bat, which is rarely the case for most small businesses at the beginning!
Don’t worry though! Regardless of what efforts you’ve tried, you can build on your efforts. If you ran some paid ads and aren’t sure of results, it’s probably because the message wasn’t clear enough.
Take a moment to refine your message, and figure out where the marketing fits in the marketing funnel. Is it the first time someone is hearing your business name? Has someone already decided they need what you are promoting? Has someone already checked out your products and services online?
4. What is your goal?
It’s time to get real with yourself.
Have you taken a moment to say, how many leads do I actually need to hit x amount of revenue? Or I really just need more people to know I’m a business.
Measuring your business’s success can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by being real when setting your goals.
If you need help figuring out how to measure your business’s success, check out this episode of our podcast.
5. What is your game plan for the year?
If you’re sitting there thinking, I don’t have a game plan, that’s okay! Take a moment to watch this quick video on simple planning from our Marketing 101 series:
The value of a marketing game plan is to know what you’re spending money on has a purpose and is building a story for a potential customer to move them closer to making a purchase with you (and then hopefully recommending you to family and friends).
Before you allocate any budget for your marketing, it's important to take a step back and evaluate your business and goals. If you begin spending money before having a plan in place, it's possible that your marketing will suffer.
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