While, “If you build it, they will come” worked in Field of Dreams, it’s far from reality when it comes to marketing your business. If you don’t actively promote your company, the results could be disastrous. Still, a lot of companies have marketing budgets that are tight. How do you know how much to spend, and where to invest those funds?
When it comes to establishing your budget, a good rule of thumb is to spend about 10 percent of your annual gross revenue on marketing your business. That answers one question, but what about the second? Figuring out where to invest your marketing budget is a bit more challenging.
How to Appropriately Allocate Your Marketing Budget
For most businesses, margins are tight and there aren’t unlimited funds in your marketing budget, so you need to establish your strategy wisely. Here are three steps to take to set up a realistic, cost-effective budget.
1. Establish Your Goals – Be SMART!
To figure out where to put your focus, you need to determine one to two goals. But you need to be SMART about it. Select objectives that are:
Yes, you may want more customers, but by establishing specific, attainable goals that are measurable, relevant and timely, you’ll be able to look back at them in 12 months to determine if you achieved them or not.
So instead of a goal like, “Gain more customers,” set goals like:
•30 new Facebook fans •20% more website traffic •5 new sales a month
2. Invest in Two or Three Marketing Tactics
When you’re working with a tight budget, you need to be realistic about what you can afford.
Here are three examples of ways you can invest in a few tactics while sticking to your budget:
1.Instead of establishing a social media presenceeverywhere, invest in the one or two social media platforms your target consumers use most frequently.
2.Run a social media ad campaign on the one platform your target consumers use most. Reduce your budget per ad as you begin so you can conduct a bit of A/B testing, then increase your budget and just run one ad at a time after discovering which factors resonate best with target users.
3.Start a blog on your website and commit to writing one new blog post a month. As you get more practice blogging, increase your frequency. If you have the staff or budget for it, have employees take turns writing posts as well, or outsource some or all of the articles to a content marketing firm.
3. Be Consistent
When it comes to marketing, it’s much better to use a few marketing tactics well than to try to add in too many approaches that end up being managed poorly. With whichever tactics you decide to invest in for your business, stick with it, be consistent and give it time before you give up.
Remember that most marketing tacticstake at least 12-18 months to begin providing a return on the investment, so pay attention to what seems to resonate with your target consumers, but don’t make any major strategy changes until you give your approach the time it needs to work.
It may seem difficult to establish an effective marketing campaign on a budget, but you can do it! Establish SMART goals, invest in a few carefully selected strategies and be consistent with your plan, and you’ll start to see results!
Erika Taylor Montgomery is CEO of Three Girls Media, Inc., a boutique award-winning content marketing and public relations firm in the greater Seattle area. The firm specializes in working with small and mid-sized businesses worldwide, designing one-of-a-kind campaigns that provide custom quality content and personalized public relations with each business' specific goals and budget in mind. Learn more at www.ThreeGirlsMedia.com.
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