PART 3: SIMPLE RULES TO HELP GET STARTED
By now, you should know that marketing budgets are really important.
This series was created to help business owners, like yourself, easily understand why you should use a marketing budget. This also meant uncovering what goes into a budget, as well as clearly defining the purpose of each part of your budget.
Before I dive into Part 3, if you haven’t had a chance to read our first two installments, check them out below:
In the last installment of this series, we’re going to discuss simple-to-follow budgeting rules that will achieve your business goals more easily. These guidelines will help you approach your business goals with effective marketing in mind.
Here are 3 rules to creating a marketing budget for a continued healthy business.
3 EASY BUDGETING RULES TO MEET YOUR SMALL BUSINESS GOALS
1. Determine Your Goals: Do You Need To Maintain Or Grow?
When you actively set aside money for marketing, your small business can avoid costly slumps and experience an increase in revenue.
So what does this actually look like? Well, for many business owners, it means taking a look at your revenue and then deciding if you’d like to maintain or grow. Regardless of which you choose, an ongoing marketing budget is what sets your business up for long-term success.
Not only will a marketing budget help bring in customers, it should also help you establish a plan that can be easily followed as your business operates day in and day out. Ultimately, a marketing budget will show you what is working and what can be improved.
Let’s dive a bit further into maintenance and growth based marketing budgets.
Maintenance Based Budget
By setting aside 5-10% of your projected monthly gross revenue, you can maintain your usual efforts and your overall revenue.
Things like periodic flyers and promotions, gift cards, and even decals for your windows all count towards maintaining your current revenue. Even though these investments are financially smaller, using your marketing budget to account for them can help develop foresight to achieve your short-term goals.
Growth Based Budget
Utilizing 15-20% of your monthly gross revenue is a move towards a path that supports growth. Unlike periodic marketing efforts, ongoing marketing efforts with a larger budget are a better, more effective approach to healthy business growth than the sought after “over-night success.”
If you are considering growth, make sure to understand what type of growth you want and adjust your budget to match accordingly. The best you can do is have a gauge of how far you want to grow and aim to reach that goal through creative efforts.
For instance, you might want to consider new efforts that you haven’t used in the past, such as online advertising, continuous campaigns, or a rewards program for your customers.
Simply put, you’ll want to use this larger budget to get existing customers to visit more often and attract new ones as well.
2. Create A Healthy Marketing Mix
When choosing how to spend your monthly marketing budget, consider developing a long-term plan that includes a strategy with a variety of marketing approaches.
This can be done in many different ways - depending on what resources you have available and where your target audience is. Having a mix of marketing strategies gives you more opportunities to get your business out there.
Here are two major steps in creating a healthy marketing mix:
Pick Your Avenue/s
Consider what platforms/avenues/channels you want to use. These are crucial in sharing your work to attract more customers. Think social media, email, blog, video, etc. These are all available avenues that your business can use to build awareness around your brand.
The platform that will work best for your business should be the platform where most of your audience exists already. For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner, posting high-quality photos of your food on Instagram would work better over a simple tweet.
Build Your Content Mix
After you’ve chosen your platform, pick the variety of content you’d like to share. As a pro tip, also consider how much time each piece of content will take to execute and if you have the available resources to implement them on a consistent basis.
Cater your posts/content to inform, entertain, and connect with your audience in different ways. If you own a lawn-care business, then you should be posting about your different types of services, client reviews and testimonials, and possibly even behind-the-scenes photos and video that showcase your daily work. In this same scenario, you wouldn’t want to share just photos of completed lawns. This will ultimately bore your audience by posting the same thing daily.
The goal is to share a healthy mix of content so that you’ll be perceived as dynamic, authentic, and connected to the interests of your audience.
3. Plan For The Future
Remember, your marketing budget should always be ongoing! This is one of the most important rules that local business owners overlook. Whether you want to maintain or grow, you should always have a marketing budget - monthly, quarterly, yearly. Here are some things to consider in order to build ongoing marketing efforts:
Every business operates in terms of quarters in the year. Plan ahead of each quarter to scale your budget gradually based on the goals you’ve set. For example, if you want to grow your restaurant by 12% this year, you can plan to grow your business by 3% each quarter - That’s simply a percent higher every month. Or consider the natural ebbs and flows of your busyness, and possibly focus on a higher budget during the slower times in order to increase traffic.
As long as you’re committed to ongoing marketing and how it’s doing month to month, you’re headed in the right direction.
Creating campaigns to hit your goals can be an effective way to help keep things moving along. Campaigns are a reliable tool to spread awareness around your business. Whether you’re selling a new product or just want to retain customer attention, campaigns are efforts made to support a specific goal in mind.
If you really think about it, the world’s biggest brands always have some kind of promotion. Whether it’s for larger-scale holidays like Christmas or small ones, like St. Patrick’s. No matter what, there’s always a campaign. This keeps audiences interested.
Today, the marketing landscape is constantly changing due to advancements in technology. Businesses need to stay up-to-date with changes and new trends to compete effectively. With a dedicated marketing budget you can account for these changes and start to better understand what will actually work in your efforts. From social media to advertising, changes can happen at any time, and it’s important to stay on top of these trends to help your business stay relevant.
Now, this doesn’t mean joining every trend or social media platform. What we recommend is to stay aware and invest in new efforts that will reach your target audience. The better you are at staying up-to-date, the more effective you’ll be at getting customers through your door year after year.
To sum up Parts 1-3, a marketing budget is an essential part of any healthy business. Whether that means transforming your business into a multi-location franchise or just maintaining year after year, these guidelines will help you build a marketing budget that’s right for you. And as always, we’re here to help with any of your business’ marketing needs so don’t hesitate to give us a shout if you’re looking to build an effective marketing budget and plan. If you want more rules to help you fully understand how marketing will affect your business, read this article.
Did this series help you plan for your business? What new information did you learn?