Figuring out your marketing budget isn’t always easy. In fact, most of the time it’s probably hit and miss. Mostly miss. Here’s how to take the guesswork out of working out a realistic marketing budget.
In Part 1, I suggested that you look back over the past year and document exactly what you spent your marketing dollars/pounds/euros/etc on. (If you missed Part 1 you can read it here.)
You should now have a detailed list of all the print advertising, fliers, business cards, websites, copywriting, brochures, promotions etc that you worked on. You should also have an idea about which of your marketing efforts were successful and which weren’t.
Should. But probably don’t. Assuming that you’ve figured out how much you spent on marketing last year, that’s as good a place as any to start with as a guesstimate for this year’s budget. Only this year, do things a little differently. Be more proactive about tracking your marketing efforts. Keep notes on what works and what doesn’t.
Doing a newspaper advert? Use a call to action that lets you track who’s replying to the ad. That can be as simple as using a specific email address, a special phone number, or even just asking prospective customers how they heard about you.
If you have a website, or plan on getting one, make sure that you have a way to track what people are doing on your site. Which are the most popular pages? Which pages make them run away screaming?
You can get some great insights into whether you’re spending your marketing budget wisely by listening to your customers. Ask them questions. They’ll be happy to tell you what they think. And even happier when you take action to improve their experience with you.
These same principles apply just as well to you if you’re just starting your business. True, you’ll probably end up pulling your marketing budget out of thin air, but also true that you’ll learn what’s working as you go along because you’ll do what so few businesses do from the very beginning: you’ll test and track your marketing to make sure you’re always doing it that little bit better.
And little improvements soon add up to a whole lot.
So go ahead. Pick a figure. Small is fine to begin with, until you get the hang of it. But don’t be afraid to add to your budget if you can see that your plans are panning out. If you know that you’re bringing in $5 for every $2 you invest in marketing, your marketing budget isn’t going to be limited to a set figure. You’ll invest more to make more. It’s as simple as that.
So go on: Get marketing!