Creating a Marketing Budget for Your Small Business

While your marketing plan gives you a guide to grow your business, the marketing budget for your small business will drive its success.

When was the last time you revisited your marketing budget? You might be including items that aren’t giving you a good return on investment. Here’s a breakdown of what you should include and how you can get started.

Must-haves for your small business marketing budget

Before you set your marketing budget, it’s important to have a marketing plan in place. If you don’ have one yet, it’s not too late and you’re not alone! Every day, passionate business owners who have infinite belief in their products and services don’t include marketing plans and budgets in their business plans.

In reality, though, your business needs a marketing plan and budget to effectively promote what you’re offering. Here are a few key pieces to include:

  1. A website for your business. Did you know that 60% of consumers begin their research via search engines? Most consumers say that their contact with a business starts by visiting the business’s website. On top of that, 91% of shoppers say they’ve visited a store’s physical location after a positive online experience.

    If you don’t already have a website, create a simple one that you can update regularly. Websites are still one of the best ways to reach new customers and show your existing customers what’s new.

    You can find easy-to-use templates with low monthly and annual plans through GoDaddy, Shopify, Wix, and others. If you have more needs than a standard website template can accommodate, you may want to work with a freelance web designer that can create a custom website for your business. Look into hourly rates and fees for a few designers and ask fellow business owners for recommendations too.
  2. An email marketing strategy. Email marketing is one of the best return-on-investment (ROI) generators for your small business. It’s an easy way to keep your audience updated on the latest news and product launches and can also drive traffic to your website.

    There are many email marketing services available to small businesses, so do some research to see what offers the best value for your specific needs. Make it easy for consumers to sign up for your emails and set a schedule for consistent communications.

    As you’re creating your budget, consider the cost of the platform and any web customization you’ll need for signups. You should also factor in you and your team’s time to create the email communications.
  3. A social media strategy. 74% of consumers say that social-media interaction influences their purchasing decisions. Do some research to find out which platforms your ideal customers are on, then create profiles for your business in those spaces.

    Your social media strategy can be as simple as posting relevant updates on your social media channels, or as complex as an influencer account. Consider what resources you have and how much each will cost. For example, if you want a visual-forward social media presence, you’ll need design resources to be successful. If you don’t have a designer on your team, you may need to hire one or work with a freelancer.

Starting your marketing budget for your small business

Creating your marketing budget is a lot like creating the budget for your business overall. It’s important to have a clear vision for what you want to accomplish, and then accurate estimates of how much it will cost to achieve your goals.

Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Do your research

While many pieces of your marketing plan can be done in-house, other aspects will need software or experts to make them happen. No matter what you’re looking for, do your research. Get quotes from a variety of sources, read reviews, and ask for references. Your due diligence will ensure you get the most value for your spend.

Your research will also give you a good idea of what the software you need actually costs and the going rate for freelancers.

2. Create realistic estimates for marketing costs

Your marketing budget doesn’t have to be big to be successful, but there are a few areas where you’ll need to spend a bit more to build your brand. Logo design, website development, and digital advertising all come at a cost and your research will help you create realistic estimates for spending.

Having good estimates means that you’re not over or under spending on your marketing. If you overspend, you might not get a return on your investment. On the other hand, if you underestimate your costs you might not spend enough to successfully implement your marketing plan.

3. Invest in digital marketing

Digital marketing includes all the promotion you do for your brand through the internet and other forms of digital media. Consumers today live in a digital-first world, so having a plan for digital marketing will make sure you’re meeting customers where they already are.

If you’re just getting started with digital marketing, look into low-cost strategies that have a big impact. For example, Google for Small Business offers free resources to ensure that your business is found in Google searches, and potential customers can see all your great reviews.

4. Accurately track your marketing expenses and outcomes

Once your budget is set, it’s important to track your expenses and measure them against your estimates. If you’re overbudget in an area, review your spending and your estimates to see if you need to make any changes. You might find that you underestimated costs and will need to increase your allocation in that area.

You also need to track the outcomes of your marketing campaigns against the goals you set. Use this information along with your budget tracking to determine whether you’re getting a good return on investment. Let’s say you set a goal to generate new leads from a social media ad campaign. As your campaign runs, track how many leads come in and divide your current spend by that number. That will tell you how much it costs to bring in each lead. Compare that spend to the projected revenue you’ll generate from the lead, and you’ll get a good idea on whether the campaign has been worth the cost.

5. Devote resources to your existing customers

From a marketing standpoint, it’s generally about five times more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain an existing customer. Even still, spending a lot of your marketing budget trying to gain more customers while ignoring your existing customers is an easy trap to fall into. While building your customer base is necessary for your business to grow, don’t forget about your existing customers who continue to buy from your business. Make sure to spend some resources providing incentives for them, too.

Get the marketing funds you need for your business to grow

If you need funding to implement your marketing budget for small business success, Pursuit can help! We have more than 15 small business loan options available that can fit a variety of needs, including working capital. If you’re ready to take your marketing plan to the next level, check out our loan options and contact us today to learn more.

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