Last week, we faced the most intimidating part of creating an annual budget for your business: getting started. We went over a formula to get your finances organized and determine how much you have to spend. Now, you’ll have to start thinking about how you want to spend it. We’ve already gone over why it’s important to set aside part of your budget for marketing, and we’ve reviewed how to organize your finances to determine what your budget is, so now it’s time to create a solid marketing plan for those funds.
Three main factors contribute to how you spend marketing funds: the size of your budget, what marketing experiences have worked for your company in the past, where you can reach the right audience.
It’s important to be realistic about what marketing your budget will allow for. With a limited budget, some realistic marketing options to consider would be email advertising, small print or online ads, and social media. A more significant marketing budget opens the door for television, radio, and marketing strategists to bring in a wider range of clients.
Before actually implementing marketing, stop and think about what marketing your company has done in the past and if any of your previous strategies have been particularly effective. Revisit any information you may have collected from previous or current clients, whether formally or not. How did they hear about your company? If you noticed any marketing that has brought more clients in, be sure to include that tactic in your strategy, even if you have the funds for more expensive alternatives. Writing an email newsletter may not seem as glamorous in light of a new tv commercial you have coming out, but if it’s worked for your audience before, don’t underestimate a tried and true tactic.
And that brings us to the third factor in where to allocate your marketing funds: your audience. Consider who your target customers are, and now ask yourself what media do they consume? What websites are they surfing, do they read magazines, and how often and what television programming are they watching? When you’ve discovered the answers to those questions, you’ve just determined where you should be advertising, and what media outlets you’ll need to invest that marketing budget in.
Be wary of being too caught up in new though, and be sure set aside some of the budget for testing those new marketing channels. Sure, your audience may spend a lot of their time on social media for example, but you may not net any new business from that particular marketing tactic. So, before you put all your marketing bucks into one basket, you should only use a small portion of your budgeted funds on a new strategy until you’ve determined the effectiveness of the it.
Carl Designs expert brand communications design.