It’s planning season for many businesses. That’s why over seven weeks we’re posing seven questions you should ask yourself and your team that will inform your marketing planning for 2020.
This week we explore our sixth vital question: "What's this all going to cost?" Our recent posts covered setting business goals, defining audience, marketing goal-setting, strategy development and choosing tactics. Now it's time to get out the calculator and start sketching out your marketing budget.
If you’ve followed along on our blog, you’ve done good work in this planning cycle – quantifying your business goals, developing an understanding of your audience and determined which broad strategies and specific activities will do your business the most good. But this is what many small business owners (especially solopreneurs) find the hardest part – committing to spend the necessary funds.
We have conversations time and again with owners who have no problem paying for rent, utilities and supplies, but then they often balk when it comes to their marketing spend. There can be many reasons for this, but often we hear they’re a) overwhelmed by choices and b) afraid they’ll make expensive mistakes.
Most often we hear them say they just don’t have the funds – leading them to postpone marketing or trying to “DIY” it – trying to learn new skills on the fly like building their own websites or designing their own brochures. And while that may seem like a solution in the moment, all it does in the end is take you away from your core business.
So, deep breath. Marketing will cost you, but if you follow a logical course that connects your business goals and your customers, you can make choices that won’t break the bank (see last week’s blog on choosing marketing activities).
Let’s look at some things to consider as you put together your marketing budget:
A bit of tough love
This is where the tough love part of our relationship comes in. It’s completely normal after reading through all this to feel a flash of panic and think “I can’t afford that!” Breathe. You’re not alone. But you also have to push through it.
Marketing is an essential business expense just like office supplies and taxes and you won’t survive in business without it. That doesn’t mean you need to do anything foolish or break the bank – as we always say, if you’re strategic and think your options through you can be effective at just about any price point. Do what’s appropriate for you, your business goals and your customers, and prioritize and “course correct” as you go. You’ll do great!
How will you measure if your marketing is successful?
Check out our blog post on choosing marketing tactics
I'm Tim Hart, owner, coach and trainer at LoveSmallBiz.com. I'm also owner of marketing communications firm Hart Communications.