The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7-8% of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising. This is a great place to start, but how do you decide WHAT to do with your marketing dollars? Especially if you’re working with a limited marketing budget and have to produce some serious ROI?
1. Engage an expert.
Talk to someone who has your best interest at heart. Whether that be a business advisor, accountant, fellow business owner, or just an honest friend, get some feedback from someone outside of your organization. Ask about their business, what do they spend on marketing, what are their goals, have they encountered any problems you should consider, etc. Having conversations with people in and out of your specific industry can give you great insight as to what your path should be.
2. Think about what you can realistically afford.
You know what the SBA recommends and you’ve talked to someone you trust, but what are you really willing to cut a check for each month? Marketing needs to be an investment, and to produce results, you must allow it some time to work. So think about what you will be able to afford over a 12-month period. Be ready to supply this number to any partner you work with – it will only make for a better, more honest relationship with your vendors.
3. Set goals.
What is it you really want to do? Gain customers? Get people to know your name? Increase referrals? Be #1 in a Google search? Even if these all increase revenue, they are all very different goals and should be treated as such. Having specific goals in mind when deciding how to utilize your marketing spend will get you further than just throwing things against the wall to see if they stick.
4. Build a strategy.
Don’t just do social media because you think everyone is on social media. Don’t sponsor a baseball team if your target audience is retirees in nursing homes. Look at those goals and determine what you need to do to get there. No idea what’s even available or what might work best? An outside marketing firm (*cough* Stellar Edge *cough*) can help you develop a strategy that will consider your budget and the desired outcome.
Our nerds with business management backgrounds love to get down and dirty with setting goals, budgets and strategy. Reach your goals while keeping your budget in check by making your new year STELLAR!