You can have the most amazing product or service in the world, but without a marketing plan, strategy and budget, you have little chance of getting it into the hands of your customers. Marketing is essential to successfully reach your target audience, generate leads, and maximize your profits. It’s a critical investment and companies often underestimate the budget they need.
Who’s Your Audience?
The first and most important step is to develop a marketing plan. This plan describes your target audience and the marketing channels you’ll use, your pricing strategy, promotions, customer support post-sale, and the budget you’ll need to achieve your sales goals. Deciding where, when, and what to spend your marketing dollars on can be difficult when you first start out and perhaps have little information about what works best. Do as much research as possible about your customer base to help you determine the most effective ways to communicate with them. For example, if your target audience is Millennials, research shows that video advertising is the most effective way to reach them, and your company’s mobile experience must be top-notch.
What Should You Spend?
So how much of a budget should you have? Some marketing experts recommend that small businesses allocate 7 to 8 percent of their gross revenue on marketing, with spending averaging around 3 to 5 percent. The U.S. Small Business Administration states that in general, B2C companies need to budget more for marketing than B2B companies, and you also need to budget more for marketing when your business is first starting out.
The SBA advises researching industry trade associations or publications to see if they offer benchmarks on setting a marketing budget. If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve likely tried a mix of marketing methods and weeded out the ones that are ineffective. Focus your marketing efforts on the channels that have gotten the best results and fine-tune these. Email marketing software, social media apps, and online advertising all have analytic tools you can use to determine what marketing messages are most effective in engaging customers and generating sales.
If your marketing budget is tight, experiment with low-cost methods such as email marketing, paid advertising with Google, Facebook, or other social media channels, podcasts, and video. Remember that marketing is a necessary investment and as your business grows, generally your marketing budget should grow as well.
The Ripple Effect Group, in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, can help you figure out a marketing budget that fits both your budget and your aspirations! Let’s start the conversation today! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 959-200-4252.