Working as a consultant with mainly small businesses and individuals, my clients marketing budgets are always very tight and people want a lot for their money. Like any other service-related business, marketing costs are sometimes difficult to justify or determine. Much like the building industry for instance… you never know what is behind the walls until you start knocking it down and may discover all sorts of issues.
When the marketing task in hand is short-term or specific such as, organising an online event or re-develop an existing website marketing costs can be easier to quote. Long term strategies, like increasing the company’s online presence or providing a long-term social media and sales strategy for products can prove more difficult to cost and the value intangible The question to ask is, is it worth the return of investment for my business in the long run?
Consider the following when budgeting for your Small Business Marketing;
- Agree on clear goals/objectives on what you want your marketer to achieve in a specific time frame. Calculate this in monetary value. For instance, implement a Social Media strategy that will lead to a 10% increase in product sales. ’ Your Marketer should provide you with a clear strategy on how to do this and in what time frame.
- Make sure your objectives are achievable and reasonable based on past campaigns or strategies, data or by looking at your nearest competitors. Your marketer should be able to advise you on this.
- Make sure that together you set clear timelines for your marketing objectives. Agree on regular updates to see whether you are achieving your objectives within the timeframe so that you can make the relevant changes as you go along. Monthly updates are recommended.
- Agree on your budget from the start whether it be an hourly rate or fixed amount. If you have been quoted a fixed amount, ask for an explanation or breakdown of fees.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the marketing process or about the marketing efforts or data presented by your marketer.
- Lastly, don’t lose focus on what you or your business represents, no one knows your business better than yourself. Your marketing adviser should complement your business plan and consider your company values. For instance, if you are a small company that is all about personal service, then don’t spend money on mass communication channels that will compromise customer service and product quality.