Marketing is a crucial aspect of any business that wants to draw in more customers. You can spend endless amounts of money on your marketing budget, but it may not be an effective use of your resources. Before you can set your marketing budget, there are a few things you should consider, so take a look at some of these important steps before you plan out your budget:
- Get Familiar with Your Sales Funnel
Do you know the real numbers behind your business? Before you get started planning your marketing budget, you should have a firm understanding of your sales funnel. This includes the number of site visits you get each month, the number of leads coming in, and the number of leads that correspond with direct sales. Once you know some of these figures, you can figure out the cost of converting each lead into a sales-qualified lead. This gives you some indication of how much you might want to spend on your marketing budget.
- Know Your Overhead
Once you set your marketing goals, you know that you will hopefully have a sudden increase in customers. Consider the increase in overhead costs that will come with these new leads. Will you need to hire more staff or pay them to complete more hours of work? Consider all of the incoming costs that you might need to cover before setting your marketing budget.
- Establish Firm Goals
Before you decide what to spend, you should know what you hope to accomplish. Consider what your goals are for the upcoming quarter or year. Then, you can more accurately move forward with figuring out how much money to allocate toward each goal.
- Changes in Message or Branding
Sometimes, your company needs to pivot and head in a new direction. If your marketing is designed to reflect changes in your message, then you likely have some major rebranding work to do. Evaluate changes you will need to make to your logo, website, and other products. These changes should be factored into your marketing budget.
- Look at Competitors
You should never attempt to copy your competitors, but it helps to be aware of what they are doing. How can you set yourself apart as unique? What strategies do they use that seems to be working for them? This might give you a good starting place if you aren’t sure what marketing to tackle first. For example, if your competitors are doing print ads, then you might want to try running your own print ad to see how well it performs.
- Set Aside Money
Your marketing funds should not consist of just whatever money you had leftover at the end of the month. You should be actively factoring the cost of your marketing into your monthly expenses. Continue to save for your ad campaigns and branding costs. Marketing should be viewed as an investment in your business instead of a burden that you have to pay for month to month.
- Decide How Much to Spend
The truth is that you could spend an endless amount of money on your marketing budget. You need to be smart and savvy with how you choose to invest your hard-earned dollars. Look at your budget and embrace the fact that it is necessary to maintain a strict financial plan when preparing your marketing. Take advantage of many of the free online budgeting tips and tools.
- Revisit Your Plan Regularly
Just because you establish a great marketing plan right now doesn’t mean that it won’t need to be tweaked in the future. Each month or each quarter, you should evaluate how your plan is doing. If you find that your results are slowing down, then it is time to come up with a new marketing plan and reallocate some of those funds somewhere else.
- Develop a Sales Plan
How will the new leads be handled as they come into your business? You need to prepare yourself and your staff for the upcoming changes. Delegate responsibilities to your more experienced staff members and work hard to develop a sales plan. Without a plan for converting leads to sales, your advertising budget will be a waste.
- Get Appointment Scheduling Software
What does your current toolset look like? Many businesses dive straight into marketing without first taking the time to ensure they are set up for the influx in business that their advertisements will bring. Before you get started, you need to get your marketing automation ready to make things easier for you and your team. Make sure to set up appointment scheduling software because this will be one of the most important tools in your kit.