As we get ready to head into fall, businesses start planning for next year. Working out a budget should be one of your main planning tasks. Including marketing costs into your small business budget is critical.
Here are some tips to consider when creating your marketing budget:
- Invest before your business is “slow”. It takes 1-2 quarters to see results from marketing efforts. If you know you are slow in the summer, budget for spring promotions or advertising. Also, amp up your social media efforts just prior to and during your slow period.
- Be sure to target your efforts. It is a waste of money to market to the general public. Know your potential customer. Find out how and where they get their information. (news, radio, email, special events, text, social media, etc). Spend your efforts only targeting your perfect client.
- Don’t assume a one-size-fits-all approach will work. What other businesses do may not be the best to duplicate. Think outside the box on how you can get exposure. Remember, you don’t want to blend with your competition, you want to stand out. Check out your competition and see what you can do differently.
- What can you get for free? Investing some time in social media, PR, networking, or holding a contest can be free or very low-cost.
- Can you partner with a similar business to get your marketing message out? Power partners can be an incredible asset to small businesses. Partner with companies that have the same target audience or with non-competing groups within your business sector. Sharing the cost of advertising or expo space can be a huge savings. Start scoping out partners during the summer, so when budget time rolls around you know how much each of you will invest in joint marketing efforts.
- If staffing is an issue, can an intern assist? I’ve had wonderful success utilizing college interns to help with marketing efforts. Just make sure you spend some time to manage the process so the intern has a meaningful experience and the marketing program is top-notch.
- Finally, shop around for your marketing partners. Pricing and expertise vary widely. Are you big enough to afford an agency? Is it more cost effective to use a consultant? No matter the answer, make sure they have a good reputation and documented results. Invest your marketing dollars wisely.
If you have any marketing questions for your Louisville small business, give me a call at 502-435-8825.