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Why is it so important to have a marketing budget?

whyimptohavemarkbudget blogartMost small businesses have little or no money set aside for marketing – but even with a small budget it’s possible to effectively brand your company’s products and services. You just need to be sure you’re using your dollars for all the right reason and getting your money’s worth.

When starting up a business consider your start-up costs for marketing. An obvious first step would be a great logo design. Your logo will be around for the life of your company and should be simple and clean, memorable and effective. Secondly, your business card is your “calling card” – it should leave a positive impression of you after a face to face meeting with a potential customer, and should entice that person into contacting you about your product or services.

A badly printed or designed card, a cluttered look, too much information, an unattractive or unreadable font, the wrong colors, poorly chosen artwork – all these mistakes and more may send clients away and over to the competition. A well-designed card says you’re serious and professional about your business and gives you a head start in attracting the right clientele.

Another important marketing must is your business website. Don't skimp on your site -- it needs to function easily, be well designed and bring in traffic. Do your research; make sure you understand what you are getting for your dollar. Even a well designed website won’t mean a thing if it can’t be found by search engines! Good branding and effective optimization are equally important – one brings in the consumer and the other keeps them engaged.

Let’s discuss some things to consider when working on your marketing budget:

• Ideal Customer – knowing who your ideal customer is will help you best determine the places to spend your limited funds. Many people will try to sell you marketing services, so do your research and know what will be the most effective approach to reach that particular demographic.
• Make sure you have the right marketing message – What makes you stand out from your competitors? Why should they use you? Make your service a necessary part of your potential customers lives.
• Social media – Post special events, sales and testimonials through social networking. This is a way to get your company’s name out there. Build your brand – and at a very nominal expense. Social media can reach a large number of people and it’s also a great way to track traffic.
• Email newsletter -- This is another inexpensive way to reach potential customers. Give them more
Information about your company, build a database, send out your blog or get people
to your website with special offers.
• Blog – Blogging can keep your business and services updated; it engages and builds trust in your readership. Post stories, testimonials, interesting articles about your field of business, sample work, etc. – it all helps your credibility, builds your brand and increases SEO (search engine optimization).
• Testimonials: Ask your customers for recommendations. Why were they satisfied with your services? Why should people should use you? Include these testimonials on your website, in your printed materials or on your facebook page.
• Building a network of contacts: Building contacts is key. Referral programs with other businesses
Is a win-win for both businesses. Partner with companies that you respect. Check back with those clients who use any referred businesses or services to confirm their experience was positive. Be sure you are building a positive image for your company!

This is just a starting place to build from; I’ve seen too many people waste their marketing dollars on sales tactics that are not effective. Use your budget wisely – do your research – start with the basics and don’t skimp on the important stuff! You’ll be glad you did.



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