Posts Tagged ‘marketing budget’

Quick list: Top 5 Ways to Market Your Company on a Budget

October 10, 2008

  1. Network. Show up early and often to business networking events and start meeting potential clients or making connections with people who can benefit your business. Print a busload of business cards and pass them out like candy on Halloween night.
  2. Send out an e-newsletter. The start-up fees and monthly dues are very affordable. Once you have your template, it’s a breeze to update and send on a regular basis. Just make sure that your newsletter offers a real value to your subscribers, or you’ll quickly end up in their spam box.
  3. Blog. This is a no-brainer. It helps your company be found organically through the search engines, and lets people know your areas of expertise. And sites like this one (through WordPress.com) are completely free!
  4. Update your website. Archive your e-newsletters on the site, add an e-newsletter sign-up form, update your client list/products/portfolio and get rid of out-of-date information.
  5. Get some free publicity. This may take some creativity on your part. Give a talk at a local networking or trade event, send a press release to local papers that presents your company in a manner that has a newsworthy angle, hold a charitable event with other companies, start a guerrilla marketing (i.e. street) campaign, or dream up a creative publicity stunt. It won’t come without some creativity and sweat, but it can be affordable if you plan it that way!

Got your own ideas for inexpensive marketing? We’d love to hear ’em. Leave a comment below with your suggestions!

Planning a marketing budget for your company

September 18, 2008

Few people would argue that having a budget for office supplies, personnel, or vendor services is a good idea. But too often, people approach their marketing in a scattered fashion—creating a piece of marketing collateral as the need arises, or placing an ad when a good deal comes their way. The result? Overspending on some projects, underspending on others, and an overall inconsistent message to your target audiences.

The solution? Plan your marketing budget for the year, then spend it strategically.

As a rule of thumb, many experts suggest spending 8-10% of your annual budget on marketing. This is helpful, but it’s also important to ask yourself about your marketing goals as they relate to your company’s overall exposure and branding.

For example, if you’re a new company, your budget should be larger than 10% of your expected annual revenue to accommodate the need for basic start-up materials, such as a logo, website, business cards, business stationery and marketing collateral.

If you have an established company with a strong client base, perhaps you’ll plan your budget with the objective of staying in front of your audiences through primarily advertising efforts.

Finally, if your company is going through a transition or needs to change to meet the times, you should plan to spend a little more to re-communicate your brand through a logo refresh, website makeover, and updated marketing collateral. Don’t forget a roll-out advertising campaign to let your clients know how you’re changing!

Wherever your business falls on this continuum, know that your marketing budget will need to encompass a range of products and services, including many of the following:

  • marketing consultation, planning, or market research
  • graphic design services
  • media purchasing
  • printing services
  • website hosting
  • website programming
  • copywriting
  • video production
  • professional photography
  • model fees

Confused about what you may need? Get suggestions from your agency. They’ve likely worked with companies of many sizes, and can help you prioritize your marketing needs based on experience, and even give you ballpark estimates of costs. Better yet, if you know your budget, enlist your agency to help you spend it strategically. They can help you determine where it makes sense to cut costs and where it may make sense to spend a little more.

Here are a few more resources to consider when planning your company’s marketing budget:

http://www.nancyschwartz.com/marketing_budget.html

http://www.toolkit.com/small_business_guide/sbg.aspx?nid=P03_7006

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search/How+to+Build+a+Well+Oiled+Marketing+Machine