Questions to ask yourself to work this out
As the owner of a small business, you want the best return on investment possible from your marketing budget. Once you have determined what your marketing budget should be (click here for our blog on how much you should spend), you need to work out what to spend your marketing budget on. Here is our guide to doing just that.
No quick answer
As with most things business-related, there is no quick answer to what to spend your marketing budget on. It depends on several factors and there are a few things you should definitely not do.
If you haven’t already done the strategic marketing thinking, this is the first thing you must be spending money on…
What has worked before?
We’ll cover this in more detail in the next article (click here to ensure you don’t miss it), but have you measured marketing performance up to now? Too many small business owners will simply look at their total marketing spend and their total sales.
By drilling down, you can identify what didn’t work. If you stop doing that, you will save both time and money. Time and money that is freed up for other activities, either that you know work or you have yet to test.
Who is/are your Ideal Client(s)?
Getting your marketing messages in front of your Ideal Client(s) is the first function of your marketing plan. If you sell your product to, for example, HR Directors in large multi-nationals you will have vastly different routes to market than if you sell to consumers in your local area.
Identifying your target audience(s) is one of the first things you need to do before deciding how to spend your marketing budget.
What marketing are you going to do?
Developing a plan gets you going in the right direction. A plan means you will know whether your marketing is working, or not. Without a plan, you will spend your marketing budget in a haphazard way that is unlikely to deliver on your business goals.
What marketing channels?
Yes, we’ve just said you need to plan, but we haven’t said what should be in the plan. Let’s look at what should be in your marketing plan and what you should be spending your marketing budget on.
It starts with doing more of what you know has been delivering a great ROI.
Awareness generation marketing
Nobody can buy from you if they don’t know who you are. Getting your name and your marketing messages in front of your Ideal Client for the first time is critical.
For many small businesses, networking is a key part of their marketing. They rely on their network to make introductions and referrals. Don’t forget that there is a cost to this, in both time and money.
For others it may make sense to buy marketing data lists. Whilst GDPR makes this a little more complicated, most list providers now
Progression marketing activities
Once people know about you, how do you get them doing something? What marketing channels are right for this?
Let’s go back to strategic section – who are your Ideal Clients – and look at possible options…
- If local business owners are your target audience, networking, sponsoring local events and email are highly likely to be part of your marketing mix.
- If you sell to the C-suite of multinational companies, you’re going to be attending conferences and events. Email will be an essential part of the mix too.
Whatever you use, the aims are to keep you front of mind (for when they need what you sell) and to show them more about how you’ve helped others.
Evidence generation and sharing will be a key part of this stage. Case studies (written and video), testimonials, white papers are static pieces of evidence for your website and social media. Presenting at trade shows, conferences and events will you a proactive, live, opportunity to talk about what you have achieved for your clients and how you help them.
Generating the lead
Maintaining awareness is good and much of this will lead to inbound leads and to conversations where they ask for your advice on an issue… Sometimes you may need a little more.
- Seasonal offers may be needed to get them across the line.
- Get someone in your network to put in a good word – especially when they are part of their network too.
- Remind them of the pain. Sharing content that talks about the pain they face if they don’t use your services. How many times do you get a letter or email from the HMRC reminding you of the fines if your VAT return or corporation tax payments are late!!!
If you were looking for this article to say “spend 20% on social media, 10% on email marketing” etc, we are sorry, but it isn’t that simple. It will be different for every company.
The good news is that by answering the questions included here, you will be able to work out what to spend your marketing budget on. Of course, if you need a hand, give us a call on 020 8634 5911