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KATIE BARBER

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What Should Your Marketing Budget be and What Needs to be Included in that for 2019?

By Katie Barber, posted on December 7, 2018

Marketing budgets can be tricky because there is a lot that needs to be included in that budget and if you’re going to go ahead and hire an agency or independent consultant like me – there is a large variation in price between what different people charge. This depends on their experience, overheads and even the level of confidence they have in securing results. 

The rise of the internet has made marketing budgets a little more complex than they used to be. Now you have not only your brochure, business cards and advertising in publications, you potentially have an unlimited amount of resources you can utilise. Which means your marketing spend can basically be as long as a piece of string.

What Should Your Marketing Budget Be?

There is a 10% rule. Generally, most successful businesses spend 10% of their revenue on marketing. This varies by industry, some businesses will be spending about 2% and large software companies like Salesforce spend as much as 49%. 

While 10% isn’t a one size fits all solution, it’s something to consider if you really aren’t sure where to start with your marketing budget. If you are aiming for business growth or you are making a business change like launching a new product or upping your prices, then it may be wise to go higher. I always say that marketing is a science as well as an art, and results should be properly monitored to ensure that you are getting a return. If there is no return, the work needs to be amended. If you are getting a return – then the budget should be upped. 

There is always the situation where you are not yet wanting to grow. I myself am unable to take on more than a few clients per year, and so I chose work carefully. With this in mind, it would be frivolous to invest in a large advertising budget when I am not yet able or willing to take on a large amount of new business. However, I need to think long term. So I ensure that I keep a relatively steady internet presence and make sure that I’m represented enough that when I am seeking new business, people have heard of me and trust my brand. 

What should you add to your marketing budget? Here are some things you must consider if you want a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy for 2019. It’s wise to think about everything you need to include before you set budget and think about what will be allocoated where. (In no order of importance.)

Google Advertising. Google Ads will help you secure business when people are searching for a product or service like yours. The cost per click of Google Ads tends to be higher than Facebook ads. It’s wise to use Google Ads with a specific audience and campaign in mind, rather than for general business awareness.

Facebook Advertising. With Facebook Ads being undervalued by businesses and with there being no bidding system like with Google Ads, Facebook Advertising is currently insanely cheap. Facebook is an affordable option for even one man businesses, with that in mind it’s definitely something to consider for larger businesses. It’s possible to get great results with as little as £50 per month and for £500 per month you can get a significant amount of new business. 

Website design. In 2019 a mobile responsive website is an absolute must (if you haven’t made the leap already). Getting your website to a position where it is able to convert leads into a real business is a priority for businesses of any stage. The technology surrounding websites changes each month. If your website is a couple of years old it may already look out of date and feel clunky to the end user. User experience is still a hot topic and all web designers should have a good idea of your marketing funnels, buyer journey and the overall “feel” of the website. 

Creating a technically perfect website for SEO purposes. In order for your website to compete in search results, it’s important that your “on-page” SEO is fixed and set up by someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. 

Off page SEO. Backlinks to your website are necessary to get a high ranking website. This is more of a PR kind of job than it is an SEO job, although you can hire an SEO to do this work. Working with a good PR who understands your SEO requirements will help you build up a selection of high ranking websites which will help boost your own website’s reputation. This can be done with guest blogging, advertising, working with influencers or creating interesting content which encourages people to link your website. 

Social media. The best time to start social media for your business was ten years ago. If you don’t have a strategy in place for this you are behind your competitors significantly. Users are spending more and more time on their phones, the average smartphone user touches their device 2,617 times a day. With so much attention being turned to the smartphone and the social media apps on it, you need to be a part of it. Our absorption of social media will only increase, with long-term predictions showing that our smartphones will essentially become a part of our minds and bodies. Transhumanism sounds sci-fi but that sci-fi is probably going to happen in the not so distant future.

Brand.  Brand does not just include your logo. Your brand is what people think of when they think of your business. A brand should be cohesive, consistent and high quality. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get a branding superstar on board with your business, and they should be consulted in all of your print and digital materials. 

Boomf and paraphernalia. The physical materials of your business are still important, but you may be able to reduce printing costs by taking a lot of it online. Consider sending a digital brochure instead of a physical one, or having a poster with a QR code instead of leaflets. With print materials, quality is better than quantity and you should use the best method of printing that you can afford. Marketing gifts and swag are still popular at events but have been criticised as being bad for the environment. Think about having fewer items of a higher quality and with a more creative idea than a branded stress ball. Printing is expensive, and something to be considered when you are planning the rest of your budget, you don’t want to be bitten by this cost when you are making preparations for events. 

Videography and photography. Videography and photography is important for your brand, print and web presence. Having good visual content sets the tone for your entire marketing strategy. It’s worth not being tight here as talented artists typically charge more money than your man with a camera. Don’t be tempted to skimp and get a friend to do it! You’ll be able to use this content for the rest of the year at least, it’s valuable. The internet is becoming less and less text-based and peoples attention spans are getting shorter. So make yourself look pretty!

Events. There is still appeal in showing up physically, face to face and creating a real space for yourself in the market. Exhibiting can get expensive, so plan all of your events and budget for them at the beginning of the year. It’s about finding the right event and showing quality over quantity. 

Becoming an influencer. I’m not talking about starting make up tutorials on YouTube and getting free make up brushes here, I’m talking about becoming a real person of authority in your industry. To raise your business’s profile, raise your own. Write blogs, self-publish a book, do podcasts, public speaking and videos. This can all be done for very little money, but it takes time and commitment. 

Content strategy. Your content strategy should essentially aim to educate your consumer and make them realise why they need your product or service, and why you are the best person for the job. While Google Ads shoots for people at the end of the funnel who are looking to make a purchase in the short term, your content strategy works at the top of it – reaching new people who may not have even realised they need you. In 2019, I’ll be working on more long-form content than your average 500 word blog. This is because posting blogs helps with search engine optimisation, and long-form content (over 2,000 words) is getting higher ratings than shorter articles. Longer content is also going to pick up more social media shares as it’s more useful and valuable than a shorter post. Creating fresh, useful content of any length however will still raise your websites ranking and will pull it’s weight within your marketing strategy. 


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