To develop an effective marketing budget, you will first need to figure out how much expendable cash is in the budget as well as the sum of all monthly expenses. Write down your monthly earnings and normal expenses, such as rent and employee wages, and determine how much you have left in net profits. The exact amount you spend for your marketing campaign will depend on the type of business you have and the type of advertising you wish to pursue, but this will give you an idea of how much funding you may have.
You will probably want to devote between one and ten percent of your total earnings or sales on marketing and advertising. The exact amount will depend on how much you can afford to spend and how established your business is. For instance, your initial marketing budget when you are getting started and becoming established will probably need to be much higher than later on. This is especially true if your business allows for repeat customers or if you are in an area with few competitors in your area of expertise.
Once you have determined how much money you are earning in profits and figured out how much of that has to go for living expenses for yourself, you can begin determining your marketing budget. The types of marketing activities you have to work with will largely depend on cash flow, but there are advertising techniques which cost little to no money. There are some marketing expenses which are important for nearly any business, such as website hosting and social media memberships. Others, such as ads in your local phone directory, may or may not be useful, depending on your business.
Determine the marketing activities which are most important for your type of business. This isn't always an easy task to undertake, and it may require a bit of trial and error to figure out which options work best. Keep your target audience in mind when developing a marketing plan. If you are aiming your efforts toward a younger crowd, using social networks and other newer sources may be better than print ads or direct mail. The opposite may be true if you are selling to senior citizens.
When you have determined where to concentrate your efforts, you can develop a more effective marketing budget. For instance, if you are launching a campaign implementing social networking sites, a blog, and your own website, you should determine how much of your cash should go toward each aspect of your plan. Shop around for the best prices in all areas, and thoroughly research any marketing tactics you wish to use to ensure you get more for your money.
A company website is one area of your marketing budget which deserves careful consideration and as much funding as you can reasonably put into it. Your website, blog, and social media accounts may be the most important and cost-effective marketing tools if you have a limited budget. They are often more effective than print ads or even direct mail, depending on your target market.
Don't scrimp on your site design. Although there are online site builders which allow you to throw together your own website, if you don't understand the basics of site navigation, content development, and aesthetics, your customers will be able to tell you designed it yourself immediately. Hire a designer if you can afford to do so. If you can't, shop around for the best site builder and keep it as simple as possible.
You should also include funds for content creation, graphic design and branding services, and search engine optimization services in your marketing budget. Consumers can't buy from you if they can't find you. You may still miss out on a sale if they find poorly written content on your site once they do.
Once you have these basic essentials taken care of, if you have any remaining funds in your marketing budget you should use them where you see fit. If your customers are likely to read trade journals, place ads in the most popular ones. If they are marketing directors at large corporations, consider joining a business related social network or doing a direct mail campaign aimed at business professionals. Remember, you don't have to do everything all at once. If you have to, start small and do each portion of your campaign as time and funds allow.