Being a marketing professional myself, you're probably thinking I'm going to be a huge advocate for a marketing budget. However, I will admit that it completely relies on the industry you're in. How do YOU gain clients? How do you sell your products/services? Here's a short breakdown to help you start your marketing budget plan.
Physical Selling/Marketing: Do you have a lot of direct, face to face sales? If you execute most of your sales by networking in or out of the office, you want to leave the potential client with something tangible. Something that is more than just a business card. You want them to be reminded of your service without you following up with them more than a few times. I'm talking about print media, promos, free samples, demos, loyalty cards, referral gifts and much much more. Base your budget for designing, printing, and/or making your marketing materials off of the current profit you make for one sale. Then subtract the new marketing costs per sale from your current profit. Make sure it's worth it. Take time when coming up with tangible marketing media and make sure it is easy to remember. Don't forget: Short-term costs increase long-term gains (only if those short-term costs are thoughtfully positioned and strategically implemented).
E-Sales/Marketing: There is an unlimited amount of ways to reach potential clients and customers on the Internet. In my opinion, if you have a marketing professional in your office, the e-marketing budget on the balance sheet should resemble a doughnut shape. Minor budgeting here and there for e-marketing could be useful to open the floodgates to your website, especially if you have a larger company. The most important of these budgets may be an online email marketing provider to increase the aesthetics and outreach of your email efforts. However, social media, SEO, CPC, email marketing, inbound marketing, e-brochures, infographics, blogging, public relations, ebooks, videos, apps, and many other free online tools are becoming the best ways to market almost any product or service. Digital marketing is becoming one of the most important investments for companies across all industry spectrum's. CMOs and CEOs agree, budgeting room for an experienced digital marketer or marketing company is enough to crash a huge wave of brand awareness across the internet, at no extra costs. These digital inbound marketers know that if you optimize your website for closing a sale, all these efforts to drive traffic to your site will be worth it.
Like our company here at HIGHLAND Financial Advisors, we noticed that most of our sales were direct, but that we were missing a huge opportunity to market our services online. It's hard to find an industry where there isn't the capability to do the same. There are many different ways to approach your marketing efforts but the most important element of this article is the value of free online marketing tools. They're everywhere. Hire a digital marketing professional to take advantage of these initiatives. It may just be the best investment your company ever makes.