But I’m a small business, do I need to have a marketing budget?

Like anything, it pays to be organised. So yes, you should have a marketing budget, and a plan, so you know exactly how much you are spending, what you are spending it on, and whether it is effective. A generally accepted rule is to spend around 5% of your revenue on marketing and advertising, with a bit more suggested for newer businesses, and less required for established businesses.

What should I spend my marketing budget on?

That can depend on the type of business you have and what you’re trying to achieve. Not all marketing tools will be right for all businesses, and some are needlessly expensive. But there are some core marketing elements that should be clear and strong for any business.

Branding

Your brand, and people’s awareness of your brand, is what speaks the loudest for your business. This encompasses everything from your logo and brand colours, to the language you use and how you communicate about your business. Your branding should be consistent across everything you put out into the world, and it should be easily recognisable to clients or potential clients. This might seem obvious, but it’s an element where a lot of small businesses take shortcuts or do things ad hoc. Strong branding works really hard for your business without you even realising, so it’s well worth investing in.

Website

Your website is another area that you don’t want to cheap out on. Unlike a ‘bricks and mortar’ store, your website is open and working 24/7 and potential clients could pop in to visit at any time. Your website should be easy to read and navigate and be instantly recognisable with your branding. At a minimum, your website should tell your business’ story (as succinctly as possible), contain product or service information, include contact information for your business, as well as a method for collecting client contact details (such as a contact form or opt-in to a newsletter), and serve as a publishing tool for relevant and high-quality content (such as blog posts or articles). It’s worth comparing your website to those of your close competitors to see whether yours is up to scratch.

Content

Content is king. Having high quality, useful and informative content on your website and social media channels is a bit of a marketing superpower. It positions you as an expert in your field and gives clients a little taste of what it is like to work with you, hopefully leaving them hungry for more! The easiest way to produce great content is to first make a content plan. You can download our Content Plan Template here, and if it still feels very overwhelming, book in a Content Planning Session with us.

Networking

Don’t discount the power of networking, both online and in real life. Social media groups can be an invaluable place to get advice and recommendations, and LinkedIn is so much more than just an online resume.

In this increasingly digital world, it’s easy to forget that we can still do things face-to-face. Spending some money on good old-fashioned business cards means that you have them handy when you attend a networking event. It’s a little physical reminder of who you are and what your business can do for people.

You might also like to consider hosting an event of your own, whether it’s more of a social meet and greet to build stronger relationships with clients and potential clients, or something more targeted like a workshop, seminar or product launch to educate customers and position yourself as a leader in your industry.

If in doubt, outsource

None of these elements need to cost lots of money. Some things, however, such as your website and branding, are worth spending more money on at the outset to have them done really well. This saves you from having to spend even more money further down the track to fix mistakes that were made when you were getting established. Sometimes hiring an expert to do the job for you ends up being cheaper and faster than trying to do it yourself, or delegating it to someone in-house who isn’t trained in that area. You waste time and money trying to figure it out, when the expert could do it faster, and well…better.

If you’d like to have a chat with one of the experts at CreativeIQ about your marketing, or if you’d like a quote for any of our services (we can help you with any of the marketing elements mentioned in this blog post), schedule a time here:

Where Erin really shines is working with all things words. From crafting the perfect story to share what you do, through to polishing your own creations to bring out the sparkle, her way with words will give you that special buzz when someone nails exactly what you’ve been trying to say but couldn’t quite get there yourself.

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