Most small businesses do not have an idea of what money they should be spending on marketing. You may be investing in marketing already. But without a well-planned marketing budget, your business faces costly mistakes of spending money in the wrong areas.

Many small businesses listen to salespeople selling their advertising platform (radio, online, print) and jump at an offer or something that sounds good. This opportunistic reactional spending is not the right way of doing things. What we suggest is to plan what you are going to do beforehand. Then when an offer presents itself it must fit into your plan. Here are a few ways of getting started on your plan.

Define Your Goals.

Before you plan any budget, consider what your financial status is and how it may change in the future. Assess your revenue and expenses. Then organize your goals with them in mind. Ask yourself what your marketing strategy must do to best serve the current needs of the business. What do you want to come out of your marketing budget? Is it realistic? What options haven’t you considered? Asking your business these questions will help you to coordinate an effective budget.  See more on How to Start Your Marketing Planning

Focus On your Strengths.

Find what makes your business strong and sets it apart from the competition. By focusing your efforts on the strengths of your business, you can discover what marketing needs are going to be the most effective for your business to shine. If you excel in customer service, design your budget to reflect marketing that will show how easy it is to use your products and services. Play to strengths, and save yourself money.

Look At your Competition.

This is a helpful and inexpensive way to consider what options you have for marketing strategy ideas. By looking at how others approach their marketing goals, your business can assess what type of budgeting is considered normal for their size and type of business. It also allows the ability to get creative and outthink the competition from the beginning. Knowing how others are approaching marketing is just another way to make budgeting for your marketing plan easy and informed.

Use Your Resources.

Find out what resources are already available to you. Using social media like Facebook or Instagram to engage with your customers is an example of a simple and free way to start marketing instantly. But please always have a good plan before you do so.

The $ Spend – Start small and build

Ask yourself how much money can you spend on marketing
• Find out what you can do
• Set out a budget, no matter how small
• Plan for what you want to achieve for the next six months
• Plan what this budget will do for you
• Save a little, every week, month – put that money aside
See here for more information on planning your marketing budget.

Track Your Goals and ROI.

Tracking the success of your marketing budget can tell you a lot about how effective your budget has been, and what needs changing. Measure your spending and analyse how it is affecting your bottom line. If something in your budget is costing more than expected or isn’t giving the return you wanted on the investment, adjust for this problem early-on—not at the end of the year or budget plan. As the market changes, demands will change and new ideas will form. Put some time into thinking about how you can improve your marketing budget on a regular basis, and look into using measurement tools such as Google Analytics to track your marketing strategy’s progress.

No matter how big your business is the best option is to know what you will be spending money on and why. In small businesses, this is crucial to your success. So many times, we have seen businesses wasting money by chasing the next possible thing. When you have a limited resource “Cash” you need to be sure that you are using it in the right areas.