Even if you are in a small business you should have money set aside for advertising and marketing. Make sure you include business cards, brochures, websites, signage, branded items, networking groups, industry membership fees etc in your budget.
Sometimes when you add all these up you can be surprised at the amount
you spend before you have even looked at actual advertising. Like
anything in business having a plan (with numbers attached) and working
to it will give better results than "winging it".
So how much should I spend?
The answer to this depends very much on your business but as a general
rule (and looking at statistics) you should budget between 6 -12% of
your turnover for marketing.
This is of course for an established business, start-ups will need to
invest a much higher percentage to "get off the ground" and establish a
Smaller business generally need to spend a higher percentage than corporates due to the economies of scale.
So once I have an established budget where should I spend my money this year?
There have been some good studies released at the end of 2010 that show a
continued shift from paper based advertising to online. With the
growing mobile, tablet, PDA market coupled with wireless technology this
is a smart move - from coffee shops to buses, more connectivity to the
internet means more time online and therefore a better return for your
A Marketing Sherpa study showed that only 10% of businesses felt that
money spent on print advertising had been "very effective" compared to
50% believing money spent on their website had been "very effective".
Only 7% felt money spent on their website was "not effective"
Social media has also taken off and more and more businesses are
allocating budget towards it. Although slightly skeptical of the return
on investment if you have a strong website and online strategy it
certainly doesn't hurt to allow some time and resources to social media.
So conclude this is what we recommend:
1) Run the numbers and establish a budget.
2) Make sure you are properly branded in all your business material - consistency is key.
3) Review your website and online strategy. Once you are happy with your
website consider email newsletters, social media or google adwords to
drive traffic to your website.
4) Once satisfied you have the above covered explore newspaper, magazines, radio or tv that is relevant to your core market.