I was recently asked by a small business owner, “If I only have $5000 to spend on marketing… What would you do for my business?”
Generally, its best to begin with a plan rather than jump in on a tactic. Having a plan is important – even if you are trying to figure out how much to spend on marketing budget or you have a budget and are trying to figure out where to spend it.
Start with the goal. What do you want to accomplish? I know, I know, you want more sales. But back it up. Do you want to sell more products to existing customers? New products to new customers? Existing products to new customers?
What’s your goal? What actions will get you closer to your goal? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
For instance, if we assume your objective is to get more Request For Quotes (RFQs) and you know who your best target customers might be – we would select one of the industries from your “who we supply” page, research a list of good potential customers and develop a plan for reaching out to them with a variety of media. You would be working on more market penetration and more market development.
We’d also need to develop the measuring tools so that you’d have a way to tell which tool in your marketing program was the most effective so you could enhance that one and ease up on the not so effective ones. That would be the push marketing (more expensive but faster results). I would prefer to mix that up with a pull marketing program too (more of an investment in long term results and less cost per lead).
Plus, besides selecting a target market, we’d have to determine which of their 4 products (in this case compression, torsion, and extension, or manufacture of custom wire forms) or features (engineering design, quality, service or price) would be the focus of their message. What’s the benefit to the customer? What does the customer care about.
It’s tempting to jump in on a tactic (like a direct mail postcard program, Google adwords or a video or advertising specialty or press release etc.) but if that particular tactic is not the right way to go, without building a plan and having tested a few things, you might be out the money with little results. And if all the tactics were set for short term results without balancing with some long term passive tactics, it won’t help you down the road.
If you’re measuring results towards a sales goal, you’ll need to make sure you have sales actions as part of your budget. You can be successful with your marketing program, but not have it translate to sales if you don’t have the sales part of your program in place. You’ve got to complete the chain and not let sales be the weak link.
While I usually recommend that you start with a plan that you can use to roll out over time as you are able to fund the marketing budget, you’ve got to define the basics first. What are you hoping to accomplish when you spend your marketing budget? Leave your answer in the comments below: