When I meet someone for the first time – be it at a networking function, social gathering or local deli checkout line (if you know me, you know how often this happens) – the topic of what we do for a living often comes up. Upon hearing that I run my own web development, design, branding and marketing agency, these new friends are quick to share stories with me about marketing attempts of their own business that went terribly wrong – or even more often, that they just choose to steer clear of marketing altogether because they just can’t fit it into their budget. Marketing is too expensive, and new customers will find them on their own.
After staring for a second or two (maybe longer; sometimes I’m awkward) my response is always the same.
“Hey, I get it – but that’s a mistake.”
Listen for a sec. Your competitors are out there marketing. They are talking to your customer base and raising awareness about the things that set them apart. Don’t let them take over your market – you believe in what you do, or you wouldn’t be doing it; so tell others about it. How is anyone going to know your business is out there, if you aren’t putting some effort into letting them know?
Now that I hit you with that, let’s say you just had a major realization that your company better get into the marketing game. What’s next? It’s fairly simple. You’ll need an idea of what your budget is and what your goals are.
What is your budget?
This varies between large companies and organizations, new companies and startups, and takes into consideration projected revenue and industry standards (and often varies between two to 10 percent). These are some interesting numbers, if you want to see what others are spending on marketing. If the data is available, look at the past 12 months of revenue, and determine an appropriate percentage, based on your projected sales or revenues. P.S. It’s okay if you don’t know. That is part of what we are here for.
What are your goals?
Above and beyond the actual Marketing dollars being discussed, a solid plan is necessary to be sure those dollars are being best used to meet the right audience.
Our immediate concern will be taking a look at your brand and website, making sure both are up and running and doing what you need them to do for your business – and is not simply an out dated online brochure or an inaccurate public facing message that does not represent your brand or speak to your customers.
For new businesses with a limited budget, the focus is often on a website, logo and general branding first. A limited budget for a company who has a successful website already would consider methods such as online ads, social media and email advertising to bring in new clients. (A big pro here is that digital marketing is highly measurable – meaning you will know what is getting results, and what isn’t.)
We believe in the power of marketing. What we don’t believe in is a one-size fits all marketing plan, and we aren’t going to try to sell you a one-size fits all marketing budget. We can help you sort through the questions you have, prioritize and choose the tactics that will best help you achieve your business goals. It’s what we do, what we are good at, and how we create lifetime partnerships.
In fact, call us and we’ll talk about it. Most likely what you’ll hear us say is “Let’s roll up our sleeves and figure this out. Let’s talk about your priorities and see where we can phase things out to make them more affordable for you.”