Shaping Your Marketing Budget

Finding Your Marketing Budget

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Shaping Your Marketing Budget: The Problem

We just can’t afford marketing right now. We have a Facebook page, so we will be okay.

This may be something you’ve said or heard when it comes to marketing. Some startups are content with perpetually kicking the can of marketing further down the road, in hopes of one day having the resources to initiate a full-scale marketing strategy. It’s the classic ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario; you need sales to invest in marketing, but you need marketing to increase sales. So when and how do you start? The “when” is now. Marketing is an essential element of doing business. While the advancements in marketing technology have provided much more cost efficient and cost effective tools; there is no substitute for a full developed marketing strategy with an allocated budget. Startups usually operate under the pressure to increase growth with razor thin margins, which can lead to a hyperfocus on quick fixes.

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One common misconception is that marketing begins and ends with social media feeds. While word of mouth is a great way to build buzz and garner loyal customers, most in part because it’s free, in reality, building a customer base will require some upfront investment — that includes your time and money.

Shaping Your Marketing Budget: The How

So how do you figure out how much money to invest and then where to put it? The perfect marketing budget for your company will be completely unique, which means at times you’ll be using the trial and error method. Properly deciding where to focus between the email marketing list, content management strategy, and the editorial calendar can be a complex maze to navigate. But you don’t have to jump in with both eyes closed. As a general rule, businesses with revenues less than $5 million annually should try to allocate 6-9 percent of their revenues to marketing. As with any portfolio it should be diverse.

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Shaping Your Marketing Budget : The why

Few businesses, big or small, fully trust their marketing efforts enough to properly allocate enough of this budget to create effective campaigns. Deciding how much money to devote to marketing is a major step, but a more complicated issue — and one that has a much bigger impact on the success of your business — is when, where, and how to spend your marketing budget. Smart planning is key to discovering the perfect marketing budget for your company. Examine your current marketing efforts, determine what channels are bringing high-value traffic, and cut back on what isn’t. One way to cast out some doubt is to use the tools available to properly track, analyze, and optimize your marketing efforts to lift your business. Courses like Google Analytics for beginners are free of charge; the only thing it’ll cost you is your time. Google analytics allows you to determine several factors, like the top sources of the traffic to your site and where your visitors are clicking. By checking specific parameters, you can adjust and allocate your budget accordingly to make sure you are taking advantage of each visitor to your site and increase your ROI.

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Shaping Your Marketing Budget : The Plan

Examine your current processes to see where you can streamline, determine which marketing efforts are generating a positive ROI, and cut back on what’s not working as well. Scaling back before you scale up mitigates the chance of unexpected growing pains and keeps your marketing strategy running smoothly. Its very important to remember to set aside a portion of your marketing budget for experimental endeavors. You must be open to trying new avenues and methods to reach new prospects. Examine all aspect of your marketing strategy and develop a complete marketing plan that targets your customers. Once you have, your marketing budget will almost allocate itself because you will know where to focus rather than just throwing ideas at a wall. As you work through the process, you’ll be able to form a lucrative funnel to your site with a marketing plan that is well within your budget.

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How To Talk About Your Brand

Talk About Your Brand

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How To Talk About Your Brand
Who Are You?

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One of the most difficult questions to answer is “Who are you?”. Most likely, you’d reply with your name, a description of yourself, and what you do. But that doesn’t really answer the question, does it? You’ve said what you are, but I still don’t know who you are. This question doesn’t get any easier to answer when it comes to your brand. Some would usually give a rundown of the features that their product or service provides, but that’s not what your prospects want to hear. They want a story.

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A story is an effective method to sharing information from one person to another. Every brand needs a story — an authentic one

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How To Talk About Your Brand
Every Brand Needs A Story

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A story is an effective method to sharing information from one person to another. Every brand needs a story — an authentic one. Without a story, you and your brand will easily get lost in the thousands of pages in the Google search results. Without a story, you’re no different from the competitor above and beneath you on the list. It’s that important.

So who are you?, I need to know. Your brand story goes beyond what’s written in the copy of your website, the catchphrase in an ad, or even the rehearsed presentation pitch. It’s about who your brand connects with and how it resonates with them. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, summed it up perfectly. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Beyond the mechanical transaction of product or service for compensation, you’re providing a customer experience; you’re building a relationship.

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How To Talk About Your Brand
Reflect The Story In Every Aspect Of Your Business

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Every element of your business or brand, from the layout of your website to your industry partners, affects your brand story. For example, a brand that targets an environmentally conscious market should reflect that value in every aspect of the company with green initiatives like using recycled paper and motion-sensored lighting. A speaker at a conference will never get on stage and sell, sell, sell. They tell you a story and take you on a journey, all while demonstrating their core values and the knowledge they have about the problems their company solves. They live their brand.

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How To Talk About Your Brand
Good Stories Give Big Voices To Any Business

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So while you’re building your brand, ask yourself ‘why should people care about what I have to say?’. Who are you? I want to know. What sets your brand apart from your competitors? Telling your brand story is a powerful technique for building a meaningful relationship with your customer base. It’s a proven concept that inspires people, connects them, and keeps them engaged. It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re based or how much funding your startup has. Good stories give big voices to any business — big or small. That’s why it’s paramount that you fully develop your brand and the story behind it.

So who are you? Because you need to know.

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