As a full-service branding agency, we’re interested in working with businesses looking to attain brand synergy.
Taking a holistic approach to marketing can be overwhelming, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I’ve shared the obstacle I go through in getting prospects to reveal their budget. As an entrepreneur, I am constantly learning as I go and on the lookout for ways to execute tasks more efficiently. One pattern I notice as a businessperson is that it pays to be direct. It is my duty as a consultant to educate clients on realistic expectations for their marketing plan. Time equates to money, so time wasted is money lost. It builds trust to get straight to your true intentions. So today, I will explain…
Where To Focus Your Marketing Budget And Why
Schedule a Consultation
If you’re scoping out marketing services, it means you’re looking for a solution. You know you need to try a new approach. The problem is business owners aren’t always able to articulate specific needs for the marketing plan. The best place to start is with professional consultation to learn about best practices and available options. Either way you pursue, these are exciting times because it’s a monumental step for any business to commit to a new brand strategy.
How Much Is a Reasonable Marketing Budget?
Businesses fight it at first, but always come back to the realization that it takes money to make money.
If you survey the internet, you’ll find statistics from business reviews and major corporations revealing their marketing budget. It seems the trend is to allocate a certain percentage of company revenue, depending on your business goals. For example, if your goal is to simply maintain your position in the market, then perhaps your marketing budget would be minimal just to achieve the basics. However, if your goal is to grow your company, attract new customers, reshape your messaging or reposition yourself in the market entirely, then a more aggressive marketing budget will be necessary.
Depending on your company size, you may be working with a revenue anywhere from $30,000 to $3,000,000. To know what is right for your business, consult a professional who can listen and help configure a plan that is right for you.
Employee or Partnership?
The normal thing to do is hire full-time employees to join the company. However, there are serious risks involved with hiring full-time employees. It’s expensive to hire a professional employee. Not only will you have to pay a hefty, ongoing salary, employees also expect to be compensated with special benefits like a proper workspace, health/life insurance, 401K plans and even paid time off.
Paid time off? We don’t expect anything like that from our clients. As an agency, we partner with companies to execute tasks, while each party still maintains their independence. It’s very much collaborative with mutual respect. Easy come, easy go.
Get The Branding Basics In Order First
Wondering where to focus your marketing budget? Well, that all depends on where you are with your current brand. For any branding campaign to be successful, you need to have some basics in order first.
Comprehensive brand guidelines are helpful in outlining the company’s vision, mission, brand personality, voice and tone to be communicated throughout all marketing materials. This will ensure anyone who works on your brand will uphold to a certain standard and convey specified key messages. Fresh design elements will need to be created as well, including a logo, color palette and typography.
Invest in a Custom Website
Assuming you have strong brand guidelines in place, a company logo, a designated color palette, established typography and all that good stuff, then and only then is it time to move on to the next priority of your marketing plan, your website. Don’t create a website without brand guidelines.
The purpose of your website is to serve as a place for consumers to learn who you are, what you do and why they should care. First and foremost, it needs to capture the attention of your intended audience. It must be informative, providing eloquent copy that explains your unique selling proposition and custom photography showcasing your products and services. There must be clear call to actions throughout to help navigate users in finding what they need. A custom website allows you to create any special technology integration necessary to properly streamline your workflow and communication processes.
Investing in a custom website design will help you to promote your business and emphasize your brand distinguishers. If you opt in for a pre-existing theme, you’re at risk of looking identical to thousands of others. You must ask, “what will create the most pleasant and memorable experience for customers interacting with my brand?”
Optimize Your Website For Search Engines
It would be nice to have some strategies in place to direct online traffic to your website. Once you have a strong website, investing in search engine optimization (SEO) can help get your new brand story out there in front of many web-surfing consumers. There are SEO solutions available in various budget options, from the basics to a concentrated focus on targeting very specific areas and online users. Again, it always comes back to what your goals are and how much of a budget you have.
Attracting new prospects is the first challenge. Then, converting prospects into customers is the next challenge, which can be achieved by creating a pleasant and memorable experience for your customers. By engaging with consumers regularly and connecting with them, you will gradually gain a loyal following. Followers will eagerly check back to see all the new and exciting content you have to share about your industry. This will help attain loyalty among customers and improve your reputation and authority in the community.
Hire a Brand Strategist
To receive full effect marketing, you need professional brand strategy and creative direction, not aimless one-off designs. Businesses hire us to conceptualize, launch and manage full-service branding and digital marketing campaigns. Updating social media covers regularly is important. Pumping out inspiring content everyday is crucial. Custom photography and copywriting is part of a brand manager’s job. We work with businesses that are serious about providing a pleasant and memorable experience for their customers. This means providing compelling communication on a regular basis.
Consider Print Ads
I think you’ll start to see why my creative process works in a certain order of operation. There truly is a right and wrong way to focus your marketing budget. You wouldn’t start in the print world and then work your way to digital. That would be backwards.
The purpose of print materials is to proactively capture the attention of your audience just enough to pique interest, and provide them with a way to learn more… by visiting you online. Sales collateral including direct mail, posters, flyers, brochures and catalogs are all wonderful ways to share important information about your brand, but not meant to be a be-all end-all. It’s simply a little piece of the big puzzle.
Social Media – Be Everywhere For Everyone
Social media is an excellent way to earn respect and engage with customers. It also serves as a way to drive new traffic to other places online, such as your company’s website. Consistency is key and of course, you have to already have the fundamentals in order. But once you do, social media is a worthwhile place to invest your marketing budget.
It’s important to go all in with it and share relevant and invaluable resources daily. Don’t share a shy little post one random day and then go on hiatus for a week. Once you decide you’re ready to commit to this marketing venture, ongoing social media marketing will be sure to positively affect your brand.
Drive New Traffic With Online Advertising
If you’re at a point where you’re ready to begin paid online advertising, it means you’re doing well because it implies you already have strong branding in place, a beautiful home on the web, a respectable online presence and you’re ready to shine light on your glory.
Is Event Marketing Right For You?
Sometimes good ol’ face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to market your business. I talk to business owners all the time who say their main form of marketing is networking in the community. Sometimes I wonder if it’s limiting to talk one-on-one when the world wide web provides an outlet to reach many people at once. At the end of the day, you have to be attentive, evaluate your efforts and determine what truly is working and what needs to be improved.
Does It Make Sense For You To Be Seen on TV/Heard on Radio?
TV commercials and radio ads are expensive, but it’s because you get to reach a broad audience on a regular basis. Being promoted through the airways like that has a way of influencing people all throughout the day. It’s great for promoting upcoming events, making special announcements or simply raising awareness of your business. Maybe the listeners don’t need your services right at that time, but by hearing about you all the time, when the need does arise, you’ll quickly be who comes to mind.
What I’ve discussed today are basic ways to promote your business. There is a wrong and right way as well as a certain order to do things. Be careful. Marketing your business and strengthening your brand can be a lot of fun and very rewarding when you see it bringing in desirable results. All businesses are pursuing different paths and at different points in their journey. Focus on your business and how you are going to adapt it to the world around you. At the end of the day, it’s about doing your best with what you have.