Understanding how much your business should allocate for its marketing budget is crucial to success. Often, marketing budgets are seen as an expense by small businesses and replaced with more pressing concerns. But, marketing plans can also be forgotten by big businesses that have achieved a certain level of success.
There are many factors for every individual company to consider. Here are some general guidelines to think about when outlining your marketing budget, and a little more on why a marketing budget is so important.
Determining a Marketing Budget
When figuring out how much your business should spend on marketing, consider these two main questions:
- What is the current size and scope of your business?
- What is the overall goal you want to achieve?
These two questions are closely tied. If you have a new and growing business, you obviously have different needs than a company celebrating 50 years in business. If your goals are to rebrand your business, your goals are different than a company that wants to focus on solid lead generation.
Your objective has a direct impact on your timeline. For example, branding is the type of objective that sees a Return on Investment (ROI) over a longer period of time compared to other marketing efforts.
Of course, an integral factor in determining the right marketing budget is the size of your business. Most experts recommend spending 5 to 7% of your annual revenue on marketing to maintain your current level of awareness and visibility in your market.
If your focus is to grow and gain market share, that number increases to 10 to 12% annually. These numbers are scalable. For example, if your business is looking to grow and generates $100,000 in revenue per year, aim to spend as much as $12,000 of that revenue on marketing. If your company needs to maintain top-of-mind awareness and nets $25,000,000 annually, it’s realistic to spend $1.25 to $1.5 million to maintain your market share and influence.
Why Do I Need A Budget?
The answer to that is simple: your business needs a budget to grow. The idea of budgeting is rooted in the saying: “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed.” Throwing money at your marketing without measuring results or following a plan could be a major liability for your company. A business should always have a clear vision of its tactics and objectives.
Attaching an amount to your budget doesn’t mean much unless you have a marketing plan with achievable, realistic, time-based goals. In fact, having a budget with goals is one of the main qualifying items we use here at Innovations.
Are you struggling with what to do next? We’re here to help you and your business move forward. Take the first step and request a consultation with us. A simple, 30-minute conversation has never been so important for your business.
Whether you’ve just gotten started with your own small business, or you’ve been in the trenches for awhile now, owning a small business is a stressful and expensive venture that hinges on your company’s ability to offer something worthwhile and stand out from the crowd.
When starting out, branding your small business can be a perilous venture. Working in the business can make it equally hard to work on the business as well. Today, we dive into some common branding mistakes every small business should be careful to avoid.
First, let’s address a common question.
Why do small businesses need a brand?
Replace the word branding with “reputation.” Your business’ reputation and the impression it leaves on consumers is incredibly important, no business owner would argue against that. Your business might leave a good impression with some people without ever giving it a second thought. But, imagine if your business did that all the time for every person your business encountered. That’s what consistent branding does for you.
From top-notch logo design that conveys a sense of trust to a message and tone that is universal throughout all materials and interactions, branding is about reputation and impression management. Starting out you may not know what to watch out for. These are the mistakes we see brands, both new and old, make.
The vague branding pitfall.
It’s a balancing act between overcomplicating your brand’s messaging (see below) and being too vague. Walking that line properly is tough without proper research and measurement, but avoiding generic catch-all phrasing like “the premier source…” and “best-selling” isn’t doing your brand any favors. Most puffery of that nature goes unheard by most consumers.
Instead, knowing your unique selling point (called a USP) and what sets your business a part and communicating those points in an effective manner (i.e.: using your brand’s voice) is critical to avoiding this misstep.
Undervaluing the power of a brand.
Branding sets the bar for how people can find you. Google is certainly more interested in brands when it comes to ranking your business online, and setting up the type of consistency across the spectrum of media your brand utilizes is the very nature of marketing at its core. Like the old adage goes, “you get what you put in.”
Likewise, be honest with yourself about your business and brand. People can tell when you’re disingenuous. Infuse your brand with your unique style and energy. Brands are a bundle of feelings and emotions, so giving your business a brand that means something and comes from the heart is integral.
Not establishing, or following, brand guidelines.
Setting up standards and uses for your brand is essential to ensuring that it is used correctly. Knowing what type of voice your brand uses on social media, its brand colors, taglines, fonts and typefaces are all facets of your brand identity that need to be standardized.
Not following these rules and guidelines is where many brands fail to follow through on their own brand promise. Diminishing the strength of your brand by defying its own elements does you absolutely no good and dilutes its strength in the eye of a consumer.
Overcomplicating your brand identity.
As mentioned above, being too complicated in your branding efforts and being too vague is a difficult line to walk. No brand needs six colors and/or six graphical elements to differentiate itself. Rather, clear and concise imagery that is congruent with your voice, style, and efforts is what captures the eye (and dollars) of a potential customer. Driving that association between your brand and quality is at the heart of any branding effort, and muddying that effort with too many concepts or ideas can ruin it instantly.
Does your business fall victim to any of these? Or have you let branding fall by the wayside in your business altogether? Innovations Branding House has the knowledge and tools to build, or re-build, your brand with you.
Pop quiz — what is the world’s largest search engine? Answer: Google. But, everyone knows that, right? Do you know what the second largest search engine is?
YouTube. Okay, so maybe our image and title gave it away just a little.
The video platform garners over 1 billion (with a ‘b’!) unique visitors each month. Couple this fact with the staggering amount of video viewed each month, 6 billion hours, it is a lot of traffic for one website.
If your business isn’t using YouTube to its full advantage, it’s time to rethink that strategy with this blog post.
What are YouTube’s Ranking Factors?
What’s in a name?
Ranking well in YouTube is essential. But, how do you do that? Like any important piece of content, you need a great title. Generally, a title shouldn’t be any longer than 70 characters in YouTube. It needs to jump out and attract people to what your video is about while also being accurate.
Have a great video about being a beekeeper? Say so, but make sure it is a great beekeeping video as well! Without great content, you’re not going to convert traffic to your website or your landing pages which should be the ultimate goal of any video.
This is all in the name of generating views. Both YouTube and people treat highly-viewed videos as more relevant content to the viewer’s search. So, gaining these views is integral to your video performing well.
Optimize for the Medium
Creating engaging content is more than having a good camera and an eye for what looks good. A great video should include a tasteful blend of:
- Graphical overlays and infographics as needed
- Consistent editing that helps the flow of the video
- A CTA or another video (or the video added to a playlist) to keep the viewer engaged with your company/brand
As mentioned in our last point above, adding your video to a playlist of videos about the topic from your company is a solid way to keep viewers engaged. Doing so will automatically play another video once the first one ends, which will increase view counts and increase ranking in YouTube and Google searches.
When writing a video description and title, include keyword-rich text and be thorough about the contents of the video. Include proper tags that help people find your video when searching for related topics. Your brands, topics your business covers, even your geographic location are all great ideas for tags.
Finishing your video with an enticing CTA is one of the most effective ways to convert viewers into leads. Being creative in this instance is integral to success. Whether it’s a simple video overlay where you’ve included a graphic in the video to make it appear interactive, or a channel trailer that shows off what your business is about, don’t discredit any new idea too quickly.
Google + Youtube Integration
Google and YouTube have been integrated for awhile now, even going as far as requiring a Google+ account to log in to YouTube (which is no longer the case, actually). The two platforms have been intertwined which makes using YouTube to your advantage incredibly important.
A fleshed-out YouTube profile goes a long way to increasing credibility in the eyes of a viewer. If they click on your profile, it shows a general interest in what your company is about. If you happened across a business that had not filled out any information, setting a profile picture or channel video, what would you think about that company versus one that had completed that process?
Think of your profile as a call-to-action that appears on every video you post. It should be helping to drive visitors to your website where you can control the content and its delivery more effectively.
Of course, sharing the video across multiple platforms will help it rank better in searches. Don’t negate the effectiveness of consistent sharing across all social media when utilizing YouTube. The buttons are right there underneath the video, after all!