4 Tips For Setting Your Marketing Budget

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Whether you’re considering your first campaign or trying to get a better sense of how much you could have saved on your last one, it’s time to set a firm marketing budget. In this guide, we’ll break down the different platforms your business should be marketing on and how to determine how much to spend. If it’s your first time advertising beyond your local means, don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of tips for reaching your community offline as well.  Small businesses around the country are feeling the effects of Covid-19, and its aftermath will keep pros on their toes for months to come. Digital outreach can feel strange when it’s the only means by which you can reach your customers, but it’s important to take the stage. Remember that whether or not you decide to move into social media marketing, your competitors will.

 The Stats 

 If you’re wondering how much your competitors are spending on advertising, it’s time to find out. If you’re savvy enough, you might be able to gauge their budget between their mix of sponsored posts, local ads, and community events. If you’re up against a national chain, you may be able to dig deeper and find an actual quote for their marketing budget. That being said, there’s no way to know how much the local branch in your community is spending, but it’s safe to say they’ve got pretty deep pockets.  According to a research report released in 2019, most restaurants polled admitted to paying for social media ads, with 53% also paying to participate in community, charity, or event sponsorships. Beyond that, 42% said they paid for Google or search engine ads, and about a third of restauranteurs took out newspaper or magazine ads.  Another study found that salons contributed to a market worth $46.5 billion in 2019. While that number is expected to grow tremendously by 2024, the 50 largest beauty salons make up 15% of that market, and the 50 largest barbershops make up 30%. That means over 50% of the market is held up by small businesses, where “profitability of individual companies depends on effective marketing and maintaining repeat business.”  It can be hard to think of your business beyond your brick & mortar, but it’s essential to invest in smart marketing that can keep your business booming no matter who moves in next door. If you have the opportunity to grow quickly without a lot of competition, take it upon yourself to keep evolving. A competitor will inevitably rise to the plate, and their easiest way into your consumer base will be to offer “new, updated” versions of your products. For that reason, it’s important to establish a strong brand voice in your marketing and expand across different platforms to reach new customers regularly.

 How Much to Spend on Social Media

 When you’re first starting, you’ll need to fill out your profile with intentional, organic posts. This means creating content that shows what your brand is about to create a context for your users to link back to. If you start advertising right off the bat and building sponsored posts, your users could click on them and get linked back to your empty profile.  After you’ve filled out your profile and collected likes and follows from your biggest fans, it’s time to grow your audience. The best part of advertising via social media is that the platforms you use can identify “lookalike” audiences who share your current followers’ same interests. This means advertising to more people in your community and more foodies or beauty pros. The bigger your budget, the more people you’ll reach. That being said, the one downside is you technically can’t control where the hits land. Be sure to watch out for posts gaining thousands of impressions but only reaching people states away. This could be a sign that it’s time to rethink your strategy.

 Community Events & Sponsorships

 When you’re giving back, it can be hard to set your budget. On the one hand, it’s important to donate to the causes that are important to you and your community, but on the other, it’s a great form of marketing. While a local sponsorship may mean your name is shared on a local banner, a “give-back” night could trigger a ton of sales. These kinds of events occur when a business promises to donate a portion of the sales from a particular night or event. This can bring a ton of new business from your community, some of which you can share with a great cause.  It’s also important to make sure you’re contributing to local events that don’t hurt your brand value. If a restaurant decides to donate a booth, food, or supplies to a food festival, they’ll gain a ton of outreach and reach a great market. However, if they decide to sponsor a dangerous party or sporting event, their brand may see a little backlash.

 Unconventional Print Advertising 

 No matter what, print will always be an essential form of advertising. Whether you’ve already tried taking an ad out in your local paper or mailing out coupons, most business owners have experimented with print advertising. They may not have heard of another form called unconventional print advertising, which often plays on guaranteed platforms and hyper-local targeting.  For example, one form would be coupon-receipt advertising. These campaigns are a means of grocery store advertising that allows businesses to run their ads on the backs of register tape. This unique system means that business owners can save a ton on print and ink costs and reach a local audience. Best of all, every single shopper who visits the store will leave with your supermarket advertisement in their pocket. This can mean a ton of quick impressions for the right business and is part of why grocery store advertising is such an accessible platform.

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