How Much Should Your Small Business Spend on Marketing?

Marketing: a double-edged sword for small businesses. You know it’s critical for attracting new customers and growth, but figuring out how much to spend and where to start can feel like a guessing game. 

Many small business owners fall into the trap of wanting to do everything themselves or spend as little as possible on marketing. Investing can feel risky, especially with tight budgets and past marketing efforts lacking results. 

Here’s the truth: in tough economies, the businesses that thrive are the ones that prioritize marketing.

How much should you spend on marketing? A starting point, not a finish line

While 5-10% of your revenue is a common rule, it’s not always realistic for a small business. Instead, focus on finding a budget that you feel comfortable with and will allow you to start thinking about marketing today.

Before spending a dime, you need a marketing strategy. Many businesses skip this step and go straight to doing marketing activities. Posting on social media, creating a brochure, making a logo. Often they spend time, money and resources on the wrong marketing. 

A marketing strategy will:

  • Help you set doable, realistic goals for your business
  • Help you identify the right marketing channels to hit those goals and budget spend on each channel
  • Save you valuable time and avoid wasted expenses on agencies, assets, digital courses

What about free marketing?

Social media posts, blog writing, and email marketing are all great free channels. However, their effectiveness depends on your specific business:

  • Is your product or service something people typically buy through social media?
  • Does your website convert visitors into customers?
  • Do your customers want frequent communication about your service?

Free marketing can be valuable, but it’s not a substitute for a strategy. We all have finite time and can’t execute on everything to a level of mastery. Focus on creating a plan that connects the right marketing channels to your audience for maximum results.

A few tips for marketing on a budget:

  • Start small and scale gradually: Begin with a manageable budget, refine your offers, and increase spending as you see success.
  • Prioritize doable activities: Focus on efforts that allow you to spend the least amount of time but show big results. You don’t want to add a learning curve to your busy life.
  • Find the right marketer: Small businesses often face a challenge of sorting through marketing agencies with unrealistic promises and high budgets or freelance marketers who claim expertise in everything. Ask them to create a custom holistic strategy for your business on a budget and that will give you a good sense if they can execute a strategy.

Get a Free Growth Strategy Consultation 

Are you ready to start marketing on a budget with a strategy? Get a head start with my free growth strategy. It’ll give you:

  •  the strategy you need for your specific business, 
  • optimize for the right channels to use for your business, 
  • and be manageable for you to execute. 

Get started Here today.

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