03 Apr Finding Money for Marketing

How to Create a Marketing Budget

MP900341911One of the reasons many do not implement ambitious marketing plans is a lack of funding. In a slow economy, or when managers are expected to stretch budgets among many business priorities, marketing can take a back seat and is sometimes perceived as a “nice to do,” rather than a “must-do” activity. However, if you define marketing as everything you do to attract and keep a customer or client, then this broader view allows “marketing” to extend into higher priority buckets. Without customers, you don’t have a business.

So how do you find money for marketing? When management reviews a proposal for a website re-design or an advertising campaign, there are dollars associated with each proposal. The first reaction can be: we don’t have it, let’s wait. A second reaction could be: We have to do this to create and keep customers, so let’s find the money!

Where to look….
The first place to look for money for marketing is within last year’s plan and budget. Chances are last year, you started something that is still billing today. You may find monthly charges for obsolete hosting plans and maintenance agreements. You may be accruing charges for an email marketing service you signed up for last year but you have never used. You may have dollars budgeted for Yellow Pages advertising despite the fact that leads have been dwindling because now, to find things, most people “let their fingers do the walking” on the internet! You may be paying a monthly fee to be listed on multiple directories from which you never received any leads. Your current website developer may be charging you for monthly maintenance or search engine optimization that has done little or nothing to improve your Google page rank.

RAID these budget hogs! Fire the vendors who aren’t performing. Cancel the programs that aren’t working. Then channel the funds to explore new marketing opportunities that will yield greater dividends.

The second place to look for money is within your budget model. If you are allocating 1% of sales or more to marketing, consider how it’s being spent. Get more for your marketing dollars by incorporating online free and low cost services into your new plan like social media channels, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Leverage your expertise by publishing articles with keyword-rich content. Enhance the integration between your website and CRM programs to capture every lead and automate follow up.

Incorporate the Weinmann Marketing “Five Easy Pieces” of marketing and do this systematically, to continue and extend the conversation with customers and prospects, increasing loyalty and sales.

Weinmann Marketing’s Five Easy Pieces:
1. Enhance your website: Do keyword research and write keyword-rich content. Add videos, a blog. Make your website content personal, relevant, current and compelling. Add a landing page to capture leads. Include a special offer for loyal website visitors and customers as well as referrals. Find new and creative ways to reward loyalty.

2. Focus your Advertising and PR: Send regular releases to the media announcing new products and services, new people and events. Host an online event like a webinar. Identify your market niches and become more specialized and targeted in your print ad, banner ad and PR communications.

3. Engage audiences via Social Media Marketing: Engage prospects, customers and fans in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter conversations. Present something new and remarkable to followers. Keep your profiles up to date and explore add-ons and apps to maximize your social media exposure and interactivity with followers.

4. Optimize for Search Engines (Practical SEO): Examine your website regularly to identify errors or obsolete code. Update your site, incorporating responsive design to increase accessibility across both desktop and mobile technology platforms including droid, iPad, SmartPhones, Tablets, etc. Use Google Analytics to analyze search engine traffic, keyword density and other important metrics to optimize your website for search engines. Learn to use the latest Google webmaster tools and employ them to make your site search engine friendly. Add an inbound link per day/per week/per month, or as often as you can to improve the popularity of your site.

5. Email Marketing: extend your email marketing to drip messages helpful to your top 3 key niche markets. Extend the conversation to uncover unmet needs. Keep your business at the top of the minds of your customers and prospects so that you are perceived as the top solution provider when the need arises.

If you do all this and still can’t find the money for marketing, call me.

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