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Marketing budget allocation tips for businesses

October 4th, 2013 | admin | Tags:

As a small business owner, you are careful about your marketing expenditures.  Obviously, you understand the importance of promoting your business, but after paying rent, salaries, and supplies expenses, yet marketing budget seems to be the intangible that is hard to estimate the value of.

In the beginning, until you figure out where your customer base is coming from, you may be spending money equally on all your marketing and advertising tactics.  Once you start tracking where the majority of your customers originate, you will be surprised at how easy it is to determine what promotional campaigns work best for your business, and allocate most of your marketing budget into the campaigns that bring the highest return on the investment.

What I recommend to my clients, is a simple yet effective solution: always have a customer tally sheet at hand.  Every time a new customer walks into your door, or calls you, ask them casually how they heard about you.  A question “How did you find us?” can be added to the new patient/customer sign-up sheet, or to the “Contact Us” page of your website.

In the end of the week or month, count the responses.  Do you get most business leads from your website, newspaper ads, personal referrals, flyers, Yellow Pages, or walk-by?  Sometimes you’ll be surprised to find out that the most valuable customers come from the free sources (referrals from friends), or satisfied to know that the most expensive marketing investment was well worth it.

Depending on where most of your client base originates, allocate your marketing budget accordingly into the most effective marketing tactics for your business.

Google Analytics website reports provide valuable data on traffic sources, search key words, and conversion rates.  We strongly recommend reviewing them on a regular basis to better target your customer audience.

Go to  Analytics and Reporting Services

Below is sample customer traffic tracking sheet

Week of …..

Marketing tactic

Tally

Comments

Website

Facebook

Newspaper Ad

Radio Ad

Referral

Walk by

Flyer

Conference

Other

Total

The next step towards defining your marketing budget is to calculate the ROI – return on investment.  The only culprit here is that some marketing efforts can be more long-term, and don’t bring instant results like others.  For example, a flyer with a coupon with an expiration date will bring an influx of customers, who may or may not return back.  An upfront investment into a website may be more expensive, but it will be there for years to pay back.

Review your marketing budget on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis and plan your marketing tactics accordingly.  For example, if you find that most of your customers are by referral from existing clients, offer incentives to your clients.  Create a small gift, or a discount coupon for every new friend referred.  If most of your clientele comes from the internet, spend more effort on updating your website, or on online advertising and promotions.

And the last, but not the least:  don’t underestimate the importance of retaining the customer.  When spending so much of the marketing budget to get a new customer into the door, ensure the staff provides the best customer service to make them stay with your business and keep them coming back!