Mention the word “budget” and most of us have a negative reaction. First of all, we may hate the detailed planning that goes in to budgeting. And, “budget” has come to mean “limit”–something else we don’t like.
In reality, a budget is simply a way of allocating your available resources so that you get the most you can out of what you have. As you think about your marketing budget for the coming year, don’t forget to include all of the resources you have available to you:
Money – OK, this is the obvious one. Plan on spending some money to reach your goals. Don’t forget that as your marketing efforts succeed, you should generate additional revenues. Set aside a percentage of these revenues to continue and expand your marketing efforts. Remember, though, that how much money you spend is less important than how you spend it.
Time – How will you use your time most effectively? You may believe that you have more time than money, but don’t fall in to the trap of doing everything yourself. This is especially important if your time can be used more effectively in revenue-producing activities than do-it-yourself marketing. Also consider that you may get better results by hiring a pro than by doing it yourself. Look for ways to delegate or outsource the things that are not a good use of your time.
Automation – Are there tasks you could automate to increase your results? For example, if you find yourself responding to the same questions over and over, consider offering a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) at your website, or via email autoresponder.
Evangelists – The people who believe in you and your business are great marketing tools, but you are probably not using them in an organized way. Give them the tools to make it easy for them to tell others about you (e.g., give them extra business cards, brochures and other materials) and to refer business to you (e.g., set up a referral procedure and reward program). Don’t forget about social media. Provide suggested Tweets they can use to tell their friends about you. Include “Share” buttons on your blog posts.
You probably have many other resources available to help you market. Look for opportunities to joint venture with colleagues on projects and promotions. Would friends or family members be willing to pitch in to help with an event? Do you have access to a location where you could hold an event, such as an open house or seminar? Are there people you know who would be willing to provide advice and mentoring?
Use your resources wisely and effectively to maximize your results.