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Where should I spend my marketing dollars? We hear this question every single day. And the answer is…..well, there is no straightforward answer. When you consider all the parts that make up a marketing budget, like advertising, public relations, promotions, social media, print ads, sponsorships, collateral, and events, you realize this requires a well-researched answer. It also begs another question; how much do I spend on marketing? Every business is different and in turn, so are their marketing budgets. The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests spending 7% to 8% of your gross revenue on marketing if you are generating less than five million dollars a year in sales. It also depends on how long you have been in business, and how competitive your market is. However, the experts still suggest a range of 1% and 10% and more as your needs dictate. Budgets aside, here are four areas of marketing to invest in, especially if you are a new business.

1. Brand
Your brand is your most valuable asset. Humans are visual, and as much as we’d all love to not judge a book by its cover, we do. Branding makes your company instantly recognizable. This includes logo design, color schemes, a brand style guide, and an editorial style guide. So, before you spend a nickel on ads, you must make an investment in your image. And DO NOT farm out the job to your assistant, just to save money. Unless that person is also a legitimate designer, connecting with an experienced designer with a quality portfolio is your first step.

2. Website
A website is the foundation of your digital presence. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to invest in building a functional site. Costs vary depending on size and needs. If you only need to optimize your website, then it typically costs less. Your website should provide visitors with helpful content in the form of blogs, videos, images. Staying fresh bring people back to your site and improves your SEO. Google ranking, organic traffic, and visibility can increase among new, current, and local customers.

3. Social Media
Most businesses use social media to reach customers. Invest a portion of your budget into organic social media marketing. Build your social accounts and post consistently, then focus on the channels that outperform the rest. Try boosted posts and paid social ads to target an audience to maximize your budget.

4. Video
People would rather watch a video instead of reading written content. Create simple in-house edited videos with a smartphone and $100 worth of lighting and sound equipment. Talk about the things you know best, you’ll be the expert; authentic, believable, and trusted. Post the videos regularly to your website to improve SEO and social media to boost engagement. Also, include other channels like email to entice other segments of the audience to engage and eventually buy from you.

What’s the Takeaway?
Many factors can affect your marketing plan and budget, like the type of industry, size of business, growth stage, etc. Regardless of a budget, all businesses can benefit from a few checkpoints to maximize marketing spend. Once your budget is determined, follow these guidelines:
Plan. Outline costs and plan how you are going to achieve goals within a reasonable time frame.
Track. Measure spending and the current effectiveness of all your activities. Basic tracking empowers you to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Revisit. Recognize that your plan is flexible and can be adjusted, as needed. Remember your goals and evaluate your performance throughout the year.

Have questions? Contact the Integrity Media team. Put our 25 years of marketing experience to work for you. Your free consultation is just a call or email away.

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