This is such a great time of year to start planning for next. If you would like to hit the ground running in January with some serious motivation and a determination to use every calendar month of 2018 to achieve your goals, then I suggest you nut out a marketing plan and an associated marketing budget now.
To help you do this, I have included five line items that I believe should be in every small businesses marketing budget for 2018.
Never under-estimate the effect that smart-looking design can have for your brand. Particularly branding and design that has been developed with your target audience in mind. If you are trying to differentiate your business in a competitive market or position your business in a certain way, your graphic design will play a huge part in this.
2. Facebook Advertising
If you’ve committed to using Facebook as a marketing channel, ensure you leverage it to the max by investing in boosted and promoted content. Organic (or free) reach on Facebook is at an all time low. In order for your content to be seen, you need to invest. And if you are investing in your content and in the Ad platform, then I would recommend putting your best foot forward with smart content that is not only going to engage your target audience but also contribute to your businesses bottom line.
3. Video Production
Open up your Facebook App and scroll through your news feed. Take a moment to count how many posts in your news feed are videos vs how many are still images. I know in my feed just about every second post is a video. At present, video is assumed to be one of the highest performing media forms employed by organisations of all sizes.
Your video investment does not have to be huge. You certainly don’t need to factor in a professional videographer, although some will. You may just need to invest in some hardware (mic, camera, phone, lights), perhaps find yourself an editor via Upwork or the like? And maybe a course that shows you how to create some awesome content of your own.
4. Customer Surveys
This activity is cheap to execute and brings a return that is priceless. You can find out soooo much about your audience by surveying them. You can confirm demographics (age, gender, occupation, location etc.) but even better, you can deep dive into how they think. How they make decisions about purchasing your product or service, who influence them etc. Be sure to ask them which media they are consuming so that you can confirm which media channels to invest your marketing dollars into!
If you can compile these and distribute these yourself, your costs will be fairly low for this activity. I invest in a Survey Monkey account ($288/year) and create online surveys for my clients. It makes life so easy to not only collect the feedback but to analyse it.
5. Email Marketing
If you are tech savvy and use an email software such as Mailchimp, you will almost be able to include this line item as zero in your marketing budget. Staying in contact with your existing and past customers via email is perfect for keeping you front of mind, amplifying word-of-mouth and even prompting extra sales.