How much does this all cost?

“How much does this all cost?”

That’s one of the most frequently asked questions in a potential client meeting or casual conversation about what we do. And the answer is almost always the same.

“As much as you can afford to spend.”

You see, there is no magic number on how much to spend on your marketing efforts. You can get just as good of a result spending $500 as you would $5,000. The magic comes when you find the right mix of marketing for your budget.

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when planning your marketing budget.

  1. Be realistic. If you have a small budget, then a television campaign isn’t your best option. Not only do you pay for air time, but you have to shell out for production costs, actors, food and more. Even a seemingly simple 15-second commercial can cost you a couple grand.
  2. Be consistent. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Running an ad once isn’t going to work. Plan on committing to a minimum of three months or save your money.
  3. If you can’t be consistent, be splashy. A six-month television campaign may be out of reach, but a big barbeque in your parking lot or giving a gift with purchase is not. The customer experience is just as important as any ad you place. If you make a mark, they will remember you and come back.
  4. Spend the money on the logo. It’s better to have a quality logo that will stand the test of time than to buy the bargain option online. Remember, your logo is what customers are going to associate with your brand. It’s going to be on your sign, your website, your social media and probably a few shirts. A good logo goes far.
  5. Same goes for pictures. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve tried to put together a flyer for a client and got stuck because the only pictures available were the ones taken on a cell phone. Invest in high quality product shots, office shots and headshots. You will use them more than you think.
  6. Ask for a discount or trade services. My dad always taught us that the worst thing someone will say is “no,” so why not try? Some companies will offer a discount for cash or be willing to trade services. Every bit helps.
  7. Don’t discount traditional media. Yes, so much of what we do these days is online and on social media. But that doesn’t mean consumers aren’t watching TV, listening to the radio or seeing billboards. If your customers don’t know who you are, they aren’t going to look for you online.
  8. Work with an agency. I know, I know. That’s a biased statement since I work for an agency. The truth is, though, we can save you money. Not only because we have relationships with vendors, but because we will also advise you on the best way to spend your money.

Nadia Zerka is a client relations manager at Imagine Communications. She can be reached at nzerka@weareimagine.com.

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