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Budgeting::

Since you’ve already started your own business {or are close to doing so}, I’m sure you’ve realized just how crucial budgeting is. It is no different when it comes to your marketing plan. Just as you lay out your budget at the very beginning of your business plan, you should clearly define your marketing budget within your marketing plan. Your marketing budget is an investment in the future of your business, so budgeting is not something you want to take lightly.

How much do you have to spend? How much profit do you stand to make? What type of audience do you want to reach? What exactly do you want to accomplish? These are all questions you will need to answer up front. Your marketing budget will include more than just advertising. Your website, your business cards, packaging or any graphic design or logo development is all considered marketing. Some of this you may already have implemented. If not, it cannot be left out. Advertising can help advance your brand, but first you have to spend the money to build your brand.

As mentioned in other sections, your business should have a ‘look’, so others immediately recognize your brand. A logo, a color scheme, a slogan or tagline, all of these things should be consistent throughout your business materials and advertising. When deciding how and where to spend your marketing dollars, don't compromise your brand.

Use all of the resources available to you when researching. If you have revenue information from the last year, that’s a great place to start. If you don’t, research others in your industry. There most likely is a website or publication that will give you an idea about possible income and a gauge of advertising costs in your market.

Research the publications you want to use. What is their readership? What types of articles do they publish? What are their demographics? This information should all be available by requesting their media kit and advertising costs. Do you feel that their audience matches what you want to reach? Do you feel as though the cost is worth the exposure? If so, this might be a great publication to include in your plan, and now you have an idea of what it might cost to reach those you want to reach.

Your budget needs to be reviewed on a regular basis, at least quarterly. What type of response are you getting from the ads you are placing? Are they turning into sales? This is where a bit of trial and error comes in. Increase advertising dollars in the outlets that are bringing in tangible sales and decrease or eliminate advertising dollars in the ones that aren’t.

Most importantly, be realistic and plan ahead. Salespeople are good at contacting you with an enticing offer or promotion on short notice. But, it won’t be successful for you if it doesn’t meet your basic goals. If someone comes to you with a great deal in a national magazine for $1,200 it could be a fantastic opportunity. But, if your budget for the quarter is only $1,000 it might not be realistic.

By being realistic and growing at a steady pace you’ll be able to increase your budget at a steady pace as well. Research, research, research! This is another reason why it’s great to network with other mom business owners. Find out what has worked for them and what hasn’t!

If you are interested in creating a comprehensive marketing plan but don't know where to start, Market Mommy ® can help! We offer low-cost marketing consultation for mom business owners. We can help answer some of your basic questions, or create an entire detailed plan for your business.

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