Many small business owners and service providers have trouble coming up with an appropriate marketing budget. They struggle with figuring out how much to spend, mostly because they can’t do the “opportunity cost” analogy. It’s hard to quantify how much future business you are missing by not marketing appropriately and putting a portion of those costs upfront.
It’s clear that small business owners and professionals value their own time. Most service providers and business owners would never dream of giving away their product or services and pricing themselves so as not to make a living. Yet, these same business owners and service providers have trouble envisioning marketing as a service and a product, and one that needs to be priced fairly.
So, consider some of these costs and opportunity costs:
- Creation of new written content: Do you have the time to “populate” your website or write new, effective posts on your existing or nascent social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, linkedin)? If you don’t love to write or don’t have time to do so, then this is clearly something you should pay somebody else to do. Writing for websites and for social media is somewhat specialized. A reputable marketing professional can give you a good idea of how much time this writing takes and what an approximate cost for it should be.
- Advice and input on graphic components of you work: Do you have an eye for design, an idea for branding or logos or a good sense of style or do your eyes roll into the back of your head when you’re dithering between slate gray and heather gray? The graphic design component of marketing is critical. Graphic designers have so many tools at their disposal to tweak a tired logo, they are up on the latest fonts and which ones are looking passe and they provide an invaluable service.
- Assessment of past and future marketing plans: How do you know if your previous marketing was successful or not? Do you have any in-house tracking of how you obtained new clients and customers? Do you have any sense of the success of past ad campaigns, social media blitzes, coupons, corporate sponsorships or listings? Your marketing professional will be able to help you track the past (if at all possible) and make plans for the future that include real-time analysis of engagement with social media and development of non-intrusive in-house marketing research.
Marketing isn’t free, but the opportunity costs of not marketing may be very expensive indeed. It’s important to engage marketing professionals who understand your goals, your budget and who can provide the services that you do not have time or the ability to provide yourself.