How to Set a Marketing Budget for Your Small Business in 2020

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Marketing Budget

Developing a marketing budget for a small business can be a tad tricky. For starters, one has to rely a lot on the power of guesswork. 

Eventually, everything boils down to a series of trials and errors to finally zero upon what works and what doesn’t for your line of business.

As such, it becomes all the more important for small businesses to learn to use multiple tools to give shape to a successful marketing budget. However, the total number of resources, examples, and other steps involved can lead to utter confusion and chaos. What if you don’t have adequate capital? What if your primary objectives don’t work out as planned?

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It is only reasonable to feel overwhelmed as one wades right across a dozen marketing ideas. With other additional expenses, it’s quite a matter of responsibility. Thus, the moment calls for investing in oneself and the client, which in turn shall guarantee long-term success for any small business.

Next, important is the allocation of funds, which is a vital factor determining longevity. In this post, we mull over five effective ways to chalk out a marketing budget for a small business.

Marketing Budget

1. Start with the big picture first

No matter how small your business is, one can’t seem to overlook their marketing budget. Once you have made up your mind and got your business policies right, the objectives are bound to fall in place.

Knowing where exactly you stand with your small business journey can help make crucial decisions. Fundamentally speaking, there are two distinct categories that your business can come under; either start-up or running.

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Your status shall make way to impact what all you need for setting the marketing budget right for your small scale business. When you are in the start-up phase, it is a pretty standard that your expenses will exceed your pre-decided budget.

So, it is vital to prioritize one’s spending and keep the focus glued on what would put you one step ahead of your direct competitors.

2. Outlining the sales funnel

For starters, a sales funnel, simply put, is nothing but a series of steps that any potential customer has to walk up in order to purchase a product or service. Once you make efforts to outline the sales funnel, it will readily help you to understand the following:

  • How can clients find about your products and services in the first place?
  • What do they need to know before buying?
  • The chief factors that work towards contributing to the final decision, as well as social media marketing plan

If your business is in an up and running state, you must map out the sales funnel in a manner that your current clients choose to purchase from you only. Also, it is worthwhile to make a note of the sales & marketing tactics that seem to work in your favour.

Also, it is necessary to determine how much are you willing to spend on the tactics for now, and where can you trim away the unwanted fuss?

Whether it’s a host of free resources or social proof, when you know what a customer wants in their buying journey, it can be an eye-opener for your marketing budget efforts. 

3. Listing down your operational costs

Start by creating a single spreadsheet that will store all current as well as anticipated costs of operation. It may include web hosting expenses, outsourcing fees for content generation, sales tax, and another bunch of professional fees, and everything else that you require to run your business smoothly.

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When you adopt such a calculated plan for business essentials, it paints a pretty realistic picture of what all you have to do with you to work on your marketing budget. So, one needs to keep track of the whole debit and credit thing in order to stick to your marketing budget.

4. Setting your goals right

Once you know what stage your business is in and the current, as well as the future sales, funnel, it’s time to set your goals right. Answering the below questions shall help you determine your marketing budget and work on your goals simultaneously:

  • How much revenue do you require?
  • The sales figure one needs to reach
  • How many leads are required to help convert the right sales figure?
  • At what percentage do your leads generally convert?

When one is just starting, it is necessary to run the right amount of research for general sales conversion rates across your niche to obtain realistic target figures. Once you are sure of your goals, you will require a system to track the progress.

An excellent way to do so is to invest in adopting a range of marketing tactics to boost ROI( Return on Investment). Obviously, one has to begin with researching more and more about their competitors. Setting goals, no matter what, is an indispensable part of planning a successful business. However, in order to emerge successfully, one should be able to devise a way to track them effectively.

In essence, a practical approach to help understand how much one is looking to spend can be calculated by estimating the return on investment.  To get the ROI figures right, one will need to dig into a large number of market data. Have faith in your instinct and make up your mind to face any risk that comes up along the way.

One should consider investing in buying data, which can help offer a reasonable stand on what can be expected from your initial marketing efforts. In case you can’t get your hands on such data, spend a reasonable amount of time surveying the market and talking to people. This should broaden your perspective and help determine the demand level for your products or services.

If you feel a little less confident, you might as well hire a marketing agency to get the job done for you. Once you have got your hands on a robust set of data, it will be easier for you to back up your marketing strategy. Furthermore, one will also be able to design a marketing budget, keeping it real and in line with the market dynamics.

5. Scoping out the competition 

Understanding the niche of one’s business is the first and foremost step to set the marketing budget for a small business. It begins with tracking the key players in the industry and actively studying their marketing campaigns.

Doing so will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of the following:

  • The major players in the industry are matching your niche.
  • The methods they are using to advertise their products and services.
  • The digital platforms which they prefer posting their content across

As such, any business might be favouring physical marketing over digital avenues. Hence, they would be drawn to make more use of flyers, brochures, and other printed stuff to market their products and services. When one tests the methods successfully, it will be easier for him to narrow down the techniques that can work for his business.

So keep it easy and start with analysing the basics of the competition. Remember, what worked for your competitor might not work towards your favour.

One needs to be really observant to chalk out the right kind of marketing budget for your small business after you have tried and tested a host of methods and have figured out the ones that work for you.

Wrap up

No matter what stage a business is in, one should always seek to create a marketing budget for a small business, so that it doesn’t give you the feeling of being overwhelmed. On the flip side, a highly restrained budget shouldn’t put you at the end of the race.

The idea is to set specific standards for your marketing plan so that one can be confident with their money. When you are learning to establish a marketing budget for any sized business, any bit of knowledge can be beneficial.

While it’s challenging to run the course of the business daily and design your marketing budget, it is also the best time to hone your leadership skills to impact delegation for good. The key to devise a fruitful marketing strategy lay in the power of statistics. Any successful business owner relies heavily on market figures and associated statistics to crunch the final numbers for creating a wholesome and effective marketing plan.

If you haven’t been comfortable working with numbers before, trust us, you are not alone out here. Most business owners, when starting, take a great deal of time fiddling with Excel formulas and racking their brains out. Fret not. Give your gut feeling a chance and take on one and all things.

If you are still afraid, take a deep breath and talk to someone who has got considerable experience in researching the numbers right. Eventually, you will come around your way and start developing your first marketing plan in no time. 

General FAQs

What is a good budget for marketing?

As a general rule of thumb, companies should spend around 5 percent of their total revenue on marketing to maintain their current position. Companies looking to grow or gain greater market share should budget a higher percentage usually around 10 percent.

What is the most important part of a marketing plan?

The Most Important Piece of a Marketing Plan Is Your Targeted Customer. Knowing your target customer is the single most important job of any marketer, and it’s a job that never ends.

How do you create a marketing plan for a startup?

A Killer Marketing Plan for Startup Entrepreneurs
1. Define your end goal.
2. Maintain a consistent brand and message.
3. Determine your target audience.
4. Find the social channel for your startup.
5. Build a referral network.
6. Cultivate relationships with influencers.
7. Create ads that appeal to people’s emotions.
8. Assemble the right team.


Devendra Singh

Director, Content Strategy at Digital Marketing Trends. I develop, evaluate, and improve the company's content strategies. Providing a big online presence for SMEs and StartUps.