What are you doing to ensure your business grows – and carries on growing – in 2013? While some business ideas are so ‘right thing, right time’ they catch the imagination and grow almost without help, most businesses have to try rather harder than that. More importantly, they have to work hard at marketing themselves on an ongoing basis. This may sound obvious but a lot of companies put a major effort into a new product launch or a new strategy, then sit back and let the grass grow under their feet for several months, losing ground and impetus. To carry the gardening analogy further, this is like planting a few annuals in your garden in the summer and expecting everything to go on growing – in fact not just growing but multiplying – over the next 12 months.
And there is so much to do! Profiling your existing customers to find out who your business is attracting, for example. Spreading your marketing message as widely as you can through social media. Monitoring your competitors (if any) to find out what they are doing and trying to evaluate how successful it is. Continuing to change and develop your website to improve your rankings. Refining your database or starting to build one from scratch. Initiating a targeted, measurable advertising campaign to ensure your business message reaches precisely the right people … all vital groundwork for the coming year.
But what about money? In terms of actual marketing spend on an annual basis, how much should you budget for? There is no shortage of guidance on this subject, mostly from large marketing companies, mostly suggesting that smaller businesses should spend between 8% and 10% of their total budget on marketing and advertising and that for larger businesses it should be nearer 20-25%. Effective brand-building and business to business marketing is usually reckoned to cost more than, say, marketing a niche product through digital media.
But for everyone feeling a bit boggled by the whole subject here’s a simple way to approach it. Ask yourself this: how many customers do you expect to have in the coming year and how much are they likely to spend while they continue to be your customer? Then look at what even 1% or 2% of this figure gives you as a starting point.
If you work out the sum and it looks rather unimpressive, don’t despair. At Two Lizards our advice is always to set a realisticbudget – even if it is small – and spend it wisely. If we do our job, that small budget will produce effective marketing, hook in more customers, increase your revenue and this time next year, your budget will have grown. If your budget stretches to a multimedia campaign and new website, we’ll make sure all the elements work together in a concerted and impactful marketing strategy. But equally, if your budget will only permit some networking and social media marketing, we can advise you on how to make that work as effectively as possible too, making the best possible use of every pound spent.
The big point is this. To sit and think ‘hopefully my business will grow in 2013’ isn’t an option. Even though it is still winter, the good gardener is out planting, digging and battling with pests and the good marketer is already putting their 2013 strategy into action. To find out how we can help you make your business grow, email us or call us now on 01403 731028 and start cultivating your business for a successful year.