What's your marketing budget?

August 13 2013 | offbeatbride
How do you spend to get the word out about your business? By: spDuchampCC BY 2.0
A colleague asked me this morning what my marketing budget was for the Offbeat Empire. I was completely stumped.

"…My marketing budget?" What is this, amateur hour?

"Like, what percentage of your monthly budget goes toward social media optimization, or search engine ads, or content marketing?"

"OH!" I said. "You mean my salary. I do all the marketing for my business. I don't pay for search engine ads, I do all my own social media work, and I let the content market itself."

Wait, is my monthly salary really my business's marketing budget?

I guess it's not quite that simple, because it implies that ALL I do is marketing. While I do spend probably an hour a day repinning shit on Pinterest, posting archived articles on Facebook, and responding to @replies on Twitter, but I also do product management, editorial management, community management, bookkeeping, etc etc x 500 cough barf food chunk spittle. But if I squint my eyes and get fuzzy with the math in terms of how I spend my time… I'm going to estimate it's about 10% of my monthly budget goes towards marketing.

Is this a lot? Not much? I have no idea! So y'all tell me: what percentage of your monthly budget do YOU spend on marketing?

  1. I have a set budget that I'm willing to spend per month on advertising for my product and business. It's always in flux, because sales are in flux, and some months I need more "purchased advertising" than others. But I would say just dropping money on ads, it's about 5-10% on average. (And yes I keep a spreadsheet of where and when I advertised, how much it cost, and what results/ return/ traffic I got.)

    But I also consider articles, interviews, and other stuff as a way that I market myself so it gets kind of hazy. And sometimes articles lead to a free ad here and there.

    So yeah…are the billable hours I spend writing and promoting these articles and all the other stuff I do (blog, website, social media) considered part of the "marketing budget"? Good question. In my situation I guess it is, even if it's not the transaction of actual dollars. Oh well, at least it's fun.

  2. I track annually, rather than monthly, because of the way that I buy ads and the seasonal flow of my business, but paid advertising is the second biggest line item for my business after my Cost of Good Sold (which will always be biggest in the business I'm in.) — about 20-25% of my expenses.

    I also keep a detailed, and constantly updated, spreadsheet of the return I'm getting from each investment, so where that money is going shifts around each quarter.

    I don't work in billable hours or have a regular salary, but I would say I spend, on average, 3-4 hours a week on social media for the business, and a half hour on SEO. This is lower than it used to be, partly because I have enough SEO-rich content, and some things (like making posts easily pinnable) have up-front time costs, but then mostly perk along on their own.

  3. I am like you Ariel. I spend absolutely nothing on marketing and do it all myself. As a wedding planner, I have never seen any measurable increase in business by paying for marketing of any kind. Over the winter I would say about 50% of what I do is online, free marketing like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Over the summer I am much busier actually executing the weddings, so occasionally my marketing falls off a bit (blogging goes first). I know some people get great results from advertising, but that just isn't me. I seriously have no idea where my business would be without Pinterest.

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