Hey! You likely found yourself here after searching for what arguably is the first question that comes to a business owner or executive’s mind when considering the expansion of marketing efforts.

The thought process might go something like this: “We’re not bringing in enough opportunities. We’ve got to do a better job of communicating and attracting new business. How much is this going to cost?”

Further complicating the situation, your sales (and therefore bottom-line cash) might be down, limiting what you’re comfortable budgeting for marketing services. Not to mention the creative and web services required to make those efforts engaging for the customers you hope to attract.

Setting a spending limit is important part of budgeting for marketing work – but it is not the first question you should be asking. Starting with restrictive limits on what you’ll invest is the fastest way to experience an initiative that produces no effective results. Your team, very experienced in their knowledge of the products and services you offer, may be lacking in deep marketing experience. This often causes the illusion that some marketing can fill in the gaps.

Where does the confusion about proper marketing budgets emerge?

What often ends up happening in this case is that marketing budgets get pushed to the bottom of the priority pile, leaving room for maybe a brochure, a few online ads or a set of sales slicks. Months later, very little movement in sales volume is found and a collective sigh can be heard from management when marketing comes up at the next budget meeting. Someone mentions the website is outdated, a bit of back-and-forth ensues and a begrudging decision to invest more (but only slightly more) in marketing for this budget cycle only is made.

The increased budget must include a website update because “everyone is on the web”, but there are no dollars available for anything else. The internal marketing director (or person in charge of marketing in addition to their current job responsibilities) sets out to find an economical solution for getting your site produced. They might look into a “build your own” solution, and start googling “local web designers”. As proposals start coming in, their eyes widen. How could a website cost so much when DIY builders are so cheap? The proposals range from $1000 to $20,000. Confusion sets in.

Eventually all the proposals hit the exec’s desk and their eyes open just as wide when they lay eyes on the numbers. The DIY solution will cost something like $15/mo, though many people dismiss the cost of the personal time it takes someone new to websites to build something effective… often four weeks or more – an average of $3000 to $6000 depending on wages. And that person won’t be performing their normal duties in that time.