Setting up a Marketing Budget – How to Decide Where and When to Spend Money

Setting up a Marketing Budget – How to Decide Where and When to Spend Money

Kayla Graham

For a small business, spending money on marketing can be scary. Knowing where to put your hard-earned money and how to spend it best takes some trial and error to ensure you are getting the best results possible. And for small businesses, having to commit to a marketing strategy can be a big step. The key to setting up a marketing budget is first to determine how much you have to spend–Only then can you decide how to allocate those funds effectively for your business.

Deciding Where to Market

Once you have determined how much money you have to spend, the next step should be to figure out where you want to market. Some ideas might include:

  • Social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn
  • Search engines like Google or Bing
  • Content marketing
  • SEO or on-site marketing
  • Physical marketing materials like flyers, signs, or postcards
  • Email marketing


Some of these platforms will have varying costs and return on your investment. It’s a decision you need to make on how much you’re comfortable spending per platform, what your goal of marketing on the platform is, and what is the best return.

Also be specific about where you want to target your potential audience. Different platforms can target different demographics and psychographics of your customer base.

Once you have selected the platforms, you can start to consider other hidden costs like:

  • Costs associated with running an ad campaign – user fees, taxes, etc.
  • Consulting, advertising, or marketing services, including graphic design, SEO experts, copywriting, etc.
  • Software costs such as social media scheduling software, keyword research tools, or editing tools
  • Training for team members to be involved in your marketing strategies

Ultimately, how much you spend will be up to you. Some small businesses might invest between 1-4% of their budget in marketing endeavors, whereas larger companies might do between 9-12%. The amount will vary based on your available capital and overhead costs.


When to Spend Marketing Money

The time to get started is now! The sooner you get started, the sooner you can begin to reap the benefits. You could have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows about it, your business will fail.

As you start marketing, it’s better to start small and try out a few platforms to see what works for your business. It’s much better to do a few things well, then all things badly. You will also want to prioritize which marketing efforts work for your business. For example, if you want to hire a copywriter to do blog posts or write your Facebook ads, it might take precedence over email marketing software. Really think about what your business needs to grow.

Remember, marketing strategies do take time to see results. Especially if you start with a low-cost plan like writing blogs, posting on social media, or doing a small amount of social media ads a day, it might take a while to pay off. If you see some of your marketing dollars start to pay off, pay attention to what is working. Don’t be tempted to simply jump ship to the next shiny software tool or expert that promises to double your business in a month. Take the time to research and figure out what fits your business and marketing strategy best.