In a previous post, we discussed the importance of having a plan for your marketing and branding. As you are thinking about what you want to accomplish this year, you must also consider what it will cost and how much of your budget you will need to support it. A common misnomer when it comes to marketing and branding is that it is very costly. That just isn’t the case. It’s possible to a have great marketing plan in place without breaking the budget. Here are just a few tips to consider when doing your budget planning.

Spread the costs throughout the year. As you are in the process of developing your plan for marketing and branding, you will not likely need to execute it all in one month. You may not redesign your website at the same time you order your promotional marketing materials. Evaluate what you need and add up the costs. Once you’ve come up with a figure, divide it over the next 12 months and see if you can budget that amount each month for your marketing. For example, let’s say your total comes out to $5,000 for the year. Depending upon your business, this can be a daunting expense all at once. But, look what happens when you plan this expense throughout the entire year. Your monthly budget is just over $400 per month. That is much more palatable for a small business owner.

Prioritize your needs and plan ahead. Sometimes you cannot fit all of your marketing needs into your annual budget, and that’s okay. The most important thing is that you made a plan to identify your needs and what it would take to get them. That’s half the battle. The next step is to look at your list of marketing items and prioritize what needs to get done in 2017. Build your plan and budget based on those priorities, then move the remaining items on the list to next year. Now you have a head start into 2018.

Identify low to no cost ideas to reach your marketing goals. Many small businesses operate on a shoestring budget. That means you need to be creative in how you accomplish your marketing objectives. Put on your thinking cap and identify low cost ways to achieve your marketing and branding goals this year. It’s not likely that you will be able to achieve all of your goals without any investment, but you may be able to keep the investment pretty low depending on what you need.

As you finish up your marketing and branding plan, determine which of these three categories best fits your situation. What you should not do is put marketing and branding on the back burner for pressing operations or administrative costs. That is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make in their planning. In order to have the operations and administrative budget for your business to run, you need to have customers. Marketing is the engine that keeps your business running. Your brand is the message that is communicated to the outside world about your business. Without a strong marketing and branding plan, your business is vulnerable. As you work on your budget for this year, prioritize spending for your marketing and branding, even if the budget is small. It’s worth it!