What Should be Included in Your Marketing Budget?

Woman sits down with calculator and notes to determine what to include in marketing budget

Budgets are equal parts necessary and disliked in both personal and professional settings. 

A necessary evil if you will. 

When it comes to determining what to spend on marketing, the budgets can often seem even more complicated and vague. 

Do you want to focus only on digital marketing? Invest in valuable sponsorships? Stick to the classic print advertisements? The endless possibilities are overwhelming. 

There are so many different marketing branches to consider that many people leave certain items out from the get-go. Then they are left wondering why their marketing dollars haven’t stretched far enough. 

So the question is… what should be in your marketing budget?

10 Items to Include in Your Marketing Budget

When creating your budget, you need to be sure to consider all of your business goals. Whether your goals are lead generation, brand awareness, or establishing thought leadership within your industry, this list should keep you on track. 

#1 – Website

When budgeting for your website you should first consider the initial design. It should be easy to navigate and be designed with SEO in mind.

Once your website achieves those goals, it will require minimal but consistent maintenance to keep it secure and running smoothly. Unless you or your staff plan to do regular maintenance (like running updates), be sure to include some money for someone else to perform these crucial updates.

#2 – Digital Marketing and Advertising

Digital marketing covers everything from SEO and social media to video production and email marketing.

Your budget should include the time it takes to maintain and produce content and a separate budget for paid advertising on these mediums.

#3 – Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising covers most offline advertising options.

This includes:

  • billboards
  • radio spots
  • newspaper and magazine ads
  • television ads

Be sure to consider how long you want these advertisements to run as it will significantly impact the pricing options.

#4 – Promotional Items

Promotional items are a necessity for many businesses, but can often mistakenly be labeled as a general business expense.

Make no mistake, materials like flyers, one-pagers, business cards, and direct mail all directly represent your company and should be treated as such. Investing in well-designed items will help your business maintain consistent messaging amongst potential clients, current clients, and business contacts.

#5 – Event Sponsorships

Sponsorships are a great way to get involved in your local community.

Examples can include:

  • local events
  • business conferences
  • sports teams
  • and more

Find something that you believe is in sync with your businesses’ missions or that your employees are passionate about.

#6 – Professional and Social Memberships

It can be easy to forget about the importance of a real human connection these days. Joining organizations like the rotary club, non-profit boards, or professional and trade organizations can be beneficial in building up credibility and making contacts in your community.

Remember to only include social organizations when they are used as networking opportunities for your business.

#7 – Design

Some of the marketing materials you produce may be outside of you or your team’s skillset. For these times, having a budget set aside to outsource more complicated pieces to a professional designer can be a life-saver.

#8 – Tools

A marketer is only as good as their tools. That may not be how the saying goes, but it might as well be. Today there are tons of resources that save you time and help you produce the best content possible.

Budget for programs like:

  • Adobe Suite
  • email marketing software
  • project management software
  • SEM Rush
  • marketing automation tools

#9 – Client Gifts and Interactions

Building a relationship with your clients is an under-utilized marketing tool. A strong relationship with a client not only improves the work you’re able to do for them but can turn into positive word-of-mouth for your business. In order to do that successfully, you should budget for working lunches, coffee, thoughtful gifts, and thank-you cards.

#10 – Salary

Whether or not you include your staff’s salary in your marketing budget is up to you, but whatever you choose to be consistent. Once salary makes it way into your yearly budget, it needs to stay there.

Find Your Budget

Determining your marketing strategy and budget based on this list can help ensure you maximize your investment.

The next step in setting a marketing budget is to compare your current budget to the one Move Digital’s marketing calculator recommends.

Our calculator takes things like revenue, industry, and future growth into consideration to make sure that you don’t lowball your budget. 

Whether you are establishing a budget for your in-house team or an outsourced agency, don’t underestimate your business’ needs.