Starting out in business can be exciting. It can also be daunting if you don’t take some simple steps to create a roadmap for your business’s success. One of the keys to being successful in business is to set a marketing budget. With a solid plan, you can make sound decisions about how to allocate your budget within the marketing avenues available.

Create a Marketing Plan

Before you started your business, you created a business plan. Creating a marketing plan is equally important. In this plan, you need to be objective with your business by using facts and figures.

You will need to write your marketing goals using the SMART format — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Next, you will use the SWOT analysis — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors within your company, while opportunities and threats are external, such as your company’s competition.

You will need to describe the roles of everyone involved in the marketing aspect of your company, define your target audience, create a budget detailing how to reach your audience, and create an action plan. Consider hiring a professional to help you with your marketing plan.

Establish Your Brand Identity

All small business owners must budget for their brand identity. A website is essential for developing your brand identity and is your way to establish and showcase who you are and what your business does.

You want to build a high-quality website that reflects the quality of the product or service that you will be selling. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a website, and if you are a tech-savvy individual, you could build it yourself. Websites are not free, however, and you’ll need to purchase a domain name and pay for yearly web hosting. Make sure your website is professional, uses commercially licensed photos, and has exceptional content.

Get Started With Content Marketing

Content marketing is a way to build strong relationships with your audience by providing information that is relevant to them or that can provide a solution to a problem. Content marketing should be considered a long-term strategy. Over time, your audience will trust what you have to share with them, and trusting customers become loyal purchasing customers.

Educational blogs, articles, e-books, YouTube videos, and infographics are all forms of content marketing help your audience visual how your business can help them. Hire a company that can help with your content marketing. A professional content marketing company has experience in developing compelling content that could boost your company’s business development efforts.

Leverage Social Media

Your business must have a social media presence. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 68 percent of adults are on Facebook. The numbers are higher for YouTube. You can simply post daily content on these platforms, or you can also budget for advertising. If you decide to advertise, be sure to calculate the return on investment.

No matter how you decide to allocate your marketing budget, always keep track of the performance from each avenue. Track how customers find you, do the math on your marketing costs and sales, and make sure everything stacks up. Re-evaluate your marketing strategy often and adjust as needed.