The Beginner's Guide to a Marketing Budget.

If you’re never created a marketing budget before, you might not know where to start. This is a handy guide I put together to help you through the process.

1. Get your finances organized. Figure out what your net monthly income (total revenue – expenses) is every month. If your monthly income varies from month to month (like most small businesses), go with your “reliable income,” which is the smallest amount of money your business makes each month, after expenses.

2. Define your business goals.

  • How much do you want to earn, after expenses every month?
  • How many clients do you need to earn that number?
  • How are you going to help your clients?

Once you know what the goals are of your business and have a business plan in place, your marketing plan should be built to support these goals.

3. Understand your sales funnel. How long does it typically take to convert a lead into a client or sale? How many steps are in that process, and how much effort does it take? How many leads do you need to convert one sale? Having a good understanding of this type of information will build the foundation of your marketing budget and marketing plan.

4. A marketing budget is your businesses investment into its future growth. The standard rule for small businesses who generate $1 million dollars in net revenue or less should invest 6-7% of that income back into the marketing of their business. Most of my clients have never worked with a marketing agency and can’t afford big agency rates. Depending on your business goals, I recommend $1000/mo as the absolute minimum for marketing spend. Newer businesses, who are still establishing their position within the market place should be prepared to budget more than this. Be prepared to have a higher monthly marketing budget for 2-3 years, while you establish yourself in the market.

5. Go back to your business plan and determine where you are in the growth strategy of your business. If you are in a place to grow quickly by taking on new clients and generating increased amounts of revenue, now is the time to invest in lead generation strategies such as aggressive PPC and social campaigns. If you are in planning mode and want more consistent income and to earn clients over time, a steady marketing approach might be a better option. You can do this by investing in SEO, increasing your social presence and content marketing.

6. Assess your current marketing right now. How is your website working towards your goals? Is it helping your Branding? Or Advertising? Do you currently have what you need to market effectively? If something such as your website needs major changes or needs to be redone, be prepared to increase your marketing budget significantly. The absolute basics of marketing will require thought, time and financial resources.

7. Consider how long you have been in business. Are you a brand-new start up and trying to gain market share in a world where no one knows who you are? Or have you established yourself and are now working to gain more clients or strengthen your brand? Typically, a business 1-5 years old should have a larger marketing budget (12-20$ of gross revenue) than a business that is 5 years old or older (1-10% of gross revenue).

Open vest, here is my advice. Marketing is typically seen as a budget drain by most businesses. But in order for any business to grow, they have to invest in things like a website, branding, marketing collateral and advertising. And if your business happens to be a brick and mortar establishment, investing in the upkeep of your shop, signage and ensuring your shop is pleasing to all 5 senses is also something that requires a financial commitment.

Yes, marketing is expensive. But it is an investment in the growth of your company. This money is specifically built into your budget to help you reach and surpass the goals you identified for your business at the beginning of this process. It’s my advice to every client to invest in marketing efforts and execute them with reputable vendors right away, because it ends up saving them money over the course of time. If things are planned, considered, and executed correctly, it can save you money on rebrands, rebuilding websites, prevent wasted advertising dollars and more down the road.  




  1. 6 Steps to Developing a Small Business Marketing Budget by Michael Evans., Published May 2, 2017.
  2. How to Determine the Perfect Marketing Budget for Your Company by Laurel Mintz., published March 11, 2015.
  3. Three steps to a solid Marketing Budget by Dave Lavinsky., Published Jun 7th, 2013.
  4. A Simple Guide for Startups to Determine Your Marketing Budget by Emily E Steck. Quietly Blog. Published on May 21st, 2015.


She went above and beyond at every junction of the project.

“There was no high-pressure sales pitch to move me forward but a confidence in knowing what my next best marketing steps are.”

— E.S.