Marketing Budgets and Cost


The Price of Marketing How much does it cost to do your marketing? Well I could give you my rather predictable reply that marketing should cost nothing yet the reality is money has to be invested to make marketing really work.

So rather than try and explain this to you from my own thoughts let me look at this from how you are probably thinking about it.

Now the truth is marketing should cost you nothing and the reason for saying that is the return should always outweigh the investment.

For example: I personally need a good strong reliable hardware and software in my office to be able to perform successfully.

In my case that meant at my last upgrade

  • 27 Desktop iMac with every bell and whistle you can think of.
  • MacBookPro fully loaded.
  • IPhone latest always

In total it maybe cost me around £5000 and that doesn’t include extra software I paid for.

My pal said to me Alan you can get computers for less than half the price you paid and of course I am not simple I know that but here’s the thing that makes the investment a second thought not a first thought.

EVERYTHING that is created, written, planned and performed in my business is created on those machines and every year a machine is a major part of my business and marketing process.

I also seem to get a minimum of five years from every computer I have owned so think about this.

That investment returns for me

  • Annual turnover
  • Annual profits
  • Client’s turnover
  • Clients profits And is has clients paying me tens of thousands of pounds on a regular basis for strong returns.

Yet I still have to do an initial outlay yet the returns are so huge the outlay becomes almost irrelevant.

So how much should your marketing cost you? Lets look at an actual campaign.

This campaign involved

  • Direct mail
  • Website
  • Direct mail Unfortunately for a lot of business out there that read marketing books and websites from ‘experts’ that have never experienced marketing in their lives but have read plenty about it they do have a habit of sending business owners just like you down the wrong path.

They can and do tell you things like

“A killer sales letter is what makes the sale”

“Well laid out direct response advert works really well”

And so on.

Yet …

Every target has it’s own mind triggers and mind conclusions and mind experiences that have to be met and if you don’t meet them I don’t care how good your copy is it wont get the sale.

And if you have every done incredibly well but you send your materials to the wrong targets you will have just thrown away your efforts and investment with no return.

So I will explain this in UK pounds for you.

To send 1,000 pieces of direct mail can cost

  • 1,000 stamps will cost you £1,000 to get started
  • 1,000 envelopes with design and copy
  • 1,000 single sheets or multiple sheets
  • 1,000 lift letters
  • Color print
  • A designer’s time
  • A copywriter’s time
  • A strategist’s time


  • Market research
  • Target research
  • Lists

Total at the absolute lowest I have seen is around £10,000 but a realistic price is £15,000

2. WEBSITE Once the direct mail goes out it must be supported by a website. Why? Almost 100% of all buyers search online before they visit or call – FACT!

So even if the direct mail is delivered perfect yet the website hasn’t been strategically put together with strong copy and strong design the direct mailer will come to nothing.

  • Good images
  • Good media
  • Direct call outs
  • Mind-set triggers
  • Good navigation
  • Good layouts
  • Strong copy
  • Strong call to action
  • Easy to follow sales path

A good website alone  (basic) can take around 45 - 100 hours of time to build. Those hours are anything from £25 - £60 per hour.

That build will usually involve two technicians and one consultant. There is also the copy to add to the website.

That is three wages and a copywriter.

A website that is designed to sell will cost around £5,000 minimum.

So to start with for your marketing you now have around £20,000 and that is £20,000 I know you will see as a cost.

And as nothing ever goes as planned you should have a contingency of around £5,000 just in case.

This is a start-up GUESS-TIMATE.

(YES you can get cheaper but I have clients that pay cheaper many times before they come to me. Cheaper means lost sales and lost time. cheap can also means lost businesses. Would you pay for a cheap surgeon or pay for the best?)

Now let me take you through an actual example of a real client that has done exactly that above.

The first step to marketing is not just good idea but filling a demand that already exists.  So research if there is a demand.

Once you find the demand you must then locate where the buyers are and find out exactly how to get in front of them or what tactics should be used to get in front of them.

(At this stage I strongly advise you hire a consultant for expert advise. This will cost you but of course could save you a small fortune. On two occasions I saved clients £100,000 in one case and £60,000 in another – get advice)

So far this will take time – maybe a week or two of your time and possibly longer.

So lets get back to the example I just mentioned above.

He spent around one week researching demand and found a high-demand for his idea. That idea then had to be translated into a huge ecommerce website that took around 8 weeks to build (and was then totally rebuilt after launch).

A copywriter, a designer and a team of web technicians and a marketing consultant. To get everything off the ground and locate associate partners his investment was around £50,000. He then also had to pay for several flights into the USA a couple of times each month to get his project off the ground over a six-month period.

His expenses so far have been around £100,000.

Does £100,000 sound like a lot to you?

His turnover for his brand new business in 10 months was £2.6 million. Let me ask again … does £100,000 into his marketing sound like a lot to you?

So to generate £2,6 million he had to invest £100,000. I think that’s a fair exchange to do?

Now that example might feel a little high but remember the whole page is about this.

To have successful marketing that costs you nothing you must…

Plan it out well

It’s easier than you might be thinking. All you need to do is plan every step of the way from start to finish.

The biggest problem I see most business having these days is this… bad information written simply to sell marketing books, marketing websites or marketing manuals. The problem is most of the stuff out there is now created by sellers of information not sellers of real world experience and the problem with that is marketing must be bespoke and built around a generation that wants everything custom designed.

The old ways still work but only on those that want old ways. The new ways works even better but only on those that demand the new ways.

Here’s the first step I advise everyone … Get advice before you spend a single penny on anything. I once paid $2,500 for 30 minutes of advice. That advice returned me tens of thousands of pounds. Honestly OI had to think about paying it but once I thought about the possibilities that would come from the advice I knew he could share with me the fee became irrelevant.

Do your numbers – if you want to create £100,000 from your campaign what do you need to invest (be real – you won’t make 100,000k investing $100 unless you’re incredibly lucky)

  • Plan everything every steps from start to end
  • Get good advice
  • Work with experienced experts
  • Test with a prelaunch campaign
  • Measure your results

And finally you might find this interesting.

Did you know?

  • Most marketing campaigns fail? It usually takes a few campaigns until you hit a home run and good sales.
  • Direct marketing such as newspapers adverts, magazines adverts, and direct mail needs to be seen on several occasions before you feel a real impact. Send once and the impact and the sales will be as good as zero.
  • Most sales copy fails.
  • Most marketing fails.
  • Most smaller companies write their own sales copy for years before realizing it takes an expert to make it work.
  • On average you should invest 20% - 30% of your total revenue on your marketing
  • Most businesses still have no idea how to use the web to create sales.
  • Most businesses have no idea what marketing actually is.
  • Some businesses believe the hype that good sales copy is enough to build an empire.
  • Some believe that word-of-mouth is all it takes to build a strong business.
  • 80-90% of all new business close within 12 months.

Three things you need to remember

  • Do your research
  • Have a marketing budget
  • Always get expert advice

I hope this little article has helped you.

One last note – If you don’t want to invest in any kind of marketing yet want to build an empire – sadly is a delusion created by marketers that have no idea how to run a business. If that’s the case don’t waste your time, go get a job.

Almost 30 years in direct marketing with multiple million-dollar campaigns under my belt.

Contact me here to arrange a consultation.

Yours in success

Alan Forrest Smith

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