I always find it curious when designers get excited about how little they spend on marketing, or the ones who boast that they spend nothing at all.
Usually these are the same designers who are confused when potential clients want to a spend a little on their design fees. If you listened to my recent podcast episode on money, you get that’s because energetically they’re a perfect match.
If you’ve been successful in business for any length of time you understand that having a thoughtful and interesting conversation that gives value to the people who want to hear from you—aka marketing—is not only vital to your business growth, but will also help you do your best work.
Yes Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube have given us free channels of distribution to share our message but make no mistake, your time is a form of currency. When it comes to conscious communication, how are you spending it?
A baseline marketing budget is 10% of your revenue and usually that includes all forms of outreach, design, coaching and consulting. When I’ve spoken with investors and VCs, most will understand that even though 10% is suggested, depending on the kind of company and the speed at which you plan to scale, the investment is closer to 25-30% if you want the company to flourish.
By flourish, I don’t just mean sales, I’m also talking about word of mouth, referrals, loyalty and attracting quality partners.
But let’s start with the 10%. Most of the designers who start their work with me, aren’t investing in marketing at all. They’re stuck on Instagram, even though that’s not where their clients are, and they don’t know how to have the kinds of conversation that will help them close sales with the kinds of clients who have the projects that will excite them.
When I drill down on the numbers with people who don’t market, I usually find that their pipeline is made up of projects that are too small, clients that they’ve outgrown, or a combination of the two.
For the firms who are “busy”, wo don’t market, they’re not really steering the ship. Forget about vision, they’re running to keep up with the demands of clients, stacked on a foundation of outdated systems, ideas and boring work, that is vestige of the way things used to be.
Too bad, because the cost, whether that’s time, energy, or the ease with which you earn money, is A LOT more expensive than the cost of just investing in marketing.