Planning a 2021 Marketing Budget for Your Business

With 2021 only a few weeks away, and after what was a rough year for economic growth, many businesses are laying out their annual plan, and trying to determine the best way to improve their revenue growth in the upcoming year.

Marketing is going to be especially important. The challenges of 2020 mean that you’re both competing for limited business, AND there is opportunity to even take advantage of the slower economy of last year and leverage yourself to grab all the growth of 2021.

If you’d like marketing support of any kind, contact Great Leap Studios today.

How Much Should You Spend?

There is no magic number for annual marketing spend. It will vary from industry to industry, as well as from business to business, and few marketers will give the same answer. Many small businesses will spend between 1 and 4% of their total budget on marketing. Larger businesses will often spend as much as 10% or more. This makes the answer dependent on your individual company.

Larger overhead costs often mean fewer funds are available for marketing, so consider what you must spend to keep your business running. Also consider how much focus should be on growing your business or expanding your customer base this year, and allocate a bit more money to marketing if it’s a primary goal.

Our theory here at Great Leap Studios is to spend as much as you can afford to lose without financial consequences. Marketing is effective. But it can also be slow and have its ups and downs on your way to more growth. The best budgets are the ones that you’re the most financially comfortable with while still giving yourself the highest chance of success.

Where Should You Spend?

Arguably more important than a number for your marketing plan is how you will spend the budget. You can adjust your marketing plan throughout the year as new opportunities and challenges arise. But a general idea of how you will spend your funds (and your time) on marketing will help mitigate any surprises.

There are many channels for marketing, and not all will work for every business. Instead, consider which makes the most sense in your industry and with your customers. Some to consider include:

  • Advertising – Radio, television, print, and online advertising will often cost more than other forms of marketing, but can reach thousands of customers.
  • Direct Mail – An effective direct mail campaign has about a 2 to 3% return on investment, and can often help bring in new customers or sales.
  • Email Marketing – Newsletters and advertisements through email are often a cost effective way to reach and nurture existing customers.
  • Branded Website – Your website is the first place many of your customers will turn for information on your company, and is your primary storefront for online sales. It does not have to be expensive, but take time to make an attractive and informative website.
  • Social Media – In the right industries, social media can help you engage with customers. It is free (excluding social media marketing), but does require extensive time.
  • Content Marketing – Another cost effective option, content marketing relies on building your website and online presence for search engine optimization, growing your web traffic in an organic way. When done on your own, it can be nearly free, although it often involves a significant investment of time.

Beginning the year with a thought out plan will also help determine how much you expect to spend during the year. For instance, if you intend to take out a television advertisement, your marketing budget likely needs to be larger than it would for a focus on social media and content marketing.

We are available for all forms of marketing, but our primary focus is online marketing – especially content writing – because we believe it has the best return on investment and the most long term value.

Measure Your Growth

Marketing is important. It is one of the most optimal ways to get your business name in front of more customers and retain those customers you already have. But marketing for the sake of marketing – throwing money at different marketing channels – is never a good strategy. If you’re lucky, you might pick up a few new customers. More likely, you will use up your marketing budget within the first few months of the year and have little to show for it.

Before pursuing a new marketing strategy, determine how you can measure its impact. These are some common ways companies track success on a marketing method:

  • Number of customers who contact you as a result of a direct mail piece or radio advertisement.
  • Sales revenue from a Facebook or Google ad.
  • Site traffic change after regular new content marketing blog posts.

Quantitative results provide numbers that, when compared with the cost, enable you to discover which marketing strategies have the most effect. If this is your first year with a budget for marketing, you may find that not every idea produces the result you want. That’s part of the learning process, and measuring your results will help you adjust your marketing plan accordingly in future years.

Work with a Marketing Company

With so many channels to pursue, marketing is a challenge for both old and new businesses. The questions of how much to spend and how best to spend it are regularly asked as businesses wonder how to best allocate spend. The marketing plan also needs to be effective and fit in with the already existing time constraints many small business owners face.

The new year can be a time to consider seeking out a professional marketing company, like Great Leap Studios. Working with your 2021 marketing budget, they can help direct your strategy, grow your brand, and create the content that helps you stand out in your industry. The advantages of our experience can help make the largest possible return on your company’s investment, all managed by our experienced team.


  • Micah Abraham

    Micah Abraham is the owner and lead content writer at Great Leap Studios ( and High Volt Digital (
    Micah has over 15 years of content writing and digital marketing experience, and has owned and operated Great Leap Studios since 2013 and High Volt since 2022.
    He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and has researched and written content on a wide range of topics in the medical and health fields, home services, tech, and beyond.
    Micah lives with his family in California.

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