When I ask the all-important (and much dreaded) "what's your budget" question to new clients, I almost always get the same response: "I'm not really sure. Can't you tell me how much it will cost?" My answer? Not really.
I had been wanting to write a blog posting on this topic for quite some time when I received the email below from Ilise Benun at The Marketing Mix with an article written by designer Lisa Smith Youngdahl. She explains it as well as I ever could, so I'll let you read what she had to say…
When a client approaches me about a new design project, I will ask what the budget is for this project. Often, the client is not prepared for this question.Why do you think I would ask this question?
A. I want to find out the highest possible cost the client willing to pay.
B. I have no idea what I'm doing, or how much to charge.
C. To help my client obtain the best value for what his business can afford.
Of course, if you think about it, "c" is the right answer. A good designer wants to help the client and create successful marketing that will help achieve the desired action. If the budget is known, the designer can offer cost effective options that will work within your price range. Having an idea of what you can spend will allow you to work with the designer to prioritize the strongest features you need that fit within your budget.
This process helps create an informed decision about what is the best choice for your marketing, and which might yield the best ROI.
If you feel lost determining a number, a rule of thumb is that 5-10% of your gross profit should be spent on marketing. A new business may need to spend more than an established one.