Here's a hypothetical for you: Let's say your company has decided to invest in a website redesign so you can improve lead generation, and you're responsible for managing the project. Naturally, one of the first questions you have is, “How much is this website redesign going to cost?”
The answer, of course, is “it depends.” Are you simply switching to a new template and adding some new CTAs, or are you migrating your entire site to a new platform?
If only there were a way to organize your answers to all of these questions; a place where you could enter in estimated costs for all of your line items, and then compare your projected budget to what you actually end up spending ...
Good news! Our latest offer, 8 Free Budget Planner Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend, has got you covered. Included in our eight budget templates bundle is a template to manage your website redesign ... as well as templates for both Excel and Google Sheets to help you track your content budget, paid advertising budget, event budget, and more.
Aligning Your Budget With Your Marketing Goals
What you spend and where you spend it will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. This is especially true when it comes to paid advertising like search and display ads, social media ads, and so on.
HubSpot's demand generation marketer Jessica Webb says this about how your costs can change when focusing on lead generation vs. lead conversion: "The majority of money you spend on paid efforts is usually calculated based on volume of clicks or impressions. Because of this, you'll often want to put more budget toward campaigns with higher-volume offers and audiences."
"An example, a tweet or Facebook ad promoting a lead generation offer that leans more top of the funnel will likely receive more clicks than something that falls more toward the middle or bottom of the funnel," she explains.
Your paid advertising costs will also change depending on how wide of an audience you are attempting to reach. "You can look at Twitter advertising as an example," Webb explains. "You have to option to target your campaigns based on users' interests or keywords searched for. Interests are a much broader category, whereas smaller pockets of users are searching for any given keyword, therefore your interests-based audience is going to be much larger and require a larger budget."
To keep better track of your paid advertising efforts, download the Paid Advertising Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).
Beware Hidden Costs
One of the great advantages to having and maintaining a budget spreadsheet is that it helps you avoid those end-of-the-quarter or end-of-the-year freak outs when you realize, “Whoa … what did I spend all that money on?”
In many cases, unanticipated costs can force marketers to fork over cash that they didn't plan on spending. Product marketing offers a perfect example. According HubSpot's VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson, it’s easy to forget that successfully marketing your products and services requires more than just promotion.
"When people allocate budget for product marketing they tend to think in terms of product launches and promotional activities," Anderson explains. "That's certainly an important part of it, but another area of focus to remember is setting aside resources to conduct research and message testing long before the product ever goes to market. Having conversations with customers about the pain points your product will ultimately address is critical to shaping the messaging and having a successful launch.”
To better manage your product marketing efforts, download the Product Marketing Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).
Remember Where Your Priorities Lie
Marketing is overflowing with add-ons and extras, upsells, and “premium” versions. One of the best ways to assess what’s nice to have versus what’s absolutely necessary is to (you guessed it) organize all of your expenses. By keeping tabs on where your budget is being allocated, and cross-checking that spending with the results you’re getting, it will be much easier to figure out what should keep getting budget and what should get kicked to the curb.
For an example, let’s look to the world of public relations. In PR, there are countless tools to which you can allocate budget, which could leave you overspending where it doesn't matter -- and underspending where it does.
“Tools abound to help PR practitioners not only create and distribute great content and find and target key stakeholders, but to ultimately measure reach and effectiveness,” says Nathaniel Eberle, HubSpot’s Director of PR & Brand. “The key is making sure you’re laser-focused on who you’re setting out reach and influence, then ensuring that your budget supports how they’ll most likely want to receive (and share) your key messages.
“As the media and digital landscape evolves at breakneck speed, continually reassessing the tools, services, and programs you’re employing is a great way to determine real-time ROI of your overall spend. Today’s measurement tool may be worthless to you tomorrow.”
To get better at prioritizing your PR line items, download the PR Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).
It’s Not All About the Benjamins
When you open up these budget templates and check out all the various expenses detailed in them, don’t fret if you can’t tick every box. I’m not advocating for an “always spend more” approach to marketing. I’m advocating for an “always spend smart” approach. The expenses listed out aren’t mandatory -- they’re just meant to guide your thinking and to help ensure that you haven’t overlooked any hidden costs.
With that in mind, here’s the full list of budget templates included in the bundle.
The 8 Marketing Budget Templates You Need to Manage Your Marketing Spend
With the 8 Free Budget Planner Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend, you'll be able to manage all of the moving pieces of your budget at a monthly and quarterly level. Use the Excel version of the templates to keep all of your budgets in one place. When you download the zip file, you'll find a separate file for each marketing team, as well as a Master Budget Template to maintain a high-level view of your overall expenses.
Interested in sharing your marketing budget across a larger team? Try the Google Sheets version of the same eight templates to share access with other Gmail users. For the Google Sheets templates, each team budget is found in a separate tab of the same Google Sheet. No matter which version you choose, each budget is optimized with the same line items, tips, and graphs. Read on to learn how to use each budget template.
1) Master Marketing Budget Template
While it's helpful to have individual budget templates for specific marketing departments and activities, it's also nice to be able to take a step back and see the bigger picture. The Master Marketing Budget Template let's you do just that: It's the place where you can collect the totals from the other seven templates in the bundle and see all of your expenses in one place.
2) Product Marketing Budget Template
This template will guide you step-by-step through the process of budgeting for a product launch. From determining product/market fit, to running user testing sessions, to promoting your finished product, our Product Marketing Budget Template will help ensure you don't overlook any important expenses.
3) Content Budget Template
The budget required for creating and promoting content can vary greatly from organization to organization. For example, while some organizations keep most of their content operations in-house, others rely more heavily on freelancers and contractors. And while some use many different software products, publishing tools, and services, others take a much simpler approach.
Our Content Budget Template is designed to cover as many content-related bases as possible. So, if you see any expenses listed that don't apply to your organization, go ahead and delete them. (That's the beauty of spreadsheets: You can customize them to your specific needs.)
4) Paid Advertising Budget Template
Paid advertising: Does it really qualify as an inbound marketing tactic/channel? That is a loaded question, my friends, and one that I don't have room to answer in-depth in this post. What I can tell you for sure is that you can do paid advertising in an "inboundy" way -- i.e. by targeting specific buyer personas and using paid advertising as a supplement to your organic efforts to help drive awareness and conversion opportunities.
Measuring the effectiveness of your paid advertising campaigns is also paramount to doing things the inbound way. Using our Paid Advertising Budget Template, you can keep tabs on your monthly (and quarterly) ad spending, and then cross-reference the amounts with your lead-generation metrics to determine your cost-per-lead.
5) Public Relations Budget Template
Public relations expenses amount to more than just paying for press releases. From reputation monitoring software, to traveling (e.g., to events and tradeshows) to applying for awards, there are many PR costs that can be all too easy to overlook.
To ensure you're accounting for all of your organization's PR-related expenses, check out our Public Relations Budget Template.
6) Branding & Creative Budget Template
In order to produce high-quality, innovative graphics, videos, and other content, the branding and creative teams of today need more than just Photoshop ... a lot more. One of the largest -- and often most overlooked -- expenses is storage.
If your organization is producing a lot of video, storage is especially important. Because as it turns out, when budgeting for video storage, you shouldn't be thinking on a megabyte (MB) or even a gigabyte (GB) scale, but on a terabyte (TB) scale. FYI: 1 terabyte = 1 trillion bytes. You can keep track of all your storage costs (and other branding and creative costs) using our free template.
7) Website Redesign Budget Template
Budgeting for a website redesign can be seriously tricky. With so many moving pieces to consider, there is a lot of room for underestimating or miscalculating costs. We created our Website Redesign Budget Template so you can keep all of your redesign-related expenses in one convenient location.
Unsure if your current website is right for a redesign? Check out this HubSpot research report: Does Your Website Make the Grade? Chances Are, It's Barely Passing.
8) Event Budget Template
When planning an event, the associated costs can seem obvious at first. There's the venue to consider, of course. And the P.A. system and microphones. And then the costs associated with booking and bringing in presenters/performers. That's pretty much it, right?
For example, does the venue come with tables/chairs, or will you have to rent those separately? Do you want your attendees to wear name tags, and if so, will you be printing out the name tags ahead of time or will attendees be writing their own names on blank tags? If the latter, have you factored in the pens or markers you'll need to accommodate that? As you can see, planning for an event can lead you down many rabbit holes.
Use our Event Budget Template to stay organized.
How do you manage your business expenses? Let us know if there’s a budget template we missed that you’d find helpful.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.