Marketing Budget for Designers: Kate O’Hara –

Episode #144 the Wingnut Social Podcast

Kate O’Hara is the CEO and creative director of Martha O’Hara Interiors. She was the pioneer of their expansion both nationally and internationally, with clientele from around the world. She is a webinar superstar who’s passionate about educating designers about marketing and a budding business coach. Don’t miss hearing her take on marketing!

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [2:08] A topic near and Dear to Natalie’s heart: Marketing
  • [7:19] Why Kate O’Hara says to double down on your marketing budget
  • [9:39] Where should designers focus their marketing budget?
  • [14:37] Digging into the numbers: The marketing budget formula
  • [24:24] What falls under your marketing budget?
  • [29:23] Advice for solopreneurs who can’t afford extensive marketing
  • [36:48] What up Wingnut Round: Golden Girls edition
  • [38:03] Kate O’Hara’s Business coaching package
  • [44:22] Blooper Reel!

Connect with Kate O’Hara

Resources & People Mentioned

Digital marketing budget: digging into the numbers

Digital marketing is where it’s at. So how much should you set aside for marketing? Traditionally, experts recommend between 5-12% of your budget should be allocated to marketing. Kate says to take it a step further—5-20% of your budget should be for marketing. So how do you gauge where you fall in that spectrum?

Kate believes that if you’re new to the industry, are a smaller business, or aiming for growth mode you should be allocating more of your annual revenue to marketing. It has to be a substantial enough amount to make an impact. More established businesses not looking for excessive growth can allocate a little less, perhaps 5-10% of their budget.

Kate’s Formula: Take 10% of your annual revenue. Calculate the profit margin (30%? 40%?) of that 10% (a dollar-amount) then multiply that number by 0.45. That is the low-end range of what you want to consider as your marketing budget for the year.

Don’t make rash changes with your budget during the pandemic. Kate recommends coming up with a short-term plan for the next 1-3 months. Then you use that time to develop a long-term plan. You need to be strategic—KNOW your financials, your bottom-line, and your break-even numbers. You need to be able to afford the marketing budget you land on.

Advice for solopreneurs who can’t afford extensive marketing

If you’re new to the game and have looked at your numbers and don’t have the desired marketing budget, what are your options? What can you do to enhance your marketing? Kate points out quite a few things you can embrace that are 100% FREE. What are they?

  • Blogging: Invest the time you have and create blog posts for your site.
  • Email Marketing: Start sending emails to your customers and mailing list. It’s simple and doesn’t have to be time-consuming.
  • Social Media: post consistently on Pinterest (your blog posts!), Instagram, and other social media of choice.
  • SEO: Use free resources to learn the basics of SEO.

Kate points out that this time is challenging, but there’s a lot of opportunity waiting for you. You can start creating packages for your services or offer virtual design. We all had to start somewhere, and according to Kate, “When you don’t have dollars, you DO have time and focus. Spend yours wisely.

Listen to the whole episode to find out what constitutes your marketing budget, WHY digital marketing is where it’s at, and why it’s so important to invest in marketing during this time.

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