Is there a good yardstick to use when setting a budget for what a screen printing/embroidery shop can afford to spend on marketing?


The rule of thumb for an advertising budget for a business in the decorated apparel and promotional products industry is 1.5 to 3 percent of a business’ total gross sales.  In other words, for every $100,000 you collect in revenue, $1,500 to $3,000 should be “re-invested” into the business as promotion, building brand equity, and advertising.

If you choose the direct response marketing approach—as most small to mid-sized businesses do—you will divvy up your advertising budget into various campaigns and use several different mediums to get the word out.

Whatever means you employ to attract new customers, you should be persistent and consistent in delivering your message. Try to get the name of your business in front of your target audience eight to twelve times a year. Use a variety of advertising vehicles to make contact. Print ads could be very effective in stimulating sales growth as long as they complement the other ways you are remaining in touch with your customer base.  In general, you may not reap a return in your advertising investment for two to six months after the launch of a particular campaign and that is assuming it wasn’t just a one-time placement. Figure a minimum of three placements within a single ad campaign using the same design. The key here is relevancy and repetition. 

Regardless of the advertising means you use—including your website, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) Internet ads, and mobile offers via text messaging (SMS) or your own mobile app—be sure every promotional piece contains these key components:

  • A clear and eye-catching headline
  • A description of a good value
  • An attractive offer that perhaps includes a time-sensitive discount and/or “low cost to you, high value to them” premium
  • A logical reason for the offer now
  • A good reason for an immediate reply, and
  • Clear, understandable directions for the customer to follow.

Keep in mind the most important concept of marketing—ready, aim, and then fire. Invest time in developing your unique value proposition—something none of your competitors can, or are willing to, provide or duplicate.  Target only those prospects that fit the precise demographics of your best customers. And, then deliver your message with the most cost-effective means available to you.  

Your Personal Business Trainer