5 free marketing budget templates to use immediately
Planning a marketing campaign can be trickier than it seems at first.
You have to develop a great concept and underlying messaging, identify your target audience and expected engagement figures, and make sure everything stays on-brand.
The trickiest part of all? Making sure the campaign sticks to budget, with no nasty surprises at the end.
If you’re planning a marketing campaign and wondering how to make sure you get the most out of every dollar, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to five great marketing budget templates, and show how to make them work for you.
With our help, you’ll soon have every single step in your campaign mapped out, with a crystal clear idea of how much it’ll all cost.
But first, why do you need a marketing budget at all?
Why do you need a marketing budget?
When it comes to developing a marketing budget, there are plenty of people out there who prefer a more laissez-faire approach.
After all, you’ve already got a killer tagline, right? Plus, the influencers are already lined up and ready to ‘Gram. Surely you can just wing it?
Well, we wouldn’t recommend it.
Sure, you can try to make up your budget as you go, but you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding an overspend and hitting your engagement targets if you plan ahead.
It’s not just a question of keeping your spending in check: developing a detailed marketing plan is a great way to keep your whole team focused on specific, measurable goals.
Working out a budget forces you to be more deliberate about your campaign, honing in on exactly what you want to achieve, and how much you’re willing to spend to do so.
By putting the numbers together, you and your team have to test a lot of your assumptions. This process helps you to be more certain of your marketing objectives and underlying information.
Plus, it’s a great way to avoid having to tell the CEO you’ve overspent by a horrific margin.
And speaking of the CEO...
Who needs to be involved?
Working out a budget for marketing expenses should be a collaborative exercise. By getting others involved, you’ll not only avoid any surprises further down the line, but you’ll benefit from all the great ideas your wider team will have to kick in.
However, this shouldn’t be too time-consuming. A good approach is to put together a rough draft and send it around for feedback. This way, when you actually roll out the campaign, you’ll have a sense of wider ownership.
And now, without further ado, here are five excellent - and totally free - budget proposal templates.
Five excellent - and free! - marketing budget templates
Alright, time to get into the detail.
With these five templates, you’ll be able to plan out your marketing budget in detail, no matter how big or small your campaign might be.
Use these handy tools, and you’ll be able to hit every one of your marketing targets, all without breaking the bank.
Quick links to marketing budget templates
Spendesk: Marketing budget template for Excel
Smartsheet: 12 free budget templates
HubSpot: Free budget planners
Capterra: Marketing budget template
CoSchedule: Marketing budget plan
Spendesk is expense management software with a lofty goal - to make business spending as painless as possible, all while staying committed to a high degree of security and predictability.
With Spendesk, companies of all sizes can simplify their spending with prepaid debit cards, virtual credit cards, and instant expense verification. Companies using Spendesk can wave a happy goodbye to the special hell of expense reports and unsecure company credit cards.
Spendesk wraps everything expense-related into a nifty dashboard, automating receipt collection and offering a detailed, point-in-time summary of company spending.
Not content to merely revolutionise spend management, Spendesk also offers a free marketing budget template to make sure your campaigns stay on-budget, every time.
Take a look at Spendesk’s free template, and when you’re done, think about how else you and your team could benefit from switching to Spendesk.
Smartsheet is a great online collaboration tool, helping businesses to work together better, manage project budgets in real-time, and get things done faster.
With Smartsheet, teams can work together on projects anywhere in the world, sharing ideas quickly and clearly. Smartsheet’s handy ‘grids’ feature provides a unified view of complex projects, making it easier for teams to deal with a number of moving parts.
Smartsheet also helps teams to deliver projects according to schedule, helping to break larger milestones down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
As part of its free project planning resources, Smartsheet offers 12 free marketing budget templates to help you and your team stay organised with your campaign.
When you’re done with their template, be sure to check out the wider Smartsheet software in action.
These days, it seems like everyone is using marketing, sales, and service platform Hubspot. After all, Hubspot offers an intuitive, easy-to-use software stack, all with a free customer relationship management function at its core.
Aimed at providing everything you needs to organize, track, and build better relationships with leads and customers, Hubspot is a powerful tool for both established and growing businesses.
Hubspot can also revolutionise your sales processes, saving you and your team time and effort with things like email tracking and lead analysis. It’s also really easy to use.
As part of its offering, Hubspot has made available eight free marketing budget templates, including a master template, as well as product-specific templates.
Trust us: if you’re not using Hubspot to automate and organise your sales and customer service, you’re missing out on some truly time-saving software. Check out their free budgeting templates, and take a look at how else you could use this helpful tool.
Capterra is the web’s leading software review site, helping countless startups and established businesses understand their software needs and match these needs with the best products.
With reviews from over 725,000 vetted software users, Capterra is a great place to get the lowdown on any software product you or your team might be interested in.
Whether you’re after software to help with accounting, online collaboration, project management, production, or anything, really, Capterra’s top 20 reports can help you figure out where to begin.
Capterra also lists over 30,000 new reviews of software products each month, helping their assessments to stay up to date with new products and versions.
Helpfully, Capterra offers a free marketing budget template to help businesses make the year as pain-free as possible. The template is from 2019, but it's still relevant and applies to 2023 marketing expenses and beyond. Check it out, and then take a look at Capterra’s other great resources.
Branding itself as “mission control for marketing teams”, Coschedule is an all-in-one platform for planning and executing marketing campaigns.
With CoSchedule, marketing teams can create detailed weekly schedules for entire teams, helping managers and team members to stay on-task. CoSchedule is also a great way for teams to communicate, helping conversations to stay in context by avoiding email threads.
The most helpful aspect of CoSchedule, however, is its ability to manage, publish, and monitor campaigns from one platform. This means less risk of siloed work, and a better chance of everyone staying connected.
CoSchedule also offers a set of six detailed marketing budget excel templates to help you stay connected when it comes to your marketing budgets. Handy!
What to include in your marketing budget worksheet
Every campaign is a little different. Whether it’s a product launch, paid advertising campaigns, or seasonal promotion, you’ll have different things you need to spend on.
But to make sure you’ve thought of everything ahead of time, it’s best to include every potential marketing expense in your budget template. You can always remove the items you know you don’t need, once you know you don’t need them.
Your Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet should have spaces for:
Paid online advertising: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn ads, among others.
Physical collateral: Leaflets, stickers, and posters, for example.
Agency fees: If an agency is handling the marketing strategy for you, this obviously needs to be in your budget.
Design and development: If you’re avoiding the agency route, you still may need freelance help to make the campaign shine.
Freelancers: And speaking of freelancers, there’s also the chance you’ll need more beyond design and development.
Ad space: If you’re going for more traditional advertising (television, radio, or billboards), you have to pay for that.
Whichever budget template you choose to track your spending, make sure it leaves room to include all of these.
Draft a budget, then stick to it
A budget only works if you stick to it. You can have the clearest, most detailed campaign budget ever, but it won’t do you any good if you just leave it in a drawer.
Set yourself a reminder to regularly track campaign spending against your budget, and to address any potential overspend before it arises.
If it looks like you’re at risk of an underspend, think about whether you could expand some of your marketing activities. Alternatively, you could land the campaign under budget and earn yourself a gold star from the finance team.
Finally, make it a habit to always look back at the budget once your campaign is over. If you’re always checking whether you’ve gone over or under budget - and why - then you’ll be able to improve your budgeting over time and avoid making the same mistakes.
Conclusion: plan your spending with these free templates
Every great marketing campaign starts with two things: a strong idea, and a clear budget to make that idea a reality.
Unfortunately, taking a good campaign from concept to reality can be a challenge - particularly when it comes to making a budget and sticking to it.
Luckily for you, there are heaps of free resources available to help you put together a great marketing budget. Here, we’ve brought together five of the best free budget templates the internet has to offer.
All you need to do now is to pick one of them, draw up your budget, and stick to it.