First of all, you shouldn’t be asking how much you should spend but instead how much to invest in your digital marketing.
Every business will be slightly different and might have a different tolerance for the cost of customer acquisition based on product cost and length of the customer buying journey.
But marketing experts suggest setting aside 7-8 percent of your gross revenue toward your marketing budget. Ideally, that provides you no less than $3,000 per month to spend on digital marketing initiatives to see the greatest, most sustainable results.
While some small businesses might find this number large and concerning at first, learning a bit more about where this money is going and the results it can drive will be beneficial in valuing these expenses as investments in customer acquisition and retention to build better relationships.
Here’s a look at some of the most important digital marketing expenses you should be considering.
Website Design and Hosting
Your website is the hub of your digital marketing. Having a high-performing, modern website will help ensure optimal success of your other marketing initiatives – both traditional and digital.
Professional website design and development will require a large sum to get started, but your digital marketing success truly hinges on having a strong online presence. And in most cases, this is your first impression with prospects.
Even once you’ve paid for a quality website design, you need to invest in a good hosting service. Website hosting will dictate your website’s availability and speed. These factors will impact your SEO success as well as the overall customer experience users have once they land on your website.
You probably thought SEO was free. To a certain extent, it is, but you probably won’t be taking advantage of every optimization opportunity.
You can use Google Keyword Planner for free to get an idea of related keywords, volumes and how much competition there is for the keyword. But the free tools will lack content suggestions, keyword ranking tracking, competitive analysis and more.
For best SEO results, you need to purchase software, such as SEMRush, Moz or Ahrefs. And if you don’t have experience with SEO, you should consider hiring an expert.
Content marketing will help you meet new prospects and offer value long before they ever purchase with your company. Blogs are an essential element of an SEO strategy and offer a way to regularly connect with your followers on social media as well as email subscribers.
Using content marketing strategies, you can also work with other companies and websites to write guest posts, which will help you get your brand in front of more people while improving your search engine rankings.
But you can’t just write about anything. Content marketing requires planning, attention and writing skills. You need to understand how to use keywords for SEO purposes while also writing with a customer perspective.
How much you invest in this area of your digital marketing will depend on whether you have a writer on staff, how much you invest in guest posts, social media resources and more.
Email marketing offers incredible ROI. But to get started, you’ll need to pay a subscription for software and perhaps purchase/build a list to get started.
This marketing tactic goes hand-in-hand with your website, which means you’ll need to integrate forms and subscription opportunities into various web pages for the best results. The cost of email marketing will include subscription costs, graphic design to make your emails look great, and the hours or manpower to complete the strategy and execution of your email marketing strategies.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are a powerful way to connect with new customers based on their interests. You can run PPC ads on search engines, social media and other websites. The more selective and targeted you are with your PPC ads, the greater benefit you’ll likely see from the initiative.
Monitoring and maintaining these ads will also require time and expertise. Without the proper know-how, you might end up spending far more per customer acquisition than you can afford or if necessary.
For best success, you should have no less than $500 to devote to PPC ads per month. Be strategic about what products or services you’re marketing using these ads. Start with your most successful products or those with the clearest audience or easiest targeting. You can expand out from there once you’re seeing high-quality income from these ads.
Reputation management does not have a direct cost, but you’ll need to spend the time or pay someone else to spend the time monitoring what others are saying about you online.
Much like other aspects of digital marketing, you can also pay for a platform to help you with reputation management to ensure you never miss a new comment or review about your business.
Ultimately, digital marketing is essential to growing a business in today’s online marketplace. Without an adequate budget, you won’t be there when customers are seeking answers or insights to problems your company can solve.