How Much Advertising Budget Should You Spend Online?

I understand your small business dilemma. You only have so much budget for marketing each month. You can’t spend it all online.

That’s true. And I wouldn’t suggest that most small businesses with a local presence spend their entire advertising budget online, but you should be spending some of it online. The question is, How much?

First, let’s discuss how much you should allocate to marketing in general. You should earmark 15%-20% of your revenue each month to marketing. In other words, if your company brought in $10,000 last month then allocate somewhere around $1,500-$2,000 next month to your marketing or advertising initiatives – online and off line.

That’s just a figure. Spend more or less depending on your individual circumstances. Do you have a lot of overhead? You might have to spend less. Is most of your profit free and clear? Spend a little more. But how much should you spend online?

If you are new to online marketing then you’ll have to do some testing. Don’t just jump in and start spending money wildly. Take some time to understand the principles before you get too deep into it. But you should be doing some online marketing. I would recommend that you start with 10% of your total marketing budget to online marketing and test a few things to see what works best for you. Then you can slowly increase your online marketing budget to 50% of your total marketing budget, cutting out those off line marketing efforts that aren’t working as well as they used to.

If your total marketing budget is $2,000 per month then start with $200 per month as an online budget. Let’s say you decide to build a website and SEO it for best performance in the search engines. After that you’ll need to do some other things to market your business. Examine your options and see which online marketing methods might suit your business goals and needs. As your online presence grows, you can increase your budget and cut off the off line marketing measures that are making you less in terms of ROI. Do this until you reach 50% of your total marketing budget being spent on your online marketing. Keep only those offline marketing efforts that are making you money and cut the rest.

Generally Speaking, Generalists Know It All (Or Some Of All Of It)

Some marketing experts suggest generalists are better than specialists, and makes a convincing case. Has this ever happened to you?

Take SEO (search engine optimization) and web design, for example. You hire an SEO specialist after you hired a web designer who you thought knew everything about web design. In your mind, you lumped in a bunch of stuff in with “web design” that your web designer was clueless about.

After all, a web design specialist does not study SEO. He or she studies web design, and that’s it. You later find out you have zero SEO, and you’re ticked off. Now you hire yet another specialist who is going to do all kinds of changes to your site and other things you don’t understand. if this stuff had been done as part of the original design, you would have saved thousands of dollars.

Of course, he’s making a sales case for himself, but his point is right on. There are many times when it is good to hire a specialist and that’s exactly what you need. But if you are just starting out in business, or you are just making your first foray into Internet marketing, which is new territory for many small business owners, then what you really need is a guide, a generalist who knows how to get around in the field. There is more than one reason for this.

Michael pointed out of the reasons, which is the ignorance of specialists regarding other specialists specialties. But sometimes it’s not even ignorance. It could be differences of opinion.

You’ll run into some specialists who do things one way and another specialist who does things another way. Neither way is wrong, they’re just different, but they don’t go well together. You need someone who can reconcile the differences, someone who can analyze your situation and determine which direction is the best way to go – and sometimes that direction is between the paths of the two specialists.

What it all boils down to is directorship. Who’s going to run the program? Can you? Do you know enough about the different specialties of online marketing to direct the show and not end up lost? Most small business owners can’t do that. That’s why they need someone who can communicate across specialties to steer their business in the right direction. A director can tell the web designer not to include certain code, or to place it in an external file when it needs to be, based on the SEOs recommendation. Then she can convince the SEO not to be so adamant about the use of image files like Flash because in small doses and appropriate optimization techniques those elements can be implemented successfully. Your director doesn’t have to do the work; she just has to know how it should be done so that she can direct those who will do it. And if that’s the kind of expertise you need to steer your business in the right direction as you make the transition online, well then I’m your girl. And the best part is, I’m knowledgeable of online marketing and traditional marketing so I can help you integrate the two. Ready?

Networking Groups Help You Grow Locally

One essential element of my business that I find to be more important every day is networking. Whether you do your networking online or through the traditional route of meeting people in the real world, or both, I highly recommend that you add this low-cost marketing tactic to your arsenal of daily or weekly activity. There are many ways to go about networking and I recommend that you incorporate both online and off line networking strategies. One of the most effective networking opportunities you’ll ever find, though, is your local business networking group. There is a MLM company that leverages this company, check out this MyEcon Review for more information on that.

If you search the classifieds of your local paper – usually the shopper is a good place for these – you’ll find ads for local small business networking groups. Many groups meet for breakfast or lunch, and some may even meet in the evening one night a week. They are usually organized by week or month. The most effective networking groups meet weekly.

By joining one of these networking groups you’ll not only have access to all the members of the group, but to their network of contacts as well. If you have 10 members of your group and all of them have 100 potential networks or contacts then that’s 1,000 people that you have direct access to through your combined circles of influence. Many of those people will be merely acquaintances, but acquaintances have a way of spawning into full-fledged friendships if you give them time.

Networking through a local meeting group like this can be very rewarding. The best networking groups only allow one person of any particular type of business in the network, which means that you have no competition within that network. For instance, if you are a doctor then there won’t be any other doctors in the group – unless they allow for specific specialties. If you are a barber then there won’t be any other barbers.

Networking groups also usually allow members to give presentations from time to time and share contacts on a regular basis. Many even have recruiting activities once a month or once per quarter. Whatever your business and no matter your location, having a networking group to meet with on a regular basis can be very rewarding.