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The Red Horse Speaks, Aberdeenshire

Online Marketing Budget

How much should you spend on online marketing?

If you view it as a cost, something that you do because you think you should, and without any real expectations of achieving a result, then I would suggest that you should spend nothing. If that's you, and you are currently spending, then stop. Stop now.

If you regard it as an investment, then it's a whole different ball game. Spend 1 minute going through the following to assess your options.

You may be familiar with the SMART goals project template. The desired outcome of any project should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

With an online marketing project, this means that you should specify what it is you want to achieve, and how it should be measured. The remaining components are then influenced by budget.

With enough time and money, almost anything is possible. It is also true that none of us have unlimited time and money. Therefore you must cut your cloth accordingly. I can't tell you what your budget should be, but I can suggest how you spread it out.

Although there are ad-hoc, fixed price projects such as website audits, the majority of online marketing should be undertaken over a period of time. Recognising this, we have identified three possible approaches:

  1. Rolling month-to-month;
  2. Fixed-term;
  3. Guaranteed results.

The first is a popular entry for many clients. You are not tied into a lengthy contract. It is a pay-as-you-play model. You may stop and start, dip in and out as appropriate. This is particularly useful when matched to your fluctuating cashflow.

The second option acknowledges the fact that serious online marketing is an ongoing process. This commitment benefits all concerned, and so can be very cost-effective. Clients who started with the rolling month-to-month model may choose to move to this one, to take advantage of this.

The third option does what it says on the tin. An agreed outcome is guaranteed for an agreed fee.

If you currently spend money on online marketing, then I would suggest that you review it in terms of the SMART approach above. You might want to renegotiate with your supplier, to ensure that they are working towards your goals.

If you currently spend money on online marketing, then I would suggest you reconsider the payment model. Are you tied into a lengthy and expensive contract that doesn't match your actual requirements?

If you are considering online marketing, then I am sure you won't do anything that doesn't conform to the above; why would you?

If you are happy with the way things are, then congratulations. But what if you are not? Get in touch and I can discuss your options.

By Kenneth Mackay, 26th May, 2015

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

If you need to promote your business online, then contact us.