Every business owner knows by now that attracting customers through the internet takes an investment. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend money, since you can substitute time, expertise, and equation for hard dollars in many instances.
For example, we work with a lot of business owners who write their own web pages and blog posts. That obviously cuts down on the need for creative work. Likewise, many are in a good position to manage their own social accounts, and some prefer to work within their content management systems to create new pages.
With that being said, it probably will cost you a little bit of money if you want to use your website as an effective sales and marketing tool. Your budget doesn’t have to be huge, but it should exist. That’s easy enough to understand, but a better question is how you should spend. Where would you get the biggest impact for the dollars you put to work?
If you will accept the obvious caveat that every client situation is different, let’s look at a few areas where most small and medium-sized businesses get big returns from their online marketing dollars.
Website Updates and Additions
Given that your website is the hub of your online marketing efforts, and often the first place people will turn for any sort of information about your business, it only makes sense to keep it up-to-date. That means refreshing your content, of course, but also investing in good hosting, mobile web compatibility, content management system improvements, etc.
It costs next to nothing to use email marketing, even if you choose a plan from one of the best-known providers. Additionally, every newsletter can generate consistent returns for a few pennies per recipient. You might spend a little on customized responsive layouts and landing pages, but dollar-for-dollar there are few better investments than email.
Typically, when we advise businesses to budget for organic SEO we are telling them to put aside a bit for keyword research and on-site improvements. These investments might not pay off right away, but having a top Google search position can do wonderful things for your bottom line. Plus, good search visibility pays dividends for years to come.
Content creation is valuable in a number of ways. It affects your organic search position, of course, but good messaging can also be put to use in your blog, social media accounts, email newsletters, and pay-per-click advertising. If you aren’t the kind of person to write articles, and don’t have anyone like that on your staff, then it’s worth paying a good copywriter to help out.
PPC advertising can help you ensure your most important marketing messages are shown to your best potential customers. Using platforms like Google and Facebook, you can narrow in on the perfect target audience and present them with timely and targeted offers for a few dollars each day. That’s a great way to improve returns from your online marketing account.
Reputation management is a big and growing topic. Many buyers are going to Google you before they ever decide to make a purchase or appointment. If you can show them other customers have nothing but good things to say about your team, your products, and your services or pricing, it will magnify the positive effects from all your other online marketing efforts.
One Reminder about Online Marketing Budgets
While we have used this article to point out some obvious errors for online marketing spending, it’s important to remember that they all go hand-in-hand. Content creation and organic SEO can be two sides of the same coin, for instance, and landing pages that are generated as part of an email marketing push could also work with pay-per-click advertising. And, having a great website and reputation will always help you to boost sales and conversions regardless of whatever else you happen to be doing.
If you would like help putting together the various parts of your online marketing platform – and getting the most from every dollar you spend to make your website work – contact us today to set up a free consultation!