The so-called ‘golden rule’ of a small business marketing budget is to allocate 2% of income from sales to advertising. Although the US Small Business Administration advises to increase this amount to 7-8% of gross income. However, data from Sageworks states that the majority of small companies only spend 1% of their income on marketing. The tricky part here is that this is the average and the discrepancy of marketing budget sizes for small businesses is great and depends on the industry and other circumstances. Therefore, there’s no ‘right’ amount of money you should spend on marketing. Instead, you need to determine which factors matter most for your particular business and prioritize your budget based on this.

Small Business Online Marketing Budget Basics: Where to Put Your Money

Please note that the research of your targeted customers to identify the best ways for them to find you will only alter the details of your budget. For example, it will tell you which social media platforms to focus on or whether an e-mail campaign will provide good ROI.

Listed below are the pillars of any successful online marketing strategy that you need to have in order to establish an online presence.

Well-optimized website

For your website to be efficient you need to have two essential things. The first is an effective SEO strategy, which will determine how well Google sees your site. The other is a good business hosting. This factor also affects SEO as website downtime and page loading speed affect its ranking.

Your website also must be optimized for mobile as today Google uses ‘mobile first’ ranking approach.

This includes having all the visuals on the site able to adapt to various screen sizes smoothly and quickly. Do not forget that a website that takes 3+ seconds to load will lose over 40% of traffic. The losses can be more significant for e-commerce businesses.

The design of your website also matters greatly, same as its ‘filling’. It’s imperative to include a lot of high-quality visuals, especially ion product description pages. Having both pictures and a video review of your product will increase your chances of making a sale.

A good website also must have a blog. It will attract more traffic and increase the visibility of your site for Google bots. The blog is a perfect place for publishing content, which you can later share through other marketing channels and use to attract more traffic to your website.

Social media

Investing in targeted social media ads is a must-have part of a small business online marketing budget for 2018. About 96% of small businesses use social media in their marketing strategy by default. This means that competition is huge. Add to that the newsfeed prioritization protocols used by the majority of networks and you’ll see that getting noticed is nearly impossible without an added boost.

Paid social media ads give you that extra boost. However don’t forget that despite the efficiency of the ads, you need to have an active channel on the same network. This means posting highly shareable content regularly as well as replying to any messages and comments about your business.

Google AdWords PPC

Similar top paid social media ads, PPCs are necessary to help your business website stand out among the sea of competitors. However, for them to be effective, you have to choose keywords very carefully and design a truly good ad text.

Be sure to study examples of the best Google AdWords ads and use them as a guide when designing your own message. The cost of this campaign will most likely be the biggest expense in a small business online marketing budget. That’s why it’s imperative to use analytics to evaluate the efficiency of your ads and improve them constantly.