It’s no secret – marketing can get pretty expensive.

Small businesses everywhere are constantly contacted by marketing companies, freelancers, and that occasional marketer that walks in the door asking if they can speak to the manager. It’s a bit annoying, but imagine if marketers didn’t exist; who would help consumers understand what’s available to them?

It’s a “catch-22”, but the fact remains that your small business needs a marketing solution. The problem is, hiring a company to do the marketing for your business can be quite a financial strain – especially if your business isn’t budgeted for it. So, how do you save money but still market your business effectively and remain profitable?

You’re probably ready for this answer: digital marketing.

Now, there are two ways to go about this: hire a marketing company, or do it yourself. We’ve developed services for both of these options to accommodate either option, but you should be aware of what each avenue entails.

Outsourcing Your Marketing

If your small business has the funding to hire a company to market your goods and/or services, it’s important to understand that this can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000 a month, depending on the size of your company, the scope of work required, and what services you need performed. Just like with anything else you spend money on, as a general rule you get what you pay for.

Hiring a boutique marketing agency in California, for instance, might run you anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 on average. However, spending that much each month might be able to grow your business quickly, even if you’re just a local mom-and-pop shop. They can develop effective video advertisements, run social media campaigns, create physical banners, posters, and use in-house graphic designers to revamp your entire branding strategy…but at a steep price.

Generally, these agencies are hired by big businesses, and usually not even on a monthly basis (they have the revenue to hire in-house marketing employees). If anything, those companies hire agencies to handle large-scale projects (think Harmon Brothers, who created the pooping unicorn for the Squatty Potty video that went viral on YouTube, or the Purple Mattress commercial).

Consider your marketing budget, what you’re willing to spend, what you can invest in your marketing, and what you want your result to be. This will help you to choose who gets to handle your brand and help it grow. Make sure your contract has an exit clause, because some companies may lock you into a year-long contract which may not work out in your favor.

Taking the DIY Approach

If you’ve been a business owner longer than 5 minutes, you know that you need to market what you’re selling. If you don’t, no one will know what you offer or that your business even exists. So how do you go about it?

When it comes to digital marketing, it’s pretty obvious: create a Facebook page, maybe even on LinkedIn, and post photos of your business in action. After all, it’s that simple…right?

Well, not really. There are many different approaches to online marketing, but for those who know what they’re really doing, there’s a strategy behind every marketing campaign. Every photo, video, and social media post has an explicit purpose behind it and a desired result from the effort. Not every business would benefit from the same marketing strategy, either – for instance, a salon might benefit more from an Instagram campaign, whereas a digitally-based business might have more success with Google AdWords Express.

Every business can benefit from most digital marketing avenues, but most businesses will find only one or two online marketing mediums that really work well for their brand.

When you take the DIY approach, it’s important to remember to stay consistent. You’ll not only remain in the role of business owner, but you also assume the role of marketer. If that’s what it takes to help your business succeed and grow, then you should be more than willing to do whatever needs done to make that happen.

Remember that although much of online marketing can be done for free (using what’s known as organic content), it will benefit your business to spend your budget on paid advertising as well to increase website traffic and offline customers (those who walk through your doors and call your location).

In short, don’t neglect your marketing. You might put a few signs up in your store window, post a few pictures on social media, but in the end you’ll end up closing shop (one of the main reasons businesses fail in the first five years is due to a proper marketing approach and lack of effort). No customers means no revenue, and no revenue means you won’t have a business. Whether you choose to hire a company or freelancer to handle all of your marketing, or decide to take the DIY approach, either way your business will ensure that it’s always reaching its customers and growing in profitability every year!

If you’re looking to start your own website or need help with marketing online but you don’t know where to begin, contact us.