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What are the real costs of Digital Marketing for small businesses?

What are the real costs of digital marketing for small business owners?

Digital marketing has the power to add value to any business by utilizing cost-effective marketing strategies to create an impactful connection with your customers.

Do you feel like you are swimming upstream when it comes to digital marketing? You know you need it, but you are not sure where to start or, more importantly, what marketing strategy is going to be the most cost-effective for your business.

You need to spend money to make money, but how much?

The reality of today is that there is an overwhelming amount of information, experts, and agencies all trying to help you grow your business with their platform or digital marketing strategy. If you are a small business, then your time and budget may already be limited but you still need to scale. This scenario can feel like a limitation, as any good marketer is going to tell you that all channels are important in some capacity. We know that they do not hold equal importance for your unique business and audience.

It can feel impossible to reel in new customers and understand which marketing channel is most effective to reach your audience. There’s so much potential for any business owner to harness the power of digital marketing. But at what cost does this incredible power come with? It may feel like there’s something new every day, so how are you supposed to get started and stand out when it may change tomorrow?

Discovering what digital channels to allocate most of your budget to is part of the process. The most logical way is to develop a strategy with your marketing partner, start small, and grow into a large marketing budget. As your business grows, you won’t even have to think twice about your marketing ROI.

In this post, we’re diving into the often overlooked “real” costs of digital marketing, so that you can make smart decisions about your business's future marketing investments.

Let’s get real!

I’m good, I don’t really need digital marketing – Say What!?

With advances in marketing technology and consumer behavior and your business competition – all constantly shifting, it’s never been more critical to stay on top of your digital strategy. One thing that remains true – connection is key to a successful business. Your inbound marketing should be the connection and conversation between your business and the needs of your customers. Every interaction is an opportunity to impact your business and understand your customer’s intentions.

Every online business demands and needs attention to survive. Standing out today requires more strategic intention and will cost you more whether you are renting or earning your customer’s attention.

Or will it?

Maybe you are a local business targeting local customers or have a global online business. Digital marketing is still a crucial aspect of optimizing your business for growth no matter where you are conducting business. In 2022, 54.9% of Facebook Users (that’s 21.41 million users) reported using the platform to discover and research brands and companies.

Digital marketing has quickly become one of the most essential tools for businesses today. Inbound marketing strategies leveraging digital channels and tools have proven to increase sales, attract and retain new customers, and increase market share.

What Type of Digital Marketing should you use? And will it break the bank?

Let’s review the most relevant digital marketing solutions and the average range of costs for 2023. Even if you know what they do, let’s refresh on what they mean in case anything has changed.

Email Marketing is a powerful and highly accessible marketing channel to share information, notify your customers of promotions, and engage potential customers using targeted campaigns.

  • 2023 Email marketing cost ranges from $300 to $5,000 per month.

The latest tool in email marketing is automation. Setting up an email series and campaign triggered by your customer’s actions will help you capture data at every interaction and also, keep consistency without having to send every email manually.

Content Marketing As they say, Content is Queen! Content marketing is basically creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content about your business.

  • 2023 Content marketing cost ranges from $2,000 to $10,000.

Attraction is the first step in any inbound marketing strategy. Your website and blog content should help you build awareness and support efforts to drive traffic to your business.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is all about increasing your online presence and building your brand awareness through photos, stories, and the rise of short-form videos.

  • 2023 Content marketing cost ranges from $2,000 to $10,000 per month.

SMM leverages popular social platforms – Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Snapchat. Each platform needs a unique strategy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) takes time and is the process of optimizing a web page, an entire website, or a blog to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords.

  • SEO marketing cost ranges from $1,500 to $5,000 per month.

Still today, SEO can fall into that gray area for small business owners. Is it working? This is a common question for any digital marketer offering content and SEO optimization. The answer is Yes, hopefully! Developing keywords for your website and content is a critical step in this process.

Video Marketing is on the rise and shows up in content marketing and social media the most often

  • High-quality video cost ranges from $2,000 to $50,000 per month.

Videos create an emotional connection through effective storytelling and messaging, which create a memorable experience. You don’t need high-quality videos to start, but the investment can give you returns for years.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) / Pay Per Click (PPC) is the paid advertisements that appear above the SERP. This is a good example of “renting attention”.

  • 2023 SEM / PPC marketing cost ranges from $9,000 to $10,000 per month.

This is one of the fastest and possibly the most expensive methods to attract new customers and convert new leads. You are paying and playing the game of keywords. In my experience, you need an exceptional customer experience to follow the quick conversion.

Top 4 most cost-effective digital marketing solutions:

I personally understand the importance of maximizing your resources on a tight budget from owning several small businesses. From my experience, the following 4 digital marketing channels have proven to be the most cost-effective to start leveling up your business.

  1. Email Marketing has stood the test of time, with its impressive average ROI of up to 3,600%. It’s the most reliable and proven tool to keep conversations consistent with your customers. It’s the biggest bang for your buck and you have complete control.

  2. Social Media Marketing has the greatest reach to attract your ideal customers. Facebook ads have the potential to reach 33.1% of the global population over the age of 14 (that’s 2.08 billion people). That may seem more attractive to the online business, but the one interesting thing to point out is that people are 53% more likely to buy from a business they can message. If you don’t have chat on your website, this can be a great solution.

  3. Content Marketing is more relevant today than ever. The more authentic the content, the more of your target audience you will attract and connect to. If you are a small business owner on a budget, you can start creating content immediately for free or partner with a marketing agency and get started with minimal monthly blogs.

  4. SEO is cost-effective, on average producing ROI of up to 2,200 %. That is if you have the right keyword strategy. People make 97,105 searches on Google per second. So, maybe spend less time trying to figure it out and get the expert to optimize your website and content.

They make it look so easy, right?

Another cost to consider is marketing technology.

There are hundreds of options offering robust Marketing solutions to help streamline your efforts. Before signing up for everything that lands in your inbox, and deciding to bypass the experts, hear this. Like most Software as a Service (Saas) options, you will be paying a monthly subscription cost. Many small businesses can end up overpaying by subscribing to more services than they actually need and never fully utilizing the technology. It’s not uncommon to hire a digital marketing agency to save on these costs alone.

Paying or staying? The real costs to consider.

The core of any business is its marketing. No matter what product or service you are selling, there has to be an interest and, at the very least, awareness. Marketing is the ongoing conversation and link between you and your customers. If there’s no marketing, zero conversations are happening.

When it comes to marketing, small business owners might attempt digital marketing and keep swimming upstream until there’s a strategy in place.

Don’t neglect the areas of your business on something that may not be your expertise. Most people underestimate the time and energy that goes into a digital marketing strategy.

Or they simply do not have the time even to get started and that can turn into desperation. It’s important to keep in mind that there are real costs attached to digital marketing. You must protect your business from being overcharged and know what you are paying for.

Have questions about putting all of this into a real marketing plan to boost your business?

Chat with us or contact us here!

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