Some of the most important questions facing any new business today revolve around where and when to jump into the online marketing side of things. It can feel a bit like a “chicken and the egg” scenario in that you need marketing to make money but a lot of marketing requires a budget to get started.
Fun fact though, chickens evolved from dinosaurs, so it was the egg and just as this seemingly circular question does actually have an answer, so do your other questions. So let’s jump right in and explain what we mean.
Working Within Budgetary Constraints
Pricing in the digital marketing sphere is a topic that is fraught with tension, misinformation and well-founded suspicion amongst businesses looking for providers. Between the sharks who charge way too much for way too little and the other sharks who charge way too little to offer anything of real value, many businesses are simply fed up and confused when it comes to trying to figure out what a realistic price is and how much of a budget is enough of a budget to begin diving into the web marketing world.
“ …it’s not always but often a good idea to start organically, meaning utilising the free online exposure avenues available to you. “
It’s hard for us to put it in a way that those looking to overcharge people wouldn’t have said before, but intentions aside those people would have been giving you correct information if they said that online marketing simply isn’t cheap to implement well. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye and it is a highly consultative and technical industry so there needs to be a lot of charging by the hour and there are a lot of elements that are hard to understand for the average person in terms of their value.
For this reason, it’s not always but often a good idea to start organically, meaning utilising the free online exposure avenues available to you.
Starting With Organic Marketing
Now we’re not saying by any means that you shouldn’t explore paid advertising right off the bat if you have the budget to do so, but even if you do you’ll still need to set your organic presence up online first. Whether it’s your Facebook page, website, Instagram, directory listing or all of the above and more, why not try a small amount of time after setting these up just utilising your existing online and real-life networks to see what sort of interest you generate?
It’s at the very least a great way to measure your starting point, if not a way to make some money right away that you can then put into broadening that reach via paid marketing. Regular blogs, social media posts, email marketing and good old fashioned word of mouth should never be underestimated. If you have no money for paid advertising then you could always set yourself a financial goal and gradually put some of the money you make aside in order to eventually throw at paid marketing.
However, this most certainly does not work for everyone or else our industry would not exist. So how do you know when and where to take it to the next level?
Just as those who are at the very beginning of their business/marketing journey need to set a financial goal to achieve so that they have a budget to begin paid marketing with, those involved in marketing should always be thinking about how they can expand the parts that are working. Think about it this way: if you had a machine that gave you a $10 bill for every $5 bill you put into it up until a certain point, would you put $5 into it or everything you could until you reached that point of diminishing returns?
Always have a plan to expand your marketing efforts, because provided your marketing efforts are paying off, that’s really just a plan to expand your business.
Seeing the Big Picture
A lot of businesses begin their paid online marketing via a single channel for obvious monetary reasons. What tends to happen after this is that they get stuck on that one channel and neglect others, or they begin advertising on others in a disconnected fashion that views those channels as separate entities rather than part of a larger plan. This is a mistake.
“ It’s worth investing in website and advertising tracking to know what is working. “
Your Google Ads, Facebook Advertising, Instagram Ads & any other platform can and absolutely do work in unison to both compliment and aid each other when it comes to conversion. Explaining how this happens is more than we can sum up in a few paragraphs, but attribution (conversions which happen past the first interaction with your business online) is something to consider strongly and your business should always have a “master” marketing plan rather than a series of disconnected channels and approaches.
Connecting the dots is a lot easier when you’ve spent the time and money setting up and collecting data from each channel and tracking their interaction with your website. Cohesive data collection and common goals are an oasis of digital marketing in a desert of advertising data mirages that can cause confusion and cause you to lose your way. It’s worth investing in website and advertising tracking to know what is working.
So as soon as you engage a second channel or more, begin looking at what your overall goals are and how these two channels interact with each other in ways that might be helpful to those goals.
Follow these steps to make sure you don’t lose your way once you start advertising:
- Define your measurable goals for what you want people to do online
- Have a plan for each channel
- Have a budget for the campaign before starting (see it as an experiment to begin with)
- Invest in the tracking of your advertising and website
- Start your advertising with multiple versions of Ads always to test which will win and continuously iterate
- Be prepared to change quickly, but only after you have enough information to make an informed decision
Avoid Wasting Money
Always review your data. Do it regularly. Weekly if you can, monthly if you have to. Get to know and cherish it because it will lead you places you never would have thought to go previously. If your data shows that a particular setting, tone of voice, type of imagery or any of the dozens of other factors in your digital marketing are working then you absolutely need to drill down on that data and look for opportunities to improve on that approach, or to apply it elsewhere to improve other campaigns and bring them up to its level. Do not become complacent. This may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for to expand into a new channel or grow your existing efforts on your favourite channels.
All of the above is hardly an exhaustive list of answers. But it will put you in good stead and improve your situation if you follow those instructions. If you’d like further information or to discuss your options though then as always please feel free to leave your comments below or get in touch!