Starting a small business is a massive undertaking. Once you have your startup funds and a basic employee team, you’ll be tempted to take a breather. Don’t stop work yet though. For customers to invest in your product or service, they need to find you, either through e-commerce or a storefront location. They can’t find you if you don’t invest time and money into marketing. However, with so many marketing campaign options out there and with so many costs to consider, how much money do you need? What size investment will truly benefit your business?

Budget Early

A recent survey from Higher Visibility showed most business owners aren’t sure how much marketing money they need. Over half of today’s small business owners don’t have budgets for SEO, Kickstarter campaigns, websites, or similar endeavors. Additionally, a large segment of business owners have absolutely no social media presence.

About 15% of business owners have a marketing budget but don’t know how much is spent on SEO or any other campaign. Most businesses spend less than 10% of their overall budget on marketing. Unconsciously, they set themselves up to fold because potential customers don’t know the business exists or prefer to work with a business whose marketing campaigns are easily accessible.

To avoid pitfalls, budget for marketing early. Click To Tweet

Make it one of your biggest priorities, and don’t be afraid to allocate more than you need. According to the Higher Visibility survey, most business owners expect to spend $200 a month or less on SEO. They may fear they can’t handle a large increase in overhead cost or assume good SEO services are not that expensive. In reality, your business needs about $1,000 a month for SEO and often more depending on your specific needs.

This amount might seem excessive, but it will cover basic SEO services, such as analysis of your website, keywords, whether you need pay per click services, and other issues. A large SEO budget will push you beyond the basics. With it, you can spend time on your website’s best features. A large SEO budget will take some of your funds, but the freedom and expansion you will gain from it will more than offset the costs and decrease the time it will take to see a return on investment.

Still not convinced that SEO is worth the money? This infographic provides all the statistics you’re looking for and sets the stage for why you need to allocate funds for SEO.

Educate Yourself

Once you set aside that $1,000-$1,500 a month for marketing, educate yourself so you can spend it wisely. Re-familiarize yourself with your target audience, and talk to professionals such as SEO consultants about expanding your niche. Use SEO tools such as keywords and analytics to keep certain demographics’ interest, but periodically update your approach to catch the attention of new clients.

Invest in analytics services, which will analyze your content and protect you from publishing redundant or outdated information. Keep your marketing budget healthy and add to it as needed. In time – perhaps a shorter time than you expected – your business will begin thriving in new ways, while building advantageous opportunities for future expansion.

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