How much does digital marketing cost? The important matter of price is the first query that will spring to mind for most business owners, whether they are embarking on the path of looking to promote their new startup or wishing to use digital marketing as their promotion strategy for their established business for the first time. The answer? It can cost as much as you like. Don’t believe me? Allow me to explalin…
In some cultures, it is socially acceptable to ‘haggle’ the price of a product, say an item of clothing sold at a market. In most Western countries, one wouldn’t dream of waltzing into a supermarket and engaging in a ping-pong like back and forth exchange with the cashier to negotiate the price of a tin of beans. In the past, we have experienced the sale of services, such as digital marketing services, being perceived as a commodity that can be ‘haggled’. That is simply not the case. The same amount of professionalism, time, effort, knowledge and experience goes into delivering a high-quality service as that that contributes to the production of a physical product. The price for digital marketing is whatever a digital marketing company sets it at. So how then can your digital marketing cost as much as you like?
So how much does digital marketing actually cost? First, let’s consider your business size and what you would like to get from digital marketing.
Budget is understandably a constant concern at the forefront of most new business owner’s minds. This will no doubt be balanced with the excitement of their new business idea and the burning desire to get the word out there about their brilliant new idea, solution or innovative product. A new business owner will most likely be looking to shout about their new business from the rooftops but will be, understandably, looking for the cheapest way to go about this.
My advice on these occasions? Don’t run before you can walk. Rather than getting a quote from a digital marketing agency and scoffing in disbelief at the price invest in yourself and your own abilities. There are many affordable social media marketing and blogging workshops available for around £195+VAT. If you have the time to attend these types of workshops and then further time to practice what you have learned, I’d say go for it!
Often an active Facebook page is enough to help market most smaller start-ups. You’re present in your business, either making the product from scratch, for example baking the cakes you sell if you’re a new cake company, or delivering the service, such as mechanic services. You’re perfectly positioned to take photos and add a little caption about the latest order or job you’ve had and upload it to your Facebook page via your smartphone. Chances are you already use Facebook in a personal capacity, so will master using it for business purposes at a basic level in a jiffy!
As you are at the heart of your business, you’re also ideally positioned to write blog posts educating your customers and potential customers about your service or product. Most blogging workshops will cover optimising your posts for SEO (to rank highly on search engines) so you can successfully combine the knowledge you have of your business with the newfound knowledge you have picked up at training workshops.
Never underestimate the power of PR either. Local newspapers and community publications often love reporting on an exciting new startup opening. Most of these publications will have online websites and will link to your Facebook page or website if they are doing a feature on you and your new business. It might be worth getting in touch with your local publications and seeing your offline marketing efforts translate to more online exposure!
Your marketing efforts should eventually pay off, that’s when you find yourself too busy with your actual specialty i.e. running your business, that you don’t have time to manage your marketing. That’s when you start to run. You now have the budget to increase your marketing efforts…
For the bigger startups with bigger targets and larger budgets I understand that cost will still be a concern, your business is still in its infancy after all! However, just like a smaller startup, you can only spend your money once so you might as well spend it wisely!
As well as managing your own Facebook page and maximising PR opportunities as outlined above, it might be beneficial to spend some money on ‘boosting’ a Facebook post or running a Facebook advert. A paid Facebook post/advert will help you reach people outside your Facebook page’s fanbase (people who don’t already ‘Like’ your page).
Why opt for running a paid Facebook ad rather than placing an advert in your local paper?
The ad in your local paper might be read by a hundred people but only one of them might be interested in what you are promoting. With Facebook advertising’s targeting options, you can home in on people who you know will be interested in your product by selecting certain demographics, such as age, location, occupation, education level, interests, and even marital status and income. Your advert won’t fall on deaf ears. Also, unlike a newspaper advert, you can use the Facebook Insights tool to track the progress of your advert and can find out how many people have seen your advert and clicked on it.
If you feel that your target audience hang out more on platforms like the professional social network LinkedIn or Twitter or Instagram, the advertising features they offer bring about the same benefits explained above.
Returning to Facebook, if you are able, it can be a good idea to run a competition on your Facebook profile, where entrants have to follow a link to your website and take some sort of action there, such as signing up to your newsletter or voting for their favourite product sold by your business. After all, the purpose of most marketing efforts is to drive people to your website. As it is against Facebook’s rules to force people to share your post or tag a friend in order to enter your competition, it’s a good idea to create a competition that is so enjoyable or original that people are tempted to share it of their own accord. If you ‘boost’ the post about your competition by putting some money on its advertising, you’ll increase the reach of your brand further. Remember to read up on Facebook’s rules on competitions first though!
Again, the cost of advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter is entirely up to you! We have run Facebook adverts in the past for clients for as little as £50 for the week and have seen some positive results. For a competition post, you might put £100 on ‘boosting’ your advert.
If you are an established business, you will no doubt have toiled for months to cultivate a respectable following on social media. You may have built up your subscribers list so fans of your company and regular customers have ‘opted in’ to receive a regular newsletter or emails containing exclusive discounts and updates from your business (in line with GDPR laws of course). The trouble is you may now be too busy to manage your business’ digital marketing or feel you want to take your online marketing to the next level.
Ask yourself what is worth more, your time or your money? Surely, at some stage, your time is better spent managing your business and leaving digital marketing to the professionals?
Most digital marketing agencies will offer a variety of digital marketing packages and essentially, the more you pay the more you get. More content creation, exposure on more digital marketing channels and ultimately more results. There will be packages available tailored to the needs and budgets of smaller businesses like yours.
The prices of these packages will be worked out based on how many hours it takes the digital marketing agency’s staff to deliver the service to a professional level. For example, if they are writing blog posts for you this will involve:
For a social media advert, a digital marketing agency will take into account the time it will take them to:
Most digital marketing packages targeted at small businesses will cost around £350-£500 a month. Although they will have set prices for set services, most digital marketing companies are flexible will allow you to ‘cherry-pick’ the digital marketing services that you prefer or will recommend the ones that will work best for your business, based on their professional opinion.
As a larger business you have probably invested in a user-friendly and mobile-friendly website but understand that that investment would have been a waste of money if you are not:
a) taking measures to drive people to your website.
b) making an effort to keep people on your website once they are there.
You are also likely to be striving for thought leadership in your marketing rather than needing your marketing to generate you leads or raising your brand’s profile. Chances are you’re well-known in your field so are well-positioned to champion important industry causes, lead the discussions on controversial or topical issues or disrupt the status quo for the greater good. All this can be achieved through a cohesive digital marketing strategy delivered by an experienced digital marketing company. Blog posts, webinars, press releases, e-books, whitepapers, social media advertising and campaigns, email marketing, videos, and podcasts, you name it they can deliver it and ensure it aligns with your goals as part of an overall digital marketing strategy for your business.
A high level and consistent digital marketing strategy such as that described above is likely to cost between £800 – £2000 a month depending on how many services you opt for.
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