As you close the books on one month and work toward better results in the coming months, do you have a solid marketing plan for meeting your goals? Marketing tactics have changed a lot since I first contracted a website designer for my employer 18 years ago. Advertising dollars that used to be spent on direct mail, printed newsletters, yellow page ads and telemarketing are now being directed toward digital marketing – interactive web design, search engine optimization (SEO), online directory listings, search engine marketing, social media strategy and blog writing.

As a small manufacturing business owner for three years, I met many other small business owners. Many of them dream of hiring a salesperson (at a minimum of $30,000-$50,000 a year) but wouldn’t think of spending a small fraction of that on contracting website development, SEO, directory listing management and blog writing to drive traffic to their website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Best of all, prospective customers searching online, at any hour of the day or night, are ready to buy. Will your business be in the top search engine results when they’re looking for your products or services?

A carefully planned marketing strategy and budget can bring a far greater return on your investment than adding another salary. And, unlike salaries, marketing expense can flex with your seasonal needs.

How much should a small business spend on marketing?

The Small Business Association and other sources advise budgeting 7-8% of gross revenue on marketing. In my opinion, even 5% strategically spent, should bring an excellent return on your investment. With so many different places to spend that budget, what brings the best results? The answer depends on many variables, including your industry, target market demographics, location, competition and more.

So, how do you decide? A professional analysis of your current marketing plan is a great place to start. An experienced marketing communications professional can review all your printed and online marketing, advertising and sales collateral, review your goals and objectives, and provide a plan to realize the best return on your investment.

Every business needs an experienced branding and marketing expert. Whether you’re looking for a comprehensive review of your existing website and other marketing tools or help with developing and implementing a more strategic marketing plan, contact me to discuss your needs. I’ll provide you with a timeline and cost estimate for one of the most important things I know how to do: help you increase profit by solidifying your online presence.