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Back in the good ol’ days, social media’s biggest allure for businesses was a free price tag. Well, the good times rolled…then they rolled away. Now, small business marketing efforts, including social media, are stuck in a pay-to-play space. Of course, organic reach is still important, but stiffened and intense competition means brands must break out from the crowd with paid (and effective) ads.

Unfortunately, small- to medium-sized businesses typically don’t have the luxury of a million-dollar marketing budget like large corporations do. So, unless you’ve just recently won the lottery, more than likely, you’re probably looking for ways to effectively manage your small business marketing spend.

Of course, figuring out how to manage your budget is difficult to do when you’re unsure how much is necessary and how to determine if it’s working.

Allow us to lend a hand.

Make a Small Business Marketing Plan

Wondering what your small business should spend on marketing? “Google” that question and you’ll get a variety of answers. That’s because the rules for marketing are not necessarily black and white… Because of this, most business owners end up with a “fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants” approach. One month, they’re boosting Facebook posts, then they might experiment with Google AdWords and the next month, they might decide to print out some mailers.

This disastrous approach will get you nowhere…fast.

So, how do you know how much to spend…and where to spend it?

Build a Budget Around It

One route some businesses take is to set aside a certain percentage of total sales for marketing, including initiatives like digital marketing, print ads, social media, trade shows, etc. You’ll find that the majority of companies spend anywhere from one percent to 15 percent, but this is a wide (and somewhat confusing) range.

Alternatively, it makes more sense to organize your budget based on a goal. With goal-based marketing, businesses define goals and develop a course of action. For example, if you aim to acquire 100 new customers, what will it take to unlimitedly achieve your goals?

And furthermore, how will you measure the value of your campaign?

Track Performance

Your campaign goals will ultimately determine which metrics you should be measuring. It’s critical to evaluate the success of each campaign and then make necessary adjustments based on those outcomes. Between PPCs, CPCs, CTRs, quality scores, bounce rates and conversions, it can get confusing to know what to look for. But we get it, if you’re not living, breathing and evolving with marketing every day, it can be hard to understand.

If you’re still not sure where to go from there, worry not. That’s what we’re here for.

Go for the Pros

Understanding the actual spend is only achievable if the performance data is recorded accurately behind the scenes. So, instead of flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, turn to the pros who will help you manage, and even decrease, your overall advertising and media spend.

At CMDS, you’ll get access to an entire team of professionals who has experience with business strategy, creative design, marketing and SEO. We are a performance-driven, full-service marketing agency who work collaboratively to bring you the latest trends, best designs and most effective strategies.

Plus, we will provide you with all the data and insight you need- total transparency.

Sure, the days of making an online splash for free might be over, but with the right marketing game plan and rock-star marketing team behind you, it’s still very much possible to see big benefits on a budget.