How Much Money Should My Startup Allocate To Digital Marketing


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Digital marketing has become one of the cornerstones of brand development and cultivating user knowledge of your existence. With so many people connected on the web, it’s easy to see why more and more businesses rely on digital marketing to boost their exposure.

When operating a startup, you may have to deal with a shoestring budget to meet all your operational costs which includes marketing. When coming up with a budget, you want to be sure to allocate sufficient amount of capital to be able to procure valuable digital content that will get the attention of your target demographic.

The difficult part here is figuring out how much capital is necessary to build and maintain a solid digital marketing campaign for your startup. Where do we start?

Evaluate Your Revenue
Firstly, before making any rash decisions on how much money needs to be spend on digital marketing, you need to figure out your revenue and projected income of your business. This will allow you to start creating a budget and along with it, will give you approximate marketing numbers with which you can work with.

Now of course you will need to allocate more to marketing since you’re merely a tiny spec on the user’s radar. You have not yet made a name for yourself in the market and in the community, so you’ll have to dish out a bit more for your marketing.

On average, companies spend about 11% of their revenue on marketing. Now it varies greatly by industry as well. So you being the new kid on the block, may want to up those numbers a bit – at least in the beginning.

Social Media Marketing
Here we are, our first stop – social media. It contains a massive audience, and it’s something you’ll definitely won’t be able to go without.

Over 88% of businesses in the United States use social media for their marketing. As you can see that’s not a small number, and when going about social media marketing, you will have to stand out from all that noise.

You can do most of the digital marketing yourself, but it can be time consuming endeavour. If your budget allows you to, you can dedicate this to a freelancer or hire someone specifically for this purpose.

If you go down the route of a freelance online community manager, try and allot around $1,500-$2,000 a month for that individual. It can free up your time to work on something else – you just won’t be able to efficiently dedicate your time to all of your business operations.

Now to stay competitive in the digital age, you can’t effectively conduct business without a proper website. Along with your social media, this helps you get established in the online community – we’re talking about digital marketing after all.

If you have a competent web developer in your midst, great. He or she may be able to lend you a hand in procuring a website that will satisfy the needs of your startup. If you don’t have any web developers and designers, you may have to outsource this job to someone outside your organization.

On average, an all-inclusive website costs around $4,000 – $5,000 if you rely on a professionals help. Of course prices can vary greatly from your location and how experienced your website engineer is.

You also need to be incredibly careful when dealing with website design. You must be sure that it’s mobile friendly. More and more people access the internet and do their browsing on the move, if you don’t create a mobile friendly online environment for them, you’ll miss out on valuable traffic.

Content Development
Content is the mustard to your digital marketing hotdog. Valuable content is essential for creating user engagement on the web. Blogs, your website, your social media pages are all outlets for your content, so it must be curated properly to garner the right audience and foster interaction.

Again budget you’ll need to allocate to this will depend on you and how hands on you want to be. This can be done within your organization or you can hire some outside content consultants. You may want to avoid hiring a full-time content developer, it could be a bit out of your price range. Outsourcing it may be more up your alley.

Some small scale content creation agencies may charge you 2-$3,000 for content strategy and creation. As with everything else these are just estimates and can vary depending on your situation and location.

Time To Start
As you can see, digital marketing does come with a cost. It can be done with minimal capital requirement but for more effective results, you will need to sink some cash into it. See what works well with your budget and go from there.

Don’t rush deciding on who to go with or what freelancers may offer the greatest benefit. Do your research carefully and be sure of your decisions. Wrong choices can lead to insufficient digital marketing results and going over budget.

Uwe Dreissigacker
Uwe is the founder and CEO of InvoiceBerry, an online invoicing software for small businesses. He has run online businesses since over 15 years in the B2B and B2C sectors. After starting in the online games publishing industry he went on to launch an ad network before going into AdTech. After multiple successful companies in AdTech he took a break from it and went into FinTech and online software.


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