How to Budget for Online Marketing

Starting a business online? Have an online business? Have an offline business that needs help marketing online? Have no idea of budget? Have a small budget? Have existing marketing dollars out there in online advertising that don’t seem to be driving in high ROI numbers?  Assessing a business’s online marketing budget and aligning it to pre-determined marketing goals needs to be the first step for any business who desires success in the Internet medium. So, you ask, how do I do this? The answer relies on many factors including:

1. Your business industry – Some industries such as retail, of course, require much steeper online budgets than say, manufacturing

2. Your location(s) and your audience – Clearly identifying where you need to market will help to narrow down how much you need to spend to outreach and engage

3. Your resources – Take a count of what you may have already in-house or close by – a great designer , a writer, a coder or do you have none of these crucial people in making your online marketing program a success? Expect to hire a professional team to make it happen for you and anywhere from $5-25k depending on your type of business.

4. Your business idea, product or service – Check to see whether your business is providing something revolutionary to the industry you serve. You just may have something press-worthy. An investment in a strong online pr program of at least 6 months will make a lot of sense and a good $20-$30k.

5. Your marketing goals – Are you just looking to prove your concept or are you looking to drive millions in online sales this year? The difference will make a big difference in the type of budget you require. If you are looking to expand internationally and have no resources and a poor website, expect to have at least $50k in the bank to get going.

6. Your market position – Are you new or existing? Do you know where you stand in the market against your closest direct competitors? If you are nowhere on the (Google) map, expect to have a good $10-20k to drive visibility and expect to spend some good time doing so(6-12 months).

7. Understand where your audience looks for you or may possibly find you – Is your product or service one that has the potential to spread like wild fire in social media or is it one that may garner some qualified attention through a planned Webinar? Understanding what channels best suit your chances for success and how much you need to make an impact there makes all the difference between online success and failure. A well thought out(and researched) online marketing plan will get you there. Prepare a budget of at least $5k for such an exercise and expect to collaborate for at least 4-6 weeks.

8. Once your channels are figured out – And so, you are launching a new e-commerce business with 50-100 products and you want to go up against the big guys. Direct marketing, online media is probably your answer. You may be looking at $10-$15k in media and management fees/month.

Overall, the key is to first determine your business, industry, marketing goals, target audience, and financial plan. Once you have this business plan, having an online marketing budget that addresses the growth plan will get you there and keep you there.

For companies that did take the time and effort to budget for online marketing appropriately, see the Agent-cy case studies at Of course, feel free to comment here with any questions that pertain to your business – glad to help!