How Much Should I Spend on Marketing for My Small Business?

Digital Marketing
September 8, 2023
By Fahad Zahid

In today's fast-paced and highly competitive marketplace, understanding the crucial question of 'How Much Should I Spend On Marketing For My Small Business?' can be the difference between success and failure. Navigating the complexities of marketing budgets and strategies can be challenging, but it’s essential for business growth. This is where Social Gravity comes to your aid.

Our main goal is to assist you in making informed decisions about your marketing investment. This guide offers comprehensive insights to empower small businesses with effective marketing strategies tailored to specific budgets.

Understanding the Basics of Marketing Spend

Marketing spend, also known as marketing expenditure or budget, is the total cost a business allocates to marketing activities. This includes costs associated with advertising, content creation, market research, public relations, social media, and more.

A typical guideline for small businesses is to dedicate around 7-8% of their revenues to marketing. This percentage, however, may vary based on numerous factors, including the age of the business, the industry, the target audience, and the competition level.

Why Is Marketing Crucial for Small Businesses?

Marketing is crucial for any business, especially for small businesses. A well-implemented marketing plan enables small businesses to compete effectively with larger businesses, reaching customers, building brand awareness, and ultimately driving sales.

The bottom line is no matter how exceptional your product or service is, if your potential customers don’t know about it, they won’t be able to buy it. By investing in marketing, you're investing in the growth and longevity of your business.

How Much Should You Spend on Marketing for Your Small Business?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this crucial question. The amount of money you should spend on marketing depends on various factors such as:

Your Business Goals

What are you trying to achieve with your marketing efforts? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, boost sales, retain customers, etc.? Your marketing budget should be aligned with your business goals and expected outcomes.

Your Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach with your marketing efforts? What are their characteristics, needs, problems, preferences, etc.? Your marketing budget should be based on your target audience's size, behaviour, and value.

Your Industry

What industry are you operating in? How competitive is it? How saturated is it? How profitable is it? Industry norms, trends, and opportunities should influence your marketing budget.

Your Business Stage

What stage is your business in? Are you a start-up, a growth, or a mature business? Your marketing budget should be adjusted according to your business stage and growth potential.

Your Available Resources

How much money do you have to spend on marketing? How much time do you have to spend on marketing? How much expertise do you have to spend on marketing? Your marketing budget should be realistic and flexible based on your available resources and constraints.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing. This percentage is based on companies with margins in the 10-12 percent range (after expenses). However, this is just a general guideline and not a rule. Depending on your specific situation and goals, you should spend more or less than this percentage.

For example, if you are a B2B company, you might need to spend less on marketing than a B2C company, as B2B customers tend to have longer sales cycles and higher customer lifetime values. According to a report by Deloitte, the average marketing budget for B2B companies was 6.3% of revenue in 2020, while the average for B2C companies was 9.8%.

Another factor affecting your marketing budget is whether you are a start-up or an established business. Start-ups need to spend more on marketing than established businesses, as they need to build brand awareness, generate leads, and acquire customers quickly. According to a report by Gartner, the average marketing budget for start-ups was 11.2% of revenue in 2020, while the average for established businesses was 6.9%.

Ultimately, the best way to determine how much you should spend on marketing for your small business is to calculate your return on investment (ROI) for your marketing efforts. ROI is the ratio of profit generated by your marketing efforts to the cost of your marketing efforts. The higher the ROI, the more effective and efficient your marketing efforts are.

To calculate your ROI for your marketing efforts, you need to follow these steps:

  • Set SMART goals: As mentioned earlier, you need to set SMART goals for your marketing efforts aligned with your overall business goals. For example, you should increase your website traffic by 50% in 6 months, generate 100 leads per month from PPC ads, or get ten positive reviews per month from your customers.
  • Track and measure your results: You need to track and measure the results of your marketing efforts using various tools and metrics. For example, you might use Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc., to track and measure metrics such as website traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, cost per lead, cost per acquisition, customer satisfaction, etc.
  • Calculate your profit: You need to calculate the profit generated by your marketing efforts by subtracting the cost of your marketing efforts from the revenue generated by your marketing efforts. For example, if you spent $1,000 on PPC ads and generated $5,000 in revenue from those ads, your profit would be $4,000.
  • Calculate your ROI: You need to divide your profit by your cost and multiply by 100. For example, if you spent $1,000 on PPC ads and generated $4,000 in profit, your ROI would be ($4,000 / $1,000) x 100 = 400%.

By calculating your ROI for your marketing efforts, you can effectively determine how much you should spend on marketing for your small business. You can also compare the ROI of different marketing strategies and tactics and allocate your budget accordingly. For example, if you find that SEO has a higher ROI than PPC, you should spend more on SEO than PPC.

How to Allocate Your Marketing Budget?

Once you have established your overall marketing budget, the next step is to decide where to allocate it. This will depend on your business goals, target audience, and what marketing strategies and tactics work best for your business. Here are some key areas to consider:

Digital Marketing

In today’s digital age, a significant part of your marketing budget should be allocated to digital marketing. This can include SEO, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and online advertising (such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads).

Traditional Marketing

While digital marketing is essential, don’t neglect traditional marketing methods. These include print advertising, direct mail, TV and radio ads, and sponsoring or attending events. The key is understanding where your target audience will most likely engage and focusing your efforts there.

Market Research

Understanding your market and customers is key to successful marketing. Allocate some of your budgets to market research involving surveys, focus groups, and customer data analysis.

Marketing Tools

There are many tools available that can help streamline your marketing efforts. These include email marketing platforms, social media management tools, SEO tools, and marketing automation software.

Training and Development

Marketing trends are always changing, so investing in training and development for your marketing team is important. This can include courses, workshops, conferences, and subscriptions to industry publications.

Measuring and Adjusting Your Marketing Budget

Once you’ve allocated your budget and started your marketing efforts, tracking the results and adjusting your budget as necessary is important. Regularly reviewing and refining your marketing budget ensures that you’re spending your money most effectively.

Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

While the marketing budget is an important factor in shaping your marketing strategy, what's equally important is how effectively you use this budget. Here are some effective marketing strategies for small businesses.

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage your target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, eBooks, and more. The key is to provide relevant and useful content to your audience, helping to build trust and loyalty.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO involves optimising your website to appear higher in search engine results, increasing visibility and attracting more organic traffic. Key aspects of SEO include keyword research, optimising meta tags, improving website speed and mobile optimisation, building high-quality backlinks, and producing quality content.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest to promote your business and engage with your audience. This includes creating and sharing content, engaging with followers, running social media ads, and analysing performance.

Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending targeted messages to people who have subscribed to your email list. This could include newsletters, promotional offers, and new product announcements. It’s a great way to keep in touch with customers, keep them informed, and encourage repeat business.

Online Advertising

Online advertising includes Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on platforms like Google Ads and social media advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This can be a good way to reach a larger audience and attract new customers.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves partnering with influencers in your industry to promote your business to their followers. This can be an effective way to reach a larger and potentially new audience.

By implementing a mix of these marketing strategies and regularly reviewing and adjusting your marketing budget based on performance, you can maximise the return on your marketing investment and drive success for your small business.

Let's Take Your Business to New Heights

Navigating the world of small business marketing can take time and effort. That's where Social Gravity, a premier digital marketing company in Ireland, can help. From SEO and content marketing to social media campaigns, we have the tools and expertise to maximise your marketing ROI and fuel your business growth.

Don't wait! Partner with us today, and let's take your business to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of my revenue should I allocate to marketing?

Small businesses should allocate around 7-8% of their revenues to marketing. This figure, however, can vary depending on several factors, such as the business lifecycle, industry, and specific goals.

How much should a startup spend on marketing?

Startups often need to invest more in marketing to build brand awareness and acquire initial customers. They spend up to 12-20% of their revenue or projected revenue on marketing.

Why is digital marketing important for small businesses?

Digital marketing allows small businesses to reach a broader audience at a lower cost than traditional marketing. It's measurable, allowing businesses to track their ROI and adjust their strategies based on what’s working.

How can I maximise my marketing budget?

To maximise your marketing budget, focus on understanding your target audience, choosing the right marketing channels, creating quality content, and tracking your results to adjust your strategy.

How do I measure the success of my marketing efforts?

You can measure the success of your marketing efforts by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, lead generation, conversion rate, customer acquisition cost, and customer lifetime value.

Can I handle marketing myself, or should I hire a professional?

While it's possible to handle marketing on your own, hiring a professional marketing agency like Social Gravity can offer expert insights, save time, and yield better results. An agency can help you formulate and implement a marketing strategy tailored to your business needs.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Author Fahad Zahid
Co-Founder @ Social Gravity

As a passionate Digital Marketer & YouTuber, Fahad Zahid, co-founder of Social Gravity, is known for helping home service & construction companies shine on the web with Paid Advertisement & SEO.

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