Startups, what should be your online marketing budget?

Having a startup is exciting and rewarding, but the thrills of the game are often balanced by the worries of day by day expenses. Unlike larger companies, startups usually have a limited budget, and if you want your business to grow, you need to make sure that you use the budget to the best of your advantage by making smart marketing moves. So where should you invest in terms of marketing?

DIY- Do It Yourself

If you want to take care of marketing yourself, it’s best to start if you have knowledge about advertising and building a brand image before you start- or if you are ready to do your homework. It’s true that this can be a very cost-effective way of going about it, but at the same time doing your own marketing is a long-time process, and you must be patient, deliberate and consistent if you want to see long term results.

For instance, it is fairly inexpensive to set up a Facebook page for your business, and to buy ads so as to market your posts to an audience that has the same interests as your startup. At the same time, you must be careful to aim at getting the interest of potential clients- just having an extra hundred likes a day with no financial result is a waste of your resources. This could cost anywhere between 10 and 500 dollars in a go, and the key here is to advertise in a smart way, and make sure you get a bang for your buck.

Outsource

If you consider that your time is best spent managing other important details of your business- like your business plans, your projects, your team etc. – you might consider hiring someone to do this for you. This can be as expensive or as budget-friendly as you want it to be. Naturally larger advertising companies can charge hundreds of dollars for a good marketing campaign, the benefit being that you know you are dealing with professionals, and you can expect a fairly safe return.

If you are not ready to invest that much, you can work with a freelance marketing assistant, who can deal with the advertising aspect on a daily basis. In the long run this could be a cost-effective move, but you must ensure that the person who is in charge of marketing knows your company inside-out, and knows who you would like to target with the advertising plan.

Website

The best thing about having a startup nowadays is the fact that there are virtually no limits to where your clients could be. You are no longer confined by branching out only to local clients thanks to the world wide web, and this is why it is crucial to invest in a quality website. Your website is your online business card, and you must treat it with as much professionalism as you would like your clients to treat you.

If you are selling a service that is aimed at international clients, you must budget for having the website translated in an international language so that you can reach as many people as possible (while at the same time having a page in your local language to keep in touch with local clients you are interested in). Apart from this, making sure you have a user-friendly designed website is more efficient that having a “functional and cold” page, so consider setting aside a budget for hiring a professional who can optimise your brand image on the internet through designing a UX-oriented website.

Whatever your marketing budget is, the internet is a great tool for your startup. All you need to remember is that you must invest in marketing strategies that are smart, that show your business is professional, and that can make you stand out in a crowd of similar startups. Now go make a list of the budgets you are willing to invest in this, and get to it!

Bipin Domy Thomas

About Bipin Domy Thomas

Founder and CEO of Domy Innovations Cafe, the UX focused technology solutions firm in Bangalore & Brisbane. Bipin helps startups, SMBs, and SMEs to build products the way their users need them. Connect with Bipin on LinkedIn. Follow him on Twitter @DomyBipin.

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