Ask the experts: Dedicate the right amount to marketing

09/01/2014 8:00 PM

09/02/2014 4:57 AM

Marketing is a necessary, but sometimes expensive, part of operating a business.

An entrepreneur trying to get the word out about a new business should dedicate about 20 percent of startup costs to marketing, said Jeremy Sisk, owner of marketing and business consultant firm Xperience4Higher. An established small business should spend 7 to 10 percent of its revenue. Budget and industry sector can determine in part which marketing methods are right for a particular business.

Businesses that can put more time into maximizing online presence can cut down on marketing costs. “To be successful online, you’ve either got to earn it or buy it,” Sisk said. “The most successful companies do both.”

Earning it means investing time in social media, such as the business’ Facebook page. Another key tool is doing some of the search engine optimization through keeping regularly updated, quality content on the business’ website with articles, tips or blog posts.

Buying it includes hiring an expert who keeps your website prominent and guarantees results. The cost varies greatly – starting around $300 a month – depending on the competitiveness within an industry. In the Raleigh-Durham market, paid ads for Facebook or Google range from about $300 to $800, depending on the industry.

Joining in a mass mailing of ads costs about $400 per 10,000 addresses. Individual mailers cost 10 times that amount.

Advertising in a local journal or advertisement-driven newspaper can range from about $750 to $2,500 for a three months of ads.

Radio and television ads are venues for market leaders and well-funded businesses.

“It’s not a cheap endeavor,” Sisk said.

In the Raleigh-Durham market, the cost of a package of radio spots usually ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 for between 35 and 50 spots. The cost varies depending on the time of day and the reach of the station.

The cost of a package of television ads can range from about $1,500 to $6,000 depending on the time of day and year.

TV and radio stations typically sell ad campaigns for periods of a month to 45 days, and this is the length of time needed for successful marketing, Sisk said. The repetition helps consumers recall or recognize a company’s name later when they’re seeking out particular services or goods.

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