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    21 Replies Latest reply on Nov 18, 2013 7:13 PM by katandmouse

    Marketing...How much is too much?

    Robert Diffenderfer Scout

      I have been overwhelmed lately with phone calls and emails from SEO companies, website companies, advertising and marketing website companies! I have a Mid-size wedding photography and video company in Maryland. Our marketing budget has gone from 500.00 to about 1200.00 a month and the bigger problem here is the time it takes to manage it all. We have our own website to manage along with, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and more...We also have to manage our profiles on several wedding marketing and lead generating websites. I feel that, at a minimum, 25% of my time is spent on this and it doesn't stop. You have Google Ad-Words and Facebook ad words and people calling me everyday to pay for better web search placement....This is driving me crazy! If I signed up for all of it I would be broke with no time left...My question here is what percentage of your income and time do you think is necessary to allocate to marketing? The reason I like to see percentages because no matter how big or small you are I believe the percentages should be somewhat close. Obviously start-up companies may be higher.

       

      We do monitor all of our programs and in January we decide which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of.

       

      Thanks

      Rob

      www.gmsphotos.com

        • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
          Reggie Cole Wayfarer

          Robert,

          I have no answer but just wanted to empathize along with you!  Im an even more smaller business with just two months under our belt and we are bombarded from every advertising medium known to the civilized world: newspapers (local, regional), television, radion, webdesign, webpages, merchant processing, etc,etc. Have you heard of any magic number of what percentage of your monthly sales should be assigned to marketing? If so please que me in as well.  Thanks

            • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
              pauljoachim Scout

              I think it's a great idea to pick a % and stick with that.  Lets say 5% of your revenue.  Ya gotta have a starting point, 5% is a good start.   So, if you are bring in $200,000 you spend $833 a month on marketing.   Create a plan that gives you the biggest bang for the money that you do have.  You don't know what's effective?  Ask friends, other business owners what works for them.  Do your research and create a marketing budget and campaign on what you have.    When you are dealing with a small budget you have to be smart, very smart with how you approach your marketing campaign.  You can't just throw money at a campaign and expect it to be effective.  It needs your hands-on experience and intuition.  It needs love and attention to grow and develop into something that is effective.    Only spend money on things you can measure.  Start out slow, assess risk and effectiveness of the effort, expand slowly based on what you can analyze safely.   This dramatically decreases your risk and gives you an effective path to expanding your budget with a good chance you're going to get your proper ROI.

                • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                  Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                  pauljoachim wrote:

                   

                  I think it's a great idea to pick a % and stick with that.  Lets say 5% of your revenue.  Ya gotta have a starting point, 5% is a good start.   So, if you are bring in $200,000 you spend $833 a month on marketing.   Create a plan that gives you the biggest bang for the money that you do have.  You don't know what's effective?  Ask friends, other business owners what works for them.  Do your research and create a marketing budget and campaign on what you have.    When you are dealing with a small budget you have to be smart, very smart with how you approach your marketing campaign.  You can't just throw money at a campaign and expect it to be effective.  It needs your hands-on experience and intuition.  It needs love and attention to grow and develop into something that is effective.    Only spend money on things you can measure.  Start out slow, assess risk and effectiveness of the effort, expand slowly based on what you can analyze safely.   This dramatically decreases your risk and gives you an effective path to expanding your budget with a good chance you're going to get your proper ROI.

                  I agree...we have been doing this and actually we are at about 5% - 10%. Sometimes we will run a campaign that will take us much higher. we do evaluate these based on ROI and ditch the ones that don't work for us. I was just wondering what percentage that businesses felt was reasonable....thanks for your answers!

                  • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                    Reggie Cole Wayfarer


                    thanks for the input! I really appreciate it.  Two months off the ground is requiring us to count every penny

                  • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                    Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                    I was hoping someone else would have the number however I am happy to see that I am not the only one having this issue.

                  • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                    orbital config Tracker

                    I have been through this and in the middle of instructing my new start up I'm working with to do the same. I got crazy with all the sites and as many options that there is out there. So I had started to ask the same and similar questions about this. From all the responses it come down to 3 to 5 sites that work for you? what does that mean? that means trying all of them or a lot of them and picking the ones you are getting responses on. and disposing the ones that are not, just because one site works for your friend does not mean for your business it will work for you. and then work them few sites that work, if tired of one, or if it seems to level off, do a different one but only stick with a couple of them. with emailing it is the simplest thing to do, you can do a mail chimp (or something there are many of them out there) if you do less then like 2 thousand a month or something mailings are free (on some). On these sites you can put it all together and then select dates you want them to go out, just program a date for in the future and the redcurrants of them and how often, then forget it  - it will do it automatically for you monthly/weekly/yearly/etc. Yes it is true they say/told me 70/30 (80/20). 70% of time spend getting clients/customers, and 30% of the time doing your job. This is till things start to level off and the business takes root. If we don't constantly be looking for clients we don't do what were good at. The questions I am asking is it working? If your doing 25% of your time marketing and getting good enough responses that is good for a start up or new company. (considering doing things on your own). If we pay to be at the top of Google and other SEO companies to do it for us, it would have to be worth it. to pay a thousand a month on SEO and for someone to manage things you would have to get at least this in return.

                      • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                        Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                        I agree with you. That is the same thing we are doing. Every January we set a monthly budget for marketing for the year and we choose 3 or 4 marketing entities we want to spend that money on. We evaluate them in 6 months then again in January. We keep the ones that are working and discard the ones that are not. To be fair, at the 6 month review we do not discard any if we can get some support and answers. Its possible that we are missing something so I want to give them a fair chance. However, if I get an answer like" You just need to give it more time" then I may walk at that point or when the contract is up. I have a business to run and time is very valuable. The other thing I found is that you need a lot of web presence. In my business we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ all for free. We have our website and we have one lead generation website that we pay for. However we also have some specialty sites that we absolutely need to be on just to be in the mix of our competition. These are not free. They also do not send a lot of work our way directly. However a diligent bride will find us in one place but search the web for others and look at everything.  So the first place she finds us on may lead her to another place that may actually seal the deal. This is very hard to measure so I usually ask my clients at our initial meeting a lot of questions to try and get a better measurement of what is working and what is not.

                      • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                        greg_warren Wayfarer

                        The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that small businesses (under $5 million annual

                        revenue) should allocate 7-8 percent of its budget to marketing.

                         

                          • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                            katandmouse Adventurer

                            7-8% if a good number, but just make sure you use it on what's going to give you the best return. A vet client of mine was spending $1,800 a month of Yellow Page ads and, of course, getting very little return. She cancelled that and put just half that amount in SEO, enhanced listing in Yahoo and a Yelp ad and is busy as she needs to be. So what's more important than how much to spend is where to spend it. Since most everyone's customers are looking for them online, I advise most (but not all) clients to invest in SEO after they've made sure the copy on their website will actually convert visitors to customers once the traffic comes. But hang up on all those "Google" telemarketing calls promising you the moon. Call a reputable firm instead and be sure and ask them to show you results they've achieved. If you're a local business, the other thing I advise is putting a concerted effort into acquiring Yelp reviews. I've seen clients do those 3 things (messaging, SEO, and review acquisition) and then cut back their marketing budget to almost nothing because those 3 continue to work for them long after the campaign ends.

                              • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                                attard Adventurer

                                Rob, the only easy answer to your questions is this: ignore cold calls and emails from companies claiming they can get you to the top of search engine results.  Most of them are spammers, and as such, I would question whether the tactics they use would help you, or actually hurt you.

                                 

                                That said, your site needs some very basic SEO help - and it's simple things you can do yourself. For one, make the title tag on your pages words people would search for, such as "wedding photography (town or country name) by (name of your company) for your home page.   Two: delete all those keywords in the metakeyword tag on your home page (that's the only one I looked at).  Just use a couple of very pertinent keywords to avoid looking spammy to search engines.  Three: put more text on your home page. The photos are great - appropriate for your type of site - but they don't give search engines anything to "read" to understand what your site is about.  Finally, if you decide you do want SEO help, look for people who have a history of good results that last for US clients. The problem there, is most of those people who are really good are going to cost you more than your monthly marketing budget.

                                 

                                About buying ads, and doing social media. I personally don't think there's one set percentage that can apply to all businesses. It's something you have to determine for your own business.

                                 

                                The key here, since you're already doing it, is to take a little extra time now to figure out what's working, what's not working and what you can do with your current budget to improve results. Be sure you  are tracking results and targeting the right people with your money and time.  (Keep the 80/20 principle in mind). 

                                 

                                Start by  writing down everything you know about  your existing and past customers. How long  does it takes on average for someone who's shopping around to actually become a customer. How many call once and don't call back? What are you doing to stay in contact with the initial callers? What turns them from a looker to a buyer? .Do they buy  only once  or do you do anything other than wedding photography and video? Where do your referrals come from? And how big a role to they play in your business. Which ad headlines work best?

                                 

                                Have a way to track as much that you do as possible. Are there specials you can run and track in social media? Are you running search ads and tracking them? Are you capturing the names and email addresses of prospects What about Google Analytics - that should give you a clue of how people are finding your website and what they look at.

                                 

                                When you have a good idea of what marketing efforts are working best, allocate a little extra money to just those specific things.. and track results. If your sales go up proportional to the marketing efforts, increase the spend again...until you hit a point where spending more isn't any more profitable.

                                 

                                Finally, consider what tasks you're doing yourself that you could delegate to someone else on your staff whose time is less valuable than yours.

                            • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                              verdadmedia Newbie

                              If you guys want to stop all the automated Spam Emails try a service called SpamArrest, it's like 5 bucks a month (per account) and sends captchas to all automated emails. It's cut our firms time spent on spam from hours per week to a couple minutes. I don't want to go on to much about it, but watch their cheezy video on the home page, I guarantee it's worth your time looking into.

                              • Re: Marketing...How much is too much?
                                Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                                First and foremost....Thanks to all who responded!

                                After evaluating what we are making as opposed to about what we are spending on marketing it equals more like 20% of our income. However our ROI has been good and seems to be getting bigger. If we can continue at 20% then I believe we have found our number.

                                 

                                Thanks so much!