What is a realistic digital marketing budget?
When it comes to expenses in business and in life, people are used to fixed pricing where item X costs Y. You know exactly what you’re buying and how much it costs, making it easy to budget and account for. Unfortunately marketing is different, people call us all the time and ask how much it will cost them to start digital marketing, but often that is an impossible question to accurately answer.

As an agency, we offer many services and they’re all scalable to your requirements. As counter-intuitive as it may therefore seem, the correct question to be asking is “I have a budget of R123, what value can you give me for that?” As an entrepreneur myself, I understand that that’s not how we’re used to operating. We’re hardwired to save money and not to put all our cards on the table. In fact, the chances are you may have no idea how much you should be spending on your marketing in the first place. Knowing and being transparent about your marketing budget however is an important tool in building a successful campaign. Below are 2 main reasons for this:

1. Digital marketing budgets are scalable
Whether it is search engine marketing, social media, or content - if it works for you we can scale it up. As a case study, we have a client that we ran a social media remarketing campaign for on a starting budget of R5 000 per month. It was so successful that after 1 month we pushed that budget up to R20 000, and their ROI has scaled consistently. One could argue that if this client can handle more leads, they could probably even push their budget higher to R25k or R30k and for every rand they spend, they will get a multiple of that back in sales - and that is just a single service.

2. Our job is to figure out the best way to bring you business
We offer many different services, some of which are key to bringing you short-term business and others which build your brand and will be instrumental in the longer term. If we have a full understanding of your marketing objectives and your budget, we can tailor a retainer for you to get the best value for money and achieve your objectives. We will prioritize which services will be most important to get you the best return on investment and meet your objectives. Without knowing your budget, we can’t make an informed decision in putting together a bundle of services that will achieve the best outcome.

That covers why you should have a transparent budget, now to examine what that budget should be. We have clients on Marketing retainers that range anywhere from R5 000 - R100 000 per month and they all receive a relative return on that investment for their spend. The answer therefore revolves around your expectations. B2B (business-to-business) sales are generally more difficult and expensive to acquire, but they have a far higher value. B2C (business-to-consumer) sales can be acquired easier, but generally requires higher quantities of leads to be profitable. My recommendation is to start with an amount that you can afford to lose as it can take a few weeks or months before you see a return on your investment. We will also test the waters with various different marketing tactics to see what works best and will scale it up once we see the results (remember the case study above). What this amount should be is relative to your industry, marketing objectives, and of course your financial circumstances, but in our experience, we find that the most ideal starting budgets sit anywhere between R10 000 - R30 000 per month.

To narrow it down further than that, we’d need to get to know you better. If you’re open to a discussion, I’d be happy to meet you for a quick coffee and we can work out the best approach for your business. Click here to leave your details and I’ll be in touch!

Article by
Donna Hirschson
Co-Chief Executive
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