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Small business marketing costs more than ever

Topic: Small business marketing costs more than ever

In Part I of this series on small business marketing, we laid out the evidence that easy marketing tools on digital and social media do not mean digital and social media marketing is easy.

It’s not. Don’t believe a single person who tells you otherwise. Even when that 20-something down the street tells you social media is way easy, that person is way wrong.

Look at any survey of small business owners – national all the way down to our own company’s recent Small Business Sentiment Survey – and you’ll find more and more companies begrudging the difficulty of this new era in marketing.

Why is that? Three reasons.

A new language of small business marketing

Let’s be honest for a moment and at least admit most small business owners do not understand the language of digital and social media marketing. You may think you understand SEO, or Ad Words, or Boosted Posts or a dynamic website, but the reality is you don’t.

And small business owners shouldn’t feel bad about that, because there are too many so-called digital marketing companies that don’t understand, either. Well, it’s either that or they outright lie to the customers, which is why they churn so many on and back off the client roll.

SEO – appearing organically at the top of search engines (Google) – is an easy acronym but it’s one most small businesses do not really understand.

Case-in-point: Our company had a small business that told us they wanted to be at the top of Google search in their business category. That business owner allocated $2,000 a month to be at the top, and it needed to happen within a week.

If you don’t see the problem, then it’s more evidence for a lack of understanding. If your business starts an SEO campaign, you can certainly appear within the Top 4 listings on the first page of Google over time. If you want to be absolutely first, in virtually any category, it’s going to take a higher investment and more time.

SEO is not about writing a check, appearing in search and raking in profits. Even after you start a campaign, it takes time. And once you appear, and people start clicking your link, you still are guaranteed nothing.

The idea that you just easily buy your way to the top of search is a misnomer, and it has forced a lot of businesses to flush thousands of dollars away on nothing. SEO is an investment. It takes time to just show up at the top of the page.

You can’t afford it

Another approach to getting on page one quickly is Google AdWords. According to an analysis, most effective small businesses spend between $9,000-10,000 per MONTH on pay-per-click advertising. Is that in your marketing budget?

It’s not to say small businesses have to spend that much, but that’s an average. Why the enormous price tag? Well, it starts with competition. The more competitors you have, and the more they realize they, too, need to be at the top of a search engine, companies like Google start the bidding war.

Topic Discussed: Small business marketing costs more than ever

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