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How Much is Advertising for a Small Business


Since November last year, I have spoken with almost 500 businesses (these being mainly business owners and majority of them being small to medium size businesses).

I find it bazaar that most of the time I sit down with or speak to business owners, the conversation is almost identical… And might I just add that the businesses in general are nowhere near being identical themselves. I have spoken with business owners from online stores and retail stores, suppliers, franchises, national companies and even tradies, yet the situation for most seems to be the same.

For this reason, I thought I would share this with you all.

The Things That I Have Learnt

From speaking with hundreds of business owners I must say I have a pretty good insight on to what the issues are that most are having.

If I can summarise it all, there are two main hurdles that came up in conversation:

  1. Advertising is too expensive.
  2. It is too hard to stand out from my competition.

As these seem to be the most common, let me elaborate on these a little bit!

Advertising is Too Expensive

From what I have encountered, the amount that small to medium size businesses are spending on their marketing is anywhere from $900 to $4500 per month.

Now let me say that $900 to $4500 is a very big difference in a monthly marketing budget. I see some spending less and getting a much greater result. This all comes down to spending it the right way.

It is Too Hard to Stand Out From My Competitors

It’s quite simple… If you do the same as your competitors, you will get the same result. You need to do something different

Find something that is going to give you a large presence in the area that your competition is quiet. This will not only give you a lot of exposure and make you stand out, it will also portray your businesses as the most superior and that it is the ‘go to’ in the community.

My Best Advice and Tips for the Best Return on Your Investment

It may be time to put it to rest. 

If something isn’t and hasn’t been working for a long time, stop throwing money at it. With times changing quicker than they have before, you will find that what may have been super successful for you in the past, may not be successful at all in the future.

Make the most of your budget.

Spending all of your money into one avenue of advertising is probably not the best option. When you look at major companies, they have their brand on as many different mediums as possible. One things I can say is that if you are competing with a company that has a bigger budget than you, try something different! You may only have 1/100th of their budget, but if you try something they aren’t doing and do it well, it will be more successful than copying what they are doing on a smaller scale.

Keep your foot on the pedal.

One thing I did notice with some businesses I sat down with who are doing better than their competition is that they didn’t spend less when times got tough. Generally as a rule of thumb, when things get quiet, small businesses will pull back on their marketing. This seems to start a negative ripple effect that is hard to break. I sat down with a large handful of business owners who kept their marketing going when things quietened down, which gave them the upper hand on all of their competitors, who had pulled back their marketing spend.

Try new things until something sticks.

After speaking lots about how I had an almost identical conversation with every business owner, that doesn’t mean that every business is the same. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Every single business is run different and has different ways that marketing will suit it. Keep trying new things until you find what works well for your business. This may seem like the wrong way to do it, but it is better to try something new if you are not getting results, than to keep wasting money on the same avenue.


The importance of having a strategy!

Before you go and start spending money on advertising, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a strategy in place. You need to know what you are doing, what you are trying to achieve, what the spend is going to be over a certain period and what is involved. This needs to be tailored to your specific business in fine detail. With each strategy, you should be looking at all the different ways you can market your brand and get ‘bang for buck’.

If someone provides you with a strategy before them sitting down with you and finding out every single detail of your business, there is a good chance that you are wasting your money.  Make sure you have a detailed plan of how the marketing campaign will run! If there are any small businesses that aren’t 100% sure what to do, reach out and I can point you in the right direction.

Happy Advertising and I hope this helps!