You can start out with little or no monetary investment, but you will eventually need to put some money in to your Internet marketing business. Here, budgeting your funds is vital. You don’t want to end up investing hundreds or thousands of dollars on an advertising tactic or campaign that will not earn back your investment.
Once you have created a budget, make sure you stick to it. Do not be tempted by special offers or programs with instant results unless they are part of your carefully planned and well-thought-out marketing strategy. If you stick within your budget, you will force yourself to research any marketing offers thoroughly, seek out the best deals, strike bargains, and determine whether the results you receive from a particular advertising method are worth re-investment.
Determining A Starting Advertising Budget
Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the exact cost of Internet marketing at the onset. Your needs and the current market pricing for goods and services related to online advertising will dictate how much you’ll spend. Whether you need to invest your budget in a website package, a high-quality autoresponder, special programming such as interactive components, or the purchase of products, materials, or turnkey packages, research is once again the key to your budgetary requirements.
If you need professional assistance in designing your website or crafting your copy, hiring a freelance professional is your best bet. Keep in mind that with freelance article writers and designers, you get what you pay for. If the cost for the service is cheap, the service itself will likely be cheap as well. Be sure to ask for samples or portfolios before hiring a freelancer. Most freelancers work at competitive rates as well. The good news is that once you pay a freelancer to design your website or write your copy, the end result is yours—the freelance fee is a one-time investment that will remain profitable for you.
Some additional costs you may choose to include in your budget are:
E-mail marketing: Hiring an Internet marketing company or buying a list of opt-in leads can prove profitable and cost-effective. However, launching a successful e-mail marketing campaign is not a simple process. First, you must investigate e-mail marketing companies thoroughly. There are many of them out there, and prices vary widely. Some are less than ethical, and may provide you with unqualified leads—which will get you in trouble for spamming. Second, you must provide the marketing company with exact profiles of your target demographics in order to ensure you receive as many qualified leads as possible. Third, the marketing letter you write must be compelling to entice people to your website. And finally, your website itself must be in top form to convert all those visitors to buyers. E-mail marketing is not a complete solution; rather, it is a component of an overall effective marketing plan. Learn about opt-in email marketing with an autoresponders.
Banner ads: Placing banner ads for your website can be effective—but again, there are many factors to consider here. There are many websites that offer banner advertising space, but force you to share space and compete with other websites offering similar products or services. The most effective banner ad placement comes with an exclusivity guarantee: yours should be the only banner on the page. Otherwise, you risk a sharp decline in traffic when visitors are directed to other websites.
Pay per click: PPC programs are one of the most cost-effective and results-achieving advertising methods on the Internet. With a PPC advertising models, you receive only targeted traffic—visitors who click on your PPC ads have looked for your keywords in a search engine. This means they are more likely to become paying customers when they arrive at your website. The problem with PPC advertising is that there are only so many specific, targeted keywords that will apply to your business. The more popular, generalized keywords are subject to fierce competition, so that only those willing to pay a high per-click price will be able to use them.
There are also some other alternatives in paid marketing to consider. For example, when it comes to PPC marketing, you will not pay a huge amount—but you will have to invest a huge amount of time in keyword research and results tracking. In the world of Internet marketing, time equals money. If you are interested in launching a PPC campaign, but dont feel you have the necessary time or expertise to devote to making your campaign successful, you may want to consider hiring a pay-per-click advertising management service to do the work for you.
These companies understand how PPC marketing works, and will take much of the business of gaining website traffic out of your hands so you can concentrate on running your company. Some of the services PPC advertising management companies provide include:
- Development of high-performance keyword lists
- Creation of compelling, attractive text ads
- Keyword list and bidding management
- Campaign optimization based on performance data analysis
- Results and tracking reports for you to view
Keep in mind that driving traffic to your website is not enough. You need relevant, targeted traffic arriving at your website—quality over quantity. For this reason, a carefully planned and orchestrated PPC campaign can be highly profitable.
The most popular PPC program, of course, is Googles AdWords. AdWords gets you listed near the top of the most popular search engine, and you can change your keywords every month until you arrive at a combination that yields the best results for you.