When it comes to planning your digital advertising budget, there is one piece of advice that I have to offer that you might not expect coming from a marketing agency.  

Of course you want to get the best return on investment for your limited advertising dollars. We hear from a lot of business owners that in order to do that they think they need to spread their advertising budget across as many channels and platforms as possible. The idea is that if they are advertising everywhere, then they are more certain to reach and engage and attract more and more potential clients and customers. But that is not necessarily true. 

There are plenty of times when “less is more” is the smartest advertising strategy.

Advertising On Fewer Channels Can Make a Bigger Impact

If you only have $5,000 a month or less to spend on digital advertising and are in a competitive industry, don’t try to spread those dollars across Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

Once that money is divided up, your budgets for each of those channels will be relatively small and you’ll run through that money fast. In the process you will dilute the impact you could have had if you had concentrated your efforts and your budget on just one of those channels. 

We often find that the best approach, especially for small and mid-size businesses that have tight advertising budgets, is to focus your advertising budget on no more than two channels. Throwing a small amount of money at digital advertising on a lot of different platforms will NOT get you the results you want to see. You’ll miss out on impressions and the opportunity to really build brand awareness and move your leads along the sales funnel towards the conversions you really want to see. If you spend more money on one platform, you’ll do better. 

Get Advice from a Digital Advertising Expert

I’ve been a Google advertising strategist for many years and I have executed hundreds of successful campaigns for my clients. I will be honest with you when I say that most businesses that want to rely on Google advertising to grow need to plan to invest heavily in Google Ad campaigns in order to see the results they want, particularly if you are in a highly competitive industry. My colleagues that specialize in social media advertising tell me that the same is true for each channel and platform. 

If you are consulting with a digital advertising specialist, ask them what they recommend you should plan to spend at a minimum to see results by platform. They should be able to forecast traffic results using tools like the Keyword Planner. If they are an ethical contractor or agency, they will be honest with you and be able to provide you specific examples for your industry. 

I can tell you that at our agency, we will not tell you what you want to hear just to sell you on digital advertising. You won’t hear me saying, oh just throw a hundred dollars at it per month and you’ll get something. Right now, I may tell you you need to plan to spend a minimum of $3000 to $5000 per month on one really well executed, single campaign to see the kind of return you are looking for. 

The cost of keywords, or Cost Per Clicks (CPCs) can be very high. We recently had a client in a very competitive industry that we realized would have to spend an average of $65 per click to show up at the top of the advertising results for his most important keyword. In his auctions, he was competing against other firms that had multi-million dollar advertising budgets.

It can be hard for a small business to compete, but not impossible

The only way to really give your business a fighting chance is if you put your full budget towards a solid strategy focused on your most valuable target audience and your campaign that is hyper focused on your highest potential return on investment service or product.

You have to think deeply about which channels make the most sense for your audiences, your business model, and your industry. Make sure you know the difference between marketing goals, like branding, awareness, lead generations and sales for instance. Each marketing goal could be a different campaign. Think about where your valuable target audiences spend time online and what they primarily come to those channels for.  

Main Takeaways

Do your research. Ask questions. Talk to experts. Make sure you understand what a search ad is and when it makes the most sense to invest in search advertising.