How Much Does a Marketing Campaign Cost?

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Investing in marketing

Marketing is the driving force behind any business. After all, there’s no point in having great products or services if you have no system for selling them. Acquiring new customers is a process that’s of fundamental importance to your success.

So it’s no surprise that many business owners ask me, “how much does a marketing campaign cost?” And a simple answer to that question would be…nothing!

That’s because a well-executed campaign is not a cost to the business. On the contrary, it’s the main revenue driver that makes profit possible. So it’s less about cost and more about return on investment.

If you spend $10,000 on marketing and generate an additional profit of $15,000, you’re getting a great deal. Naturally, you should try to repeat that process as often as possible.

That being said, it makes sense to get a feel for the kind of outlay required. So let’s delve into the costs associated with popular forms of online marketing.

Setting up for success

The first step in your marketing campaign will be to create a professional web presence. In today’s business world, prospective customers expect you to have a website that reflects your position in your industry. So it’s important to get a business website that your customer relate too.

As with everything in marketing, costs will vary significantly depending on your particular requirements. A brochure-style corporate website may cost you less than $10,000, while a complex ecommerce store may require an investment of up to $100,000. There are many details on figuring out how much a website costs.

Typical cost: $5,000-$100,000

Ongoing marketing campaigns

Naturally, you want to make sales day in, day out. So marketing is an ongoing need that requires an associated monthly investment. Here’s how costs may break down for typical small-business campaigns.

Search engine optimization

When people search for terms related to your business, you want your website to rank high in the search results. After all, these prospects are people actively searching for the products or services you offer.

But ranking for competitive keywords is tough, and you will need expert help. A good search engine optimization (SEO) company can help you rise through the ranks to star on the first page of results.

This won’t happen overnight, so you should think of SEO as a long-term investment. Depending on your requirements, you may expect to invest anywhere from $2000 to $10,000 per month.

Typical cost: $1500-$10,000+

Pay-per-click advertising

A faster way to the top of the search results is to buy ads on platforms such as Google and Bing. Pay-per-click advertising has the advantage of bringing you instant results, but getting a good ROI requires expertise. Here you’ll find what a successful PPC campaign looks like.

A pay-per-click agency can help by managing your campaigns for you. A good team will ensure you get the right exposure at an affordable price.

Pay-per-click ad agencies use various pricing models for their services. Some charge a flat monthly fee, while others bill you for a percentage of total ad spend. Always remember that the agency costs are in addition to the cost of running the ads themselves.

Typical agency cost: $1,500-$20,000+

Content marketing

Another way to promote your business is to create valuable content to engage potential customers. This content may include blog posts, videos, white papers, presentations, or articles. The content is then promoted online to generate interest, leads, and sales.

Content marketing is a time-consuming process, requiring input from professionals such as writers, designers, editors, and producers. Consequently, hiring a specialist agency to handle the task makes sense.

You can expect to spend several thousand dollars a month on content marketing, depending on the type of content and the volume produced.

 Typical cost: $2,000-$15,000

Social media marketing

The advent of social media platforms has transformed the way businesses communicate with their audiences. Through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you can reach billions of active users worldwide.

Social media marketing falls into two main categories. The first is organic marketing, where you post content for free across multiple platforms. The challenge here is to stand out from the crowd in a noisy environment.

The second option is to buy advertising to increase your reach. This way, you get guaranteed exposure, plus the opportunity to target your audience very precisely.

In both cases, social media marketing agencies can help. They have the expertise needed to navigate the complexities of each platform and get you the results you want. Most agencies expect to be compensated by a monthly retainer, although other options are possible.

Typical cost: $2,000-$20,000

Email marketing

Once you gain traction with online marketing, you will likely build an email list. This is an asset that can generate additional sales and revenue every month. So it makes sense to make the most of the opportunity, reaching out to your list regularly.

Running an email list requires an investment in email marketing software. The cost depends on various factors, including the size of your list. You should expect to invest $100 to $1000 monthly in your email software.

While it’s possible to write and send emails yourself, specialist help will probably do a much better job. A good copywriter will help you generate more opens, clicks, and sales—easily justifying the cost of $50-$100 per email written. An expert list manager can generate even higher returns by optimizing your email automations, broadcasts, and deliverability.

Email marketing delivers an ROI of around $36 for each dollar spent, making this a no-brainer investment.

Typical cost: $2,000-$10,000

Scale to the moon

So there you have some parameters for estimating the cost of a marketing campaign. But your actual investment will depend on where you are in your marketing journey.

A small startup may struggle to find $1000 to invest, while a successful brand may be happy to spend $1 million a month on advertising. The good news is that you can start small and scale.

As a general rule, expect to allocate 10%-20% of your revenue to marketing. That will give you the budget you need to grow without sucking all the air out of your cash flow.

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So the real question is NOT “how much does a marketing campaign cost?” What you should ask yourself is, “how much does a marketing campaign make?”

When you work with my marketing professionals, the answer to THAT question is, “a heck of a lot!”

Written By
Picture of Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi started CJAM Marketing after realizing that most business owners don’t know how to evaluate the value of a marketing agency or assess their own needs. Since every business is different not only in their needs but where they are at in the growth process, it isn’t a one size fits all. In the past 5 years, Behdad (or Bee) has met with and assessed 800+ marketing agencies and vetted them down to a lean 100 preferred partners across all marketing niches. After pairing hundreds of businesses with the right partners, he’s found his skillset lies in the matchmaking process. Featured in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, National Post and the Financial Post, Bee’s unique background in marketing, engineering, consulting, leadership, sales and strategy, has allowed him to serve as the conduit between business owners and the marketing teams they need.
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