Good marketing and advertising are the key to any businesses’ secret to success. Having your brand well-represented often draws more prospects and clients, than if you sat on the sidelines and hope clients see you. However, with so many organizations gravitating to online-only marketing, it’s likely that many are missing out on more practical and less costly options out there.
Learning a Costly Lesson
Most entrepreneurs and business owners aren’t marketing or tech-nerds. They know business, finance, people-hiring, production planning, and customer service. But ask them about Pay-Per-Click (PPC), or making sense of, and winning, an AdSense “bidding war”, or “optimizing” ad copy for search engines – and they’re lost at sea! And as Gevorg Hambardzumyan, CEO of Front Signs signage company suggests, if you can’t understand something in Ads campaign, then you’ve got some hard choices to make:
- Put your business activities on hold, and learn about a marketing product, service or technology, before embracing them
- Hire staff who know what those solutions are about, and begin working on an implementation plan with them
- Outsource your requirements to a 3rd-party contractor, and continually oversee (either yourself or through in-house staff) the results they deliver
For many busy, and often understaffed, business managers and owners, these are hard lessons to learn. And in most cases, the lessons learned don’t come cheap either. There are costs involved:
- Taking focus away from your business, to get the hang of a complex marketing tool or technology costs you in lost revenue and opportunity costs
- There’s a dollar value associated with hiring in-house staff. And that value isn’t just the hourly rate. You’ll likely pay for benefits, social security, office space, software and tools…and the cost of managing and administering those members of your team
- Hiring a contractor has costs too – and not just the price of their contract. Even though you’re hiring them to do the job, unless you take time to establish an understanding of how their advertising and marketing services work, and take time to monitor the quality of their job, you might not receive value for money. And that’s a hidden cost many businesses often overlook!
Marketing your business using online services, or through digital platforms and social media, costs more than the sticker price. Understanding, managing and overseeing the results they deliver has a cost too, and learning how to do so is a costly lesson.
Not An Easy Task
Marketing your business isn’t an easy task today, especially when using online digital advertising platforms. A case in point is Google’s Ads platform.
Although you have interesting-looking charts, dashboards and tables to help you make money managing an Ad campaign, doing so isn’t as simple as other marketing and advertising options, such as well-designed signage and strategically built and placed decals and printed banners. If you can’t comprehend what’s behind a failing Ad campaign that’s costing you money, but not generating any income – you could try troubleshooting and fixing the issue.
But for the “typical” entrepreneur or business-person, spending time and effort addressing the issues may be as cost-prohibitive as learning Rocket Science! You’ll first need a crash course on Remarketing Setup, Conversion Tracking and Campaign Settings – and that could cost you too!
You’ll also be required to quickly get up-to-speed on terms like “Broad Match”, “Exact Match”, “Phrase Match” and “Broad Match Modified” – before your advertising starts generating revenue. And what might all this cost you?
Counting The Costs
One estimate[i] puts the expected spend on Google Ads, for a mid to small-sized company, at between $9,000 and $10,000 per month. That’s over $100k a month on advertising and marketing budgets. And that doesn’t include other costs, such as computers and software, and perhaps professional staff required to manage and implement an advertising campaign.
The professional cost may run anywhere between $350 to $5,000, or between 12% to 30% of the total ad spend budget. And tools, such as campaign setup, management, monitoring and analysis software, may cost between $15 and up to $800 per month. Of course, these figures assume you pay a “reasonable” cost to advertise for the words that interest you, and that those ads help to rank your website or online presence higher than your competitor.
If that doesn’t happen, and if you get into a price bidding war with a competitor for specific words, terms and phrases – then all bets are off! The costs may be much higher than what’s highlighted here. And then, there are external risks to contend with, which may result in costly exposure. For instance, the platform owner (e.g.: Google) typically has editorial rights over your campaign. They could, for instance, force you to modify your ads, or suspend or shut-down a campaign based on how they interpret site rules. That could cost you big time if your campaign is highly successful.
What’s the Alternate?
Given that we are in a digital world today, entirely ignoring online marketing and advertising is never a great strategy. In fact, digital advertising, either through your website or via platforms like Google Ads and Facebook, should be an important component of any marketing strategy. However, there are additional, simple and easy-to comprehend, complementing and less costly strategies that businesses must also integrate into every advertising campaign.
Using offline advertising to create a range of outdoor and indoors signage, produced from a variety of materials, including printed on acrylic, or made from wood, PVC, vinyl and more, is one way of supplementing online marketing with real-world, touch-and-feel advertising.
Online marketing platforms offer name exposure to users who are on a deliberate search for products and services in your niche (e.g.: through search engine queries). However, having a parallel marketing, with moving ads on the sides of vehicles, signage perched high-up on building tops, banners inside lobbies and reception areas, or lit-up signs on street corners and public gathering spaces (subways, stadiums, shopping malls and supermarkets), generates “passive” eyeballs, and rounds-up a well-balanced marketing strategy.