This article is a hard one to write, but I feel it is necessary to shake some reality into small business owners who are foregoing profits because of one major mistake. It is all too common for me to see a small business owner create a business plan, make a great website, then sit back and wait for business to come their way.

I had two conversations last week with business owners that shuddered at the cost of marketing their business in their local area. They had a website but didn't understand the fact that if they don't market it, no one sees the website. And if no one sees the website, no one purchases their product or service!

I am a reasonable salesperson in the sense that I do not push or sell. What I do is explain what advertising for their business would entail and the value it would bring. Time and time again the business owner will not spend on advertising, instead of hoping the mere creation of a website will bring in customers, so I feel the need to explain further why this approach is a surefire way to minimize business growth and profits.

In a nutshell: marketing will either require a monetary budget and/or a time budget to be successful!

Marketing agencies know what it takes for a business to stand out from all the noise. It takes a consistent effort to be where your customers are as well as establish a trust connection with them right away. It is how today's sales funnel works.


Budget for Marketing

The tasks that are required to build trust with your audience include informative social posts, videos, website content, and building reviews for your business. Often the costs that the digital marketing agency is giving you are to cover most or all aspects of this.

A good marketing agency will work with its clients if the company wants to take on some of these tasks themselves. They will also help consult on best practices and how the message can be more effective.

Budget your Time

If your budget is slim, it is okay. Look at the tasks needed and see if you can fill in the gap between what is needed to make your marketing plan effective and what your budget is. As an example, you are wanting to increase your visibility on social media. You are working with a marketing agency, and they are running ads for you. To keep the budget down, you can make regular posts to your Facebook page, Instagram Page, etc.

You may want to do all or part of it, just make sure you have a social calendar set up, so the messages you post are consistent with the message the marketing agency is posting.

How Quickly Can You Recoup Your Costs?

A healthy way to look at the cost of marketing is to calculate how many closed deals it will take to make your money back. Depending on the type of marketing you are doing, 2 10% of customer inquiries will turn into a sale. Content marketing (which are articles) has a longer lifespan than general ads since they help your search engine optimization and stay on your website to help feed your site visitors through your funnel.

Depending on your goals, if you need immediate sales and calls coming into your business you will need paid ads. If your goals are focused on your long-term plan, search engine optimization is the way to go. We recommend a good balance of both, allowing you to simultaneously work on the immediate need and the long-term goals of your business.

There is a way to have the best of both worlds. But the harsh reality is, you need to invest in marketing to get your phone ringing and the door swinging at your business. Whether you work with an agency, go it alone, or somewhere in between, the KEY is to DO it!

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn

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