We have a question from our listener, Em. We have a product and it is the bread and butter of our company for five years now. We are planning to expand. How much should we invest for marketing? How much percentage of income is ideal to invest for marketing?
My answer to that Em, and since I run a digital marketing company and I do marketing and advertising myself, I don’t really put in a percentage of the budget. That’s not how I do things. So I cannot tell you – “you have to put like 10% or 20%.” I’m sure if you Google it, you would see posts or blogs that teach best practices out there. But if you asked me what I’m going to tell you is, if there is a campaign that you can run, that would give you good returns on the investment in that marketing or advertising campaign, go for that.
Especially if you’re still just five years in the market. You’re still in the ‘start-up’ phase. On your sixth, seventh and all the way to your tenth year, you are scaling up – you are making sure all your processes are clean and systematized. That is the scale up phase and you are still on the tail end of the start-up phase.
So the marketing budget, in my opinion, has to be invested in things that would bring returns. I know it sounds biased because I own SEO Hacker, but really if you’re going to look at the return on investment, SEO is the best return on investment. Because if you advertise on Facebook or Instagram, these are people who are browsing, they have nothing else to do. Whenever we’re on Facebook or Instagram, it’s because we have time to kill. It’s not because we have a mission or we’re trying to complete a task, it’s because we have a lot of time to spare on browsing Facebook or Instagram.
So imagine if you run an ad there, however targeted it is, even if you target: male, age range is 30 to 40 or 30 to 50, and has interests in watches. But they’re browsing just because they have time to kill. Compared to Google, people in Google are searching for something. They’re laser focused. They have an intention to buy. They have an intention to spend. And so the difference in intent is huge when you’re doing social media marketing, contrary when you’re doing SEO.
Now there’s a question, “Sean, why don’t I run Google ads instead of going SEO, because SEO is pricier than Google ads?” You’re right, but Google ads is like renting. The moment you stop paying Google, your search listing disappears. SEO is like owning. Even if you stop paying the SEO company, your rankings will stick. Also with SEM, you know how it is, the millennial generation all the way to the younger ones, Gen Z, we’re ad blind. We’re ad blind. We don’t like clicking ads. We don’t like ads being on our faces.
So when we see that it’s a Google ad, we don’t click it. Do you click Google ads? I don’t know about you, but I don’t click on Google ads. I click the first organic result because I know I’m not going to be sold something when I click on the organic result. But when I click on the page results, I know that they’re going to sell me something, cause they’re running ads. They’re going to want to make their money back. Right?
If we’re talking ROI, SEO is definitely the best, if not, one of the best. That’s where I’m going to put the money. So I’m not going to tell you to spend only 20% of your marketing budget or 30%. For me, invest in good SEO. If you cannot budget for that amount of money, then do it yourself. You can DIY your SEO.
There’s so many resources out there for you to learn and do SEO yourself. Because you can do it yourself. I’m saying this and I own an SEO company. I started out doing it myself as a freelancer, and then I built processes and right now we’re a 50 man team. We’re handling around 50 plus clients and we’re doing it because we are already systematized, and my playbook works.
But that’s not to say that it’s the only playbook out there. You can make your own playbook. There’s a lot of ways to do SEO. My suggestion is do it ethically or the white hat method, rather than the gray or black hat, which is unethical or a mix of ethical and unethical.