What is an average marketing budget for a small business

Before, marketing for your small business, besides a sign on the store, involved an ad in a local newspaper. Today, however, things are very different. There’s a website, and you need to think about content marketing, SEO, PPC, email, and so many more things. Of course, a sign and ad in the newspaper didn’t go anywhere, and you still need them. And with so many channels you have to focus on, it’s not a surprise that the costs are growing. But how much exactly? Here, you’ll find out the average marketing budget for a small business today and how you can get a number for your company.

The important thing is that there’s no one size fits all answer here. It all depends on the business you run and the objectives you have. You can opt for your campaign to boost awareness of your brand or generate more leads for your business, and of course, one will cost more than the other.

To figure out how much you should and can spend, take a look at these tips for coming up with a budget that won’t put your small business behind.

Research your industry

A picture showing a laptop.

To put it as simply as possible, your marketing budget should be a percentage of your revenue. But depending on the type of company, your proportion will be different. For B2B businesses, the rule of thumb is to spend anywhere between 2 and 5%, but for B2C, it’s between 5 and 10%. If you’re selling directly to customers, you have to spend more to reach all the customer segments.

To figure out what your target budget should be, try to find out how much your competitors are spending. In the US, small businesses spend anywhere from 10 to 50 thousand dollars a year on marketing. And if you want to follow their example, focus half of your funds on a website, and a half on other forms of online marketing.

Set clear goals

If you want your campaign to succeed, it needs to have clear goals that are measurable and specific.

For example, let’s say you want to get more people to visit your website and take specific action there. You need to know how many people over what period of time you want to see. And if you plan to attract people to your store for free samples, you must know what kind of customers you want to see. It all comes down to this.

When you know what you want to achieve, you can plan what you need to do to get there. You can measure how much you need to invest and track the results. And if you do everything right, this will even save you money in the long run. To get the best results, keep your customer personas in mind when you’re creating the plan. Your proposition should clearly explain how you will address their needs and why they should come to your shop.

And when they come, you want to have the perfect offerings ready. The kind that will turn them from leads to customers right away.

Think about all the potential costs

A man showing money.

As you already know, marketing has a lot of components you have to keep in mind. To determine how you should spend the average marketing budget for a small business, you must consider the following things. Find out the most effective option for you, and feel free to adjust your amounts over time.


When we’re talking about the cost of your website, we’re talking about the cost of the original design, build, and monthly running expenses like hosting. On top of that, we can’t forget about keeping the content fresh and SEO up to date. Of course, you can use some easy and affordable tricks to help you move along, but you’ll see all the real benefits only when you pay an expert to do it for you.

Gated Content

If you’re serious about your content marketing strategy, you probably have some gated content. People who want to access it give you their contact information, and in return, you send them additional articles or whitepapers that they might find valuable.

Of course, these should be more serious and hold more value than the posts that are accessible to anyone. And to create that content, you’ll need to spend more time and money.


Besides gated content, you also want to send regular updates to the customers that gave you their contact info. By doing this, you’ll keep your company on top of their minds and encourage them to do more business with you. With that said, planning for it, writing it, and sending it out will all take away some of your resources.

Social media

These days, you can’t run a business and not have social media accounts for it. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even Twitter are the places where you can engage with your current customers and market to the new ones. They’re a great way to generate more leads, and if you want to succeed, you should take advantage of them.

However, even if you don’t spend money promoting yourself there, you still need to create content and posts that will bring you organic traffic. And that leads to additional costs that you need to account for.

Online advertising

If you want to advertise with Google Ads, you’ll need to set aside a minimum of $1,000 for it to be effective. It’s not the cheapest way of marketing, but it can work great. And if you spend some time refining it a bit, you’ll be amazed by what it can do.

Mobile ads

Mobile ads are a relatively new way of promoting your business, but they already bring big profits. At the moment, more than half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, and experts say that this number will only go up. Hence, it’s an area that will develop more in the future. On top of that, people find mobile ads less annoying than the traditional desktop ones, so it’s something you should think about, for sure.

Traditional media

By now, it should be clear that digital advertising tends to be cheaper than traditional means. Radio, TV, and print are expensive, but they still can have value if your target audience uses them and if the average marketing budget for a small business you work with can accommodate for them. Think about how much money you have to spend and find a way to get the most out of it.


Although most marketers still focus on the text as people love to engage with it, video is rising in popularity these days. And the best thing about it is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it. If you have a good idea, your smartphone could be enough to make an online commercial that will wake up the dreams and goals of your target audience.

Don’t forget about the training

You have two choices you can choose between when it comes to executing your marketing campaigns.

The first option is outsourcing. In this day and age, finding a digital marketing agency that can do everything we talked about in this list won’t be hard. If you go for full scope, they will run your site, write your content, take care of the SEO and ads. Your job will be only to tell them what you want and wait for it to happen. You’ll get the results you’re hoping for, but doing it this way won’t be cheap. However, if the budget isn’t an issue, this is the best option for any business.

The second option is relying on your internal staff to create and execute the campaigns. This might seem like a more affordable way to do it, but it still won’t be free. If you decide to go down this path, you must set aside funds for training. All the channels that you’ll use evolve and change all the time. So, to keep up with the trends, your employees will need to get training every once in a while.

Keep track of costs and make adjustments

As you work through your budget, you’ll realize what you can afford and what you can’t. Think about your priorities and keep an eye on web analytics at all times.

Of course, the average marketing budget for a small business shouldn’t be the goal you’re streaming to. Assess what you spend every year and see how good results it brings. Maybe you can make it work with less, or perhaps you’ll have to put in more money to get the results you’re after. But the more time you spend analyzing and monitoring, the better you’ll know what’s going on.

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