To Pay or Not to Pay: When You Should Start Spending Money Marketing

To Pay or Not to Pay: When You Should Start Spending Money Marketing

Usually, when someone asks me if they should do paid advertising or otherwise spend money marketing, I say — do everything I teach you for 3 months organically (non-paid). Then look at your analytics and see what’s working and not working. At that point, you’ll know which networks are…

  • Driving the most traffic to your website
  • Bringing you qualified leads that convert into customers
  • Garnering good relationships

Then it makes sense to spend money on paid advertising, outside consultants, experts, and management tools to help your marketing on the one or two networks where you’re seeing results.

However, there may be some instances when you want to spend some money marketing upfront…

You may want to invest in…

  1. social media strategic and tactical planningPlanning and strategizing. You have visions, goals, and objectives. Putting together a good strategic marketing plan is crucial to have a roadmap as you dive into the world of social media marketing. Once the strategy is set, then comes the tactical plan on how you’re going to implement the strategy. What you’re going to do, for how long, and where? You can probably manage this yourself, but you may want to hire an advisor to guide you and let you know of marketing opportunities you may be missing out on. For instance, many e-commerce folks I coach totally forget about Pinterest.
  2. If you’re a startup, it takes time to build a social media following. If you’re a brand new business, you may not be able to afford to wait a month to 3 months to grow a following or get that reach and exposure you need. (Unless you’re under construction, then you can build a following while you’re literally building your business.)
  3. You’re not very tech-savvy. I can teach anyone — no matter how much of a technophobe you are — how to effectively market your business on social media. It takes time. Think of it as sweat equity. Furthermore, no one can know your business like you know your business, so hiring someone to do it for you takes some hunting to find the right person who knows your field or industry.
  4. You have a budget. Many startups don’t have a budget or they spend it on building a website and other marketing needs. In that case, you need to figure out — how much is my time worth? Do I hire someone to do it for me? Can I trust them?
  5. You don’t have the time, skills, or knowledge. If you don’t have the budget, you have to put in the sweat equity to market your business. Moreover, you need to produce content — blogs, videos, graphics and/or podcasts. Creating your marketing content takes time. Do you have the right tools? (I’ll get to that in a bit.) Do you have the knowledge on how to use the tools?

Spending an hour or two with me now learning how to do it right can save you a lot of time and frustration down the line as you try to figure it out on your own.

Social Media 1:1 coaching & training

Learning how to do all this is beneficial.

Sure, it takes a lot of time upfront, but as you do your marketing daily, you get more comfortable in the networks and using the tools and it takes you less time to do what you need to do. Even if you do end up hiring someone to do it for you, you still need to supervise them and make sure they’re doing everything they’re supposed to be doing. The only way you can do that is if you understand how everything works. Also, if you do hire someone, make sure they provide you with monthly reports. This is your way of tracking their efforts.

Where You Should be Spending Money Marketing?

If you’re not carefully choosing where you’re spending money marketing, you can easily end up spending $2500 a month or more with someone and you don’t know how many blog articles they’re doing a month, if your SEO ranking has improved or not, and if your website site traffic has increased at all. The latter two things mentioned here are two primary objectives of blogging and content marketingbetter SEO and increased traffic to your website.

If the traffic is going to your site, but people are not converting — that is, not downloading the freebie, coupon offer, contacting you, or buying — then there’s something wrong with your website. It could be:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

seo search

A website and social media profiles aren’t worth a darn if you don’t come up on Google when someone is searching for what you have to offer. Here’s what you can buy in regard to SEO if you don’t want to learn how to do it yourself.

  • In the US, 75.42% of SEO consultants charge between $101-$200 per hour. Most SEO consultants (36.17%) say they charge a minimum of $1000-1,999 for a monthly retainer. (Source: “How much SEOs are Charging for Services” Search Engine Journal)
  • Services they provide:
    • SEO audit – testing to see where your site is failing. You can do this for free here.
    • Technical SEO setups for your website – your web designer should have included this in your website building if they were worth their salt.
    • Monthly monitoring and reporting
    • Blogging — Beware that the content they are providing is fresh and unique to your website. Some services sell and resell content. Duplicate content only helps the website where the original was first published. The best way to find out if they provide fresh content is to ask for sites of current customers. Copy the first sentence of one of their blogs, then paste it in the Google search box to see if it comes up anywhere else. I remember I did this for a legal firm and it came up in over 50 other websites. Now, that’s throwing your money away.

Copywriting, Blogging, and Content Creation

laptop computer

This one comes down to your skills, talents, and abilities. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Am I a good enough writer?
  • Can I write content that will entice people to buy?
  • Do I have the time to blog at least weekly? (If your website is brand new, you need to blog 3-5 times a week for the first 2 weeks, then go down to 2-3 times a week for the rest of the first month so that Google will notice you.) What should you blog about?
  • What about visuals? Videos, graphics, and pictures. Am I creative enough? There are free tools like to create logos, social media cover graphics, blog titles, and more! For free video editing, if you’re on a Mac, you have iMovie. For PC users you have Movie Maker.
  • Do you have the time and skill to create the content? Do you want to learn how to do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you?

Social Media Marketing Tools:


There’s a bevy of social media marketing tools out there to help you organize, schedule, and automate your social media posting. Many are free — to a point.

Start using them for free for 3 months or if they have a free trial. Consequently, if you find that you can’t live without it and you’d like to upgrade to get the whole gamut of functions or to add more networks, then factor in their cost into your marketing budget. It’s cheaper to pay for the year. I did that with Sendible (affiliate link), which is a great time-saver! You can monitor some feeds and they’re reporting is easy and effective.

Most of the tools are around $10-30/month with discounts for paying annually. Again, try them first, if you feel the cost is worth it, go for it.

Another time-saving tool is It’s great for automating posting from trusted sources that are of interest to your target market that is relevant. LinkedIn disconnects itself every 3 months and has to be reconnected.

Be aware that the social networks are constantly changing and these 3rd party tools need to keep up with them. In fact, with Twitter’s changes to X and beyond, many features that were free are now paid “pro” features.

What about Paid Advertising?

Before spending money marketing, try doing it organically for 3 months. If you feel you could have better results by spending some money on paid ads, then go for it. I don’t do paid advertising as I believe that anyone can become social savvy enough to manage it all on their own and be successful.

However, there are instances like if you’ve saturated your market with your current efforts and need to expand your reach. In that case, paid ads are the way to go. But before you place a paid ad anywhere…

In short, if you have the budget, spend it well. If you don’t have the budget, invest in some 1:1 training to learn how to properly and effectively use the tools.

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