A couple of years ago we were contacted by a local dog walker. She was a one-woman operation and spent her days driving to the houses of her clients, caring for their pets. She had already spent over $1,000 for her website, but her designer had told her up front, “I don’t do SEO.”
Her answer was to hire an SEO company. This company charged her $2,000 a month. They sent her website analytics and made suggestions, including that she have her website optimized for search engines and get on Social sites.
She called us to help her with her website and a social media campaign. When we asked what her goals were and what her marketing budget was. She said that although she wasn’t making much money now, she wanted her business to support her and would spend what she needed to make it successful.
When we saw what she charging per client visit, the time it took her to get from house to house, and the cost of gas for her SUV, we had to ask: Did a $2,000+a month marketing budget make sense for her?
When we looked at our dog walker’s business, we believed that simply getting her on the map for local searches was all that mattered for her. This could be accomplished by registering her current site on Local Google+. Posting to her own Facebook Page might also work until she got too busy to do it herself. We also suggested that she decide on a marketing budget, which could grow as her business grew. Things like having door hangers printed that she would put on the doors of neighbors of her current clients and taking out ads in local subdivision newsletters might be an economical and more effective marketing option for her – helping her attract customers in her local area, saving her time and gas.
Websites and Social Media have made it easy to start a home-based business on a shoestring. However, we have seen many businesses fail because they neglected to figure out how much revenue they would have to generate to cover their marketing plans. Setting realistic sales and marketing goals, and then developing a budget that fits those goals, is the best way to assure that a budding business will succeed. Going “all in” on a marketing budget without looking at a realistic “bottom line,” is a recipe for failure.