The Most Important Marketing Costs for Small Business

How Should a New Business Spend Their Marketing Budget?

Are you starting up a small business in the Comox Valley and wondering how to best utilize your marketing budget? In this article we will talk about the three most important marketing costs for start-ups: signage, website and online advertising. An outdoor sign and a sharp looking company website are a one-time purchase that will show an excellent long term return. Advertising online is one of the most economical and effective forms of targeted advertising; letting potential customers know you exist and bringing traffic to your website. In this article we will explain why these marketing costs are so important.


There is no other form of advertising that has the opportunity to capture as many impressions as an outdoor sign. Providing an excellent return on investment, it is the most cost effective advertising medium there is. Is your sign as visible and clear as it can be?

The oldest form of advertising, an outdoor sign is critical in helping build the brand identity and awareness of a small business. A well-designed, highly visible sign also helps customers locate your business, attracts impulse shoppers, and keeps your business at the top of the mind of past customers and passers-by. In a recent survey, 50% of customers said they learned about a business through their outdoor signs. With an estimated CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $0.02 for a large sign on a busy street versus $2.81 CPM or more for traditional advertising, it is hard to argue with the value you receive from the one-time investment of a premises sign. In fact, signage is so important, that if an existing business in a high traffic area had signage but found it wasn’t effective (difficult to read or not visible), I would recommend investing more on signage before putting any additional money into print advertising. It is a one-time investment with long term results – advertising for your business 24/7, every day of the year.

For more information about sign design read Building an Effective Business Sign.


In this day and age, if you don’t have a website, you simply don’t exist. Recent studies found that 80% of people now search the internet first when looking for a product or service! And why not? The internet and smart phones have provided consumers with the ability to get information instantaneously! There is no longer a need or desire to dig through a phone book or yellow pages.

Your website should be treated like an extension of your business. If your website looks cheap, dated, or out of date, your website can actually do more harm than good. A website acts as the hub for all of your online marketing and communications, and should be well-designed to help convert leads into sales. Advertising, promotions and newsletters should all drive potential customers to your website.

Also be sure to allocate money in your budget for Search Engine Optimization. SEO helps make sure your business ranks high in a search engine’s results page. That way if a potential customer looks for “Courtenay restaurant” instead of your specific restaurant’s name, your restaurant will still be one of the first results they see.

For more information about SEO check out Do it Yourself SEO.

Online Advertising

Online advertising is an excellent form of advertising because it has excellent targeting features and offers incredible tracking. So in addition to only paying for your target market to see the ads, you can easily see what is working and tweak your campaigns appropriately. Depending on the payment method you choose, you only pay for impressions, clicks, or actions. With traditional advertising such as the newspaper or radio many people in your audience aren’t interested in your product or service. But when you advertise online you can target who sees your advertisement by placing your add on websites for people with similar interests or having your ads appear based on related searches made in google. Facebook takes it one step further by using user data to let you select your target demographic. Age, gender, marital status, interests, friends, and what pages a user likes can all be used to narrow down your target audience.

The most important online ad to set up right away is a Google PPC (Pay per Click) campaign. When people search for your product or service your ads will show up at the top of the search results! They show up only when someone is in the market for your goods and you only pay if they actually click on your ad! These ads are especially important if you have a new website or a low website ranking.

We recommend talking to a professional (like us) to get the best results out of your new signage, website and online advertising. Give us a call today!


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  1. Pingback: Hi-Lite Sign Service | The Most Important Marketing Costs for Small Business

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