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EOFY is here, promote your business better in 2011/12

The new financial year is a great time to invest in online business promotion

The end of the Australian financial year is fast approaching and businesses big and small are busying themselves clearing stock in EOFY sales, chasing debtors, renewing contract terms, addressing tax obligations and setting budgets and forecasts for the new financial year.

Within those forecasts and budget plans should be an allocation for promoting or marketing the business in the new financial year. What should you spend on marketing? Should you advertise on TV, radio, in print or online? Which avenue of business promotion is most cost-effective?

Online advertising is the only truly measurable form of advertising and as a result, it’s the only form of advertising in which you can accurately calculate the return on investment. At this point last year many Australian businesses took the leap of faith into the world of online advertising as a form of business promotion and the new financial year in 2011 presents another opportunity for Australian businesses to make what is becoming an increasingly necessary step.

Don’t put promoting your business on the long finger

Now is the time to invest in online marketing. In terms of effectiveness and return on investment, online advertising delivers unmatchable standards and opens the world of large scale, popular media advertising to businesses that cannot necessarily afford traditional advertising.

Another advantage online advertising offers is flexibility – once you start your ad campaign in traditional media there is usually no going back but with all online business promotion techniques, if your efforts are wide of the mark you can tweak or improve them at any time.

How do I promote my business online?

Promoting your business online takes many forms: pay-per-click (PPC) ads such as Adwords; search engine optimization (SEO); Google Places optimisation and social media optimisation are the most common forms of business promotion online.

Depending on your end objective, one or all of these forms of business promotion may be relevant. For quick wins and immediate sales leads, AdWords presents a huge opportunity but costs increase incrementally as visits to your website increase. SEO provides the most sustainable long-term option as it can be self-managed (if you take the time to learn SEO) or if you decide to invest, costs don’t increase regardless of the traffic your site generates.

Social media optimisation is an incredibly effective means of promoting your business online, however as a standalone strategy it’s extremely limited and works best as part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy.

Even the most basic business promotion should include Google Places optimisation, which presents the best opportunity to quickly put your business on the first page of Google search results at a low outlay.

How much should I spend promoting my business online?

Business owners are inevitably fearful of cost but when evaluating cost, you should really be thinking return on investment. Educate yourself and try to learn what is a good return on investment for online advertising. If you were quoted $5,000-$20,000 for an annual online advertising bill many small business owners might say that’s too expensive but if it delivers $30,000-$40,000 in revenue you’ve made a significant return on investment.

When setting marketing budgets for the new financial year, set an attainable (but ambitious) target for sales delivered through online business promotion. Multiply that annual sales target number by the income you get from your average sale. Invest a percentage of that figure you feel would give you a worthwhile return on investment and that would be good online advertising budget to start with.

Most businesses that delve into the world of online advertising for the first time end up increasing their investment within the first year when they see the return on investment it can deliver. The only way you can explore the potential impact online advertising can have on your business is by taking that leap of faith – whether in terms of a financial investment or a self-managed (and importantly, educated) campaign.

roi.com.au offer free advice on how best to set your marketing budget in 2011/12

We can provide you with the tools to set a realistic marketing budget and online sales forecast using competitive benchmarking, industry expertise and keyword analysis. Armed with this information, you can then confidently decide how much you want to invest in online marketing in 2011/12.

If you are approaching the end of the financial year undecided on how best to promote your business in the future, help is at hand. To get professional input and advice in setting your marketing budget for the forthcoming financial year, or to explore the potential impact online marketing can have on your business for the financial year ahead, call roi.com.au today on 1300 650 274.