Blog Home

Small Business Advertising: Where to Spend Your Budget


Written by

Ash Winder



Small Business Advertising: Where to Spend Your Budget

Header image of a calculator

When you’re running a business, there are so many moving parts that it’s sometimes difficult to know your next move – but planning for the future is key to success.

If you’re looking to take your small business to the next level, then you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a winning marketing plan in place.

Not sure where to start when it comes to marketing? Read on for guidance on how to choose the right online advertising channels for your business.

How to choose the right digital marketing channels for your business

  1. Define your audience

Before you kickstart your marketing campaigns, it’s essential that you conduct some research to learn more about your ideal consumer. Doing so will help you glean useful information about your target demographic, such as:

  • Their interests and hobbies
  • The kind of media they consume
  • The websites or apps they frequently visit
  • What words they are searching for on Google

Nowadays, people are bombarded with media clutter everyday. So, if your marketing strategy is going to be a success, you need to know exactly where and when to communicate with your target audience. That means targeting your audience where they’re already hanging out, rather than reaching them where you want them to be.

Looking to engage with Gen Z? Consider Instagram and TikTok. Want to talk to CEOs at large firms? Head to LinkedIn.

  1. Know what your goals are

To help your small business succeed, you need to know exactly what you want to accomplish through your digital marketing efforts. Maybe you want to see an increase in sales of your goods and services. Or perhaps you want to drive brand awareness and gain more followers on a particular social media platform. Either way, having your end goal in mind will help you determine which digital marketing tactic is best to get started with.

Each marketing channel works differently, and some are better at achieving certain goals than others. You can start by setting clear marketing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART).

An Image showing smart, specific, measure, achievable, realistic and timing
  1. Analyse your competitors

Need a little direction? Research your most successful competitors and identify the marketing channels they use to help indicate where you should be spending your budget. Competitor research is a great way to understand if a particular marketing channel is likely to perform well for your business and enables you to grab some share of voice on each channel too.

  1. Set your marketing budget

Some digital channels are much more costly than others, so your marketing budget will play a role in which channels you decide to use. For example, posting on social media can be free, but paying for Google Ads or investing in an extensive content marketing strategy can be pricey.

That said, don’t forget to consider the return-on-investment potential. Using standalone platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram for marketing may not pay off as well as a comprehensive content marketing strategy that includes weekly blog posts and SEO.

Generally, the more you spend on marketing, the more success you’re likely to have. If you invest more up front, you could start seeing results faster. If you start slowly and build your way up, substantial results may take longer.

an image of money to show budget

Consider these costs when determining your marketing budget and choosing your channels:

  • Hiring a marketing team in-house vs. outsourcing the work to an agency
  • Marketing tools and software
  • Your budget for paid advertising
  • General costs for each digital marketing channel to compare

The best marketing channels for small businesses

Different channels will drive different results. Understanding your options and how each channel works will enable you to work towards your business goals.

showing the individual pillars, PPC, Content, SEO, Email and Social

Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click (also known as PPC) is a form of advertising where you pay for your ads to appear at the top of search engine results pages. Unlike organic traffic that finds you naturally, PPC advertising involves “buying” traffic.

For your ad to appear, you need to bid on keywords you think people will use to find a product or service like yours. You can also target specific demographics. If your ad appears for searchers, they can click and land on your website. When they do, the service provider charges you a fee.

PPC is best for: brand awareness, lead generation, direct sales and audience targeting.

Learn more about how PPC works.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a channel every marketing team should use to build a robust online presence and authority. Every successful business needs a website. The way people find your website organically online is through high-quality content. It’s that simple.

By giving consumers exactly what they’re looking for, addressing their pain points and challenges, you’ll gain authority, increase website traffic, and generate quality leads.

Content marketing is best for: boosting website traffic, education, storytelling, brand awareness, building authority, lead generation and generating ROI.

Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation (SEO) goes hand in hand with content marketing. The aim of this process is to improve your website to increase its visibility and gain more organic traffic through Google, Bing, and other search engines. 

The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to gain attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your website.

Essentially, SEO is about fulfilling users’ search needs by creating relevant, high-quality content and providing the best possible user experience. In practice, SEO encompasses:

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation and optimisation
  • Technical optimisation
  • Link building

SEO is best for: website traffic, building authority, lead generation and link building.

An image showing people looking for something in the results of a search engine

Email marketing

Email marketing is a direct marketing channel that lets businesses share new products, discounts, and updates with customers on their contact list. Its high ROI makes it crucial to most businesses’ overall inbound strategy.

Modern email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings and instead focuses on segmentation and personalisation. This may sound time-consuming, but marketing automation handles most of the heavy lifting for you. In the long run, a well-designed email marketing strategy not only drives sales, but helps build a community around your brand.

Like with most marketing channels, the cost will depend on the size of your business, your chosen goals and your budget.

Email marketing is best for: conversions, customer loyalty, brand awareness and lead generation.

Social media marketing

Social media is where you can have one-on-one conversations with your audience. In some ways, it’s the most personal channel and can make your brand feel approachable and down-to-earth. You can also be less formal here by adding humour, getting creative, and commenting on current topics when appropriate.

By speaking with followers via chat or replying to comments on posts, you can use social media to build genuine relationships with prospective and current customers.

Social media is also useful for researching and understanding your target audience. Use the demographic data available to businesses on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Consider placing targeted ads to get in front of a bigger audience and generate leads.

With social media, you can spread content fast. If people love what you’re sharing, they’ll expand your reach by sharing it with their friends, family, and followers.

Social media marketing is best for: relationship building, brand awareness, and audience targeting.

Key takeaway

The above are just some of the marketing channels you can use to achieve your business objectives. There are more, and fortunately, you don’t have to adopt every marketing channel imaginable to become successful. As a matter of fact, doing so will likely only result in failure.

Instead, evaluate every channel and determine which ones are right for your business depending on your goals. Overall, you only want to use the channels that bring you the best return on investment.

For more guidance on where to spend your marketing budget, explore CTI Digital’s expert digital marketing services. Unsure where to start with marketing? Explore our highly-rated marketing platform.

The Author
Most Recent
An accurate measure of profitability is about more than just ROAS....


Written by

Byron Marr



Unlock retail success with digital marketing. Discover audience targeting, PPC advertising, SEO optimisation, content marketing, and social media....


Written by

Daisy Lewis



ClickTech's latest acquisition, EDEE, solves a potentially costly PPC budgeting problem quickly, easily and permanently. And you can book a demo today....


Written by


Subscribe to learn more