Every business needs to make marketing one of its primary concerns. Marketing is, in essence, an investment in your customers. In order for your company to grow, it needs to draw in ever greater numbers of customers and this is done by marketing to wider audiences. The advent of the internet has changed the nature of marketing for businesses everywhere over the past several years, introducing many new possibilities as well as new concerns. Determining an online marketing budget for your business will help you make the most of this exciting new opportunity.

First, you will need to figure out how much your business can afford to spend on marketing as a whole. Many business owners are too cheap when it comes to their marketing budgets, while others are too reckless with their spending. Both of these bad habits can lead to disastrous results. There are no cut-in-stone rules for determining how much a business should spend on marketing, but a few time tested guidelines can help you figure it out for your business.

In general, younger businesses need to spend more on marketing. Many businesses determine their marketing budgets by calculating a percentage of their gross revenues; in many cases, the funds allocated to marketing account for 2 to 8 percent. Established businesses with high sales can hover around the lower end of the spectrum, while start-ups and growing businesses need to spend more on marketing in order to carve out their place in the market. Some businesses actually spend up to 20 percent of their total sales on marketing in the early stages of business development.

After deciding how much your business should spend on marketing, the question becomes how to spend that money. Internet marketing is still a young field, and one that it not yet clearly defined in many ways. Additionally, it is not the only avenue for business marketing. Marketing investments should be split between brand development and business promotion costs, which can be done both online and through other media.

Consider the aspects of internet marketing that can help your business. Designing a professional website and optimizing it for search engine results is a great way to begin. Purchasing ad space on other websites might be an option as well. Consider all the ways that internet marketing can help to grow your business, and make them part of your total marketing strategy. However, remember that there are many ways to market your business for free. Social media marketing, for example, is one of the best ways to advertise for your business, and it costs nothing more than your time. If you can optimize your website and handle an unnatural links notice on your website without help, then SEO expenses can be brought down to a minimum.

There is no universal rule for setting an online marketing budget for your business. Everything is dependent on your needs and capabilities. Figure out how much your business can afford to spend, and find the best ways to use that money. Find the most effective online marketing strategies for your business, and never forget what you can do on your own without spending a single cent.