Business Advertising Budgets and DIY Tips

If you own a small to medium sized business, you may wonder how much to spend on advertising. What return on investment can you expect from hiring professionals with years of experience in the game? You may also be considering what aspects of marketing may be worth pursuing “in-house”?

First of all, depending on which industry your business is in, companies should spend approximately 5% of total revenues on marketing to maintain their current position.

If you would like to grow your business, the marketing budget needs to increase, usually to at least 10% of revenues.

Highly competitive markets such as retail and consumer products will need to fork out many more dollars to keep and grow their market shares – more like 20-50%.

Using this general rule of thumb, you can calculate a reasonable marketing and advertising budget for your business that fits with your business plan and goals.

Advertising Budgets

This is the equation from

  • Total Revenue x 5% = Marketing budget required to maintain current awareness and visibility
  • Total Revenue x 10% = Marketing budget required to grow and gain market share

Implementing a solid online marketing strategy that includes components such as PPC advertising, search engine optimization, mobile apps and a responsive website, can yield massive market gains.

Take this testimonial from Oracast clients Shell Canada for example:

“The web application that Oracast built us has paid for itself hundreds of times over, and we continue to add features each year to improve our operations.”

Or this testimonial from Snowvalley:

“The build of our new website better reflects our company and is much more helpful to our customer base, as seen by the growth in the number of website viewers increasing by 20%!”

There is no doubt getting experts to work on your business for you can produce profitable results, but what if you have a very limited budget? What can realistically be done in-house?

We recommend that if you do have the time and in-house resources, some aspects of marketing can be achieved successfully. These include an email marketing campaign, social media marketing, such as regularly posting on your Facebook and Twitter pages, and regularly posting on your blog.

No one knows your business better than you do, and positioning yourself as an expert in the field via content marketing can go a long way. If you need to find or create graphics or video to go with the content marketing, we recommend tapping into the endless resources and advice online. A word of caution: do your research and get some basic skills down before going ahead on your own. Take a copywriting class. Learn how to handle graphics, file formats and file transfer protocols if you haven’t had a lot of experience with that already.

Creating a great website or mobile app, doing SEO well, running a PPC ad campaign all involve steep learning curves that usually require a whole team of diverse and skilled individuals that have years of experience to execute well. These aspects of marketing are better left to a well-rounded team.

Good luck! And if you do need a little help along the way, Oracast has the years of experience and diverse team you may just be looking for.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

Inbound marketing is a strategy that draws people to your business by providing prospects with quality content they are already looking for. Examples of inbound marketing strategies include blogging, social media and search engine optimization.

“Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.” – Google answers

For more on inbound vs. outbound marketing, click here.

So how does inbound marketing lead to more sales for your business? Let’s take a look at the inbound marketing process:

inbound marketing process
Read more

Your Holiday Marketing Campaign Guide

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and if you haven’t already created your marketing plan for the season, it’s not too late to get your campaign up and running.

From Black Friday to Christmas Eve and into the New Year, spending ramps up, which is why it’s important to get in front of your customers and map out your marketing plans to tap into that holiday buzz.

Here’s your quick guide to creating your own successful holiday marketing campaign:

1. Establish Your Goals

First, decide on the time frame your campaign will run. Some businesses start early and others continue into the New Year depending on your goals and target audience.

Now is a great time to fill in your SMART Goals worksheet to help you define what you want to accomplish and how you will achieve that in a measurable manner. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-based.

2. Create Your Message

What offer would you like to put in front of your target audience? Your message should be consistent and focused. Your offer can take many forms and needs to fit the best with your specific business and audience. Keep in mind making your customers feel special. Your offer may be an exclusive discount, a bonus present, gift cards a special event or even a free download or ebook.

3. Landing Page

You will want to drive traffic to a special landing page designed around your message and offer. This page will have the benefits of your offer, a captivating image, an interesting headline and a clear call to action. The call to action could be anything from “View Today’s Offer”, to “Buy Now” or even an email submit form. Your online marketing efforts and emails will drive traffic back to this page.

4. Blog

Write about your offer and post it to your blog. Keep it personable and think about your target audience as you write. The blog could include a call to action and link to your new landing page.

5. Social Media

Start promoting your offer on your social media platforms. Hootsuite is a great website to use to plan and distribute your posts from one simple spot. You can add a Christmas flair to your social media branding to increase awareness of your promotion. Include links to your blog post and landing page in a few of your posts, but switch it up to keep things interesting and don’t repost the exact same thing too many times. Don’t have a social media plan already in place? Check out our Social Media Marketing services which will help your business build authority and better online visibility.

6. Email

Using the main message and offer you’ve created, build an email based on who your recipients are. It’s best to keep emails short and sweet, and to include interesting visuals or captivating headlines. Add a compelling subject line and share buttons to your email so recipients can pass the message on. Keep the visuals and main message of your holiday campaign congruent so visitors to your website, social media pages and blog recognize the offer and don’t feel confused. It’s best to be consistent.

7. Pay Per Click Advertising

You may want to look into paid advertising to boost your campaign on search engines or on Facebook to drive more traffic to your offer. Put a budget in place and run a few numbers to see if it would be a profitable move for your holiday campaign. Need a hand getting this set-up? Oracast can help. Check out our PPC advertising services to generate holiday leads quickly.

8. Track the Results

Now that everything is in place, track the results! Use Google Analytics and your email marketing software to view hits to your landing page and track your sales. Review social media interaction and hits to your blog. Make notes of your results and file them away to revisit next year as you plan your next holiday campaign.

Adwords updates Quality Scores Reporting

I was working in an account recently when I noticed a difference in the quality scores, and a couple minutes of digging later, I saw that Google made an update to their reporting of the quality scores, even though they are calculated the same way as before. It’s only the reporting that has changed.

From any keyword in your Keywords tab, you will see a Status column, where you can mouse over and get a
pop up dialog like this:

Google Adwords Quality Score Dialog Box
Google Adwords Quality Score Dialog Box


This shows you 3 factors on your quality score; Expected Clickthrough Rate, Ad relevance and Landing Page Experience, with one of the 3 possible statuses you can get for each: above average, average, below average.  The idea of the update is that your numeric quality score (1-10) is now closely tied to these three factors.  In the past it might happen that you have a below average factor and still have a QS of say 5, while the next keyword is all average and also QS of 5.  Perhaps this update will take care of that.

Even if your overall quality score is good, looking at these three factors can help you identify ways to improve it.

How to track your quality score over time?

You can’t log into your Google Adwords account, and see your quality score history.  Google is constantly calculating your quality scores.  If you want to see how much your QS have changed over time, you have to download a keyword report and save it.  Now comparing a keyword report for each keyword might be long and tedious, and difficult to understand if you really are improving.

Impression weighted average Quality Score

One way of coming up with one number to reflect your quality score throughout your account is the impression weighted average quality score

How to calculate impression weighted quality score
How to calculate impression weighted quality score

By multiplying each keywords impressions by it’s quality score, we get an impression weight like in this case the ‘super rare keyword’ has 7 impressions and a QS of 5, 5×7 = 35.  Now add those all up, and divide by the total number of impressions.  In chart above, the impression weighted average quality score was 7.2.  Now you have a number to try and improve each month.

You also then have a metric that could tip you off to major changes.


Avoiding Dangers of Adwords Broad Match

Are you using Adwords with broad match (the default match type)?  Do you know what search terms are you actually showing up for?

Adwords makes these search terms easy to see, which lets you refine your campaign, which we’ll look at in a bit.

Start by going into an ad group, picking a keyword then clicking on Keyword Details which brings you a menu of options:


Now you get to see some of the search terms that Google actually showed your ad on.



Google doesn’t show you all the search terms – sometimes with good reason, as they claim to not show search terms that contain personal information about their users.


Note that it’s pretty common to have a huge number of your impressions under the Other search terms

How to Use this info?

1. Negative Keywords

When using Broad match, Google will match your keyword to queries that you don’t want. When you see what you are getting clicks on, you will most likely start by adding some keywords as negatives.


Note that if you use the Add as negative keyword button, it defaults to use the [keyword] as your negative, which means just that exact keyword is negative. In the example above, you might want to change the [real estate tools] to just tools, so it won’t appear in any combination of keywords.

2. New ads

Now that you’ve looked at your list of queries, you might be wondering why some users would click on your ad, when their search wasn’t related to your keyword.  For example, say you saw shredding chicken in your search terms report, and you’re a paper shredding company advertising the keyword shredding paper.  Before you yell out WTF, let’s look at your ads – Are they too generic?



shred-ad shred-ad-new


In this case, if you were the user doing a search on Google, the ad title is vague enough that you might click, but if the title were Paper Shredding Expert there isn’t  a problem. Now’s a good time to review your ads and make sure they have a clear message.

3. New Keywords

The good part about using broad match is that Google may match your ad to keywords you hadn’t thought of originally when you set up the account.  In this case, you can select the keywords that you want to add through the check boxes beside each keyword to add them, or create a new add group with more targeted ads.

4. Change Match Type

Using Modified match often makes sense to use when you aren’t happy with the results from broad match.  All you need is to add the + before each keyword, and then Google will display variants on that word like plural/singular, but that word is required in order to match the user’s search term.

So for my keyword +real +estate +software the search terms are much closer to my clients service (notice the CTR improvement):





Defining Your Web Strategy

Have you actually thought about incorporating your website with your marketing strategies? If you have then you are one of the few business owners that actually does. Most companies realize that they need a website, but even today, a large majority of business owners don’t really understand the true power of the web, and very few have a solid web strategy defined for their company.

Your web strategy must blend with your overall business strategy, and it must define how your business is going to leverage the Internet to improve your bottom line. This could be a web application that performs a specific business function, like a document repository or a centralized customer database, or simply an informational website that you use to market your business to the world. The key to defining your web strategy is to look at each of your business processes and examine how web technology will be used to service your customers and business. Ask yourself these questions before talking to your web company:

  • Who are my ONLINE competitors?
  • What do they do well online, and what are they missing that I can capitalize on?
  • Who is my target market?
  • What is my message to my customers?
  • How can I leverage my offline marketing efforts to drive traffic to my website?
  • Do I need traffic from Search Engines?

A website should compliment your business sales and marketing efforts, improve efficiency and effectiveness of business processes, provide customer support, and much more. It all starts with defining your web strategy and working with a web company that will help you through the process.