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.

Thinking About SEO The Right Way

If you have a website, SEO can help your business grow.

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.

~Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The Technical Basics

SEO needs to be considered from the moment you buy a domain name and plan out your website. You will need a solid foundation on which to build your SEO strategy. That starts with a well thought out website structure and correct coding so your site can be easily indexed by search engines. This initial phase of website development is the most technical and critical phase in getting a website that is well optimized for search engines. Once you’ve got all the basics set-up right, there are many ways to build upon this foundation to increase your ranking. Many companies choose to work on SEO strategies in-house, meaning they  regularly update their blog, post on social media, form relationships with other companies, share links and implement many other strategies.

Your Audience

Google is constantly changing, but the cornerstone of Google is to deliver to people what they are looking for online. So think about your audience first. Google is just an avenue for your audience to find you, after all, so put most of your attention into providing your prospective clients what they want. Cater to their needs, post interesting content and images and position yourself as an authority in your field of business.

Think Long Term

If you’ve got the basics right and you are providing constant value to your audience your website will be optimized to rank well in search engines. SEO is like building a house. Think about your end goal and how it will be achieved, and then put that strategy into action to reach your goals. If you’d like to do your own SEO, we recommend reading this comprehensive article by to get you started:

If you’d like some help along the way, our goal at Oracast is to help you achieve Page 1 Results. We can help you:

  • Rank higher in search engines
  • Increase website traffic
  • Generate more leads
  • Out-rank your competition
  • Provide you with SEO audits

Increase Your Domain Authority

Successful online marketing is often a numbers game, and there are a lot of numbers to be mindful of: page views, clickthrough rates, conversion rates, likes, fans and followers, to name a few. There is another number that will indicate how well your website will rank on search engines, and that number may be one of the most important of all. It’s called domain authority.

What is domain authority?

Domain Authority is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given domain is likely to rank in Google’s search results.” ( It’s measured on a scale from 1 to 100 and it shows how credible a website is. There are several factors that make up this calculation, one important one being page links. That is the number of websites that have authority which link back to your site.

How domain authority works:

Check out your website’s domain authority here:

Domain Authority vs. Page Authority

So Domain authority indicates how well entire domains or subdomains will rank, and page authority rates how well specific pages will rank. It’s also based on a 1 to 100 scale and is a calculation developed by Moz.

How To Increase Domain Authority

The best way to increase your domain authority is by improving your overall search engine optimization (SEO). In particular, it’s helpful to focus on gaining links from other websites that have domain authority. Having other authoritative websites link to yours is like giving your website a vote of confidence.

Another very important strategy is content marketing. Keep your website dynamic by posting quality content on a regular basis or grab attention by posting something newsworthy. This will keep visitors coming back and sharing your content with others. By giving people the information they are looking for, you are also giving Google a good reason to rank your website higher. Google wants to give people what they are looking for.

We’ve written several in-depth blog posts on how to increase your search engine ranking:

Inbound Marketing Strategies
Quick Guide To Creating Website Content
SEO – Positioning Yourself In 2016

Why Information Architecture and User Experience Is Important

Information Architecture (IA)

What is information architecture (IA)? As per Wikipedia, it’s “the art and science of organizing and labeling data including: websites, intranets, online communities, software, books and other mediums of information, to support usability”.

IA is an important part of website development. It will impact the user experience, the conversion rates and search engine optimization. Understanding keywords and how people search for information online will help when organizing website content. The goal is to create a website people will want to revisit.

User Experience (UX)

UX is how a person feels when visiting a site. How easy the site is to use, the value the site offers visitors, visual appeal and interactive elements all play a role. Search engines take user-friendliness into consideration when ranking a website.

Website Development Phases

The first phase of website development is the planning phase. During this stage we collaborate in gathering information about your ideal clients, create SMART goals, develop a marketing strategy and establish calls to action. This information will be the foundation upon which we build the website.

It’s important we have a clear understanding of who your user’s are and what needs they have when visiting your website so we can meet their needs and develop a great user experience for them.

Once this information is gathered we create the website structure. This may include the keywords, sitemap, and a wireframe which is a simplified sketch of the website navigation and layout. All the content and photos will also be collected in this phase so that it can be organized into the appropriate spaces.

The next phase of the website development is the design phase. The designs are submitted for review to our team and the clients, and all necessary changes and updates are made.

Once the designs are approved the programming phase is complete, more testing and reviews are conducted to ensure each element of the site is working to plan and that it meets the goals and objectives set out in the planning phase. End users are kept top of mind through-out each phase of development to ensure an amazing user experience for all.

Get The Most Out Of Google My Business (for free!)

What is Google My Business? It is an upgraded version of Google+, and it allows you to show up in listings, Google maps and more. Having an account also helps your business rank better on Google.

As an example, you can see in the screen shot below I’ve typed in “dentist Calgary”. You will want your business to show up in Google’s listings for your keywords:


If you have a Google+ account, then Google will have already upgraded this to the newer platform. All you need to do is login and make sure everything is appearing correctly and up-to-date.

If you don’t already have a Google My Business or Google+ account, this is a must-do FREE way to boost your online business presence. All you need to do is sign in to Google with your existing Google account login details (your Gmail email address), or set up a new Gmail account, and get started!


To create a Google My Business account click here.

How to set up an account:

  1. Visit Google My Business Locations.
  2. In the top left corner of the page, click the three dash menu icon  >  Create business account.
  3. Enter a business account name and click Done.

Once you’ve set up your account, you will want to login and make sure that your profile is 100% complete.

Google My Business

You will want to upload as many photos as you can to get the most out of your account. Make sure you’ve titled your photos correctly and add an Alt Tag for the keywords you would like to optimize for your business. To upload photos, click on the “Add Photos” icon.


Write up a solid introduction to your business in this section, and fill in your business name, address and phone number. Make sure this information is consistent across all directories. Search engines will index you easier this way.


You can check out the insights section of Google My Business for stats and reports. This section is similar to Google Analytics where you will be able to see insights into your traffic.

stats and reports

Reviews are an important part of Google My Business. Ask your clients to review your products and services. Send them a link to your Google My Business account so they can post it directly to your page.


It may take some time (possibly up to a week) for Google to get all of your information live on Google maps, so make sure you check back and ensure everything is displaying correctly once it’s live.

If you’d like us to add a Google+ link to your website, simply send us an email or give us a phone call and we’d be happy to add that for you.

We love hearing from our clients! To write a review or testimonial on the Oracast Google My Business page, simply click here.

All the best with your online marketing!!

Responsive Website vs. Mobile App?

Businesses are realizing they need to be where their customers are, and these days that’s on mobile!

Having a mobile presence can take several forms. It’s important to remember a mobile app is different from a mobile friendly website or a web app. Building a mobile friendly (or responsive) website is only one part of a well developed mobile strategy.

So what is a responsive website vs. a mobile app? Both very important tools with different purposes. Websites are aimed at engaging new visitors searching for information online and mobile apps take user experience to the next level.
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Email Marketing Software For Lead Nurturing

Email is a great way to turn “on the fence” prospects into buyers. Automated lead nurturing is the process of sending a series of automated emails to prospects. The idea is you set up your emails in advance within an email marketing program, and once your campaign is launched, emails are sent periodically to your list.

The emails can be triggered to send based on an action taken by online visitors, or on a specific time you’ve chosen. Once your email workflow is created and launched, it’s “hand’s off” for you. If set up right, it should provide your potential clients with the right information at the right time, right to their inbox! The email workflow can continue sending emails to new prospects for an unlimited time period (forever!) with no extra effort on your part. (Or you could easily login at any time and update emails with any changing information to keep it current.)

Studies show lead nurturing (also known as drip marketing) pays off. It’s a very effective addition to your online marketing strategy.

“2013 research found that companies excelling at lead nurturing generated 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost (Forrester Research), and that nurtured leads make, on average, 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (The Annuitas Group).” (

Automated lead nurturing is easy and inexpensive to set-up. There are a number of fantastic email marketing software companies on the market. Over the years, I have used MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact. These 3 companies are the most widely used email marketing programs on the market. Today I will point out the highlights and a few differences.
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Content: The Minimum Your Business Website Needs

With all the hype surrounding content marketing, it can feel like an uphill battle for many small business owners. Content marketing is an online strategy to attract new customers through producing quality content on a continual basis and publishing that content online. This strategy is an effective approach to search engine optimization and utilizing platforms such as social media.

Many business websites however, are lacking even basic website content. A website is the primary face of your business online and content is a preeminent part of your online presence.

It’s crucial for business websites to have at least the bare minimum in website content to build a foundation. What basic content does your website need? We’ve put together a list:
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The Importance Of Online Reviews

Have you Goggled your company lately and taken stock of your online reviews? Most buyers read reviews before purchasing online, and what they find influences their buying decision. Negative reviews can hurt your conversion rates, and no reviews can make it tough to compete online. So how do you build your positive, honest online feedback?

You start with a great product and excellent customer service. Listening to your customers will let you know if they are happy with the products or services you are providing.
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