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
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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is the traditional form of marketing, which is sending messages out. Examples of outbound marketing include cold calls, TV commercials, radio, newspaper ads, direct mail and billboards.

These marketing strategies can still be effective, however return on investment for most companies is usually low and costs can be out of reach. Outbound marketing can also be impossible to track and you may be missing an opportunity to capture your potential clients where they are searching for you… which is usually online.
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Valentines Day Marketing Tips To Capture The Heart 2016

Valentines Day is less than one month away. Traditional Valentines day gifts are cards, flowers, jewelry and chocolates, however even if your business doesn’t fit into that category, many industries are finding Valentines Day an important opportunity to capture the heart of their clients. Here are a few simple marketing strategies for 2016.

Know Your Audience

According to, men spend twice as much as women on Valentines Day, and many of those men are branching out into online shopping, travel, electronics and other less traditional gifts to surprise their sweet hearts, treat themselves, or even their pets.

You may already have a great idea of who your target audience is. Now is a good time to review your customer profiles. Know what marital status, gender, age group, location, preferences and wealth status your customers fall into and tailor your visuals, messaging and offers for the appropriate group. You can create detailed profiles for several customer types using facebook:

Whether your messaging is sweet or spicy, make sure it will jive with your target audience. Romance doesn’t work so well if all your customers are single. Knowing your target audience will score you more brownie points with your buyers.

Social Media Campaigns

Optimize all of your social media platforms with themed visuals for Valentines Day. Have strong calls to action and create content your specific audience will enjoy so that you can increase the number of shares. Humor or statistics are a great way to engage your audience. Ikea, Gap and Heineken have all dished out humorous advertising leading up to Valentines and can be a source of inspiration. A heartfelt message that connects clients to your business can be touching and memorable. It can also be an awareness month for charity.

valentines day beer ad

ikea valentines day ad

coke ad

Email Campaign

Create a Valentines Day email with a personalized greeting (adding the first name of your customer to the email is effective and can be easily done with a short code).

Include visuals and an interactive element to spark interest. Consider adding a bold call to action button in your email to drive traffic to a specific landing page, or to your special Valentines Day discount. Don’t make readers scroll to the bottom of the email for the call to action, as 80 -90% of readers don’t scroll down. Short and sweet is usually best. For Valentines Day, sending out your email marketing campaign just a few days in advance and leading up to the day is usually the most effective. Unlike Christmas, most businesses don’t gain a lot from sending out emails for this holiday months in advance.

A Unique Landing Page

Set-up a specific landing page devoted to your Valentines Day offer. This is where your social media campaign and emails will drive traffic. This page will be consistent in messaging and imagery as your social media and emails. It’s very import the sales funnel is seamless from one platform to another and the action step you would like your visitors to take is crystal clear and offers real value.

Creating a unique holiday page can be great value for your overall SEO (search engine optimization) as well. As you continue to promote holiday offers every year, customers will come to expect and look forward to your discounts and your landing page will continue to rank well year after year. Just keep it fresh.

It’s About Love!

Most importantly, offer your clients excellent customer service and make them feel special! This is a great time to turn a one-time buyer into a lifer. Reward top clients and send thank-you cards. Share the story of your business and create a connection point. Ensure the shopping experience is a great one from start to finish.

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.

How to Rank in Google Places

One of the best things you can do to get traffic on local terms at Google is to get ranked in Google Places.  Here we take a look at what you need to do to optimize your Places listing. Where Google Places is used in SERPs: 1) in the standard search results, where 7 Places are shown.  Note that most of these are below the fold on competitive terms, where there are 3 ads in the Adwords Block at the top of the results. 2)On Google Maps, where there are 10 results, but only 4 or 5 are above the fold. Keep in mind that there are even less places shown on mobile devices.

Optimizing your listing

If you haven’t already done so, go claim your listing.  Make sure your business info is 100% complete.  This includes paying careful attention to the following fields:

  1. Company/Organization Name – add your name and service if it makes sense.  If your name is Water Works and your main service is bathroom renovations then you could set this to ‘Water Works Bathroom Renovations’
  2. Business Categories – You can add up to 5 categories, including custom categories.  If you can’t find categories that are specific enough,  consider using the closest category you can find then add a custom category that is your niche.
  3. Add photo’s – You really should add a minimum of 5 photos, 10 is the maximum.  Google has a tool that resizes the images for you but if they aren’t square to start with, Google squishes them, and then they often look like crap – not what you want representing your company!  Crop the images yourself before uploading.
  4. Business Description – Put in your product and services here with your location.

Get Reviews Ask customers to review your business on Google.  In many cases, Businesses don’t need too many reviews to stick out from there competitors.  You can’s force reviews, but you can encourage them 🙂 To review you on Google+, get the customer to do a search that you appear for on Google Maps, and then on your listing is the link to Write a Review. Off Site Optimization You also need citations, which are 3rd party websites that list your  business name, address & phone number (Commonly called NAP) from places that Google follows.    These citations need to have your NAP listed correctly, which means you need to update these citations if your business moves!  This also means that you should always use the same phone number in your listings. Try to get listed on these sites:

  • (paid)

Social Media for Small Businesses: 6 Effective Strategies

With the recent announcements of LinkedIn reporting the stock was undervalued at 2.5 times what it was trading for the previous day ($45 to 103), This is proof of how quickly the social media craze has blown up over the last few years. The company just reported that Q1 revenue in 2011 was up 110 percent to $93.9 million.

A number of Businesses I speak with on a regular basis have no idea how to embrace social media and integrate it into their business plan. The honest truth is there is no blueprint. Every business is different and a strategy needs to be identified and implemented based on your in house needs. At Oracast, we believe creating an online marketing plan is much like that of a doctor’s practice and there is no right or wrong way. A successful program is based on the internal intellect of the group your working with.  Here are a few tips and hints to help your business become successful in today’s digital era. Contact Oracast today to have an experienced sales representative work with you & your business.

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.