Best Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business

We Reveal the Thinking Behind our Best Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business, and Show You the Most Common Budgets Clients Allocate


We Reveal Our Best Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Since Source Local Media was formed in early 2011, one of the core values of the company has been to willingly share best practices, including our best online marketing strategies for small business.

The average small business spends 8.11% of its total revenue on advertising.  B2B companies average more like 12%.

But determining your specific online marketing strategy and budget is as unique as you and your business.

How to Determine the Best Online Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

Here is some insight into our process.  If you’d like to go through this process at no cost or obligation to you, just schedule a free initial marketing consultation with our team here.

We always build online marketing strategy on the foundation of our basic marketing formula:


Targeting.  Who are we talking to?

Messaging.  What do we want to say to them?  How can we tap into emotion that will MOVE them in the direction we want?

Reach.  When and where is the right time to talk to them so they can (1) absorb what we’re saying, and (2) take the action we want?  How many impressions will it take to get our desired outcome(s)?

Results.  What do we need to track and report so we know whether we’re being successful or not?

Read More:  Marketing Strategy 101


How To Optimize Your Small Business Marketing

The beauty of the digital environment is that you can test just about any idea.  The curse of the digital environment is that you can test just about any idea.  🙂

That’s why we developed our Bullseye Method, which provides a structure for optimizing your strategy.  It’s an organized way to test the most plausible ideas, track results, and make a series of iterations until you hit the bullseye where you get the best, most reliable ROI with your marketing investment.

The best online digital marketing strategies must have an organized way to test, evaluate, iterate, and ultimately optimize performance.  Otherwise, you risk wasting time and money.  And no one wants to do that…

How To Calculate the Budget

So how much should your budget for your online marketing strategy be?  Here is an exercise we take clients through that will help you DIY your own budget calculation:

  • What is your average gross margin?
    • If your margin is 60-70%, consider a budget between 8-20% of revenue
    • If your margin is below 30%, consider a budget between 3-6% of revenue
  • How competitive is your business category?
    • The more competitive your environment, the higher you should be in the range
  • How aggressively do you want to grow?
    • New businesses should be on the higher end of the range

There are other factors that could drive your budget up or down.  If you’d like to talk budget, schedule a free consultation with our team.

We Created Our Digital Basics Plans Just for Small Business

How should you allocate your budget to create the best online marketing strategy for your business?  To help you understand our best practices, we’ve shared a link to an overview of our most common “Digital Basics” plans below.

We built these based on the most common budgets and goals our clients tend to identify.  Think of them as starting points, from which we frequently customize.

Comprehensive “Digital Basics” Online Marketing Strategies

We consider Digital Basics the minimum any business should be doing online.  And then we build extra emphasis into certain areas based on your business type (B2B, D2C, etc.), your competitive environment, and — most of all — your growth goals and marketing ROI expectations.

If you’d like to know more about any of the line items, including why we prioritize where we do, we’re always happy to talk you through our best practices.  Just schedule time with our team here.  There’s no cost or obligation to you.  It’s how we invest in potential clients long before they invest in us.

Follow Our Local Marketing Blog for More Like This

Check out our Local Marketing Blog for more helpful explanations, tips, and best practices.

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Thanks for visiting today!


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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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