Advertising Costs for a Startup Business: 8 Examples From Startups

March 18, 2021
March 18, 2021 Alexis Orth

What is one advertising cost that your startup business incurs?

To help you better manage advertising costs that your startup business may incur, we asked business leaders and PR experts this question for their best tips. From creating powerful moments to hiring social media pros, there are several advertising costs that your startup business may incur.

Here are eight possible advertising costs that your startup business may incur:

  • Branded Keywords On Google Ads
  • Creating Powerful Moments
  • Retargeting Our Website Visitors
  • Broke Mindsets Don’t Make Money
  • Events And Marketing Software Tools
  • Don’t Forget About Branding
  • Cold Emailing For B2B Services
  • Hiring Social Media Pros

Branded Keywords On Google Ads

Ranking for the term “Terkel” organically has taken longer than we thought. That’s why we’ve turned to Google Ads with exact match, branded keywords like [terkel]. This way, people who have heard about us and search for us can find us. It’s worth the $3 we pay per click. For any startup with a .io or .ai or .anythingbutadotcom, consider taking out branded Google Ads while ramping up your organic search presence.

Brett Farmiloe, Terkel

Creating Powerful Moments

We like to dedicate our advertising costs to creating powerful moments for our target audience. I highly encourage all business owners to read the book “The Power of Moments” by Chip Heath. This book highlights that memorable moments don’t need to be limited by birthdays and holidays formally marked on the calendar. Instead, startup businesses have the power to create their own exciting and memorable moments that can serve as a form of advertising and marketing. For example, it is typical for businesses to reach out to their current and past clients during the holidays. But what if you decided instead to put your efforts into reaching out when your clients hire a new employee, make their 50th sale, or make their first $10,000 in revenue? This could be an advertising cost that can take you even further!

Audrey Hutnick, Smallwave Marketing

Retargeting Our Website Visitors

We use retargeting ads to place advertisements in front of people who have visited our website. It’s really inexpensive, and it does a great job of keeping us top of mind for people who may be considering our services—or encouraging existing clients to do more with us. It’s a great set-it-and-forget-it strategy, and we can easily measure the results.

Elliot Brown, OnPay Payroll

Broke Mindsets Don’t Make Money

The field of dreams no longer exists. Starting a business used to be expensive. If you took on the risk and opened up shop, people would just show up. Now the barrier to entry is at an all-time low. You can launch a website and be ready for business overnight. That means the competition is abundant. You can’t expect to stand out without spending money. Even as a startup, we were investing 3x above our weight class. I took out loans just to be able to do it. I invested in branding and positioning to ensure that we put our best foot forward. Then, I spent money I didn’t have on SEO and Google Ads to drive traffic to our new website. Now, as a leader of brand identity design in our market, that investment has paid off. AtticSalt ranks first on Google and is rated #1 branding studio in Phoenix by several industry lists.

Rani Sweis, AtticSalt

Events And Marketing Software Tools

I regularly pay for software tools and events to grow my business. For example, I pay for Grammarly and Frase to increase the quality of my website’s SEO content. In addition, I find it valuable to attend technology industry events like TechTO to network with others in the field.

Bruce Harpham, Technology Marketing Consultant

Don’t Forget About Branding

The advertising costs my (and every) startup should incur are the ones related to owning and building a brand. These costs include, at a minimum, purchasing a web domain, creating and publishing a website (this can be as simple as a landing page to start), paying for a branded email address (i.e., [email protected]), and, depending on what industry your business is in, filing for trademark or copyright protection. Though not an actual cost, I also recommend that all new businesses invest a few minutes grabbing the social media handles they will want to use to promote the business later. Additionally, if you are talking about this company with others, even if it’s only a few people, you should have a basic logo and something you can give out with your business name and contact information on it whenever you meet someone new like a business card. Don’t stress—there are many cheap and easy design tools readily available online to help you get both of these).

Amy Zwagerman, The Launch Box

Cold Emailing For B2B Services

We spend quite a bit of time and money on cold email. In a sense, this is an advertising cost as it’s really about targeting the right list with direct outreach. The challenge to remember with cold email is, at any given time, only 3% of your market is in the “buyer zone”—i.e., actively ready to purchase your service. So you may get positive and neutral responses, but the real key is to continue to nurture and build those relationships over time. It’s very unlikely you’ll email people out of the blue, and they are immediately ready to purchase. So don’t forget to include the cost of nurturing those relationships over the next 12-16 months as well.

Sam Shepler, Testimonial Hero

Hiring Social Media Pros

There are only so many hours in the day, and while I want to harness social media to promote my startup business, I’m well aware that I really don’t have the expertise or the time to do this as well as I could. This is why I’m more than happy to pay the cost of outsourcing our social media management. Not only does this mean I’m putting our profiles in the hands of someone who’s proven to know what they’re doing, but it leaves me more time on tasks that have a greater return on investment. For example, I’m just about to hire someone to manage our entire Pinterest account. There’s a huge potential market in the field that our website is in that I’d love to take advantage of. I know that by bearing this advertising cost rather than trying to save money and do it myself (not as well), I’ll ultimately end up getting much more bang for my buck.

Anna Barker, Logical Dollar

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