Small businesses can easily cultivate some terrible habits when it comes to determining their ad spend. Hubspot notes that the return on investment for marketing is massive, ranging between three hundred and five hundred percent. However, because of the idea that one marketing dollar will generate five dollars in sales, businesses go overboard with their marketing spend. The result is wasted money that business owners could have spent more efficiently.

Paid Ads Get All the Love

Organic engagement is still the best way to make an impact on your audience. However, even though social media is an effective tool to help businesses grow, many business owners don’t have the luxury of time to generate organic engagement. The result is that small businesses spend a lot of money investing in pay-per-click marketing. Pay-per-click is an ancient method that hearkens back to the days before things like YEAH! Local existed to help people target their ads and web pages to search engines. It’s a strict upgrade to previous “spray and pray” methods, but it’s still wasted money. However, on their own, they can be a money sink. That’s why they need to be combined with content marketing.

Content Remains King

One of the oldest, most tired clichés you’ll hear from marketers is that “Content is King.” Yet it remains true, some ten years since it first entered the public consciousness. Content marketing uses engaging, informative content to push people who follow a page to take action. As a rule of thumb, content marketing should be done with an 80-20 split, with eighty percent of the content being informative and twenty percent being marketing-heavy. Once the content is something that people want to buy or offers value to the consumer, it will showcase the business’s value proposition and drive more engagement and, eventually, sales.

Don’t Forget SEO

With so many other methods of getting in contact with an audience, many businesses overlook the idea of SEO. They spend more time and money on ads than they do tailoring their SEO to their core demographic. SEO has changed and evolved so much over the last ten years that it takes a professional marketer to grasp how to do it properly. Effective SEO focuses on the intent of the user’s search, not the actual words on the page. Intent-based SEO is entirely different from SEO in the past, and a lot of businesses are dropping the ball because they’re using outdated optimization techniques.

How to Manage Your Marketing Budget

As a small business, the money you spend on marketing does see returns. Fundera mentions that most small businesses spend less than $10,000 per year in marketing. However, you might not need to spend that much money to generate the returns you want. Managing your marketing budget comes from seeking that point in the middle where you get your balance. You put out enough money to drive your PPC campaigns and your social media engagement through content marketing, but you don’t merely throw money at the wall and see what sticks. Once you find that balance, a 500% return on investment might be considered low, but your standards.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.