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How to track your website and digital marketing costs

If you listen to business gurus, you need an all-singing, all-dancing website with e-commerce and a constant flow of digital content. And it would be great if you had a selection of micro-influencers and recurring ads on Facebook and Google. But, as a small business owner, you need to get bang for your buck, and that starts with looking at what you want to achieve and tracking your costs.

As business owners, our wish lists and our budgets rarely match! And now, more than ever, businesses need a solid online presence. Read our advice, have clear expectations and keep your project on budget.

What are your online goals?

There are countless ways to expand your business online, but it all starts with a simple internal conversation – what do you want to achieve? If you are looking to get online for the first time, maybe you want somewhere people can go to engage with your brand when you’re not around. Maybe, you want to expand your existing website to offer international e-commerce or use online platforms to spread the word about your business in local circles. Trying to do everything without a clear idea of your goals will lead to escalating costs and may not help you get where you need to be, so this is a firm step one.

If you can’t figure out your goal for your business, book a call and let’s chat.

What are your project costs?

Depending on the size and scale of your project, you may need to hire additional staff or outsource to a digital marketing agency. If you outsource any aspects, outline your budget and ask for a proposal that reflects this. A reputable agency will keep you informed about whether the project is coming in on budget and warn you if something you ask for will make you exceed it.

What are your fixed costs?

Once you have your goal, consider the fixed costs to maintain it. Depending on what your digital upscaling looked like, here are some of the costs to consider.

Website

If you opt for a new website, you will need a domain name or multiple if you so choose. For example, you may wish to purchase the .ca and .com variants of your domain name. You will also need an SSL certificate, a security feature that will help visitors feel safe on your website. And you’ll need website hosting too. Hosting is usually an annual or monthly package and can vary wildly in price depending on your chosen home for your website. Our clients can opt for our dedicated website server to keep costs low. Although many businesses still run with an Outlook or Gmail email address, you may also want to invest in a professional email address @yourchosendomain. Each email address you create will require an ongoing subscription; many small businesses try to limit these to a single email address.

On top of this, we highly recommend a fixed maintenance package if you have a WordPress website. Updates need to be applied frequently to ensure your website is running as it should and is secure. Unfortunately, updating plugins can often cause conflicts that can impact your site’s functions or aesthetics, so the DIY approach is usually best avoided unless you have a good foundation of tech knowledge.

E-commerce

If you opt for e-commerce functionality, you may need a Shopify subscription or equivalent. You may also need to pay for a payment processor on subscription, although Stripe and PayPal take a percentage of your transaction rather than charging a subscription. You may also need a subscription to your e-commerce website theme to ensure you can access the most up-to-date version. Out-of-date plugins are one of the top ways hackers get access to your website, which, in e-commerce, can mean access to a lot of sensitive information.

Digital content

Digital content can easily be created in-house BUT, only if you have the time and knowledge to do so. It is usually more effective and quicker to hire a marketing agency. We have monthly packages that can include any of the following:

  • Monthly blog – blogs remain a powerful tool to get noticed by search engines, so aim to write one a month. If you aren’t skilled at persuasive copy, you can send your focus and ideas to a marketing agency, who will write your articles in your brand voice.
  • Social media content – social media posts can be time-consuming to create, so you might want to outsource them entirely. If you decide to keep them in-house, opt for a scheduling tool subscription or use Facebook Business Suite (free) to queue them up in advance.

Software costs

If your digital growth involves software such as a CRM system or cloud storage, you will need to factor this into your fixed costs moving forward. If you have successfully adopted a piece of software into your business, it will be seamlessly integrated into your systems… which makes it an essential piece of kit moving forward.

Subscriptions might include:

  • HubSpot or a different CRM option
  • Dropbox or a different cloud storage option
  • Canva or a different creative tool
  • MailChimp or a different email marketing tool

Is it worth it?

You might be looking at the costs and feeling a little overwhelmed, but customers are moving online in their droves. There has never been a better time to get your business online and start reaching new audiences.

How to track your website and digital marketing costs

When you embark on any digital upscaling, make sure you know what the goal is and what the associated costs are. We are lucky to have many governmental and local initiatives to help you get your businesses online successfully and sustainably while offsetting many of the costs. If you would like to talk to us about the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) or any other funding that may be relevant for you, get in touch.

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