SEO resellers know firsthand how much search engine optimization (as well as associated online marketing strategies such as pay per click advertising and social marketing) matters when it comes to bringing in leads and boosting revenue. But despite working with primarily small and mid-sized businesses on these processes, SEO resellers sometimes forget their own status as small businesses and what online marketing can do for them.

If you’re recognizing that you’re in this situation, there are a few things you can do to rectify it quickly. Here’s what you should be thinking about:

Looking at the Competition

First, it helps to take a look at what other small businesses are spending on their online marketing efforts. A BrightLocal survey published earlier this year showed that small businesses, in particular, are timid in their online marketing spending when compared with medium-sized businesses, based not only on dollars spent but also on willingness to increase that spend in 2015. While this may be because of some of the uncertainty of owning and running a very small business, it also shows that there’s a significant opportunity for small businesses that are willing to outspend their competitors in online marketing channels.

The research also suggested that even though SMBs rated the effectiveness of online marketing highly in general, small businesses were far less likely to see its value; while 94% of businesses with 50 or more employees said that Internet marketing is either “effective” or “very effective,” a full 30% of people running businesses on their own said it’s “not effective.” That probably has to do with very small businesses trying to handle online marketing on their own, rather than allocating a reasonable marketing budget to a professional agency.

Setting a Budget

As a reseller, you probably spend more time looking at other businesses’ marketing figures than your own marketing spend. It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint an exact figure that small businesses should try to spend on online marketing. Even expressed as a percentage of revenue, it’s difficult to say whether 5% or 20% is more appropriate for a reseller’s marketing budget. But here are three important tips for determining a dollar amount and spending it wisely:

  • Determine exactly where you stand financially. Figure out how much you can afford to spend each month while still meeting your other obligations.

  • Use only a portion of your budget to test more than one marketing channel, rather than putting all your eggs in one basket up front.

  • Assess your returns and adjust as necessary. You should also pay attention to whether your returns match up with average returns for specific channels; if you’re seeing a very low return on email marketing, for example, you may want to adjust your strategy instead of abandoning it altogether.

Using What You Know

If you’re already a reseller, you know the most cost-effective channels for search engine and other online marketing -- after all, you pitch them to prospective clients all the time. If you’re already selling outsourced SEO services, it’s simply good sense to also use them to build your own business. That way you’ll save the time of looking for new strategies or of implementing what can be done more affordably on the larger scale offered by a more established online marketing agency; all the arguments you present your prospective clients regarding the benefits of working with a digital marketing agency apply, even if you have the technical skill to undertake some of those tasks yourself. And, of course, as an SEO reseller, you’ll be able to outsource most of the work that will come with new leads, leaving you with a better bottom line even as your business practices stay essentially the same.

Why do you think it’s so easy to neglect your own online marketing budget even as you advise other companies on theirs? Discuss in the comments.

By: Karleanne Matthews