Launching a new marketing campaign is nerve wracking; you’ve put all that time and money into it and there’s no way to know if it’s definitely going to work. For new businesses, the prospect of pumping a big chunk of their startup money into a marketing campaign and hoping it comes off is scary. The worst thing about it is not having a sense of when you might start making a profit, and if you can even survive until that moment.
Knowing when you’re likely to start seeing that money come back in is important because it can help you to plan and divide up your cash to make sure that you don’t run out before breaking even. Digital marketing is the most popular form that most businesses rely heavily on so we’ll focus on that. This is how long it’s likely to take before you see a return, and how you can make sure you survive until then.
The first aspect of digital marketing is paid marketing; that’s any pay per click adverts directing people to your site or products. The good news is, return on these kinds of ads is usually pretty instant, if they’re working that is. If you haven’t seen much action after a couple of weeks, it doesn’t look good.
Owned marketing tends to refer to websites in this context. The return that you see and how quickly it comes depends on you. The bad news is, you aren’t going to see an immediate return when you launch a new site. Most of the time, it’ll fall down the search listings a bit and you’ll see a drop in traffic. It takes the search engines a few months to reindex new sites but you’ll start to see an increase in traffic after that.
Earned marketing is organically generated marketing through customers, in other words, word of mouth. This isn’t costing you anything so you don’t need to worry about that, but you aren’t likely to see a return anytime soon. You need to establish yourself well and really impress customers before they’ll start telling their friends about you.
How Do You Survive?
When you add all that together, you’ll get a small return on your paid marketing quite quickly, but more significant avenues like your website or social media pages are going to take a few months at least before they start making you much money. That means you’ve got to keep your head above water.
The first thing to do is manage cash flow. Invoices that take ages to come through are one of the number one problems for small companies. You can use a cashflow finance company who will pay you most of the invoice right away, then the rest when the customer pays. That helps keep the cash coming in so you don’t get in trouble.
Overestimating is the other important thing. A couple of months is just an estimate, there’s no way to know for sure. If you split your cash over three months exactly and can only survive if you start seeing that return, what are you going to do if it doesn’t happen?