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You Actually Can Afford To Invest In Digital Marketing

We hear it all the time at catmandu: “We can’t afford new website design, a social media marketing strategy, a blog, etc.” However, these are often the same businesses that are spending thousands a month on outdated marketing channels like billboards, phone books, television, and radio. Can you say expensive?? 

We may be a little biased because we are a digital marketing company. However, we wouldn’t sell websites or digital marketing packages if we didn’t truly believe in its power and relevance in today’s marketplace. Digital is not the future. Digital is the present. If your company does not have a strong online presence you will quickly lose ground with today’s consumers who are now searching for almost everything online. They even use their smartphones while they are in the store to see if they are getting the best deal. 

But this isn’t a blog about why digital marketing is vital. For information on that you can read one of our many other blogs including:

The Power of Digital Marketing 
The Importance of Having a Mobile Friendly Marketing Strategy 
Digital Marketing Trumps Traditional Advertising 

The sole purpose of this blog is to compare one piece of information about each form of marketing and that one thing is...cost. We guarantee that digital marketing is more cost effective than traditional advertising. You get more bang for your marketing buck. There’s not a business in the world that can say no to that. 

First, we'll start with traditional forms of advertising:

Television - $200 to $1500 per 30 second spot 

This is a national average for local television advertising, not major, national networks. Rates will vary depending on your location and the time of day that the ad runs. For example, if your ad is in the prime time of 6-7pm, it will be the most expensive. If you want to run this ad even once a day for a month, you could pay $6000 to $45000. That’s no pocket change. 

Billboards - $600 to $10,290 per month for regular size billboards

We looked up various billboard companies in the West Texas region online. It’s funny that billboard companies have websites but website companies don’t have billboards, right? Lamar’s billboards range from $2300 to $10290 per month depending on the billboard’s location. Choice Media charges $750, $1050, and $1900 a month for a spot on their digital billboards which showcase the ad 14, 28, and 56 times per hour, respectively. Burkett Outdoor charges $600 for out of town billboards and $2200 for in town billboards. 

Phone book - $114 to $164 per month

We called Yellowbook and spent about an hour on the phone with them as they tried to sell us a phonebook spot. From the conversation, we found that we could get a business card sized ad in the phonebook for $114 per month or two business card sized ads, three bold listings, and a listing for $164 per month. That would be almost $2000 per year to have your business listed in a book that gets thrown in the trash by the majority of people. 

Print Ads (Newspaper, Magazine, etc.) - Greatly varies 

For print advertising, you can virtually pay as little or as much as you want. In Amarillo, our major print advertising source is the Amarillo Globe News. Here is their rate card for businesses that reside inside their trade area: As you can see, the amount you will pay for an advertisement depends on the amount of space you are using, the type of day the ad will run, and how many days you purchase. You can also advertise in other local publications that the Amarillo Globe News controls such as Amarillo Magazine, Discover Amarillo, Get Out!, and Pigskin Preview. Highly targeted magazines like this can be expensive to advertise in but they might be worth it because your ad is seen by a specific set of people that are interested in your product or service (that’s the one time we will praise traditional advertising). 

Next, we will reveal the costs of online marketing channels:

Website - $200 to $4000 to more

A brand new website design can vary greatly in cost depending on what you need and how much customization you want. If you are a small business with one or two employees such as a photographer or graphic designer you might get away with designing your own website online with a template site such as Squarespace, Weebly, or Wordpress. This can be very inexpensive and very effective. For larger companies, you will probably need a custom designed website especially if you need special features like user logins, ecommerce, extra security (for banks and financial institutions), and extra forms such as online employee applications. Clearly, a website like is a lot more complicated (and expensive to design) than a website for a local coffee shop. At catmandu, we charge $130 an hour for custom web design and the average cost to purchase a site from us is around $4000. That is a one time cost for a site and a domain name that you can keep forever. 

Side note: be wary of “web designers” that lock you in with a monthly fee to host your website. In this situation, they actually own your site and once you stop paying, you lose everything. It’s like renting vs. buying. 

Social Media & Blogging (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) - $0 to $1800 per month

Like web design, you can spend as little or as much as you want. If you want to do all of your social media marketing on your own, the only thing you have to spend is your time. You could also hire an employee to perform the work. Another option is hiring a digital marketing agency who is an expert in online advertising. They usually give you several packages to choose from. The packages can include things like written blogs, social media posts, photography, basic search engine optimization of your website, and monthly analytic reports. 

Pay Per Click Advertising - $1.58 per click

By Pay Per Click (PPC), we are talking about advertising with Google AdWords, though there are other forms of PPC. When you decide to advertise on Google, you set up various search terms and when people search for those terms, your website shows up as an ad on the side or at the top of organic search results. You only pay when someone actually clicks on your link so you are only paying for people that are actually interested in your product or service. You set up a daily budget so you won’t rack up a huge bill. Once your budget is used up, the ad stops showing for that day. PPC is great for a business whose website isn’t properly search engine optimized.