Allocating Your Online Marketing Budget: Stump Ian, Question 5

Ian Lurie

Jeremiah asks:

“What’s the best way to balance a diverse web marketing budget? There should I allocate my funds? How do I prioritize, there are so many tools to consider.”

Clearly, you should spend it all on your internet marketing agency.


The answer to this question depends on the type of business.

  1. If you’re an e-commerce business, your focus is on acquiring customers. You need to spend a lot on search, organic and paid. Then social marketing, without question – one good blog review and you’re set. Also build your house e-mail list, and use it. So I’d balance search/social/email 60/25/15. And yes, you can spend money on banners, etc., too. But I wouldn’t until you’re 100% certain you’ve squeezed every dollar out of search marketing, social marketing and your house list.
  2. If you’re a publisher, your priority is to acquire page views, visitors and minutes-on-site for as low a cost as possible. Focus first on organic search, then on social marketing, then niche ad opportunities such as RSS feed ads and blog ads. I’d put 70/20/10 across organic, social marketing and then niche ads. Most of your audience finds you through search engines.
  3. If you’re a corporation, invest first in social marketing, then search. If you’re big on branding look at banner ads, video, etc.. But in the end you’re managing your image and reputation. You need to make sure the blogging world knows you and likes you, or at least doesn’t hate you. Then you need to make sure you’re not vulnerable to negative press that moves up in the search rankings. You want to get your message out there. Paid search might be a good idea, but I’d rather invest in things that’ll get you long-term leverage. So I’d focus 50/50 on social and search marketing.
  4. If you’re a really big corporation, with an ad budget in the millions of dollars, roll the dice a little. Try some viral video, games, banners, etc.. 75% of them may flop. But that 25% will more than make up for it.
  5. If you’re a blog, you want to gain an audience in the blogging world. But you have no money (believe me, I know). So focus on writing really good stuff.

Obviously, in the absence of a good, well-designed site that works, and good content, none of this matters.

Mukund wrote some great observations about online marketing budgets here.

Hope this helps. I’m writing it whilst winging my way to Stockholm, Sweden to speak at SMX Stockholm….

Technorati Tags: ,

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action


  1. Hi,
    I think marketing is an important aspect of any business,However, many business owners are not very familiar with the best practices of fund allocation for marketing. Therefore, they end up spending a major portion of their funds on marketing programs that do not bring in many returns.

  2. It’s plain to see that it is not easy budgeting for a business unless you know what you want your outcome to be. This is quite often the best way to approach the situation. Ask yourself what you want to achieve, and then work out how much it would cost you to achieve it.

Comments are closed.

Close search overlay