How much does advertising cost for a small business

We often get asked how much does advertising cost for a small business, and the reality is that it will depend on who you partner up with, we will give you some indicators of cost and things to look out for.

What we will cover

It is natural for businesses to be hesitant when it comes to handing responsibility for critical business areas to outside parties.

However, there is a time in every business’s growth cycle where the core team have to expand beyond the confines of their own circle.

Building a relationship with a good advertising and marketing agency helps a business to focus the bulk of their time and money on improving their operational efficiency. For example, there are plenty of guides on how to increase efficiency, negotiate better deals, develop personnel, build processes and incentivise teams.

The role of the advertising agency is to tap into the unknown potential sitting outside the business.

Reasons to Think Outside of your Team

Isn’t your team in the best position to advertise your products and services? For a small business, not usually. The right external advertising agency will act as an extension of your marketing team – but one offering many extra advantages:

A Fresh Perspective

An internal team can be too close to a product or service. Like a tree, a business needs not only healthy roots and trunk (for stability and sustenance) but also healthy leaves to breathe and capture sunlight. Finding the right, local advertising partner can bring bright new opportunities for expansion.

Dedicated Time

Let’s be honest. An internal marketing team is rarely allowed to focus solely on their job of researching markets and creating ad campaigns. Every extra task assigned to these personnel will dilute their effectiveness in their main role. In contrast, an agency will be working only on delivering successful campaigns that improve your bottom line.

Cost Effectiveness

A full service agency will bring multiple skills together under one roof. Rather than frittering away your budget on one-trick ponies, you can make sure every penny is spent solely on your campaigns.


Dedicated advertising agencies know the tools and techniques needed to measure campaign performance and report them in clear, plain language. Internal teams often track the wrong metrics or fail to measure results at all, driven mainly by belief and ‘group think.’

Experience and Connections

Although every advertising campaign is unique, an experienced advertising agency will have come across familiar challenges to the ones you are facing. Whether it’s tapping into a new market or selecting the right social media platform, a good agency will draw on past lessons to reduce the time spent on trial and error.

Experience also brings contacts and connections. An advertising agency will always have an expert on the end of a line who they can turn to for advice or support.

So, how much does advertising cost for a small business?

So if we’ve established for those reasons its a good idea, they are also all useful criteria for choosing an external partner as well as what overheads they may have.

But in terms of spending, what should you be budgeting? We always advise that you do what you can afford, if you have a marketing or advertising campaign bringing in more business than it costs then scale it up.

Don’t be put off if the initial investment doesn’t quite do that, with digital marketing you can study the data and tweak campaigns over time.

We always advise businesses to investing 10% turnover on marketing, for advertising to be effective it should be at least that again.

If it isn’t bringing a return it is often down to needing to go back to the marketing drawing board to understand your audience and marketplace better than it is to say “adwords don’t work”.

Herding freelancers?

It can be tempting to manage a team of freelancers, we’ve spoken to many small business owners over the years who do this, it can be more affordable but you may find that you don’t get a joined-up approach to marketing and advertising that an agency will bring.

Of course you will have to manage not only the strategy but the people, often leaving doubt that you are going about it the wrong way if it isn’t working. There is always the risk of freelancers disappearing, struggling to manage time effectively and there being no backup for holidays – not that we’re biased!

The Vu Tribe was born because of this very scenario, its a close relationship or numerous marketing and advertising activities for an affordable monthly fee. Chat with an expert at Vu to find out more.

Hopefully, this is a useful insight into how much does advertising cost for a small business, making the right decision when working with an advertising and marketing partner can bring your business the best of both worlds: a fresh and vibrant marketing strategy and lean, efficient business systems.

Do you know anyone who may be interested in this project?

Click to share:

PPC Agency Devon


Impactful, succinct advertising tailored to appeal to your customers, will bring your small business decisive rewards in perception, trustworthiness and leads. From Spotify to social we are a well known PPC Agency across Devon.

The Tribe

The Vu Tribe is a monthly subscription to help small businesses generate more sales. It brings together brand development, storytelling, digital strategy, delivery & training. Every aspect of what we deliver is measured and is reported each month.

small business marketing support