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The Real Cost of Starting & Maintaining Your Business: Part 2 – Maintaining Your Business Online

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

In part 2 of this article, I felt it pertinent to focus on the costs of maintaining your business online because whether you have a physical operation, or you run your business online, the predominant tactics you will use to build awareness and grow your brand will be digital marketing.

Inevitably, you’ll be enticed by different affiliate marketing products and services that can help you run your business such as off the shelf pre-built websites; software that will help you target your audience on social media; content tools that will write you optimised blogs, landing pages, e-books, video adverts etc.

This is the world of online marketing and no doubt, you will be using some of the same tactics to entice people to your products and services too. On one hand it makes becoming your own boss easier because there are so many ‘done for you’ businesses that you can start, which offers you the opportunity to have the kind of freedom and income you want. On the other hand, there are some costs that you may not consider as part of your business development when in fact, they are – your own development and training for example.

If you want to build awareness of your brand, grow your business and create a consistent recurring (and increasing) income, these are all costs that you need to take into consideration from the outset.

This article is designed to give you a more accurate view of what it the actual costs are to maintain your business online and what you may have to invest in to sustain your operation for the long-term.

Why Online?

According to an article from Smart Insights, in 2017 46.8% of the global population accessed the internet and by 2021 this figure is projected to grow to 53.7%. The number of daily searches on Google is 3.5 billion, which equates to 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

Almost, two-thirds of the world’s population have mobile phones. And, more than 50% of internet traffic comes from smartphones. To be precise, there are globally 3.7 billion internet users, 2.7 billion active social media users, and 4.9 billion unique mobile users. Actually, 37% (2.8 billion) of the world’s population uses social media. (Source: Home Jobs Hub).

In 2015 Facebook influenced 52 per cent of consumers’ online and offline purchases, up from 36 per cent in 2014. (Source: The Drum)

On Twitter, link clicks account for 92% of all user interaction with tweets. (Source: HubSpot)

On Instagram, top brands on Instagram are seeing a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21% which is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter (Source: Hootsuite)

There are 1.8 billion logged-in Youtube monthly active users visiting the website at least once a month. “Logged-in” is important as there may be a lot of people coming to YouTube who aren’t using Google Accounts to do so. (Source: Youtube official blog)

With statistics like these, it’s simple to see that having an online presence is essential to maintaining your business growth and success. Does it come at a cost, yes it does!

To run your business successfully there are 4 key areas that will add ongoing financial costs to your bottom line. In the start-up phase, you have to consider having at least £5-80k to get your business off the ground and running. However, when you consider how much you will get in return, although it may seem like a huge outlay at the start, this is a small price to pay to earn what could be in excess of 6 figures, when you get your marketing and sales strategy right.

Potential Costs for Marketing Your Business Online:

Email Marketing – the apparent holy grail of marketing is to grow an email list of potential clients that you can target with your offers and drive through your sales funnel to make continual purchases of your products and services. The most effective email marketing tools allow you to develop landing pages that can make an impact with your audience and then create an automated system that continues to work on your behalf to generate new leads and sales. The cost of email marketing tools can be anywhere from a few pounds to thousands depending on what you want the software to do, in addition if you outsource this element of your business, that will be a cost which could add up to an extra £1000 per month to your outgoings as they will create your content, manage your contacts and analyse the results of your campaigns.

Social Media Management & Advertising – social media will be an essential part of your brand awareness and visibility to help you drive leads and sales to your website and offers. Whether you decide to manage your social media yourself or you outsource it, your advertising costs each month if you are creating the content yourself and you want to build a good following could be a minimum of around £100 per month – but more likely around £250 if you want to increase your visibility in a short space of time and penetrate your target market more widely in order to generate a 5-6 figure income. If you are going to use a social media scheduling tool, then you’ll need to add at least another £10 per month to your budget. If you are outsourcing this cost, then it could rise anywhere from £100 to £10,000 depending on the number of social platforms being managed and the results you expect from your campaigns.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – this is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results, so in other words, when done well, SEO should help you rank on the first page of search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo, underneath or after the paid adverts. This is one of the most effective ways of getting leads for your business as these will be consumers actively seeking your content and warm to interacting with your brand and buying your products and services. The costs of SEO again vary depending on the level of support you require, but can be anything from £50 to £10,000, if outsourced.

Pay Per Click (PPC) / Search Advertising – this is a targeted way of buying visits to your site that will hopefully end in conversions, whether this is a sale, conversion, or sign-up etc. So, from the SEO above, you may decide to run an advertising campaign that will target customers to a specific sales offer. The cost of PPC again will vary depending on the number of impressions and the value of certain keywords, but you can also set a specific daily budget and then once that is used up, your advert will cease to appear until you run another campaign. This is probably the most expensive of all the online marketing solutions you can use, but as a start-up/SME business, you’ll be looking to spend at least £300+ per month to run a small campaign. Add an additional £350-1000 if you need an agency to do this for you.

Online marketing is one of the biggest operating costs that you will incur in your business – especially if you are working from home on a laptop, but it is also one of the most essential. Without marketing your business, you can’t make sales and without sales you cannot generate revenue and create an income for yourself let alone to run your business. Before you can decide what the costs of your online marketing will be, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Will I need help creating my marketing strategy?

  • Can I design great content that will engage my audience?

  • Will I need help writing SEO content for my website, my blogs, my marketing materials, my email newsletter?

  • Will l have the time to consistently create content on a regular basis for my social media channels?

  • Will I need help maintaining my social media channels and content?

  • How many people will I need on my email list to make sales and generate the income I require?

  • Where am I going to advertise my business and how often should I run marketing campaigns to drive awareness and leads to my offers?


Whilst there are other more organic and less expensive ways of increasing awareness and visibility for your business, these often take a lot more time and effort on your part to generate a sustainable revenue. Paid online marketing will be the most effective in helping you target buying consumers and accelerating your brands revenue, growth and success online.

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