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Realistic Review of Your Monthly Online Marketing Budget

"Pinning, posting, liking, tweeting, sharing... All this stuff I'm supposed to do daily just to engage with my clients and keep them interested. It's a nightmare! I was just dabbling on Pinterest and before I knew it I lost 2 hours of my life! I sure hope someone finds, likes, and repins what I was just working on!"

Does that quote sound at all familiar? Many jewelers who want to use social networking for marketing have found the time requirements become a black hole of time. In all honestly, that quote above is mine, and I just spent 2 hours on Pinterest and Twitter before I realized it.

When you continually use the different social networks you are creating a vortex of information that slowly draws customers to your jewelry store. Your customers don't all use the same search techniques online, and they sure don't all use the same social networks.

The social network owners are all fighting over features and trying to become the system for everyone, but it's just not going to happen. Facebook, Google+, and Twitter all share similar features for tagging people and using hash tags to identify and categorize your share/post/tweet... whatever.

Unfortunately for you, about 42% of the traffic to a jewelry store's website comes from places other than search engines. In the simplest terms that means you could spend 42% of your time, energy, or budget with online marketing other than search engine optimization.

I've read that the rule of thumb for general marketing is to spend 5% of your total revenue on marketing if you want to maintain your current position, and 10% if you want to gain new clients. This comes out to about $4160 per month for marketing if your store revenue is $500,000 per year. At least $2000 of that should be allocated to online marketing.

I chose $2000 because any less than that and you're really just scratching the surface and probably disappointed with your results. Of that $2000, 42% or $840 should go to NON search engine optimization efforts, and $1160 SHOULD go towards SEO efforts.

When you consider Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Google+ that $840 isn't going to cover the cost of a good online marketing person. You could outsource to someone random for $20/hr and have them work 42 hours per month. A qualified person who knows website marketing and can quickly learn you jewelry business will run your at least $75/hr, and that cuts you down to about 11 hours a month.

Consider for a moment that I just spent 2 hours pinning 22 images and tweeting 21 times. I wrote between 200 to 300 characters for each Pin to Pinterest, and I auto-generated the tweets. That's 5.5 minutes for each pin, and I won't count the time tweeting.

Many industries are having a difficult time figuring out how to use Pinterest. Luckily this is a social network that you can get into easily and target women very easily with all the photo sharing. Shiny items are very nice to look at on Pinterest.

I like that 5.5 minute calculation because that's about the same amount of time it takes to post a link and description to your latest blog on Facebook; the same amount of time to share part of your blog on Google+, and to write 3 tweets in a Twitter scheduling program.

All these minutes add up very quickly. If you use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ every day that would work out to 22 minutes each day and about 7.3 hours per month; leaving only 3.6 hours of those 11 precious hours you are paying a professional.

As you can see there is quite a dilemma when deciding how to allocate your marketing money every month. You could do this social networking on your own, but that means taking time away from running your business. Before you take on the task you need to ask yourself if you are really qualified for marketing, or is your time better spend on sales or jewelry repairs?

Here are some guidelines to make sense of all this:

* If you have a large budget you should allocate at least $2950 per month for blog writing every day, topic research, and social network sharing every day. I'm assuming that the total monthly budget is at least $7050 not including online paid advertising.

With this amount of time and effort you should clearly see results in your website analytics.

* If you have minimal budget then you need to start small and build. Everyone wants to start on Facebook, but if you don't already have an established Facebook page then I see a faster benefit to creating a Google+ Page and sharing content there. With Google+ your shares have more opportunity to help your SEO at the same time. You could outsource 2 blog writing projects and social media sharing a few days each month for about $200, but this will be low quality with limited initial return.

With this smaller approach you will have to carefully monitor your website analytics for results. You also need to find a way to track the resulting sales in your store, and make a commitment to add a little more into your budget after every confirmed sale.
AT: 08/29/2012 05:33:10 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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