The Greatness Blog

What’s A Healthy Bootstrapping Marketing Budget? Marketing Experts Answer

No matter how many times you’ve found yourself trying to figure out what your marketing budget should be, so you can sell your products or services, it’s never an easy answer. Read about the best ways to market your business in 2023.

No matter how many times you’ve found yourself trying to figure out what your marketing budget should be, so you can sell your products or services, it’s never an easy answer.

Most of the marketing conversations we’re having in our marketing agency are with business owners who aspire to build a brand, long-term, but need a plan to combine both: their short-term and long-term goals. If this is you, then, bootstrapping might be on your radar.

What do you mean by bootstrapping?

Bootstrapping your business is a lot like pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. It means you are using your own resources to get your business started. This can be done by using your own money, getting help from family and friends, or finding creative ways to barter for goods and services. Bootstrapping can be a slow process, but it can also be very rewarding.

Most U.S. businesses are self-funded and don’t raise outside capital. Statistics are sketchy, but experts generally agree that about 6 million new businesses start up in the U.S. in an average year. Of those, only about 70,000 startups get angel investment, and fewer than 5,000 get venture capital.

Some Bootstrap Marketing Ideas

Bootstrapping means that you have to be extra careful with how you spend your money. Marketing can be one of the first areas to get slashed when bootstrapping, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of planning, you can set up a bootstrap marketing strategy that won’t break the bank.

The first thing you need to do when setting up your bootstrapped marketing budget is figuring out what you can realistically afford to spend. Make a list of all your current business expenses and then see what you can cut back on or eliminate entirely. This may include items like dining out, cable TV, and weekends away. Once you’ve determined what you can reasonably afford to spend on marketing, you can start thinking about where to allocate those funds.

One of the most important things to remember when bootstrapping is that you need to focus on ROI (return on investment). This means that every dollar you spend on marketing should bring in more than a dollar in revenue.

But How Do You Create A Boostrap Marketing Plan?

Since you want to make sure you’re not wasting resources, your bootstrap marketing strategy needs to be thoughtful. Your first factor to consider is which marketing channels you will be growing. Gone are the days where you could hire a PR firm to run a powerful marketing campaign and see amazing results.

You want to keep your advertising costs low, but effective at the same time, so you can see an influx of cash to keep your business running. You might also want to consider getting capital for your marketing projects. In this way, you’ll secure your investment and your business success. In case you need a trusted lender, we highly recommend One Park Financial.

How Much Do Digital Marketing Services For Small Businesses Cost?


Generally speaking, the size of your marketing budget generally depends on factors like the type of business you’re running, the size of your audience, and how competitive your industry is.

While digital channels are a top priority for business owners, there are other marketing costs that should be factored, in addition of your digital marketing budget. Examples of marketing costs outside of digital marketing are:

  1. Advertising

  2. Customer surveys

  3. Gifts to customers

  4. Printed materials and displays

  5. Community Outreach

  6. Sponsorships

Marketers can’t predict or guarantee results. No matter how good they are. So, be realistic about your expectations and be prepared to give your marketing efforts at least 6 months.

As a ballpark, anywhere from 5-10% of your desired revenue may be considered a reasonable amount for businesses that take a B2B approach. And if you are marketing to consumers, in a highly competitive industry, you’ll need between 15-20% of your desired revenue.

Now that you have an idea of the marketing budget for your small business, the next thing is: how will you invest it? Notice that we say “invest”, not spend. Your marketing is an investment. Not an expense. Especially when you’re in the startup phase.

The Top Three Marketing Strategies for Bootstrapping

The landscape of digital marketing has changed drastically. So, no matter what you heard about what works and what’s working for your competitors, you can’t ignore the fact that you’re starting under many different conditions than they had. In other words: what worked for them won’t work for you.

Any bootstrapping marketing expert will tell you this: you can’t grow what you can’t measure. So, before making any decisions about your social media platforms, Adwords, or considering using online advertising services, your marketing analytics need to be set up. We’re living in unprecedented times. And without access to your own data, taking a guess on how to market so you can drive sales is a risky practice.

When business owners come to us for bootstrapping marketing services, we start with analytics. We take a Forensic Marketing approach to marketing, which sets us apart from any other digital marketing agencies. We’re also practitioners with expert-level knowledge of digital marketing, which allows us to make decisions and execute quickly.

Where are small business owners seeing a great ROI from marketing?

Our top three marketing strategies are Content Marketing SEO, Social Media, and Paid Media. But to see a higher ROI from marketing, we recommend combining different marketing strategies based on what you need.

It can be 70% SEO, 20% Social, 10% Paid (Google Adwords or Facebook Ads) or 90% SEO, 5% Social, and 5% Paid or any combination, depending on what we gather from the data.

Another factor that’s helping small business owners is to keep advertising costs at the bare minimum. We see that organic marketing practices drive higher conversions than paid channels. That doesn’t mean you won’t use paid channels. You will.

We have saved our clients up to 90% of their advertising budget by integrating their ad campaigns with SEO best practices.

Now let’s take a deep dive into the top three marketing services for bootstrapping and the budget.

Content Marketing Budget: What Does This Include and How Much?

This includes things like blog posts, infographics, eBooks, and whitepapers. Content marketing is a great way to attract leads without spending a lot of money. Just make sure that your content is high-quality and relevant to your target audience.  Because you want to gain the right visibility AND the right reputation so you can gain trust from true potential buyers.

You can hire a content marketing specialist on a project-based payment and this allows you to get high-quality work without committing to a monthly payment.

A healthy content marketing budget should consider:

  • New pages for your website or optimize the existing ones using top-notch SEO strategies so you can see conversions

  • Long-form content that positions your brand as a leader and helps you gain authority and build trust

  • Content to generate leads

Mistakes to avoid when hiring a content marketing specialist:

  • Be sure they have a track record of creating high-converting content. If they can show you tracked links, even better. 

 Here’s an example of a home page that our team optimized 10 months ago. Using Google Search Console we can filter a single page and see the impact of the optimizations that were performed. Each page or article can be tracked inside Google Search Console or Google Analytics using UTM codes. 


If your content writer doesn’t have those digital marketing skills, you won’t have access to the full benefits of content marketing. 

If you hire content marketing services, be sure they include SEO optimization and tracking. How else could you calculate the ROI of your marketing?

  • Don’t create educational content without a plan to turn them into paying customers.

Most content writers understand the tactics to drive website traffic. However, there’s a difference between driving traffic and driving conversions. And your content should be able to assist in your conversion flow. 

  • Lastly, be sure they have your branding guidelines.

Your content marketing should represent your brand. Don’t assume that your content marketing specialist will pick your brand voice. Instead, provide them with your branding guidelines which should have guidance to persuade your future buyers. 

“Your content should be informative, relevant, and persuasive at the same time.”

Alex Rodríguez, Co-Founder of MFG  

Want us to take a deep dive into your online presence? Complete our Marketing Assessment today! 

Social Media Marketing Budget: What Does This Include and How Much?

Promoting your content on social media is a great way to reach new people without spending any money. Just make sure you’re strategic about which platforms you use and how often you post. 

You don’t need to hire a social media manager to take over. You can always start by outsourcing content creation and graphic creation. This will free up your calendar and will allow you to get more clients. 

A healthy social marketing budget should consider:


  • Social media strategy, crafted on a monthly basis

  • Videos that assist your long-form content so you can generate traffic and conversions

  • Time to engage with your audience so you can expand your network by “socializing” with the right people

Bootstrapping Your SEO Marketing Strategies


Unlike many SEO agencies will want you to believe, you don’t actually need SEO all the time. You can get SEO in a project base and optimize a few website pages at a time. This will help you grow your online presence consistently, without breaking the bank. SEO takes about 6-9 months to kick in. But the good news is that once your pages are ranking, you’ll start to see the compound effect of SEO. 

Advertising Budget: What Does This Include and How Much?

If you do have some money to spend on marketing, paid advertising can be an effective way to reach new people quickly. Just make sure you’re clear about your goals and target audience before investing any money in paid ads.

Save Time and Money by Hiring Expert Marketers 


It’s no secret that marketing a business can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. If you’re bootstrapping your business, you might be tempted to try to do it all yourself or hire inexpensive freelancers on Fiverr to save money.  

However, this is often a mistake. The truth is unless you have previous experience in marketing, you’re likely to end up spending more time and money than if you had just hired experts from the beginning. Here’s why:

It Takes Time to Learn Marketing

Even if you’re naturally good at marketing and have some experience with it, there’s still a lot to learn if you want to do it well. There are always new trends and techniques to keep up with, not to mention the fact that what works in one industry might not work in another. If you try to keep up with everything yourself, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed. This will lead to either subpar results or complete burnout. Neither of which is good for your business.

You Need an Experienced Team

Trying to do everything yourself also means that you won’t have a team of experienced professionals to collaborate with. A good marketing team will have a variety of skills and experience levels. This way, they can cover more ground and come up with better ideas than if you were working alone. Having a team also allows you to delegate tasks so that you can focus on running your business.

Marketing Teams Have Become Very Agile After The Pandemic

There’s no secret that marketing agencies suffered during the pandemic. As businesses shuttered their doors and consumers hunkered down at home, many marketers found themselves out of work or facing reduced hours and budgets. However, the pandemic also presented an opportunity for marketers to step up and show their value. 

In our MFG Agency, we had to minimize our team and pivot with tools and efficient workflows so we could offer high-quality services to our clients while fitting into their budgets. This allowed us to become more agile. Because we had to! 

In the end, we haven’t gone back to the old ways. We’ve found new ways to reach consumers and adapt to the ever-changing digital marketing landscape. 

“It’s been fun seeing how a simple 15-second video reaches hundreds of thousands of people and boosts a brand! The power of short videos is still untouched by most business owners. This won’t last for too long.” 

Jessica Campos, Founder of MFG

But How Much Does It Cost To Hire Expert Marketers?

The answer, unfortunately, is not a simple one. The cost of hiring a marketing expert depends on many factors, including the size of your business, the scope of the project, and the expert’s level of experience. 

As for the price of individual services, here’s a ballpark amount of expert-level marketing services: 

– Social media marketing:  $500-$3,000+ per month 

– Search engine optimization (SEO): $1,000-$5,000+ per month 

– Pay-per-click (PPC) management: $500-$10,000+ per month 

– Email marketing: $500-$2,000+ per month 

– Content marketing: $500-$5,000+ per month 

– Market research: $5,000-$20,000+ 

– Advertising campaign management: 10% of total ad spend

-Fractional CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization): $350- $600 per hour

How Do We Price Our Expert Marketing Packages At MFG Agency?


In our MFG Agency, we start by identifying quick wins. And sometimes those quick wins will need light adjustments to their branding, website, or social media. 

A solid marketing plan takes between 20-40 hours per month to execute. Even though the hourly rate of a fractional CRO or CMO is $350, you won’t pay that. We’ve managed to create growth packages that start at $3,000 per month and that give you access to our team:

  • 2 Digital Marketing Experts 

  • Expert-level SEO & Content Marketing

  • Expert-level Social Media

  • A team of graphic designers 

  • Copywriters

  • Website developer

  • Influencer marketing

  • In addition to our well-nurtured resources that can assist with branding, photography, video marketing, event marketing, funding, etc.

And we’ve managed to structure performance-based plans and help you find capital. We see ourselves as your success partners.

Final Thoughts 

Everything has a price. Even the things you’re getting for free. And when it comes to receiving marketing services, what you’re truly getting is PEACE. How much would you pay for peace of mind? Some might say “it’s priceless.”

For some of you, your peace of mind comes from seeing a healthy banking account. You want to see short-term gains. And want to actually see it in the banking account.

We also speak to business owners that their peace of mind comes from having certainty about their long-term success. They don’t look for immediate sales. They want to build a brand and have long-term goals.

In which group are you? Knowing what success looks like for you is important when you’re considering hiring a marketing team.

Let’s Have A Conversation 

We help businesses like yours to create and implement effective bootstrapping marketing strategies. It all starts by getting to know your business and your goals. Then, conduct market research and develop a personalized plan of action. 

If you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, let’s set up a time for a consultation.