Is Digital Marketing Cost-Effective in the Long Run

According to a study conducted by Catch 22,the biggest roadblock to investing in digital marketing activity is budget constraints. This is closely followed by difficulty measuring ROI. Both understandably make it difficult for some businesses to justify digital marketing spend, however the reality is, you need to implement a digital marketing strategy if you are to stand out against your competitors online.

According to Smart Insights, 46.8% of the global population accessed the internet in 2017 and by 2021 this figure is projected to grow to 53.7%.The internet has revolutionized the way we engage with businesses. Consumers use it to locate products and services and businesses use it to target users.

How Important is an Online Presence?

Very. If you don’t have an online presence, it’s likely that you have a serious disadvantage against your industry competitors in this day and age. It is essential to implement a digital marketing strategy if you want to compete. If your target audience are online and your business is not, it’s the equivalent of having all your potential customers all in a room and you’ve failed to show up to the party.

Granted, a digital marketing strategy costs money and small businesses often don’t have much of a budget to chuck at online activity. But as the saying goes ‘you’ve got to spend money to make money’.

What Sort of ROI Can I Expect from Digital Marketing?

This isn’t always the easiest thing to measure, hence the scepticism around digital marketing spend, but the key is strategy planning. To understand what the ROI is, it’s important to first ascertain the company goals and objectives. PIs can then be set against these to establish what sort of financial growth is expected and what marketing avenues might bring in the desired revenue.

The success of each type of marketing activity will depend upon industry and their respective target audience, but the following avenues are what we would recommend to all businesses to guarantee get the best ROI:


Search engine optimisation is probably the hardest to track in terms of ROI as SEO performance is also influenced by other marketing channels, such as social media and PPC. However, if you get SEO right, then your organic rankings will improve. If your monthly SEO spend is £500 (roughly half a day’s work) and your average order value is £250, you’d need 3 sales to start getting a return on investment.


Pay-Per-Click offers an instant way to start driving traffic to your landing pages. Ads are paid for, but you control your budget and you can bid for the cost-per-click to essentially get more clicks for your budget. If your landing page is good, you increase your chance of a sales conversion.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the oldest but probably the most cost-effective type of marketing. The cost of acquiring contacts for your database is minimal if your website is engaging enough to entice users to sign up to your mailing list. You then just have design time and a reasonably small fee for an email marketing platform like Mailchimp.

To calculate your ROI, you take the sales growth from that marketing channel, subtract the marketing costs, and then divide by the marketing cost.

Digital marketing should be looked at as a long-term strategy, where you grow a steady but solid online presence. Regularly measure your KPIs for each activity individually and adjust your budget and efforts accordingly to maximise your long-term ROI.

Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Whitefish Marketing agency in Kent work with businesses in the south east to improve their ROI. Call us on 01303 720 288.