A Not-So-Typical In-house Marketing Guide for Small Business

What small business owners need to know about marketing but are afraid to ask.

an in-house marketing guide for small businesses

Marketing isn’t as easy as some think. Many people underestimate the expertise required to do it well. They are also often unprepared for the obstacles they will encounter. As a result, they bounce from one tactic to another, hoping to find something that works.

Many of them continue to battle a frustrating cycle of hit-or-miss results. Others quit altogether.

This post isn’t your typical “how-to” guide. I won’t recycle the same tips found all over the Internet. Instead, what you will learn in this article will show you how to succeed at in-house marketing.

Let’s get started.

Why Business Owners Struggle with In-House Marketing

Frustrated with digital marketing min

I find many business owners don’t understand the scope and depth of marketing. They have little—if any—experience, which leads to a host of other issues, such as:

  • creating a marketing strategy or execute one
  • hiring consultants, designers, and advertisers
  • measuring success or knowing what statistics to track
  • making adjustments to campaigns that aren’t working
  • budgeting that supports their growth goals

As if these obstacles weren’t enough to overcome, two more considerable hurdles keep business owners frustrated and disappointed with marketing.

Why You Don’t Get the Marketing Results You Want

Simply put, you must be an excellent marketer to get results.

Let that sink in for a moment. You must be great—not average, or even above average. To become great at in-house marketing, you will need two things.

The first is desire. If you’re honest about it, marketing isn’t something you enjoy. Besides, there are other things you would rather do with your time off. But if you don’t want to become a skilled marketer, you will never be good enough to get the results you need.

The second thing you will need is time—a lot of it. Being a business owner myself, I understand how valuable and limited time is. But learning to be a great marketer requires commitment. So, if you plan to do it yourself, prepare to make a significant time investment.

How long will it take?

It depends. The more effort you make, the less time it will take. But think of it this way: you have likely spent years learning your craft; marketing is no different.

Don’t be one of these guys!

Years ago, I talked with a prospective client who was happy about the engagement he had gotten on a social media post earlier in the week.

“I got about ten likes on my last post,” he said. “I’d say I’ve got a handle on social media.”

But when I asked how many customers he got from those ten likes, he responded, “Well, none. But some of these people will call me, eventually. Won’t they?”

This business owner didn’t know how to measure success. It’s essential to understand what you want to do and how to achieve it. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time, energy, and resources.

You Get What You Pay For

Another type of business owner who ends up killing his business’s growth potential is the one who thinks he can get away with spending dimes to make dollars.

I once spoke with a small business owner who believed he could get the same results from an intern making cold calls for $10 an hour that he could get from a professional marketing consultant.

When I asked what made him think that, he replied, “Anybody can make phone calls. I don’t need to hire a marketer to do that.”


Do you think someone could replace you with an intern?

I hope not.

Want to make sure your marketing is working? Click here to talk with us and find out.

What You Need Before You Begin

Budget is always a consideration. But in reality, you cannot hit your growth goals without putting some money to work. Knowing what data to track and how to adjust will improve your return on the investment.

Having unrealistic expectations about the return on investment will keep you frustrated. Instead, do the research and decide what is reasonable. Developing clear goals will help you become more efficient and effective.

Pro tip: Start with a marketing strategy.

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

Focus on creating a good strategy before you spend money on ads, SEO, events, etc.

Here are ten questions to help you develop one:

1. Who are your target customers?

2. Do you know them well, including their problems and how you can best help them solve those problems?

3. Are you prepared to overcome price comparisons?

4. Have you developed multiple offers to accommodate customers with different needs?

5. How do you differentiate your brand from competitors? Can you show people why yours is better?

6. Have you prepared content and landing pages for each type of prospective customer?

7. Do you have a system to maintain ongoing contact with people who have not yet decided to do business with you?

8. Are you using the right platforms to connect with your target audience? Are you showing up where they are?

9. Does your website lead people through the buying process, guiding them from one step to the next?

10. Do you have a way to generate more sales and referrals from your current customer base?

Analyze every aspect of your advertising, sales, and service processes. Align these will strengthen your message, customer satisfaction and build brand advocacy.

The more thorough you are, the more effective your marketing will be.

NEED HELP? You don’t have to start from scratch, and you don’t have to rely on hacks to get results. Instead, we’ll help you develop a brand marketing strategy that WORKS.

Analyze every aspect of your marketing, sales, and service processes. Then, use this information to strengthen your brand message in advertising.

How to Calculate a Marketing Budget

By now, I’m sure you’re asking, “How much do I need to spend?”

This article says that most small businesses spend an average of $400 each month on marketing.

Is that too much?

Not enough?

How can you know?

I have never worked with any business—no matter how big or small—with unlimited funds. Regardless, it’s essential to use the money you have as wisely as possible.

How to Calculate Customer Acquisition Cost

To set a budget, begin with how much it costs you to acquire each new customer. This marketing expense is known as customer acquisition cost (CAC) or cost per acquisition (CPA).

There are a variety of factors used to figure customer acquisition costs. To calculate CAC, divide marketing dollars by the number of new customers generated over a given period.

Expressed as a formula, it looks like this:

Marketing dollars invested / number of new customers acquired = Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Once you know CAC, use it to decide how much you need to allocate to achieve your growth goals.

For example, let’s assume your monthly revenue goal from new customers is $10,000, and the price of your product or service is $500.

You will need 20 new customers in the next thirty days to hit this goal. So if your CAC is $100, a budget of $2,000 should get the job done.

The above calculation is a simplified example, but I have found that many business owners have no idea what their CAC is. It’s almost impossible to set accurate goals to measure success without this figure.

How to calculate customer acquisition cost.

How NOT to Set Growth Goals

Base your growth goals on your available resources and accurate data. Don’t pull numbers out of thin air.

Many business owners tend to be idealistic when it comes to results and end up disappointed when the actual numbers come in.

If you have been in business for a while, customer acquisition data already exists. But if you’re not tracking it, now is the time to start. 

Best DIY Marketing Online Resources

In this section, I’m giving you some of my personal favorites for in-house marketing. These sites and tools will increase your chances of success.

It isn’t possible to cover everything here, but this will get you started.

Website & Landing Page Design

Website Design

WP Crafter

Search Engine Optimization

Neil Patel


Landing Pages


Content Creation



Google Trends

Answer the Public







Email Marketing




Social Media Marketing


Social Media Examiner

Professional Images


Adobe Stock

Graphic Design



Digital Marketing Training

Digital Marketer

Good Old-Fashioned Marketing Strategy

No BS Inner Circle


Marketing is a skill. As with any skill, it takes time to learn it, but you will get better with practice.

To become a great marketer, you must be willing to invest time and effort. An average level of skill won’t be enough to generate the results you want.

If you need help, email your questions to me personally at chris@goldenvineyardbranding.com.

Until next time,


P.S. Want to know if you’re on track to be successful with in-house marketing? Are you spending too much money on random digital marketing tactics that aren’t working? Click this link for more.

Chris Fulmer

Chris Fulmer

Director, The Golden Vineyard Branding Company

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