When it comes to online marketing for small biz, there are endless ways to promote your company for free. While search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing are well worth the effort and should be used by every business, paid marketing also has its place. How do you know you’re ready for paid traffic? Here’s a simple list of things you’ll notice when it’s time to start paying for your advertising:

1 – Your Landing Page is Converting

If your landing page is already converting the free traffic that comes in, you’re off to a good start. It’s also a good sign that with more highly targeted visitors, your conversion rate will likely increase, so moving to a paid format may be a good idea.

2 – You Are Putting Too Much Time into Free

Nothing is ever really free and if you’re doing all the SEO, email lead generation, and marketing, etc., on your own, you’re paying for it with your time and energy. Take a look at what you have been focusing on in your business and then look at what is earning you the most money.

Chances are, you’re not making a lot of money from spending hours and hours on writing the perfect blog post with all the right keywords.

There comes a point when it’s time to focus on what makes money and what you do best in your business. Outsource everything else, especially traffic generation. With paid ads, you should see your sales jump up, and you will have more time to spend on doing what actually makes money.

3 – You’re Tired of Moving Slowly

Free advertising is great, but it has the disadvantage of being very, very slow. Word-of-mouth is a terrific way to get new clients, but if you have worked with just a handful of clients, you can’t expect a huge surge from those few.

If you’re sick of the slow going with free marketing techniques, it’s probably time to graduate to paid traffic and advertising. This will bring in more clients, more sales, and can help your business grow rather quickly.

4 – You’ve Tested the Waters Successfully

Have you tried a small Facebook marketing campaign? An Instagram blast? If you’ve had great success with a single campaign, then it’s probably time to start investing a bit more. There’s nothing wrong with starting out slowly, but why hold your company back once you know you can bring in more clients?

5 – Your Business is Picking Up Speed

As your small business begins to grow faster and faster, you won’t be able to spend as much time working on free methods of marketing. It’s important to have a backup in place. Chances are, it is more worth your time to pay for ads than it is to hire someone just to do free marketing.

Conclusion

Run the numbers and figure out which method will bring in more profit, then implement it. You can also split test, using the same amount of money to invest in each method and seeing which has the best return-on-investment (ROI).

It’s a big step to start paying to market your business, but there comes a point when growth simply isn’t going to continue unless you invest some money in it. Many businesses start out with free methods like SEO, social media marketing, and offering freebies on their site. All of these are excellent techniques and should be continued. However, online marketing for small biz is time-consuming and has a very low ROI if you’re doing it all yourself.

If any of the above sounds like your business, it’s probably time to start spending some money on advertising.