Budgeting for Your Website: Production, Marketing, Optimization & Budgeting

The revered marketing budget…Other people’s money for some, retirement savings for others. Regardless, some planning needs to go into how much cash will be spent on your websites, apps, advertising and other media. Unless of course, you’re like, the Biebs, and money ain’t no thang. Speaking of which, JB, you need a better site, kid.

Anyway, you ain’t Bieberlicious and your marketing budget ain’t limitless. So then let’s talk about the realistic mindset you should expect to bring to the game when determining how much you can and should be spending.

Keep in mind, roughly 90% of the digital initiatives you’ll pursue will require money at three stages: Production, Marketing and Optimization. Let’s snuggle up and walk through each, shall we?

P.S. The true gold within this article is that we’re going to break the rules by providing some rough, ballpark ranges you might spend.


No matter what’s being created, there will be a period where ideas are being discussed, plans made and deliverables…delivered. After research has been performed, the strategy laid out and the UX, branding and UI defined, the end point of production is usually in the form of a website or app being launched. If we’re talking video, creative design or ad work, production will wrap with final artwork or assets being handed off and/or published.

This bucket tends to be the largest one-time cost you’ll experience. But there’s just as good a chance it will be eclipsed, in time, by (the forthcoming) marketing & optimization tasks that endure for months & years after initial production. And it is this very fact that most wet-behind-the-ears or otherwise living-under-a-rock entrepreneurs and marketing directors fail to plan for, resulting in their product growing moss and dying on the shelf. Frown.

You know the saying, “if you build it they will come”? Well get that crap out of your head and replace it with “Build it, understand it’s at the bottom of the ocean, market it well, watch your metrics, optimize. Repeat.” What we tell every client we work with is to consider production to be step #1. Go lean. Launch an MVP. This is a marathon, not a sprint, sonny boy.


Production was successful. Wonderful. Now comes the multi-tentacled job of promoting your work across the “best” channels, for your industry, company and brand. But first you need to figure out which channels to target.

Research based on data (read: not HiPPO) is critical here. But don’t kid yourself into thinking you won’t need to run some experiments, fail, try again or start over. What starts as a print campaign that encourages customers to “Text to Join!” may be better suited within a newsletter and social media campaign. Wait, maybe paid ads or in-store promotions? Point is, there are a flurry of avenues to market your brand. Again, endurance will be paramount here. With proper planning, you’ll have a readily available source of capital to support your marketing goals; as well as ongoing optimization of your product that ultimately deposits cashola into the good ol’ piggy bank.


The minute you launched your product, probably even before so, you (hopefully) realized there was a ton of other stuff you’ll eventually need to add, remove or redo altogether. If you didn’t realize that, now you do. Note: For kicks, you can read more about the benefits of iterative, Agile development over here.

Moral of the story is, you launched enough of your product to generate buzz. But every good product team will plan to evolve their product with new thingamajigs and features, based on the very marketing metrics they’ve been gathering since production discussions. And in that perfect little world, each new feature yields X more dollars to the bottom line. But just like marketing, ongoing product optimization is an engine that needs fuel, aka cash, in order to continue humming.


Onto the good stuff. How much will this all cost me?!

Now, before you go and convince yourself that these prices are gospel, don’t.

Remember, these numbers are a very rough approximation — hence the generous ranges. Lots of things will impact the actual dollars and cents. And be aware that agencies come in many different sizes and shapes — from 1-person companies to the BBDOs and IDEOs of the world.

Production – Digital

  • Single Page Site (e.g. landing, splash, squeeze, teaser) :: $1,500 – $5,000
  • Brochure Website: $5,000 – $15,000
  • Native Mobile App: $5,000 – $100Ks
  • Web Platform with Admin: $20,000 – $1Ms
  • UX Research & Strategy: $10,000 – $1Ms
  • User Interface Design: $5,000 – $10Ks

Production – Creative

  • Logo: $2,000 – $5,000
  • Ads, Promotional, Print, Editorial, Outdoor: $500 – $15,000
  • Newsletters: $250 – $1,000
  • Infographics: $500 – $3,000
  • Animated Video: $2,500 – $10Ks
  • Content Production: $500 – $10,000 / mo

Marketing & Optimization – Web & Mobile

  • Content Marketing: $1,000 – $10Ks / mo
  • AdWords Campaign (management fees only): $500 – $10Ks / mo
  • Social Media Building & Management: $1,000 – $10Ks / mo
  • Marketing Automation: $5,000 – $10Ks / mo

Would love to hear from you in the comments about unforeseen costs you’ve experienced that weren’t covered in this article, as well as your feelings on the budget ranges we shared.

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Jay Melone
Jay Melone

Jay Melone is a Partner at New Haircut, a product strategy and training group based in NJ. They help product teams fall in love with the digital solutions they make, and how they make them. They offer design sprints, problem framing, and outcome-based roadmaps as part of their 4-week Product Transformation Program.
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