It’s the time of year to start thinking about your marketing budget for the next year. When it comes to the budgeting process, you need to view marketing as an investment. And like any other investment, it is predicated on its returns. Before the development of digital marketing, companies had to do some PR, buy ad time on TV and radio, and attend trade shows. Today, brands are spending much of their marketing budgets on digital marketing, investing in various customer service applications and marketing tools.
Even though it’s easier to track and measure, digital marketing is difficult because of the many options it offers. If you’re having trouble planning for your next year’s marketing budgets, here are some tips that will hopefully help you determine how much and where to spend your money.
1. Analyze Your Past Efforts
Marketing should never be a guessing game. Before you start laying out your goals and means of achieving them, you first need to take a look back at your past successes. Take the data from your marketing automation system, email marketing service, and Google analytics, and analyze it. What worked and what didn’t? Prioritize your marketing tactics according to an unbiased review of their yearly performance. Also, make sure to include all the external factors that were influencing your business growth besides marketing. Perhaps a new competitor emerged or you lost a few good employees.
2. Determine Your Marketing Goals for 2021
You’ve analyzed the successes and fails of your past marketing plans. Now, it’s time to lay out the goals for 2020. Before you turn on the engine and step on the gas, you need to know where you’re heading. Otherwise, you’ll burn your fuel and get nowhere. Make sure that your marketing goals are specific, quantifiable, and strategic. Start by determining long-term goals, and then break those into short-term ones. That will help you understand how much revenue you’ll need to make and new leads you’ll need to generate.
As for tactical goals, having an element of flexibility is essential, because there will be many unexpected factors that will affect your progress. Unforeseen circumstances require adjustments on the go.
3. Take a Look at Industry Trends
What are your competitors doing? What are the current and emerging trends in your industry? You need to stay on top of these things if you want to get a competitive edge. Do they rely on email newsletters or social media to interact with their customers? What kind of content do they put out and which types of it perform best? Where are they ranking in SERPs? Depending on your position, you either need to stand out or catch up. See what’s working for them, and include those methods in your marketing plan.
4. Decide on Your Marketing Channels
When it comes to digital marketing, there are so many channel options you can choose. What we will recommend (as well as most marketers out there) is an integrated approach of two or more channels.
- Social media marketing. Social media is an excellent tool for brands who have an established online presence. The best platforms to use are Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (depending on the nature of your business.)
- Email marketing. Use email marketing to capture new leads and add responsive elements to boost engagement. Email marketing is a standard for most companies this year.
- PPC (Pay-per-click). PPC is a type of paid advertisement where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. It’s very customizable, and you can specify ad copy, bids, location targeting, time of day, etc.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Do you rank high in search engine result pages? By optimizing your website for search engines, and eventually getting your business on the first page of Google results, you will attract more attention and grow your business.
- Web development. Customers like fast-loading, responsive, and well-designed websites. Your website is your online ID, so invest in adding the latest features and the best possible UX.
- Content marketing. Creating valuable, educational, informative, and entertaining content for your audience can get you a long way. It can be used for lead nurturing and building authority in your industry. Once your customers start seeing you as an industry expert, you will have their trust.
There is no magic formula for the perfect marketing budget because every business is a story in itself. Educate yourself on the best marketing methods, mix them up to create a marketing strategy that suits your business, and break your goals into a few short-term objectives. Once you do that, as well as decide which tools you should invest in, you can plan out your marketing budget for 2021.
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