Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget
In this day and age, if you are not actively participating in marketing or at least paying attention to it, chances are, you are going down a path of no return. With the increasing digitalisation of the world and many of the processes that make the world go round, we must make an effort to learn how things work and how to make them work best for us.
For any business looking to survive and thrive in the modern age, digital marketing is a must. The critical question remains, how much of a budget should you be putting into the process, and what are the essential factors to consider? There is no doubt what you plan today will profoundly affect your future, so it is best to start on the right note and keep bringing in those wins.
A new year is the best place to start. You would have already seen what has happened over the past few months or years, and new opportunities for growth and change will present themselves. To take these chances effectively, you will need to decide how big your marketing budget will be. Here are a few easy steps to help you in making the final decision:
Table of Contents
Planning Your Marketing Budget
1. Set Your Goals
The last thing you need is not to have a target to aim for. How are you going to measure success when you have no clue what that looks like? Instead of wasting time and effort chasing after something unattainable, you need a clear goal within reasonable reach.
What are the key performance indicators for the year? What do your customers want to see from your brand? What would be the dominant content format to push out on the various social media platforms? These are but a few of the questions to answer and to have defined goals for. This way, you can allocate your digital marketing budget as you see fit or even try to secure more to do something even better.
2. Familiarise Yourself With Your External Costs
How can you accurately develop a digital marketing budget when you are not aware of your business’s costs?
Sure, you’re likely aware of what you spend on digital marketing and internal factors such as cybersecurity and virus protection, but do you know how much you’re spending on external factors? If you have employees to handle these aspects for you, the chances are that you don’t — even if you do have a general idea.
External factors include employing staff, meaning everything from paychecks to benefits and required technology, operations, and costs resulting from merely running a business (electricity, water, internet etc.). It’s essential to know how much you’re spending on these factors so that you can allocate part of your existing budget to marketing without being left in a challenging situation.
As an example, say it costs you $10 to produce an item. You turn around and sell the item for $50. This information, and the final amount of $40, which is your ROI, should give you a good idea of how much you want to spend while still managing to generate a profit.
3. Choose Your Platform
A crucial part of planning a successful digital marketing budget is deciding on and trusting a platform. This step is dependent on your business and which market it caters to.
If you operate on a business-to-business basis, then you’ll be appealing to those in managerial positions such as CFOs and CTOs. When this is the case, you’ll need to ensure that your marketing content can be consumed in an office setting, most likely on a laptop or desktop computer. Your content will be appearing on articles and dedicated websites that are relevant to your business.
On the other hand, if your business caters to consumers and the general public, it will likely rely on marketing content that can be consumed “on the go”. In other words, people will stumble across it when they’re using their smartphones or tablets. Instead of posting your content on websites, you should be posting it on social media via photos or videos.
Depending on which market you cater to, your marketing budget will look a little different, which is why it’s essential to choose your primary market and stick with it for the entirety of a campaign.
4. Consider the Stage of Your Business
Your marketing budget will be determined, in part, by whether your business is in the planning or the growth stage of development. When you think about it, this idea makes sense because you wouldn’t treat a baby the same way you would a toddler, right? In this instance, we can consider the baby the business in the growth stage and the toddler the company in the planning stage.
If your business is just starting and is in growth mode, you’ll need to generate revenue fast. This means that you’ll want to invest more deeply in digital marketing techniques that are known for their quick turnaround times, which can be more costly than those who use a slow and steady turnaround rate.
When your business is in the planning mode, it’s likely to benefit more from steady growth and less from sudden spikes in revenue. Thanks to this, you’ll need to invest in a marketing technique that performs better long-term. Depending on the method you choose for this stage, your costs can vary.
5. Let the Data Guide You
Not learning your lessons can lead to a repeat of mistakes, and mistakes in the digital space can be hard to erase. Understanding what has worked and what has not is very important. It is not just restricted to your brand and content; take a look at how the competition has been doing things, and you might gain the upper hand.
Digital marketing can be a fickle mistress, but the more knowledge you possess, the better chances you will attain success. Techniques, content formats, marketing approaches, and every campaign and activation are opportunities to learn and get better at reaching your customers.
Remember not to discount the things that data has shown not to work. These things can be just as important, if not more important, than the things that have worked as this data can save you from making repeat mistakes or following in the unfortunate footsteps of other companies who have experienced spectacular campaign flops.
6. Align The Pieces
All marketing efforts require two key components – human resources and tools. The former can be the right person for the job, but their effectiveness is curtailed without the right tools at their disposal. Your budget will need to account for such expenditure.
Having dedicated staff for specific marketing areas can bring its own rewards, while proper software and tools can refine the process and increase productivity. Analytical software will also provide you with the important information you seek. Nothing works well within a silo, and the more cohesive your digital marketing efforts, the better it is for the company.
7. Be Forward Facing
Of course, the digital space can change in an instance. Knowing the current trends and how the markets move at the moment is only half the battle. It’s very important, though, that you keep track of the hottest trends and where all the action is. You should also be keeping in touch of potential new opportunities and ventures beneficial for your brand.
Even if something is a new concept, it could still do wonders for your business. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith in marketing ventures; you never know how far an idea could get you. Of course, use common sense when determining whether a new venture is worth it or not. You know your business and its consumers best, so keep everything you know about them at the front of your mind when starting something new.
Being aware, getting in early, and being amongst the early adopters might give you a leg up on the competition. Do not rule anything out; opportunities are there to be grasped, and letting them pass by is often a terrible mistake.
8. An Agile Budget
With goals in mind and the requisite knowledge to best enhance your marketing efforts, it is time to start planning said budget. However, an essential guiding principle is not to let cost dictate everything. In fact, you should be prioritising success as much as possible.
That means that not all cost-effective solutions will be the best approach, nor will the most expensive method bring you the best dividends. Instead, you will have to do the hard work of determining what will work best for you at any given time.
If the opportunity to build a social media presence is now, then your budget should adjust accordingly. If the target audience is shifting from Facebook to Instagram, you should be changing your approach.
Taking advantage of changes and getting better results will make your budget go longer and further. Seasonal events and holidays can also be prime windows to do something interesting or innovative, so you will have to account for that as well. Be mindful of the national holidays and vacation days in the countries that you’re targeting. It wouldn’t make sense to push a particular campaign when the entire country is taking the week off for a religious holiday or is staying home to celebrate a special day.
In addition, if you set a budget and then find that the resulting campaign is incredibly successful, don’t feel obligated to stop the campaign just because you have gone over budget. If your success is weighing out the fact that you are over budget and you still see a gain from it, keep going! Why stop during the height of success? You can be both smart and flexible.
Keep it agile, and give yourself the best platform for success.
9. Plan, Plan, Plan
Once everything is set, you will have a great foundation to work from. Decide the type of content that will drive your marketing efforts, choose the right platforms for the job, and you are well ahead of the pack. Plan out how a typical month will look like, slot in those holiday promotions, and be ready to change things up if a trend starts cropping up.
Knowing what your marketing dollars are getting you and how your work can lead to results will ensure that your budget always goes to where it is needed most.
It requires plenty of effort to develop the right digital marketing approach, and budgetary concerns are crucial. But don’t fret! If you give yourself the best opportunities to succeed and consider everything before coming up with your next digital marketing budget, you’ll be sure to see favourable results.