With so many different digital marketing strategies to choose from, it can be a challenge to decide where and how to allocate your budget. Deciding how much your business can comfortably spend on marketing is only a small part of the process. You need to dig deeper and identify your goals, research the most promising channels, and break down your expenditures.
This outline will help you prepare a plan that best utilizes your digital marketing budget.
I: Ask Yourself Basic Questions
The first question you need to ask yourself is: What are my goals? While every business has the end goal of profitability, each company may differ from the rest in terms of how to achieve profitability. Are you looking for leads, loss leaders, or upfront sales? Do you want to establish credibility and authority in your market? Or, is it more important to create a popular hub around your topic?
The second question you need to ask is: Which strategy would best accomplish my goals? A business seeking to generate leads or loss leaders quickly will want to look into pay-per-click advertising. A business that has the long-term aim of generating traffic will more likely want to invest in SEO. A business that wants to establish credibility, authority, and presence in the market will probably want to start with inbound marketing and carefully move into SEO.
The third question you need to ask is: How does my budget fit into this strategy? You should already have an idea of how much you can spend. Rather than trying to figure out how to spend that money, find out how much you should be spending on the strategy you’ve chosen. Try to identify the typical costs involved with this strategy; research how much the average business of your size tends to spend on this approach.
II: Assess Your Strategy in Terms of Your Budget
It is always possible that you’ll find your budget doesn’t fit into a particular strategy. For instance, if you only have $500 a month to spend on advertising, outsourcing SEO may not work for you.
There’s nearly always a way to work around a budget issue, but you may want to explore other tactics to see if anything else might help you meet your goals, given your financial constraints.
III: Allocate, Assess, and Reallocate
Once you’ve explored the three questions above, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to allocate your digital marketing budget. The last thing you want to do is to burn through your budget by making the wrong choices. Since you’ve already researched all the costs involved, you should have a good idea of what kinds of things you’ll need to pay for.
To offer an example, if you’re starting an inbound marketing campaign, you want to hire content writers, a blog manager, content marketing/social media firms, and an SEO expert. Develop a plan and determine how much each person on your team will contribute to the overall goal in terms of hours worked or work generated. This data should reveal how much you will need to pay each person for his or her role in your inbound marketing campaign; cumulatively, these pieces will indicate how your budget should be allocated.
However, you also want to be flexible with your budget. Remember that the first few weeks or months will provide a testing ground for what works and what does not. This period of reallocation and assessment does not necessarily mean your strategy has failed, but rather that it’s agile—you may find that one element of your strategy produces better results than another.
The key is to test and track everything so you know what performs best for you. This allows you to make changes in how you spend your money and get the most out of your limited budget.