Setting a Marketing Budget & Channels

deciding your marketing budget

Somehow it is still March. (Am I right???)

At the beginning of the month, we talked to you about the importance of setting up your marketing plan and creating buyer personas to aid that.

Even with everything going on in the world, you still need to be focused on your marketing. You may just need to change what you are doing and where your content is being delivered. Which means this is a great time to discuss creating your marketing budget and choosing the right channels to market! Because let’s be honest, this blog is going to be very different now than it would have been if we had written it even 2-3 weeks ago.

Deciding on Your Marketing Budget

There are a lot of resources out there that can help you determine just how much money of your gross revenue you should allocate to your marketing budget.

With any of those though, it’s important to remember that if you’re a newer company you may need to spend a little more than if you’re established locally but want to expand nationally, already established, a little older, or changing up your messaging or services at all. After all, if you’re a 5 year old company who’s really well known for providing a certain service but you’re now offering a shiny new service, you may need to add a little bit to your marketing budget for the year to get that message out.

A good rule of thumb though is if you’re a newer company (younger than 5 years), you’ll want to allocate about 12-20% of your projected revenue on marketing. If you’re more established, then allocate about 6-12% of your projected revenue on marketing.

Some important questions to keep in mind while you’re deciding on where in that percentage your company lies are:

  1. Will we be rebranding soon?
  2. Do we need a new website this year?
  3. Do we need new signage at our physical location?
  4. Do we have any big trade shows or events coming up this year?

All of the above can be larger expenses that often take a more massive bite out of your marketing budget. Planning for those now, even if say you’re going to pay for a new website in Q4, will help you decide just how much to allocate to your marketing budget.

Now, Where Do I Market?

Part of your budget is going to inevitably depend on where you’re marketing. Will you be focusing on organic social media with some mailing campaigns and local networking groups? Does your company spend a lot on billboards now, but with everyone “staying at home”, are you wanting to explore what you might do differently?

(I’m going to preface this next section with the fact that I personally already like digital best, so….)

Now is the Perfect Time to Improve Your Digital Marketing

The world is a little upside down right now. Today started the Kansas-wide Stay at Home order, and many other states are under similar limitations. With everyone doing their best to social distance and only go out for the necessities, there’s a lot of us that are spending even more time on our phones and social media. With that in mind, now is the time to really hone in on what you want your digital marketing to be and use this as a testing ground.

Improving Organic Social Media

Keep in mind that social media, at the end of the day, is supposed to be social! Focus on increasing your engagement throughout your accounts. Show off your company’s personality and culture, and don’t forget to tell your brand’s story. Are many of you working at home? If you’re an essential business that’s still operating in your physical location, what are you doing differently? Are you or your employees doing anything extra to help? Staying ahead of the questions and being open and real right now while everything is strange will help you make being open and real a habit when we’re all on the other side of COVID (she says hopefully).

Testing Digital Ads

This one is a little trickier, but given that everyone is home right now, it’s a great time to test out some digital ads. Focus on where you’re already strong, like Facebook, and use those buyer personas to create custom audiences to start targeting. With Facebook, you can start with a low budget on multiple ads (say $1/day) and test to see which one gets you the best engagement and then add money to those ads to get an even better reach.

Have some fun exploring Google Display and Search ads, and start reaching your customers where they’re spending their time now (online) to remind them you’re there to help. Google is great because you can do some forecasting using proprietary tools to decide how much of a budget you want to spend for what reach and clicks.

And of course, you can always trust an awesome digital marketing agency to help with all that.

Add Some Content Marketing into the Mix

I know, whenever I bring this up to clients, that I’ll get a groan. But here it is:

Now it’s time to blog!

Just posting on social media what you’re company is up to right now gets the message out, but you don’t have a lot of real estate to explain. Use your website’s blog and create that habit now to talk about how you’re adapting. Not only is it great customer service, your blog is another excellent way to establish your brand voice AND build your SEO. So really it’s a win-win-win, and you can’t argue with that. Focus on answering your customer’s FAQs first, and try to blog once per week, 400-600 words at least. Once you start you’ll find it easy to keep going!

Switch to Email Marketing

Now is a great time to utilize those client emails you have. You can share a blog, a social media post, encourage customers to buy online or how they can reach you now, if your hours have changed, etc. But get them used to hearing from you through email now, and that habit only builds over time.

Market Where it Makes Sense for You

Whatever you choose to do, you have to choose the plan that’s right for your company. Some of the above are “free” (in that you can do the work in-house) and just take extra time. Others, especially ads, come with associated costs of running the ads. But whatever you choose to switch up and change needs to make sense for your company. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to digital marketing, but start taking a look at your marketing budget and choose where to shift now and work on building those habits internally.

Plus, the great thing is there’s always a digital marketing agency like Hexcode that can help take a look at what you’re doing now and help you shift focus to what makes the most sense for your company. Schedule a free digital marketing consultation call with us and we can help you make some of those decisions now!

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