Ahh the dreaded “B” word every sales person wants to talk about, but no prospective buyer wants to mention. We like to think about marketing budgets a bit differently here at THAT Agency. We view it more as an investment instead of a one-off business expense. We aren't pushy. In fact, I’m not even directly on our sales team. In this post, I’ll cover a few ways to make sure you choose the digital marketing budget that fits your needs.
Know Where You Are
The first step in planning where you’d like to be a year from now is taking inventory of where you are now. Everyone wants to be the best in the business, but unfortunately it’s often a long ways off. Take a step back, look at how far you’ve come, and know what’s realistic.
Know Where You Want To Be
You probably have a strong sense of the type of company you've set out to build. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? How will you get there? Your vision should be your company in say, five years. This will give you time to set goals and lay out a strategic plan so you can grow your business effectively into what you see it becoming.
Set Realistic Goals
Often times goals get mixed into your company’s vision and that’s alright! That’s a sign that you’re on the right track to empowering yourself to get where you’d like to be.
However, it’s important to set goals for the time until you get there. If your vision is on the five year timeline, how far do you want to get in the next one, two, and three years? Setting goals aligned with your journey to becoming the business you envision will keep you on track and accountable.
Choose the Right Partners
I sometimes shoot myself in the foot trying to be the solution for every problem I encounter. Truth is, (even though I hate to admit it) I can’t do everything. We all have our strengths, and sometimes you need to utilize other people’s talents to enable you to grow.
The same thing goes with your business. If you’re looking into producing more video in your marketing, partner with someone who has production capabilities. If you want a strong social media presence, look around for agencies that drive results.
The partners you choose need to have a clear sense of your vision and goals. This is the only way you can grow together and create a mutually beneficial relationship.
Focus on What You Actually Need
While sales people can undoubtedly be overly pushy at times, they often see the value you’ll get from their product or service. If you’re shopping around for something, you probably need a change. Now, I’m not saying keep the cold-calling telemarketers on the line, but keep an open mind.
When you start with a solid vision and strong goals, you’ll be able to see the value a “pitch” will give your company. If what someone’s trying to sell you isn’t aligned with your goals, then don’t waste your time.
Avoiding Those Pushy Sales Pitches
The first step to avoiding pushy sales presentations is to look at an agency’s process. Have they asked you about your goals before the presentation? Do they understand your brand? Have they asked what you’ve done in the past?
All these questions should be asked prior to a presentation. This way, they’ll be able to present a solution tailored to your situation instead of only being driven by your budget. If an agency dives deep into budget questions from the start, this is a strong indication that they’re only worried about getting your money.
Choosing the Right Budget
Ultimately, you digital marketing budget should be an investment aligned with the vision and goals you have for your company. Keep your mind open to alternative solutions you might not have known about, but make sure these tactics and strategies support the direction your business is headed.
Investing too little could leave you ill prepared to achieve your goals and investing too much can leave you with a less than optimal ROI.
Taking a step back and looking at your entire digital marketing plan, it should all start with your customer. Who are they? What is their lifetime value? Is your content strategy centered around them? How much are you willing to invest to get a new one? How much are you willing to invest in keeping them?
Having a full understanding of who your target audience will give you an idea of how much it will take to get the results you’re looking for.
Measurement is Everything
Make sure, whatever you do, for the love of all things budget, invest in something you can measure. If you’re outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency, take a look at their reporting process. What will they include? What will they leave out?
Here at THAT Agency, we believe in transparency. Put simply, your accounts are your accounts. You have access to the numbers, we just manage them for you if you choose to let us.
If an agency only gives you good news, you should probably fire them. I’m not saying agency’s don’t perform well, in fact they often produce some of the best results. However, nobody is perfect and we all have down months. It’s important to recognize this so you can adjust your investment to push you closer to your goals.
What Should I Put it Towards?
This is a great question and one we get all the time. Where should you allocate your digital marketing budget? Well, start from the beginning of this post and go through the steps.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick solution to this one. It will depend on your business, what you’ve done in the past, who your audience is, and where you’d like to be.
Looking at 2018 digital marketing trends, there are a few areas we think would be smart to invest in:
A Strong Website
Your website is often the first impression people get of your company. Staying up to date with web design trends and making sure your website renders correctly on all devices and browsers is the first step to having a solid digital strategy.
Inbound marketing is a great way to focus your marketing efforts on the customers that are actively searching for your products or services. Also known as content marketing or growth marketing, it focuses on attracting engaged users to your site with valuable content, and converting them into customers with marketing messages that form a strong business-customer relationship.
We’ve invested heavily in video marketing for our content in 2018. They’re engaging and support your written content in a way that is both visual and informative. Video will continue to be an effective way to connect and engage with your audience on social media in 2018 as it captivates users’ attentions and puts your content in front of them for a specific amount of time.
The right software
Partnering with the right software company will empower you to efficiently broadcast your marketing message to the world. Software such as HubSpot, an out of the box inbound marketing software, will allow you to create content and promote it across all your channels to the people in your database all from a single hub.
Now it’s time to start planning! Take this info and formulate a number. From there, you’ll be able to get an idea of where you can take your digital marketing in 2018.
If you’re struggling with setting goals and finding a number that fits your company, we’d love to schedule a quick meeting (not a pitch). As stated earlier, we believe in forming the right partnerships and diagnosis without prescription is malpractice.
We start by exploring your business and understanding your goals. From there we’ll be able to point you in the right direction, whether it includes THAT or not.