We’ve come off a rough year and a half. Drastic change is something that we've all become a little too comfortable with, and our annual budgets are just one of many things impacted by everything that was thrown at us.
As things are opening up and slowly returning to normal, the question on many marketer’s minds is: how should I spend my marketing budget to ensure the highest ROI?
Whether you’re in the middle of planning your fiscal year now or are getting started in October, here are a few tips for planning your marketing spend for the following year.
Many businesses typically take a “what did we do last year?” approach to building their marketing budget allocation every year. And we don’t blame them — after all, this is readily available data that you can use to make decisions. And that’s great.
But it’s also very limiting. It keeps businesses from thinking strategically about other opportunities that might be available to them and prevents them from thinking creatively about ways to improve their return on that budget.
As a marketer, your budget is your key to success! And you want to make sure you get the most from it. To do that, you must be savvy about how you allocate it across multiple tactics and approaches. This requires:
All of this is particularly important now as research by Conductor suggests that 65 percent of marketers anticipate a decrease to their annual marketing budget this year and 86 percent predict that their goals will be harder to reach.
With that said, let’s dive into the eight digital marketing channels to take into account as you build your marketing budget for the year.
Today, most brands are spending their marketing dollars in the digital space. After all, that’s where their audience is at. Here’s a breakdown of the top eight channels to consider.
Today’s successful marketers are no longer spray-and-pray messaging artists who come up with a clever tagline and throw it out on every channel possible.
Instead, they’re super-cool scientists who not only work to better understand their audience’s psychology but also know how to set up and conduct experiments to improve results incrementally to constantly grow an engaged user base. This is known as growth marketing.
According to reports by McKinsey, this approach can cut marketing acquisition costs in half and increase revenue by 15 percent while improving marketing efficiency by 30 percent.
Because of this, we recommend dedicating a majority of your annual marketing budget to growth marketing in the next year (which should include many of the channels listed below, like content and SEO). This means investing in:
SEO has been a staple of digital marketing for years, so it’s no surprise that it remains top of mind for marketers in 2021–2022.
In fact, according to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing report, SEO was the average organizations’ secondary approach to marketing in 2021.
So yes, SEO should still be one of your top priorities this year, especially since it can take up to 6–12 months to start seeing results from your organic efforts.
Here are a few tips to get you up to speed on modern SEO practices:
Lead generation is the staple of every successful business. After all, without leads, how will you get customers?
If lead generation is still your top priority, then you’re not alone. According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing report, it’s also the top priority of most marketers this year.
Because lead generation is key to getting engaged customers, here are a few tactics you can use to hit your revenue goals:
Find more lead gen tactics, and dive deeper into lead generation strategies that we recommend adding to your mix this year.
Content marketing has become oversaturated in nearly every segment of every industry. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch it.
After all, according to Finances Online, “In July 2020, B2B marketers claim that content marketing helped them achieve goals. This includes creating brand awareness (87 percent), building credibility/trust (81 percent), and generate[ing] sales/revenue (51 percent) among many others.”
In other words, it’s just time to get smarter about content marketing.
Here are a few tips to help you do content marketing the smart way:
A key component of any marketing strategy is understanding and optimizing your approach based on audience attribution. After all, if you don’t know what source(s) are driving the best results, how are you going to effectively adjust your approach to improve your ROI?
According to HubSpot, “Marketing attribution is a reporting strategy that allows marketers and sales teams to see the impact that marketers made on a specific goal, usually a purchase or sale.” It’s key to identifying your top-performing channels to put more emphasis on, as well as understanding which channels need additional attention to bring up your results.
There are multiple ways to build attribution reports, and this guide by HubSpot is a great way to dive deeper.
Once you have them built and generating data, here’s how you can best leverage that data to improve your results:
For years, we’ve been hearing that video is taking the digital content world by storm. And in 2021, that’s more true than ever.
According to FinancesOnline, “By 2022, more than 80 percent of consumer online traffic will involve video watching (Cisco, 2020).” And according to HubSpot, 86 percent of businesses are already using video in 2021.
Because video isn’t going away any time soon, it’s critical to continue allocating some of your marketing budget to it.
Here are some tips to help you keep your costs down while engaging your audience:
While the individual platforms may change in popularity, the overall channel is still one of the top sources for generating brand awareness and even nurturing your existing audience into customers.
While only 39 percent of businesses plan to invest in social media this year, it’s still worth incorporating into your overall marketing mix to ensure a consistent brand experience, especially since that’s where your audience hangs out.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your social media budget:
While it shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy, paid advertising is still a critical component of every successful growth marketing plan. Whether it’s to promote your content or keep your audience engaged across multiple platforms, paid digital media will ensure your brand remains top of mind for your audience.
At least 10–20 percent of your marketing budget should be allocated to a paid digital media spend to boost your efforts and ensure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Here are a few tips to make the most of this budget:
No two businesses are the same. And as such, no two marketing budgets will be the same.
The key to success when determining how best to allocate your marketing budget for the year is to ask yourself the right questions:
Asking yourself these questions will ensure you come up with the best possible strategy for your business.
We’ve mentioned a lot of different approaches for how to spend your marketing budget in the following year. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or aren’t sure what’s the most appropriate approach for your brand, get in touch with the First Page Strategy. We’ll help you develop a strategy that will deliver exceptional results.