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May 2016

Keys to a Successful Marketing Budget

Keys to a Successful Marketing BudgetMarketing budgets can feel like a chore without a dedicated marketing team crunching the numbers, but every business needs one to succeed. Why?

Because every dollar spent differentiating your business from your competition can earn you five to ten dollars in revenue.

That’s how valuable having a marketing budget is, yet, most businesses find themselves marketing by the seat of their pants because budgeting is a challenge.

What’s The Challenge?

The time and resources required to develop an effective marketing budget are usually scarce, especially for small to mid-sized businesses. The budgeting process is more than just picking a dollar amount, choosing your marketing channels and then creating marketing pieces. It also has to account for research, personnel and tracking.

Before You Begin

It may be your first instinct, but marketing budgets should not begin with how much you are willing to spend. They begin with establishing who your target audience is and researching who can benefit from your product or service the most. Define what they look like, what they do for fun, where they go for information and what they value.Then ask yourself, “What about my brand will differentiate us from our competitors in the target audience’s eyes?”

With a clearer view of your target audience and vetted differentiators, you may research what marketing channels best communicate your differentiators to your customer. For example, if you’re marketing a professional service to other businesses, you might consider LinkedIn or a robust SEM strategy. If you’re marketing a product to millennials, you might consider Facebook or remarketing.

Set Your Goals

Set expectations and benchmarks to measure your progress, but be realistic. If your target audience is small, can you really achieve $5 million in new sales over the year? Can you truly convert 50% of leads when the industry average is 10%? This is not to say your goals shouldn’t be challenging, but make them achievable for the sake of your employee’s morale, your sanity and your bottom line – this is your opportunity to define what your success looks like.

Just having goals is not enough. You must establish tools and a process for tracking your success and making changes. Facebook provides HTML pixels to help you attribute website conversions to a specific Facebook ad. Landing pages or unique URL’s on your website will help you identify campaign related traffic and leads. Promotion or QR codes will help track the success of promotional offers. The key being, if you can’t measure it, don’t do it.

What’s Your Budget?

Traditionally, your marketing budget should be around 10% of your gross revenue. If you are a newer business with less brand awareness, that number could reach as much as 40%. If you are an established brand, that number may drop as low as 5%. No matter the case, your marketing budget should be built to meet the goals you previously set, and focused on reaching your target audience through the marketing channels you researched.

Luckily for businesses today, the digital age has made marketing much more cost effective. A Facebook ad can reach just as many customers as a newspaper ad for a fraction of the cost. A YouTube video can drive website traffic better than any ad buy for television or radio, and an optimized e-commerce website can move product faster than most high-traffic storefronts.

That being said, digital and social media marketing relies on your understanding of your target audience. If your target audience research is off the mark, your well crafted marketing will fall on deaf ears.

The Bottom Line

Building your marketing budget begins before you budget. Careful planning and thoughtful research will set your marketing up for success, and “(tracking) makes perfect.”

 

Finding Your Target Market For Your Business

One of the most important aspects of business marketing, especially small business marketing, is knowing who to go after. There’s a wealth of people and groups of people out there vying for your services, but there are many competitors who are looking for the same people. It is important to differentiate yourself and go after a select group of people. There are many articles out there that discuss finding your target market and hopefully this article will provide some fresh insights that do not sound repetitive.

#1: Sit Down And Access Which Group(s) Of People Have A Strong Need For Your Products Or Services

There are many people out there and not all of them need your services. For example, if you are a company that sells weight loss services, those who are slim or in good shape will probably not need your products. You would go after those who are overweight or those who feel that they need to lose weight. This sounds easy enough, but one would be surprised how many businesses miss their target market and decide to cast their net wide open and market to a wide audience hoping to land a sale.

Assessing who has a need for your products requires you to sit down and brainstorm the whole process. You must evaluate: 1) who would benefit the most from the use of your product or service and 2) what you be able to say to them about why they should try your product and service. After all, the art of making a sale is about persuasion and your journey to persuasion will be a lot easier if you know who to go after and what to say to them.

#2: Assess The Price Range Of Your Products And Services And Figure Out What Market Is Best Suited For That Price Range

There is always a high variety of price ranges for various products and services. For example, a shirt store may sell their products for what would be considered lower than the industry average because they want to attract the price conscious shopper. Other shirt stores might sell their products for higher than the industry average because they feel their shirts are of high quality and they are hoping to attract an upper or middle class clientele who want high quality shirts.

The important thing is to sit down and access your price range for your product. There is not necessarily a right or wrong price for a product or service as long as you can justify that price and justify the market you are selling that product or service to.

Different Ways Of Promoting Something

People are talking about the new forms of marketing today. It is no doubt that traditional marketing has been around for quite a very long time already. In fact, some are still being used by business owners today. However, with the Internet becoming popular and having a big role on how successful a business is, more and more entrepreneurs are now looking for ways on how they can market their offerings efficiently.

Indeed, there are already many different ways for promoting something.

Types Of Marketing

Internet – This refers to any strategy taking place online. It has a variety of forms such as search engine, video advertisements, and e-mail. It certainly needs a great approach in areas of design, development, and promotion.

Offline – This includes all the marketing efforts that are not done on the online world. Local advertising in newspapers and on radio or television are some of its forms. Today, more and more companies are searching for ways on how they can leverage their offline marketing campaigns with the online one so they can complement each other.

Outbound – This is also known as traditional. This includes any marketing efforts that are taken in order to introduce products or services to someone who is not looking for such product or service. Some examples are sending newsletters, cold calling, banner ads, and billboards.

Inbound – This focuses on having your business found by customers. In other words, the customers reach out to you, not the other way around. The most important thing to bear in mind is that a person determines the product or service he wants and then goes out to find it.

Article – Businesses today are writing articles related to the industry they are in and distribute them offline and online. These copies will educate people about a certain topic and provide the company that wrote it with more credibility in the market. Business contact information can be included in the article so interested individuals can easily contact them.

Trade Show – This is a form of event marketing that allows firms to demonstrate their offerings as well as to examine what’s going on in the industry.

Referral – This relies on the customers of the company. This is also known as word of mouth marketing, which is considered a more spontaneous way of getting new business. Entrepreneurs can’t solely rely on this strategy since results are not very predictable.

Viral – This relies on the marketer’s message being spread quickly on different social networks to boost brand awareness.

Telemarketing – This focuses on reaching consumers through phone. This is also known as cold call marketing. Remember though that this becomes efficient only when the right person is reached on the phone at the right time.

Indeed, there are plenty of ways on how you can promote your business, offline and online. But with today’s competitive market arena, it would be a smart move for you to work with a reliable digital agency.

 

Tips For Measuring The Success Of Your Marketing And Promotions Campaign

Success Of Your MarketingOne way you can make sure your current marketing and promotions campaign is effective for your business is to measure its success. Even if you think your current plan or strategy is working greatly for your business, without any hard numbers or proof to support this, you can’t afford to be complacent and close-minded. You need to be open to trying new strategies or techniques to ensure that your marketing and promotions campaign is really helpful for your business.

Measuring the success of your marketing and promotions campaign doesn’t have to be an arduous and complicated task. Here are some useful tips you can follow when measuring the effectiveness or success of your business’ marketing and promotions campaign:

Identify the appropriate, measurable goals you have set for your business.

Businesses have various goals they want to achieve. However, you need to identify the ones that are in line with or are the focus of your marketing and promotions campaign. Examples of these measurable objectives are the increase on your website traffic and if your brand reached the specific audience or group you were targeting. Keep in mind that the more measurable the objectives are, the easier it would be to evaluate the success or failure of your campaign.

Determine the specific marketing metrics you want to measure.

Marketing metrics refer to the collection of numerical data which enables you to get some perspective on the current campaign you have to see if it meets the goals your company set for it. Some of the most common metrics you can include or use for this endeavor include your website’s content, lead generation and conversions, page views, bounce rate, social media effectiveness, and search engine referrals.

Take note of or consider key benchmarks.

Documenting present key benchmarks is important to determine the success or failure of your campaign. One way of doing this is to conduct a website analysis and take note of the unique visitors, assess the new visitors compared to recurring visitors, the time they spend on the site, bounce rates, and sales conversions. You can also do the same for your social media sites, online ads, and sales leads and conversions.

Consistently track the results.

Lastly, measuring the effectiveness of your marketing and promotion campaign is not something that you should only do once a year or whenever it is convenient for you. Whenever you will launch a new campaign or strategy, consistently track and evaluate the results. Create a plan or schedule on how often you will document the results since this can help establish accountability. In addition, this will also permit you to adjust the campaign as needed.