THE MARKETING BUDGET + STRATEGY
If you’re a startup or an existing business, I cannot express how important it is that you invest in a business and marketing plan (as a PWC auditor in my early career). These reports will structure your digital budget for the year as well as forecasts for the future. Based on market studies, you should have a budget of between 12-20% of your projected income for marketing.
Now you have the budget, the next phase is to share the respective budgets you have allocated to marketing with any digital agencies or consultants that you wish to retain. Ultimately, we are here to help you achieve your online marketing and financial goals. Trust in your advisors is a mandatory requirement. Sometimes clients hold back on this information, as they have previously approached aggressive sales teams for quotes and are concerned it’s too much information to share. I do agree, that would scare anyone from sharing financials – but not so if you hire a reputable agency/consultant. You trust your accountant and your legal advisors, so the same level of trust should go hand-in-hand with your marketing agency or consultant. Accurate budgets help achieve focused and measured results, keeping everyone informed in such an important area as marketing is critical. With shared financials, we all know what’s to be done, the budget in place to achieve our goals and what we anticipate as the return on investment.
START WITH YOUR BRAND + WEBSITE
If you are a startup, then brand, website design and development is the first requirement. I’d strongly suggest ensuring you invoke the “mobile first mentality” along with page speed optimization, secure browsing via https and finally cross-browser compatibility tests and checks for web and mobile renderings. The website development should also include on-page SEO, even if the time and budget initially does not allow for the recommendations presented in the inbound marketing plan. This setup should include; SEO – focused on schema markup, on-page optimization, internal-linking, keyword analysis and content optimization. Image alt tags, menu and category structure for maximum keyword optimization and search engine friendly urls. Once this is complete, head over to google, bing and other search engines and register your new website and xml sitemaps, making sure before you finally hit the launch button that you’ve installed pixel tracking codes, google analytics or enterprise tracking codes as required.
SHOULD I START WITH “ORGANIC” OR “PAID” MARKETING?
This is a popular question. Once you’ve launched the website, it depends on how much “time” you need to obtain new clients and revenues as to how we structure your marketing plan. If you have a client base and revenues, then organic search engine optimization and ppc marketing can commence, once the strategy is agreed and ready to go. However, for those who wish “immediate” results – as they have no clients – then paid marketing should be your first investment.
The good news is paid marketing, which includes pay-per-click advertising via Google, Bing, Social Media platforms and other ad tech platforms that are relevant to your online vertical and market, actually helps your marketing efforts when the time comes to start your “inbound marketing” strategy and plan. Think keyword planning, calls to action (CTA’s) and landing pages. All this planning and investment will ultimately lead back to your online website(s) and is focused marketing for your vertical and business.
As explained in my last newsletter, we always treat digital marketing as one goal, it may have modules or categories that require to be separated for planning and implementation, however, the overall goals are the same, deliver quality new leads and convert those to customers via e-commerce or direct sales.