All small businesses need a good marketing plan to help it reach its targets and aspirations. With every marketing plan comes a marketing budget. You can say they go hand in hand. Creating the optimal marketing budget will ensure you spend the right amount of money in the right places to achieve your marketing goals. Creating a marketing budget used to involve a lot of trial and error which can lead to unnecessary expenses and ineffectiveness. But nowadays with everything becoming easier thanks to the amount of information available on the internet, so is creating the optimal marketing budget, everyone can do it.
Small business owners are finding new ways and techniques to plan out their strategies and design successful marketing budgets. It all comes down to how much are you willing to spend to acquire new customers and increase your brand awareness.
Before setting up any kind of budget it is important to ask yourself these questions:
· What goals do you want to achieve?
· Who is your target audience (your ideal customer profile)?
· How much are you willing to pay to achieve your goal (be it a new customer, new website visit or app download)?
Depending on your answers, you should get a clear picture of who you aim to approach, what is it you want to achieve and how much you are willing to pay per unit. You may not get the answers and results you want immediately, but thanks to continuous testing and optimisation, you will step by step get closer to achieving your overall goals.
It is important for small businesses to research and find out who are their potential customers and how to reach them. By knowing your targeted audiences age, income, demographic, geographical area and likes will help you figure out a plan to successfully guide them through your businesses sales funnel. Sales funnel data is another key tool to creating the right marketing budget because it lets you track results throughout your revenue cycle and gives you an inside view on potential customers.
All of this information will help you effectively build a marketing budget.
There are a lot of different opinions going around when it comes to how much money you should spend on marketing. But you should know that normally to make money you need to invest money. In this day and age, it is nearly impossible to run a business without marketing. The recommendation for small businesses is to allocate a percentage of their gross revenues to marketing, usually between 6-10%, splitting it then between different marketing platforms depending on your targeted audience and goals.
You can also test the waters and start off with a smaller budget and slowly build it up after you get the hang of it and find out what marketing ads and campaigns work best for your business. So, you don’t have to worry about losing money.
After setting up your budget and selecting your targeted audience it is time to choose the platforms you want to use during your campaign. This will help you divide your budget up into different portions and prioritize the best platforms for you and your business. By selecting the best platforms for your marketing campaign, you will be able to put your money in the right places. Create a list from most important to least important platforms. The options may include:
· Search engines optimization (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
· Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest)
· Content marketing (Blogs, Video content, Podcasts)
· Influencer marketing
· Email marketing (Newsletters)
In the end it is up to you to decide how much money will be spent on each online platform and you will always be in control of the amount of money going into your online marketing.
Before dividing your budget up into portions for each platform it is important to test the potential cost and return on investment for each one. Some platforms will cost more than others and will have a higher ROI. That doesn’t mean that less expensive ones will perform worse. Some will bring immediate results and others will over a longer period of time. It all depends on your marketing plan and what are your long and short term goals.
Here is how you calculate your ROI: [(return - investment) / investment] * 100, where return represents what you earned, investment what you invested in the campaign. To give an example, if you invested 10 USD to a campaign that brought you 100 USD, your ROI is 900 %.
Never be stagnant. After you have finished your marketing plan, set your marketing budget and your marketing campaign is up and running, keep looking for ways to learn and improve. There is never a 100% right or wrong way in building your budget. Follow past and future trends. Keep track of the results from different platforms. See what is working and what is not. What needs to be changed and even what maybe has to be removed completely. Constantly evolve with the times. Use techniques that are proven to work but also don’t be scared to try new ones.
A marketing plan and budget should consist of traditional approaches as well as new up and coming ones. With the world of marketing evolving every day it is important not to fall behind.
In conclusion your marketing budget doesn’t only mean how much money you can spend on marketing, but it also involves choosing where to spend your money and on what platforms. Make sure to do your research on where to put your money and who to target. Decide how much you are willing to pay to acquire new customers and grow your business. In the end always remember to make money you need to invest money.
There are hundreds of metrics you can measure today. That's the biggest advantage, as well as, disadvantage of digital marketing.
The truth is you can measure almost anything. You can build a detailed report with real time data, refresh and make those business decisions based on precise data, visualize insights in all those bar charts, funnels, pie charts, cohorts, heat maps, numbers, percentages, etc. That's what the theory is about.
And I partially agree with that, but the reality may be a bit different. Yes, this is important for large companies that, thanks to comprehensive measurements and reports, can optimize their processes and save a significant amount of money.
However, at the SMB level, the situation is quite different. You probably don't have an IT department full of specialists and data analysts who are able to invest hundreds of hours to set up your data platform, connect dozens of data sources, transform the given data and from that, build strong reports. Also, you probably don't deal with a billion dollars in revenue, so sophisticated analytics can be counterproductive because you don't have enough quality and precise data to optimize individual processes and earn a significant savings.
I'm not trying to say that you should completely ignore data analytics. Rather, it is about finding the right balance between not getting overwhelmed with data and gaining valuable insights that can help your business.
In this article, I’ll cover the most important metrics that actually give you valuable insights into your business and online marketing efforts. At the same time, I will highlight the metrics that are less effective and easy to misinterpret.
Klipfolio, an analytics tool, says: Marketing Metrics are measurable values used by marketing teams to demonstrate the effectiveness of campaigns across all marketing channels.
Sounds a bit complicated, but in other words, marketing metrics are numbers that tell you how effective your marketing efforts are. You set a goal, and your metrics tell you, whether you have achieved it or not. Based on this you can make a change and try a different approach.
Example: My goal is to get 100 website visits per 50 USD invested in Facebook ads. My metric in this case is Clicks. Two scenarios could take place:
Metrics can tell you, how effective your efforts are and help you to make changes before you spend hundreds of dollars.
Digital marketing is unpredictable, and a strategy that worked well the last couple of months could eventually become less effective or stop working entirely. Metrics tell you immediately if your efforts are paying off.
Setting the wrong goals and misinterpreting engagement metrics is pretty rife. Let's check out some common scenarios. Maybe you will even spot some of your own mistakes.
You probably wouldn't speak English in Portugal. The same principle applies when it comes to social media. Every platform works in a slightly different way, has a different user base, and people behave differently. Your message shouldn't be the same for all platforms. We wrote an article about demographics and the specifics of individual social media networks, so make sure you read it to understand how all those platforms work and what makes each one different.
Tip: You don't have to be a marketing PRO to master campaigns across multiple channels. Try tools like groost that simplify this process.
I'm not saying that likes are not important. But in and of itself, they mean nothing. Nowadays, it is possible to buy likes for posts or a page for a few dollars, but it doesn't help your business at all. It usually does the opposite. It is necessary to look at the number of likes in context of the given situation.
You can measure almost anything you can think of and probably much more. I understand the allure of this idea, because in the beginning it sounds amazing…the theory about having precise real time data on a beautiful dashboard... but reality is usually different. In most cases, you can end up with an over-complex dashboard where you could easily get lost. It takes a great deal of time and energy to make this work.
The extreme opposite of measuring everything is measuring nothing. With the vast amount of information around us, it's understandable that one would just want to ignore everything. But with this approach, you are probably losing your money and throwing its potential out of the window. You can't tell if your spending on social media advertising is effective or if you are losing money, if you're not analyzing what is working vs. what is not. You don't need a complex dashboard with many metrics to keep proper tabs on this.
You know it already, there are hundreds of metrics out there. But you should focus on those that are most important for you and your business. From our perspective, these are the ones which you should be keeping track of:
Reach tells you, how many people were able to see your content. It doesn't mean real views, rather it refers to potential views. If someone with 1,000 followers retweets your tweet, your reach increases by those 1,000 different people, but not every single one of those people may see it.
A higher reach is better, but if you don't get enough leads or engagement, something could be wrong.
This metric tells you, how many direct contacts you got. A lead is a person or even a company that is ready for a follow-up. This person has usually reached a stage where they are ready to become your customer.
Engagement measures the amount of likes, shares and comments your content or ad received. This metric tells you, how much your content is resonating with your followers. It's an important metric to check when optimizing your content strategy.
The engagement rate is influenced by many factors like platform, number of followers, industry, time of posting, etc.
Tip: See our article on What to Expect from Social Media.
This metric is an exact number of how many people targeted, eventually became paying customers. Remember, that this isn't just about this exact number. It has to be compared with the Conversion Rate, which is a percentage metric that shows you a ratio between visitors and converted customers.
Conversion rate may vary across industries and required action.
Tip: See our article on What to Expect from Social Media.
This is a monetary metric telling you, how much revenue your ad has generated. At the end of the day, this is what counts.
ROI demonstrates how your marketing time, energy and money spent are contributing to your company growth. You always have to know how much money you spent on advertising and how much money it has brought. It tells you, if and how effective your advertising efforts are.
ROI (%) = (income/spend)*100
Your ROI should always be higher than 100%, otherwise a given strategy was ultimately, a waste of money.
Well, now you should understand the basics of Social Media Metrics. But the most important thing to understand is how to implement metrics in real-life scenarios. These are 4 steps to successfully start your measurements.
In the beginning, find some time to write down your goals. All social media platforms could be used in many ways. What do you want to accomplish? The more specific you can be, the better.
Here is a list of examples to help you brainstorm:
Tip: We made an article about defining goals, where you can read all about the process behind it.
The next step is to understand which metrics to use, to see if you are achieving your goals or not. This process is quite easy. Basically you are trying to find those numbers, so you can recognize how effective your efforts are. Your goal should fit into the following categories:
Awareness – Use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?
Engagement – Look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?
Traffic – Track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?
Advocates and fans – Track contributors and influencers. Who is participating and what kind of impact do they have?
Share of voice – Track your volume relative to your closest competitors. How much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand?
Social media platforms usually do provide some basic analytics. For most cases it's enough, so if you're new to analytics, start small. In our case, we built groost. analytics right inside the app.
Tip: If you want to see groost in action, sign up here for free.
Keep in mind that social media interactions happen in real time. Look for a tool that allows you to access data immediately, without delay. You can't afford to wait weeks or even days for a report. Having real time data allows you to react and make quick changes, in order to stay effective.
To make all previous steps valuable, take a data-based action. Don't forget to see data in a wider context and compare it with industry benchmarks.
These questions will help you optimize your social media analytics process.
You can either follow a trend or go against it. The choice is yours. The truth is, nonetheless, that if you fall behind, your competitors may overcome you – steal your customers and offer a better service or product. Knowing that being a business owner is a tough job, technology is sometimes considered too hard to implement because it is costly to hire a strategic partner or IT support or time-consuming to learn new tactics yourself. These myths may not apply for your business – today's tools are made to be easy to implement and understood by non-technical individuals.
Technology influences every aspect of your business – IT, finances, logistics, sales, support or marketing. New approaches teach us constantly how to become more efficient at what we do. Saving money or time, increasing the scalability of our businesses or inventing new products and business models is backed by the evolution of technology. On the other hand, not everything that glitters is gold… We've written an article about the difference between trend and hype. Watch carefully what's going on in your industry and what your customers need or require (which is definitely the most important factor of all), but don't jump on every train that goes around. Not everyone will make it to the final station. There is a difference between what influences your business and what doesn't.
We will cover some trends for 2020 below, but before we jump into that, let's speak about the context. In 2018, 50% of the world's population was online. Today in 2019, it's more than 54%. Now, most people have jumped into the information age, where everything is moving at an unbelievable pace. Not only are things (goods and services) changing on a daily basis, but their costs are constantly decreasing. Imagine you bought a 3D printer 12 years ago. 40,000 USD is what you'd have paid. Today, the cheapest 3D printers cost around 100 USD. Yes, your math skills are up to par: 400x less.
Everything changes. We either accept it and do our best, or die.
The goal of this article is to encourage you to follow the trend and embrace the newest technology in 2020, not to speak about morbid scenarios.
Going back to where we began: YOU CAN EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY IN 2020, because it is meant to be available for you. When running a local business, you focus on what's really important, right? You don't want to spend time doing things that don't positively affect your bottom line. Being an entrepreneur, there are two key factors to go after:
To achieve one or the other, you might try tactics you haven't tried yet. To understand them, let's dive into a few trends to follow in 2020:
We are bringing you our marketing knowledge, not necessarily the overall business strategy. You know your business best, but we know what saves you time and generates more money when it comes to marketing. Automating routine tasks and delegating the costly work, that you or your agency needs to do, to tools like groost. allows you to manage your online campaign effectively and for a fraction of the price. If you rely on your sales team, CRM systems like Hubspot or Pipedrive strive to help you automate follow up emails or customer retention activities. There is a plethora of tools to use, which we have covered in this article.
"For more than 30% of small businesses is marketing the number one challenge” by Mailchimp
We keep repeating this, I know. But it simply is the Holy Grail – always put the customer in the center of your (not only marketing) activities. I can assure you this won't be relevant only in 2020, but will last for decades. The times in which Henry Ford kept saying “You can have any color as long as it's black” is over. In today's era, your customers' desires and preferences are what should keep you awake at night.
Does this apply to marketing only? Not at all. Imagine you market your product so that hundreds of people are waiting in line to buy from you. Once they approach the cashier they turn back and never come again – unwillingness to serve your customers nicely by one of your employees can be very costly. To give another example, say you run an ecommerce project. Everything from marketing to IT works great, until your logistics crash and the customer does not get what she ordered. Is this something that can badly harm your business? Absolutely! Customers have many touch points when dealing with your business – make sure every one of them is as customer-friendly as possible.
Let's stay in the marketing field for now. You probably run your profile on social media. Having 1,000 page likes brings you nothing if you only reach 20% of them. The organic reach is – and will be – decreasing constantly which we covered in our latest article. You will have no other choice, but to create truly engaging content that resonates with your audience and to invest in paid advertising. What you need to focus on is:
According to the Deloitte Small business technology trends, 80% of small businesses aren't taking full advantage of digital tools. Be the 20% of them.
There are two main communication strategies: inbound & outbound. Inbound makes the potential customer discover you by the content that you create – be it articles on your website, videos on your Youtube channel or podcasts on Spotify. Outbound is focused on push or disruptive strategies – you reach your potential customers while they scroll on their social media feeds, watch videos on Youtube or read articles. Working on your content brings you long-term results. Educating your audience, providing valuable content (and boosting your inbound marketing) is something you should be focused on throughout not only 2020, but every upcoming year.
We've come across a few basic tips to leverage technology in 2020. As stated, even small businesses can – and should embrace the latest technology (not only in 2020, but beyond).
The benefits of online marketing are: marketing perspective (obviously) which leads to customer engagement, building the brand, product discovery and all of these increase the amount of purchases. Online marketing can be done almost everywhere on the internet, so the question you may have is should you go for email, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or Bing? Is the “I don't know where to start” holding you back?
Most businesses have already begun to harness the unique features of social media marketing. These businesses spend as little as 6 hours per week and over 66% of businesses enjoy lead generation benefits with social media. So do not wait! A properly executed social media strategy can improve your business' search rankings, drive more website traffic and increase conversion rates.
“Internet access has become vital for communication, obtaining information, job-searching, and participation in an ever-changing world economy. The United States, the fourth largest country (by land mass) in the world, is no exception. With over 312 million internet users as of 2018, it is one of the largest online markets worldwide” says Statista.com
It's obvious you are supposed to boost your business online, as well! So how do you find the best online channel for your business?
1) Who is your target audience? Do you know who you should have in mind as your ideal buyer? What are their needs, what do they desire, how and when they like to consume content, and through which channels? To answer these questions, it's extremely helpful to create buyer personas. The personas are developed based on a combination of customer behavior and your understanding of their motivations and challenges. In the process of creating these personas, you’ll gain valuable knowledge about your audience. You will discover the communication style that works for them, and the ways in which they like to consume content. Also, you can find out the ideal price they are most likely to pay for your product. Learn how to create your buyer persona.
2) What are your social media strategy objectives? Being able to link your social media channels to your strategy’s high level objectives is essential. If you can’t explain why or how a particular channel will help you achieve your goals, then it’s more than likely you shouldn’t use it. It would be a waste of time. Always remember that the purpose of your chosen social media channels is to support the achievement of your strategic goals.
3) What channels are the people from your target audience using? After you’ve set social media strategy objectives, you need to consider where your audience is interacting online. For instance, it could be deemed wasted effort if your largest customer segment is composed of retired people and you chose Tik Tok as your prime channel.
Similarly, it may not be very effective to establish your brand on Facebook if you’re only targeting teenagers. The most effective social media strategies are informed by social media demographics.
Use data-driven insights to ensure that your strategy, and the channels you choose, facilitate the most relevant, targeted approach possible. This will help increase the chance for conversions.
To sum it up, when choosing your social media channels, always base your decisions on demographic data, don't just go with the flow of trends.
Define: What kind of content do you want to create? This is a relevant question as there are a bunch of different content formats you can use – some of which will complement your business goals and brand identity, and some that won’t. Certain content formats will be more suited to particular social channels than others.
At the end of the day, personas tell you where buyers prefer to get their information. Are they bookworms? Do they like to sink their teeth into 100-page guides, or do they prefer short, concise texts and easy graphics? This information will help you set the way you create your content for each persona and how your buyers will discover it. The same goes for your creatives. Some of the people won't watch a video, some will only respond to a colorful picture and some only to a call to action post. Create content that will engage your buyers more effectively.
As social media has become more integrated into daily life, people are starting to use more than just one network. According to Pew Research Center, more than one-half of adults have their profiles on various social platforms. Most of the brands also administer more than one channel.
If you haven’t yet chosen any channels, or you’d like to expand into other platforms, the Pew Research Center have conducted an analysis that outlines the key demographics for a number of social media platforms.
Let's talk about the most common channels, so you have some ideas when picking the right ones for your business.
Facebook - very common! 72% of adult internet users and 62% of the entire adult population. 70% of Facebook users visit the platform daily.
Pinterest - It's growing! It's mostly used by women. 31% of adult internet users and 26% of the entire adult population. 27% of Pinterest users use the site daily.
Instagram - online women are more likely to use Instagram than online men (31% vs. 24%) and 28% of internet users. 59% of users visit the platform daily.
Linkedin - 25% of adult internet users. And 41% of LinkedIn users earn a salary over $75,000! LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds. 22% of daily users.
Twitter - 23% of all internet users. Internet users living in urban areas are more likely than their suburban or rural counterparts to use Twitter. Twitter is more popular among younger adults — 30% of online adults under 50 use Twitter, compared with 11% of online adults ages 50 and older. 38% of those on Twitter use the site daily.
Are you interested in more information about the demographic of the channels? Check this analysis.
Ask yourself: What is my product/ service? Who is the ideal buyer? Where are they? What content do they like?
Once you know who you are targeting, it's easy to find out which channel or channels to use.
Also, you can adjust your content to that channel as well as to the audience you are talking to. Once you know who you are talking to, focus on your target audience’s needs and preferences. Your created personas will help you understand your audience’s concerns, preferences, and goals. When you know these, you are able to create content your buyers will find engaging, relevant, entertaining and valuable. Personas help you determine that very sort of content you will need.
Because you already know who you are talking to, set the tone, style, and delivery strategies for your content according to your personas. For example, some buyers respond best to a friendly, conversational voice, with some jokes and questions, while others trust a more formal tone and serious negotiation. By creating your personas, you’ll determine the best tone and style for your content. You can even target the topics you should be writing about for each persona.
Don't try to manage every single channel out there. It will be exhausting, chaotic, time consuming and, most likely, your audience is probably not active on every channel. Pick two to three of them, that are most suitable for your buyer, aka marketing persona, and stick to them. Manage them continuously, engage with people! Plan your posts, represent your brand identity, and track important metrics! When you're ready to manage your growing community, check out this article.
Do you run your Instagram account, but see it is not as successful as other businesses' profiles?
Building up a community on Instagram is really difficult and it takes a long time to gain followers who are engaging with your content. To find your followers, it is crucial to maintain content that is relevant, entertaining, consistent and frequent. Once you master this, you can start to build a larger following of Instagram users for your profile.
So what can you do to get more followers?
You are probably on a path to choose the best marketing automation software for your business. In our latest post, we've covered all you need to know about marketing automation when you are a small business owner. Automation is a trend. And every small business can embrace this – it's not just a game for the big players. In order to choose the right tool, there are some things to keep in mind. There is not just one category of automation tools. Some help enterprises with their robust database and multi-channel campaign orchestration, others help small businesses get rid of the daily marketing routine. Let's dig into the 5 features you'd expect to find in your perfect marketing automation software solution.
Marketing is an ever-changing field and the methods that work aren’t usually long term. Are you having a hard time navigating the latest trends and the most efficient ways to optimize your content? Don’t worry, because most people struggle with the exact same thing. Here are 10 up-to-date tips for online marketing.