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.
Well, that’s a tricky question – there are so many variables at play. Depending on your situation, the cost of your Facebook ads could be as much as $10 per click, or as little as 40 cents.
The most important factor is efficiency and performance. Your ads might be super cheap, but if they do not bring any results, it's a waste of money. Define the purpose (the goal) of the ad and what is your cost limit to label the ad as efficient. Many businesses measure success by the number of sold products, leads generated, or potential customers engaged.
There is no rule or benchmark for this, each business is different with different needs and circumstances. Someone might be satisfied with a new lead for $45 and another might not go over $10. One person might consider a $3 cost per click as successful and another would not want to pay more than $2. Calculate the revenue you can get from the lead and think about how much you want to spend per action, this way you can always check whether your ads perform well or not.
Before you spend a lot of money, try to set up your daily budget for $5 a day. (We will talk about how to set your budget later). Monitor your results. If the ad performance meets your ideas and you have money to raise the daily budget, do it. And do it again, if the ad is bringing you results.
Remember: If your ad is comical, visually appealing, engaging, or all of these combined, people will like, comment or share it more often than they would with some boring copy with a blurry image. If you really want the most from your paid ads, they have to be great to make the people share them and so the ads will be also spread organically. Deciding how much to spend is a good place to start, but always make sure each dollar goes as far as it possibly can. The key is the visual, the text, as well as targeting. Regarding your content creation, read my article about buyer personas, because you should tailor-make it for your ideal customers and you can also find more helpful info in this article about tools for creating visual content.
So, how can you get an idea of how much Facebook advertising costs before diving in?
If you are reading this then you have probably heard of Instagram. It is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. With over 1 billion monthly active users and more than 500 million daily users.Nowadays more and more businesses are using Instagram as a key marketing tool when it comes to online marketing.
But it is important to do your research and learn the ins and outs about marketing on Instagram. So you can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer and create the best possible marketing strategy to ensure great results.
Your main objective is to find your target audience and engage with them in the best way possible. This is achievable by using a number of key tactics and data which are all available to you via Instagram. Studying this information will help you come up with the best marketing strategy for your business. Which will help you reach your targeted audience to ensure you are offering your product or services to the right people.
Sound interesting. Here are the key methods to finding and engaging with your targeted audience on Instagram.
LinkedIn connects more than 630 million professionals. Its main focus is to build strong and long-lasting career connections and quality content. The platform is definitely on the rise and there are plenty of ways you can leverage it for your business or personal brand.
Knowing the fact that the organic reaches for business pages for Facebook and Instagram are decreasing, LinkedIn offers a chance to reach your audience more effectively.
So, how can you get the most out of the biggest social network for professionals? First of all, know the basics. LinkedIn (and any other advertising platform) can be overwhelming, which makes it easy to get lost. Don't try to understand everything. Choose to learn what matters to your business the most.
We have prepared content that will help you get to know the very basic idea behind advertising on LinkedIn. We call it the Beginner's Guide to LinkedIn Advertising and within it we cover the following topics:
Dig into the LinkedIn advertising by downloading the e-book below and let us know how it helped you boost your business.
One of the buzzwords and a key trend in marketing is automation. Even though it may sound complicated and unaffordable for small businesses, the opposite is true – you only have to know where to begin. If you know what to focus on, choose the right software and analyze your efforts, marketing automation can truly get your business to the next level.
Marketing automation is, as the name suggests, a category of technology that streamlines your marketing activities. It gives you the power to focus on customers with the highest potential and saves your time by triggering messages (campaigns) across multiple channels without you having to start them manually. A miracle, I know.
There is always a buzz around new technologies. We recommend reading our article about the difference between Hype & Trend. Marketing automation, we believe, is a trend to stay. Jump on the train as soon as you can. No matter how big your business is. If you choose an affordable solution, your business can never be too small for this.
There are more arguments to start using a marketing automation tool:
Stop. Doing. Manual. Work. Period. Let technology help you automate. It's not as hard as it looks. You will find out soon, just bear with us…
Let us guide you through the very first steps to start using marketing automation that will take your business to the next level.
Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you'll track it. This is a prerequisite to get started. If you don't clearly set your expectations, you won't know where to go and you won't recognize when you get there.
Do you want to save time? Great! Are you more interested in increasing your response rate? That's cool too. Would you like to generate more leads? That counts as well. Goals and expectations should come out of your status quo - no one will help you here, just you, so start by defining your goals.
Know the journey of your customer. You can only optimize if you know what leads your customers to purchase. We are fans of marketing funnels that help you (in a simplified way) understand the customer journey. Draw one for your business – you will get a better idea of where your customers get stuck.
Let us give an example here. Say you run your real estate business. Your primary selling point is your website with all the listings and offers. You run Google, Bing and social media ads to generate traffic. You might send some newsletters too.
Your primary goal is to generate leads and close them, right? There are multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey (before you close the deal). Here is what a customer journey may look like:
Now that you know how your customers behave – you've identified the touchpoints, let's slowly start automating. Or better said, let's find out what can be automated. Tools like Hubspot, ActiveCampaign or Keap are mostly focused on email marketing, social media ads, search & display ads, SMS, widgets and pop ups on the website. These represent the channels that you can use to get in touch with your audience. Let us expand on our example above. The touchpoints where the communication can be fully automated are now marked in red:
There are plenty of tools to choose from. Going back to your potential question: “Are these tools affordable for small businesses?”, note that you don't have to pick Marketo or Hubspot to automate your efforts. These are tools mainly for enterprises that operate with big marketing budgets. Not in our case. We go small. But effectively…
Let's list some of the tools you can use to start automating your communication:
ActiveCampaign gives you not just marketing automation software, but CRM on top. Its pricing starts at 9 USD (if paid annually) and offers not just email marketing, but also SMS, Facebook targeting, subscription forms and personalised content on your website. It's a great tool.
You will have to go deeper into your pocket here. Plans start at 49 USD, but they offer you a sales pipeline plus invoices & payment management on top of what ActiveCampaign gives you. If you lead a sales team, this can be a great choice.
As well as other automation tools, Drip focuses on campaign orchestration – creating a single view across multiple channels. We worship the 360°customer view and so does Drip. Their focus is ecommerce and they offer great features, like personalised product recommendations.
It started solely as an email marketing tool, and is now moving into the automation platform. Mailchimp offers features like landing page creation, social media ads and soon-to-be-launched marketing CRM. Pricing starts at 9,99 USD plus they offer a freemium to play with the tool and use basic features.
We love Zapier – the glue of the internet. It allows you to connect two platforms that, by themselves, do not communicate with each other. Say you generate leads on your Wix website and need to send them to your Drip account. Zapier helps you do that – automatically of course. With more than 1,500 platforms, they are the real glue of the internet...
As much as we love Zapier, we adore our own solution – groost. The name itself says that it'll grow & boost your business. We do it by automating and simplifying your campaign management. If you need to generate more leads, increase website traffic or get more post engagement on your social media profile, you probably run paid campaigns – knowing that organic reach is constantly decreasing – which can be overwhelming. Learning how Google Ads, Facebook Business Manager, LinkedIn Campaign Manager or Bing Ads work takes ages. Not with groost – a single platform for all your marketing efforts. We do offer freemium too to show your business on both Facebook and Instagram – try it out!
Make sure to come back and analyze your efforts. As Peter Drucker said, if you can't measure it, you can't improve it. Analyzing what works and what doesn't is crucial. We recommend running continual AB testing to optimise every step of your funnel and every touchpoint with your customers. All tools that have been listed above allow you to do so easily.
These are the 5 easy steps to get started with marketing automation. Some of them might seem obvious, but believe me, there is no shortcut. Set your priorities first, define the customer journey and touchpoints, find out what can be automated, choose the right tool(s) and after some period of time, come back, analyze and improve.
A few months ago, I moved to a new flat. Before that, I had been doing thorough research on what part of the city is the most child-friendly in terms of security, what are the prices and how far the flats are from the public transportation. I took many things into consideration before even getting in touch with an agent.
Did I Google things? Of course! Was I keen on reading research on what parts of the city suit my needs? You bet I was! Did I spend some time scrolling on Pinterest for furniture inspiration? Yes, I did.
I was lucky to meet Josh, a real estate agent who has been in the business for some time. We got in touch after I visited his website and read his article about the prediction of real estate prices, plus went through some interesting content on his LinkedIn profile.
I was astonished by the speed of his reaction. Within two days, I had 5 flats to choose from. And a few days after that, I went to see them all.
What I did, nonetheless, within those two days, was thorough research – again. This time, I examined Josh's Instagram profile and checked out the other flats he had to offer. I read the reviews on his Google listings and read more educating articles on LinkedIn. I am a social media freak and I probably use all of them. But Josh was always there… Offering me exactly what I was looking for. At the exact time I needed it.
What I just described, was a perfect user experience and great customer-centric approach. Josh knew his business would grow if he invested in these channels. He also knew what content to serve on each of them. And I engaged, liked, followed – was totally sold! – Successfully ended my buying journey – call it whatever you want. Josh won. So did I.
Do I live in one of these aforementioned flats today? I surely do and I am happy with my decision.
Reach your customers wherever they spend their time. This is a golden rule Josh and other successful businesses completely abide by.
The fact that you are missing out on the chance to speak to your customer or potential customer on any channel can only be leveraged by your competitors… If you don't worship the customer-centric approach, they will.
And by customer-centric I mean going beyond on what YOU want to be doing to what a CUSTOMER wants to do – where she spends time, where she expects to get in touch with your business, where she takes out her wallet and pays for goods or services...
We are not talking solely about social media here. Customers visit your store – interact with you personally, get in touch with someone from support or sales, search for a cheaper substitute on Google or Bing and eventually visit your website. To gain trust, users tend to rely on reviews and customer feedback listed on your social media profiles. One customer – multiple channels. And you'd better be on all of them.
Every touchpoint matters. Everyone builds the complete image of you through your customers' eyes. And everyone determines whether a customer chooses you instead of your competitors.
In 2018, the average time spent daily on social media was 136 minutes. That is more than 2 hours of one's precious time. And more than 2 hours for you to catch their attention with what you have to offer.
What you can count on, is the fact that they will search for products like yours. And if they don't find you, they will buy somewhere else…
Today's online services have one major advantage. They track users and collect information about them and segment it accurately. This is a huge advantage for advertisers because they can specify their target audience precisely, so that an ad is shown only to a relevant people.
Surely, you come across such ads daily. On Facebook, Google Search… lots of you have probably tried to publish similar types of ads on these platforms.
Facebook and Google are obviously dominants of the PPC ads market. But did you know that there are a number of other platforms where you can advertise in a similar way?
You may think that this is unnecessary, when most internet users are using Facebook or Google and their services. Yes, it is true, but it doesn't mean your ad will be effective on these platforms.
Each user behaves differently on different platforms, which means that he can be immune to your Facebook advertising, for example, because he only goes there in the evenings to watch some funny videos, so advertising for selling real estate is not relevant to him. Maybe, in the morning, when he opens Linkedin, he is in a completely different state of mind and is ready to see the ad and take action.
The goal of this article is to list relevant platforms where you can advertise your services. To find out which platform is most effective for you, read this article.