October 12 2017
If there’s one word in the English language that people from all walks of life begrudgingly relate to, it might be ‘budget.’ Lucky 1%ers aside, we’ve all followed some semblance of a financial plan during our lives. And I’m sure you’re aware, but no business is exempt from a budget.
You may have a handful of mind blowing-really-believe-they’re-going-viral ideas for your marketing efforts, but you can’t rush in without carefully planning your budget.
First you’ll need to consider what your team wants to accomplish and what to focus on, whether it’s:
- Increasing the number of accounts
- Producing more engagement
- Strengthening brand loyalty
- Fostering brand awareness
- Recruiting talent
Not sure how to even start to plan your marketing goals? ‘Entrepreneur’ created a helpful guide that will help you get started. Once you’ve laid out your objectives, it’s easier to decipher how to spend your budget, no matter the size. We complied a few ideas on how to divvy up the funds:
Retaining customers should be a top priority. If you’re not already allotting a significant portion of your budget to retention, now’s the time, because we know we don’t need to tell you how valuable your existing customers are to your business.
If you don’t factor your returning customers into your marketing strategy, you’ll lose them. Give customers a reason to return to your business and peak their interest with several methods such as:
- VIP programs
- Email marketing
- Exclusive deals
- Customer service
Discovering what works best for your business is trial and error, but no matter which route(s) you choose, remember this one law of human psychology, ; if you treat your customers well, put their needs first, and do something nice for them, they’ll feel motivated to ‘reciprocate the generosity.’
Content is invaluable to your marketing efforts, both for acquisition and retention. If executed correctly, content marketing will increase engagement, brand loyalty, and bring new users to your site.
Your content is a chance for your brand to show their identity, relate to your customers, and provide your audience with all sorts of value. If you have the resources, expand your team, or hire a freelancer and pay per project. But before you bring someone on board, decide what story you want to tell and how many posts a week you want and need. Plan a content schedule that outlines when/how often you’ll post, which platforms you’ll use to share the posts, and a dozen or more ideas to populate your page.
Now here’s where the fun begins.
After all the contracts are signed, sealed, and delivered, negotiate the writer’s capacity and rate, and chat with your team about how the next David Sedaris will help your team reach their goals.
Content is one of marketing’s non-negotiables, but even if you have outstanding content, it won’t matter if no one except your mother reads your blog. Paid ads and post promotions on Facebook and twitter will increase your pageviews and spread awareness for the brand. Targeted ads on relevant websites are also helpful for getting those clicks and impressions. It’s admirable to stick to an ‘organic traffic or bust plan,’ but organic will only take you so far, and the distance is basically the equivalent of walking around the block. Unless you’re Costco or Krispy Kreme.
Outdoor, print, or pay-per-click ads can be costly, but it’s likely it’s worth your while if your goal is recruiting talent, heighten brand awareness, or increasing traffic.
If content is what entices customers to visit your page or business, personalization is one reason they’ll stick around.
Personalization can apply to:
- Purchasing communications
- Customer service
Personalize communications for your customers through automation tools that sift through data and find the optimal time and message for all your customer personas.
When choosing automation tools, pick one that personalizes every stage in the customer journey without coming across as an internet stalker.
Creatives and Branding
Branding is the first thing customers see, and we *cough* strongly suggest you invest a pretty penny in making everything a consistent, true representation of your brand. Branding can extend to images, letterheads, videos, business cards, social media graphics, etc.
If you already have a graphic designer in the marketing department, great. If not, revisit the freelance route to create the UX, headshots, graphics, and general marketing assets. Depending on what you’re looking for, free tools such as Canva, Upsplash, Creative Commons, or Pixeden can also be of help.