As the new year arrives, it’s important to take a look back at the previous year and evaluate where you want your company to go in the future. Did your business grow or shrink? Did you see your online presence expand? These are just a couple of the factors you'll need to consider as you sit down to make an SEO and marketing budget for the new year. Having a plan in place will help you focus and get started on the right foot to build your business over the course of the year. Below, Virtual Market Advantage lists some ways to set up a good SEO and marketing budget for 2019.
Look at Last Year’s Marketing Budget
The first thing you need to do when sitting down to work on this year’s SEO and marketing budget is to take a look back at how you spent your money last year. Are you happy with how last year’s plan worked? Note which factors benefitted your business and which did not. The easiest way to do this is by using an analytics tool such as Google Analytics. This lets you track all sorts of information concerning your website. Pay close attention to which types of advertisements drew in the most eyes and which pages tended to convert the most viewers into customers.
It’s okay if last year’s marketing didn’t do as well as you’d hoped, as long as you learn from the experience and make some adjustments this year. If you see something that worked, investigate why it worked so well, branch out with that technique, and up your spending there. If you see a marketing technique that had a poor ROI, try to use a new tactic this year. Your marketing budget can be adjusted to fit your needs, as long as you pay attention to what did and didn’t work.
Look at Last Year’s SEO
Your website can be an open door that welcomes new leads daily, but only if you keep it updated and optimized to its fullest potential. Take a look at your current SEO and work on a good plan for the coming year. Take the time to perform an SEO audit and a conversion audit to see if there are any flaws in your SEO development. You might need to update to more relevant keywords or give all of your pages a tune-up. Really dig into the site to see where it’s best to budget some of your marketing money for an SEO plan. Your campaigns should be driving traffic to your website, and you want a fast, user-friendly page to be what those incoming customers experience.
Set Online Marketing Goals
As you set your marketing budget and SEO plan for the year, have clear goals in mind. There are three major areas to think about when it comes to online marketing goals:
- Brand Awareness
- Lead Generation
- Revenue Growth
Go through last year’s marketing data and place your future budget where the marketing worked best and rework where it lagged behind. If your business is still fairly new and needs more brand awareness in your targeted market, then you might want to look at spending more of the online marketing budget on some paid advertisement and developing your social media presence. If you have a more established business, you might want to spend more of the online marketing budget on targeted marketing efforts. Setting clear goals for your online marketing for the upcoming year will help you stay on budget and on track for your business to grow.
Set Up Major Marketing Campaigns
Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to start setting up those larger marketing campaigns for the year. You don’t need all of the details set in stone - just have a clear idea of how you want to target your major campaigns. Make sure that these campaigns are in line with the marketing goals you just set for the year. The initial setup should be able to answer some of the following questions:
- What media/channels are we going to use?
- What resources are needed to run it?
- What's the overall estimated cost?
- What's the ROI needed for the campaign to be successful?
Organize the Smaller Campaigns
Once you’ve allocated some of your budget to the largest campaigns of the year, where will the rest of the time and money go? You still need to be marketing and promoting your business on a daily basis. Here are some ways you can use your online market throughout the year to benefit your business:
- Paid Advertising
- Content Marketing
- Improving your Website
- Video Marketing
- Staffing Needs
These are just some of the things that may come up throughout the year that can help your company grow and give you the opportunity to promote your business. Plan out as many of the details as possible in your marketing budget, but also keep a cushion for the extra opportunities that might pop up throughout the year. Maybe your website will need a small facelift in the spring. Maybe you’ll need to hire an extra social media person to handle the extra summer load. Or maybe something in the news will have people flocking to your website’s niche for a few weeks, giving you the opportunity to expand your advertising. Having some wiggle room in your budget will ease the stress later on and keep you on track to build your online presence this coming year.
Prioritize and Set Budget Amounts
The final step in planning your general budget is to set your marketing priorities for the year and set planned amounts to spend on each project accordingly. Setting your priorities straight will help you develop your business more efficiently. As the year progresses, do your best to follow the pre-determined budget amounts for each marketing tactic. For example - set an amount for paid advertising and stick to it, and keep a set amount to spend on your SEO plan and stick to it. Staying on budget will improve your ROI and keep your business on track in the following year.
You know your business and your customers. Use the data you’ve gathered from last year and take the time to set up a good marketing budget and SEO plan to improve the traffic flowing through your site and the rates at which people convert into customers. You will be glad you did when you look at your data next year!