If you want your business to succeed in the long run, you need online marketing. That includes featuring a website for your business. There is no longer a valid excuse to not have one in the first place.
“What about the money?” you may ask. That’s why we wrote this article! You certainly need to save money for future investments, but the biggest mistake we’ve unfortunately seen companies make is to completely ignore setting up a marketing budget in the first place. We’ve seen this ignorance lead straight into company bankruptcy.
So, you need a marketing budget, especially for online. Here is what exactly this budget’s plan should include if and when you finally plan it out, and why exactly the items should be included.
Some Tips Before You Get Started
No budget will be successful if preparations aren’t made beforehand! Here are some tips on how to properly create your marketing budget:
- Figure out your goals.What do you really want to get out of your marketing plan? Who are you trying to market to? How do you want to achieve those goals and what tools are you going to use? These are all good questions to answer for yourself before doing anything else.
- Do the math.Calculations will vary depending on whether your business is brand new or if you’re currently looking to rejuvenate it. The calculations will also depend on the size of your business (i.e. how many employees are there, including yourself) and your annual gross revenue.
- Get the right tools.There are free templates available online as well as some good software that can help you with the budgeting process.
- Leave out the trends not worth following from your budget.This may sound counter-intuitive, but not every marketing trend may be beneficial for your business. For example, chatbots may be great for larger companies, but not for small-to-medium ones or brand new companies (see our post on chatbots here to better understand what we mean). Approach every trend with a grain of salt and only budget for tried and true methods.
- Have a second pair of eyes.By this we mean get a professional to help you out if you’re really stumped. We’re happy to consult with you one-on-one if you want some feedback during this process!
- Have a website.While there is no magic formula to create the perfect online marketing budget, it’s guaranteed that a website can and does help business owners. Not only should it be included, but also it’s mandatory.
Now, without further ado, here’s what that marketing budget should really include and why.
1: Security Measures
Anyone who uses a computer will tell you that keeping your business information (financial or general, it doesn’t matter) safe and secure is essential to a business’s long-term success. With threats such as hacking and computer viruses ever present on the Internet, it would be foolish to not include a web maintenance and secure hosting program in your online marketing budget. This usually comes with the new website you either want to rejuvenate or build from scratch. Without a secure website, any of the following marketing tasks we’ve outlined here will be useless.
2: Web Design for Multiple Platforms
Not only does your website need great design on desktop computers, but also it should run as smoothly and fast on mobile devices. This requires a designer’s eye, and the more professional it is, the better results your website will have. This is not one area where you should cut corners in terms of cost, because there is now more than one way to access a website. Your budget should accommodate that need of accessibility.
If you want your company to be found online, SEO should be included in the budget. Hiring a professional who uses white hat SEO practices during the web development and designing processes is crucial to a website’s success. If you’re thinking about hiring someone whose offers sound too good to be true, they most likely are. Avoid hiring anyone who claims they can get your website to reach #1 on Google like the plague! The best SEO practices actually don’t come at a very expensive cost.
4: Content Marketing
Having a blog installed on your website isn’t too expensive, and regular content distribution that both engages with and builds up your customer base comes with many benefits. This is another area where cutting corners is not recommended, because it’s not just customers paying attention to content—Google pays attention too. There is also more than one form of content to consider that may affect your budget, such as infographics or podcasts. It’s good to figure out which content you think would suit your business and then calculate accordingly (our post on the different types of content may be able to help you figure that out).
5: Social Media Marketing
The more distribution channels you have, the better chances you have at reaching out to your audience and building new brand loyalty (more on that in a minute). What’s great about social media is it doesn’t cost nearly as much to set up an account or to run paid advertising as it would to do the same thing in print. When you’re budgeting, it’s a good idea to compare the pricing for paid promotions you can find on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to name a few with that of print.
6: E-mail Marketing
Yep, people still use e-mail to receive new information and deals from the businesses they follow. However, the signup option for e-newsletters needs to be set up properly on your website and again, that task should go to a professional and not your next door neighbour. This is connected to content marketing in that going the cheap route is not a good idea; the best newsletters you send to your customers should follow your goals, whether it’s generating new leads or building your brand loyalty.
7: Video Marketing
This will depend on what type of business you own, but if it’s a very visual one then video marketing should definitely be included in the budget. Thankfully, there are some excellent cameras including the ones built into smartphones that make this an affordable strategy. However, it’s advised you have a good sense of lighting among other things to shoot a decent video. Our blog post on the subject goes into more detail on why this is worth budgeting for if you’re interested.
8: Search Engine Marketing
While it’s not a necessary task, it is worth considering if you want to include paid advertising in your budget. Compared to traditional ads run in newspapers and magazines, Google and Facebook ads are more reasonably priced and reach tens of tons more people…so long as it includes SEO-related tasks, such as keyword research and high-quality content adhering to Google’s guidelines. SEM is a riskier thing to budget for because of how often PPC values switch from month to month, sort of like the stock market. Unless you don’t have the funds for a Google Adwords account, it may be best to leave this strategy out until you do.
This one may be costly but worth budgeting for; it depends on how old your current brand is and how you want to reach out to your intended audience, or if you’re starting your business from scratch. It also depends on where you want your brand to appear, not only on your website but also on business cards, for example. All of this needs to be calculated into your budget.
10: Your website
Online marketing cannot happen at all without a website in the first place. Your budget not only should include covering the website; it absolutely has to. Your website is the virtual business card that people will look up online; your competitors know this, too. If you don’t have a website, or if it hasn’t been changed in over 10 years, it’s time you caught up with the rest of the world.
We know this is a lot to consider budgeting for. Do you need assistance with your online marketing budget? Do you know that you need a website, but want to get it professionally done or remade? If so, give us a call at V3 Media. Let us handle the online tasks while you focus on your business!