Allocating a marketing budget is one of a marketer's most important and often most daunting, responsibilities. The money in your budget isn't infinite and how much goes into each element of your strategy can make all the difference in a marketing plan that succeeds and thrives, or one that fails. Here's our breakdown on which marketing channels are most effective and worth investing in.
With 86% of consumers using the internet to find local businesses and 29% searching at least every week, paid advertising can be the most direct and effective way to market your business online. When set up and managed correctly, businesses can see strong ROIs from Google AdWords.
An example of ads generated by Google AdWords.
- Every aspect of your campaign can be measured. From the numbers of clicks, impressions and conversions, to the conversion rate and cost per click, measuring your ROI is simple.
- According to the Search Network, the average cost per click in the UK is between £0.66 and £1.32 and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. How much your campaign actually costs depends on a number of factors, but overall, AdWords is highly cost-effective.
- AdWords levels the playing field for all advertisers by ranking the ads based on their relevance and not their companies' marketing budgets. If your AdWords campaigns are perceived to be more relevant and have a higher click-through rate than your competition, then you have a greater chance of your ads being placed above theirs.
- Your campaign can be fine-tuned using a variety of sophisticated targeting tools, such as location, mobile and time targeting. All of these help to maximise ROI.
- AdWords has a short shelf life - when your budget runs out, your ads will be turned off.
- You're limited by the number of characters allowed for headlines, character descriptions and display URL.
- You need an attention-grabbing headline, keywords and a CTA. And people becoming less likely to click on ads is a popular theory.
- It can be time-consuming. You need to carefully monitor the campaign before and after it's been launched to check whether it's been set up properly and whether conversions are taking place.
Facebook Social Ads
Examples of where Facebook ads can be found. Image credit.
It's estimated that there are more than one billion people active on Facebook and an increasing number of people are using the platform to find out about news and other information. When this is combined with the social media platform's easy-to-use interface, it makes sense that Facebook social ads should be a part of a company's marketing campaign.
- Like Google AdWords, Facebook social ads are highly affordable. You also have the popular "boost" which allows you to push out an existing post to a wider audience for just a couple of pounds. The cost depends on how many people you want to reach.
- You don't need any keywords. As long as you know and understand your target audience, you can target them based on demographics, such as gender, age, social class, occupation and hobbies.
- It's very simple to use and analyse your ad's performance.
- Success depends on having a good understanding of online advertising, choosing the right options and having a good follow-up strategy. Facebook ads can be much easier to set up and run than Google AdWords, but curating a good, effective social media ad requires expertise.
- In 2016, it was reported that organic reach had declined by 52%. Due to the changes in Facebook's algorithm, fewer proportions of your business's fan base will see your brand messages so it can be more difficult to target your ads. However, there are ways around it.
An example of HubSpot's CRM dashboard.
CRM platforms such as HubSpot and Salesforce allow you to manage your company's interactions with current and prospective customers. They play an integral role in marketing budgets because sales teams use CRM data to optimise the one-on-one interactions between the company and the customers, which further increases sales and customer satisfaction.
- A good CRM shows your business where a prospect is in the sales process, which helps your business offer targeted promotional content that's more likely to build up a positive business-customer relationship and lead to a sale.
- Helps your sales team close the deal as they have a better understanding of the customer and their history with the company, which allows for a more personal and successful conversation. The easier it is for sales to close leads, the better quality leads you're giving them. And you'll be a hero.
- Many CRM platforms, such as HubSpot, come with integrated features such as sending internal alerts for scheduled meetings and important dates so sales reps know when to reach out.
- Like any good piece of software, many reputable CRM platforms may require significant investment. But many also offer various flexible plans to suit your business's needs. For example, HubSpot offers a free, entry-level CRM plan.
- Inbound marketing is all about lead generation and nurturing those leads. As your contact database grows, so will your costs. For example, HubSpot charges small premiums for every 1,000 new contacts. However, this is a sign that your strategy is working.
MailChimp, an email automation tool.
Marketing automation software, such as Buffer for social media messaging and MailChimp for emailing, allows you to follow and monitor a prospect's top-of-funnel activities - for example, when they interact with your messages, or open an email or fill out a form.
- You can schedule messages in advance and get on with your life. And once you're a paid customer, expert help is usually available from the provider's teams.
- Marketing automation systems generate detailed analytics on how successful campaigns were, so you can use them to make improvements for your future ones.
- There's an automation tool for every aspect of digital marketing messaging.
- You'll need separate accounts for all your automated tools. Unless you get a tool like HubSpot, which is the ultimate all in one marketing software.
Creating Quality Content
You can track your blog's performance, from posts to landing pages, through HubSpot.
From blog content and emails to videos and podcasts, creating quality content is a crucial and core part of a company's marketing strategy. Many companies overlook the need to create new, helpful and frequent content and this can lead to them falling short of their marketing goals. The companies that do allocate time and resources to create new and exciting content can see a vast range of benefits.
- The more helpful content you produce on a specific topic or topics, the more customers will feel inclined to trust you.
- Quality content helps define your company and establish your brand. The thing about content is that it stays available so whenever you post a blog or video, it adds to your existing collection of content. This can then be shared and re-shared when appropriate.
- Interesting, relevant content attracts new viewers who may be turned into leads, prospects and customers. In addition, useful content creates an incentive for people to pay attention to your brand.
- Content helps with inbound lead sourcing. When people interact with your content, they are more likely to be more receptive to your products and services when the time is right.
- Content can be time-consuming as it requires thorough checks and optimising for it to be successful. For example, irrelevant content that's full of mistakes and opinions that haven't been backed up can easily drive leads away. Likewise, content that hasn't been optimised for the web can be rendered useless. If it doesn't contain keywords that people are searching for, it's unlikely that it will ever rank high enough in searches for leads to find and click on.
How To Get More Out Of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
A 2016 report by Econsultancy estimated that marketing budgets have been rising since 2011 and because there's more money to spend and more ways to spend it, it's easy to become overwhelmed.
We covered a lot here, but there's still so much more than goes into creating an inbound marketing strategy that thrives and succeeds. To start, you need the right CMS.
Download a FREE copy of our CMS Comparison Checklist to help you choose the right platform for you and your business.