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 heading into 2019.

Holmes Mill

Video Marketing

There's now more of an emphasis on inbound video marketing than ever before.  It's not just one-off projects either, as videos should now be embedded into overall inbound marketing content strategies as human behaviour continues to change. More and more people want to consume video as opposed to reading endless pages of content. 

According to HubSpot Research, more than 50 percent of consumers want to see videos from brands - more than any other type of content. Not only that, but a Facebook executive also recently claimed that the platform will all be video in less than five years. That’s quite an impact video is having and will continue to have so it's time to invest in video.

Camera and phone

Benefits

  • Video content is easily shares as they're usually much shorter than written content. Buyers stumbling across a two-minute video, for example, can watch and share it in less than five minutes. In that short time, buyers not only process the information that the video has been delivered but also pass it along to others during the process.
  • Video content has much stronger engagement compared to other content formats. The Content Marketing Institute has claimed that audiences are roughly 10 times more likely to engage with and share video content than any other type of content.
  • Adding videos to specific pages can be incredibly effective at increasing conversion rates on places like landing pages by around 80 percent. Mentioning the term 'video' in your subject line can increase email open rates by 19 percent while 90 percent of customers also say videos help them make buying decisions.
  • Video content is easily repurposed. While it's not as easy as producing written content, videos are much easier to reuse and repurpose content for future projects one they've been made.

Drawbacks

  • There's going to be a learning curve when getting to grips with new equipment which can take up valuable time.
  • Inbound video marketing can be more time-consuming. This includes scripting, casting, props, filming, editing and more.
  • You can come across more technical issues with video, from equipment right through to software problems which can cause to miss deadlines.
  • Not everyone enjoys video content. Some prefer to quickly skim through blogs and articles - but it's always beneficial to provide your target audience with more than one option to consume valuable content.

HubSpot Video

One platform to take into consideration is HubSpot Video. HubSpot Video helps businesses execute a video strategy that matches how people consume video today.  Marketers are now able to manage and host video files inside of HubSpot for free. This means that users can embed the videos into website pages, blogs and social media channels with just one click.

Sales teams are also expected to greatly benefit from the new HubSpot Video features, primarily because it’s a tool that allows them to build much stronger relationships with prospects. Finally, service teams are also going to see the positives that come from the new HubSpot Video feature. If we’re talking about customers submitting help tickets, they have to type out their problem, wait for a response and it’s more than likely going to be a long one with plenty of text.

If you want to learn more about HubSpot Video and how to get started, click here to read a blog post about the topic.

Google AdWords

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.

Example Google AdWords search

An example of ads generated by Google AdWords.

Benefits

  • 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. 

Drawbacks

  • 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

google-vs-facebook-facebook-ads-conceptExamples 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. 

Benefits

  • 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. 

Drawbacks

  • 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' fan base will see your brand messages so it can be more difficult to target your ads. However, there are ways around it.  A big way around this is to consider setting up your own private Facebook group.

Sales and Marketing CRM (And Some Examples)

HubSpot's CRM dashboardAn 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. 

Benefits

  • 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.

Drawbacks

  • 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. 

Sales Hub Enterprise by HubSpot

At INBOUND 18 this year, HubSpot unveiled the Sales Hub Enterprise amongst its many product launches in Boston. Finally, sales teams are getting more love and it's the perfect product to look into when investing in a sales CRM. 

HubSpot’s new Sales Hub features a set of robust sales tools to help sales team reach that next level and become more sophisticated. The important thing to note about this brand-new update that HubSpot hasn’t just created this to manage deals or even their contact records more efficiently. They’ve taken it a step further.

Sales Hub Enterprise has been designed to help sales teams improve their overall team communication, give them training on best practices, processes as well as visibility.  Some of its features include:

  • Call Transcription and Recording - Your sales team would not only be able to record all of the calls they’re in, but they can also get a transcription of it.
  • 1:1 Video Creation - Sales teams can now create videos using their laptop camera or even the screen sharing tool inside their HubSpot account. This means they can share personalised videos with prospects directly from the HubSpot CRM and track their performances via a built-in analytics dashboard.
  • Predictive Lead Scoring - This feature automatically scores and ranks leads based on their estimated likelihood to close. This is done by factoring in hundreds of different engagement signals and demographic factors.

To read more about the Sales Hub Enterprise product by HubSpot, check out this blog.

Enterprise Growth Suite by HubSpot

HubSpot’s newest tier gives advanced marketing teams greater control, greater flexibility and deeper integrations with all of its latest features - all without making life complicated for you or your team.

The Enterprise Growth Suite features a new line-up of Enterprise tools that gives you sophisticated versions of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub and the top-rated CRM. You can splash the cash and buy each one individually, or save a bit of money and buy them together in a single package. Some of the features included are:

  • Teams: A brand-new feature that allows you to organise the groups in your HubSpot account on multiple levels based on the team they’re in, region, business unit, product line or pretty much any other dimension available.
  • Single Sign-On: This allows you to enhance the security of your HubSpot account and gain even more control over your team’s access by configuring a custom authentication provider.
  • Custom Events: HubSpot has rebuilt the analytics pipeline so that you can define customer analytics events to track specific actions on websites or mobile apps. You can then use those events to build funnels and segment contacts through engagement or activities. 

To read more about the features mentioned before and everything else the Enterprise Growth Suite has to offer, check out this blog.

Marketing Hub Enterprise by HubSpot

The Marketing Hub Enterprise features give marketers and businesses plenty of powerful tools to take advantage of so that you’re able to get more out of your content and grow better as a result. This is in comparison to the other offerings like the Sales Enterprise or the Service Hub Enterprise from HubSpot, or even other marketing automation software like Marketo or Infusionsoft.

HubSpot has crafted the features to help accelerate growth, that’s the basic gist of it. Here are some of the features:

  • Content Partitioning: Content Partitioning is new in Marketing Enterprise, and it uses the Teams feature (also a new release) to segment assets in HubSpot. This gives the right users easy and uncluttered access to the content they need to see and have access to.
  • Additional Domains: The Additional Domains feature allows you to host and track multiple sites, microsites, blogs and landing pages across different top-level domains. By purchasing the feature, businesses can manage separate brand and domains from a single instance on HubSpot.
  • Analytics Filtering: he new Analytics Filtering feature allows you to create analytics segments by the country of the session, the domain and even specific URL structure.

To read more about Marketing Hub Enterprise and to decide if it can be a good fit for your business, read more about the new launch here.

 Standalone CMS by HubSpot

If a CMS is what your main focus is on, then HubSpot has you covered here as well. The main benefit of this new feature is that it still ties into the free (brilliant) CRM. This alone opens up many more engaging possibilities such as personalisation and important design benefits all in one impressive tool - even for those who don't want the marketing suite. But your website data still directly informs your CRM.

HubSpot offering the CMS on its own shows just how much it’s been developed. Previously, the primary benefit was that the CMS was tied into a well-developed CRM and marketing platform, but relatively basic and it wouldn’t have survived as a separate product.

Now, it’s been fine-tuned enough so that it’s useful and sophisticated enough to stand on its own legs. Some of the features include:

  • Content and Conversion Tools
  • Design Tools
  • Reporting
  • Contacts and Personalisation

To find out more about HubSpot's Standalone CMS to decide if it's something you need to focus your budget on in 2019, head over to this blog.

Marketing Automation

MailChimp in action

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. 

Benefits

  • 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.

Drawbacks

  • 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

Tracking blog performance in HubSpotYou 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. 

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. 

Drawbacks

  • 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. 

Spend Your Budget Wisely on an Experienced Marketing Team

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. That's why it can be more beneficial to use that budget and hire a bunch of passionate individuals that are experienced with all things inbound marketing.

To find out how much our varying packages cost, hit the button below to download our free and transparent pricing guide.

However, keep in mine that our prices will change on January, 1, 2019. To read more about why we've felt the need to make the change, read more over here, or just press the button below to check out our prices.

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