How To Budget Digital Marketing In 2019


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The end of the year is fast approaching. If you are like most business owners, frantic preparations are underway to prepare a 2019 marketing budget. According to the U.S. all Business Administration (SBA), you should spend about 7-8% of total revenue on marketing and about half of it should go towards digital campaigns.

Your chances of success increase if you keep things as simple as possible. This means focusing on:

  • Content creation
  • Overall Advertising Budget
  • The Chinese Factor
  • Website strategy

The following tips can help simplify your 2019 digital marketing budget planning.

Content Creation

Content creation is where you take your defined strategy and present it to the world in an appealing way. Your content may be distributed via one platform or using a number of platforms. However, if you don’t budget time and money for this endeavor, don’t expect good things to happen.

Due to natural talents, each member of your content creation team likely will perform better if they are able to specialize in one form of content. It’s a good idea to provide enough money to let them do what they do best. Except in very rare instances, you want to avoid having the same person in charge of video content as you have in charge of graphic design or written content.

Overall Advertising Budget

Part of creating an annual budget is to sit down and write a marketing plan that clearly lays out your strategy for the year.

When you do this, it is good to plan for a best, neutral, and worst-case scenarios. And don’t skip creating a digital marketing budget just because you feel overwhelmed at the thought. Even a simple plan is better than no plan at all.

There are a number of lines of thought when it comes to setting a budget. One idea is to take the total gross sales of the last year or the average of the last few years and then set aside a percentage of that. If your business did $300,000 in revenue last year and you opt to follow the SBA recommendation, you would set aside about $21,000 for overall marketing.

The benefit of using this technique is that it is safe, easy to understand, and based on quantifiable facts. You know the amount of money that you’re dealing with, you can predict the industry, and it helps you keep your budget constant.

The downside to this approach is that it is difficult to capitalize on business shifts throughout the year. Unexpected customer trends that appear in June might require an increase or decrease in advertising dollars - but what if you’ve already allocated for the entire year? No doubt, that’s a problem and you’re left with the eternal task of balancing flexibility and stability.

Digital Marketing Means China

These days, China factors highly into the marketing strategies of most companies that operate internationally. China has over 350 million people in their middle class, which is more than the entire population of the United States. With GDP growth at around seven percent annually, this is the perfect storm of buyers and disposable income for companies that are ready to make themselves known.

The tricky part in deciding how to market to China is that Google is not the premier search engine, and non-Chinese websites often banned. You read right. The Chinese prefer Baidu, and the Chinese government still maintains a draconian firewall.

While there are some obvious ways to get your content in front of Chinese audiences (eg, PrivacyAustralia.org recommends using a VPN), it’s important to note significant differences as well. With this massive market ripe for the picking in 2019 more than any other year, companies need to figure out the most effective strategies and do it quick because Chinese consumers are itching to spend. If it;s not with you, it’ll likely be your competitor.

Website Strategy

Is finally building a decent website in this year’s digital marketing budget? Perhaps as much as anything, this can turn into a money pit faster than you realize, so plan accordingly. You might end up with a site that costs two or three times more than what you expected and the money has to come from somewhere - likely other marketing activities. The alternative is to rigidly stick to your budget and become the proud owner of a fractionally functional website that compromises on design, functionality, and content.

In short, a mediocre experience for customers.

When laying out your website strategy budget for 2019, you want to make the ends meet of content, design, functionality, and cost.

  • How customizable do you want your site to be?
  • How much content will you need on your site?
  • What type of functionality will your sites require?
  • Do you want to optimize for SEO?

Save yourself headaches by nailing down exactly what the site needs to do and look like and then get quotes from several different vendors. Competition is stiff in the web design and development business, so don’t be afraid to pit one bid against another to keep the price down.

Final Thoughts

Start by defining your strategy, how you will reach it, and how you will pay for it.

How much did you spend on digital marketing last year? Include marketing personnel time, digital ads, software, sponsorships, etc. The more details you have, the better.

How effective was your 2018 spending? Do you know the ROI from various digital channels? That’s the only way any of this planning makes sense. Performance should be to tied to key indicators. For example, if your goal was to increase brand awareness, have you seen increased conversion rates or an increase in visits to your site?

Use this information to optimize your efforts. If your plan is to increase sales by 20 percent, then you may need to revamp your website, buy more ads, or increase your marketing staff. In short, change something to make it happen.

If you do exactly what you did last year, thanks to inflation, expect lesser results. Now get out there and budget!