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A Simple Guide To Managing Your Marketing Budget

It doesn’t matter your size, position or revenue, a carefully crafted marketing budget is key to any successful business. Modern marketing is awash with hundreds of tools and platforms, and it can be difficult to determine which ones you should invest in.

Feeling overwhelmed, a lot of businesses end up funneling their marketing budget through a single channel. This is a common mistake and can hurt your chances of making a sale and engaging with customers.

To better understand the important role your marketing budget plays in your customer’s journey, we have outlined the stages every business owner should consider. It’s important that every business is present throughout the journey, but how much emphasis (cash) is placed at each stage depends on your own marketing priorities:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Preference
  • Purchase
  1. Brand awareness

Every business should prioritise recognition. Simply put, you will struggle to sell if no-one knows who you are. Particularly if you are a small business or even a start-up, people need to know you exist.

The trick is getting your name and ‘face’ out there. The most effective way to engage with customers is online advertising. Of course, there are many forms of advertising on the internet, but if you are focussed on branding and getting people familiar with your company name, Digital Display Advertising is your best bet.

Video and banner ads are a strong branding platform, especially if they are embedded in web pages that get a lot of traffic from potential customers. It’s possible to target customers based on the hosting website’s topic and draw attention to your product or service. For example, a dress boutique could target a customer when they are looking at a news story about fashion.  

We shouldn’t let digital have all the fun. Complementing your digital efforts with a print campaign is another good technique for promoting your business. By advertising in our local newspapers, you will reach potential customers in your area on a platform they already trust.

  1. Consideration

Now you’ve got your name out there, the next step is to make sure people know what you stand for – and what you can offer them.

An effective stepping stone from awareness to consideration is Sponsored Content.  This is the advertising tactic where the business associates its name with a piece of relevant content. Our professional journalists use their flair for words to inspire and motivate your customers to buy from you, showcasing your business in the most engaging way possible.

A recent piece of Sponsored Content we published for Scotland Food & Drink reached 2,927 views, and drove a record number of entries to their Scotland Food & Drink 2018 Awards.

Social media is no longer just a social platform, it has now become a major player within the advertising landscape. Almost every platform has advertising capabilities and the majority have proven widely successful.

Facebook Ads is undoubtedly the most popular, with Facebook an effective platform for engaging customers scrolling at lightning speed. Facebook Ads can be extremely specific, targeting customers based on age, location, gender and even by hobbies and interests. Advertising on a social platform allows for a certain level of creativity, with many companies having fun with images, videos, and contrasting colours. This level of detail helps solidify your name in customers’ minds.

  1. Preference

Congratulations, your business is now on the map! The bad news is so are your competitors. They may sell a similar product to you, possibly at a very similar price and the customer is unsure who to choose. It’s up to you now to show what you can offer (that your competitors can’t).

Now is the time for your customers to start falling in love with your company and not just what you can sell them.

Building your web presence is a positive first step. This does not mean advertising, but the accuracy and frequency of your social posts, the look of your website and how you interact with competitors and customers online. Spending some cash on a social media specialist or a website designer could help customer engagement and push you ahead of competitors.

Many major brands are well known for their content marketing: the blogs and articles they publish. Companies who have hired professional copywriters see strong Return On Investment, website traffic, and new sales. It also allows you to show off your personality. If your competitors speak like an instruction manual, this is your opportunity to show you don’t.

  1. Purchase

Well done, you’ve made a sale! Now you can focus on generating more.

People know your brand, have engaged with it, chosen you over competitors and you may have already completed a sale or two. Now, you just need to keep at it.

While online and social media advertising was effective when the customer needed convincing, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising can now target those who already know what they want.

We have already discussed social media advertising, where strong targeting can get the right people thinking about you. Now, through well-chosen keywords, PPC targets customers even more specifically, with higher chances of engagement. As your company will only be charged when the customer reaches the website, PPC can also be a more cost effective option.

Making a sale depends on how easy your business is to find, and Google Ads is one of the best ways to do that. If a customer is searching for a plumber in Edinburgh, a Google Ads campaign will ensure your trade company places prominently in that customer’s search results.

The key motivation at this stage is to create new sales. Listings Management is a strong product for generating new leads, where we will ensure your up-to-date information is featured on all the important online directories, such as Google My Business. If you plan on selling products online, building an online store is vital. Our eCommerce website package will ensure all transactions are quick and easy for you to manage.

Conclusion

When it comes to allocating your budget, it can be difficult to know where to start. Everything becomes a bit easier, however, once you have outlined your marketing priorities. Whether you are a small business in need of raising awareness, or a larger company competing with tough rivals, once you know your objectives, you know where you should inject cash. After that, all you need to do is focus on your profits.

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