As the new financial year begins, many of us will be busy putting together our new marketing budget for 2011. Budgeting can be a difficult process; many companies estimate or base their budget on last year. We feel there are more effective means but an estimate is better than nothing. Either route you take, it is important to review and evaluate what worked and what didn’t for your business in 2010. Any time and money you spend on marketing is an investment in your business, so you need to make sure it’s time and money well spent.
When completing your new marketing budget, it is important to consider any changes that may have happened in your industry. Have there been any important innovations? What about the use of technology within your market? What about the distribution channels used to deliver your product or service?
As well as looking outside the box, it is important to consider factors within your business. What were the most successful marketing activities last year? Can they be repeated? It might be an event your business ran or a successful lead generation campaign. Likewise, what are the failures that should be omitted all together this year? Did your advert generate any sales? What about the mailouts? Did you follow them up with a phone call? No? Perhaps that is why they weren’t more effective. When evaluating the relative success or failures from last year, it is important to ascertain whether it was the implementation of the campaign or the activity itself that was fundamental in the success or failure. Don’t make kneejerk reactions.
A new international survey from E-consultancy and SAS found that overall marketing budgets are up, with over 52% of UK businesses claiming to have increased their marketing budget for 2011. Digital marketing continues to be the focus for many marketing budgets, with 72% of companies investing online, compared to 26% purely on offline channels such as print and direct mail.
As an SME ourselves, we understand that marketing budgets can be tight. But that doesn’t mean you can’t budget. We’ve put together some effective, low cost activities that your business can do online in 2011. The success of these activities can be easily measured, helping evaluate the success of your activities when it comes time to define your budget for 2012.
Web Content – Is your website up to date, do you spend time generating new and relevant content for your website? Keeping your content moving is a great way of getting the search engines to love your website and keeping your target audience fully informed. Do you use Google Analytics to review traffic to your website on a monthly basis? Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to understand and measure the effectiveness of their marketing mix – a great way to determine appropriate areas for your future marketing budget.
Social Media – Do you have a strategy in place? Have you set a target of likes/followers you want to reach in the next 6 months? Yes, you do have to invest your time in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, however, it’s a great way to showcase your business and keep customers up to date with your business activities and news.
Email Marketing – Do you monitor who views and opens your email campaigns. E-marketing software is a great tool to measure how successful your emails have been. Integrate your email marketing with telemarketing; call the companies that are showing an interest in your emails.
Now is the time businesses need to look closely at their past, present and future marketing activities. Businesses need to create more revenue for less cost and this can take some creative thinking. If you are struggling to know where to spend your marketing budget most effectively on measurable solutions, click here to find out more about TLC Business FREE Marketing MOT.