“Measure twice, cut once,” they say.
It’s one of my favorite proverbs. But what does it mean?
For a carpenter, it refers to checking your measurements before cutting a piece of wood so you don’t commit any irreversible mistakes.
You calmly understand your situation, see the big picture, and then take action. That’s the safe way to do things. Unlike in carpentry, you don’t run the risk of cutting your fingers off in marketing. But the same rule applies. Unless you have an infinite budget, you want to cautiously think things through before you spend your money.
So let’s look at some really important questions that you should ask yourself if you’re thinking of budgeting for online marketing.
The Million Dollar Question(s)
1. Where do you want to go?
To find out where you want to go, you need to understand where you’re at first. Are you an established brand that’s already tapped into your customer base? Or are you a startup that’s still finding their footing?
If you’re new, most of your customers might not even know you exist. It might be time to get started on some grassroots efforts to create brand awareness and start in-person networking.
If you’ve already tapped into your customer bases a long time ago, you might want to look at generating positive reviews and referrals to increase your business instead.
What are your customer acquisition costs? Maybe you want to look at your old products, and give them a fresh spin and explore new marketing channels that you ignored before.
Understanding your positioning is paramount when allocating your budget. When you get third-party online marketing services to handle your marketing, the first thing they’ll ask about is your current position in the market.
2. What cards are in your hand?
If you’re a service-based company, you might want to focus on creating lots of blog posts and in-depth articles to spread on social media.
This means you’ll need to hire experts and authorities to talk about your services to give your business credibility. Engaging and shareable content is key.
If you’re a product-based company, you might do better with video based content instead.
This requires you to include recording equipment, editing equipment, writers, presenters, and professional editors in your budget to make viral videos that really pop.
It’s important to focus on doing a few things well, rather than trying to do everything. Digging a dozen shallow holes won’t strike oil, but digging a really deep hole might bring big results.
3. What is your ultimate goal?
You want to have clear primary, secondary, and tertiary goals. Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Or brand loyalty? Those are drastically different things that require different approaches.
If you’re looking to increase your marketing so you can stumble on some solid leads, you still want clear goals in mind.
What kinds of leads are you looking for?
How many leads do you need to hit your monthly or yearly revenue targets?
A simple technique that’s time tested and never fails is to look at what your competitors are doing. That’s a great way to get up-to-date with the latest practices, and check the market pulse at the same time.
4. What’s your budget breakdown?
How are you dividing up your budget? If you’re thinking of spending everything on one channel or approach, think again.
You want to use the 70-20-10 rule when you create a marketing budget in general. This is one rule of thumb that online marketing services swear by. This means you spend 70% of your budget on time tested and proven strategies that will bring solid results. Then you spend 20% of your budget on things that are upcoming, such as new product lines and launches.
Then you spend 10% of your budget on the new and unknown. This is where you get to innovate and experiment(within reason). You can try the most unusual ideas here as long as they bring you information that you can use in the future to make money.
The kind of industry you’re in also affects your budget. Microsoft, for instance, spends 15% of its revenue towards marketing each year, while Johnson & Johnson spends about 27% instead.
The tech industry has totally different needs than the manufacturing industry. Ask yourself how much someone else in your industry spends, and how they’re reaching that number. It might bring to light important facts you’ve never considered before.
Marketing is the key revenue growth driver for many companies. It’s important to ask yourself the right questions and spend time with marketing analytics if you want a good return on the money you spend.
The right online marketing services can mean the difference between having a dozen new clients, or losing what you have to your competitors instead. Measure twice before you cut.