Tips for Budgeting Your Online Marketing Resources

By April 9, 2014News

Money and Time.  These are the two things that always seem to be in short supply when it comes to marketing.  With a little more time – the thinking goes – programs could be fine-tuned for maximum impact, and with a little more funding they could reach more audiences or penetrate existing audiences more deeply.

But the world for most marketers doesn’t allow such luxuries – and that’s actually a benefit.  Time constraints force us to have more resolve in making decisions (“this must get done this week”), and greater agility in execution without having to get unnecessary consensus.  This is particularly helpful when developing an online marketing budget. And here’s why.

1. Content Creation

Department heads can have greater control over content creation and distribution frequency.  Writing and posting your firm’s content is a predictable cost (either due to staff salary or outsourced expense). It also addresses audiences’ particular issues, while leaving them with a significant impression of your firm.

And because audience attention spans online tend to be short, content creation does not require 3,000-word articles that are time consuming to write.  Instead, start with a content calendar that outlines themes and easy to skim, search engine-optimized (SEO) content in the pipeline to be created.

2. High Performance Website

In addition to content creation, another consideration regarding an online marketing budget is the environments where content will appear.  Our research shows that 1 in 5 firms have not redesigned their website in more than three years.  As a general rule, high-performing sites need to have a blog and offer downloads of premium content such as white papers or an e-book.

Research the costs and know what you’re getting in a website because low-priced, template-based sites have limited functionality.  These may not be good enough for audiences who have high expectations when it comes to finding and retrieving content.

3. Guest Articles and Blog Posts

Other websites are also great places to feature your content.  Find out who the influential bloggers are in your industry and see if they will accept a guest post on a topic relevant to their audience (and yours).  Many trade publications also will accept contributed articles, or – in a nod to old-fashioned public relations – include you in a story they already are writing. And don’t forget the social networks where content gets shared.

As you can see, an online marketing budget can have a blend of fixed and variable costs.  Some are one-time or infrequent, such as website development or enhancement, so it may be more efficient to outsource these.  Others like salaries are based on how much content you plan to generate and how strong you want your online presence to be.  For many larger firms, these tasks are more efficiently handled in-house.

You are not alone in bringing a methodical approach to online marketing: 66% of firms plan to increase online marketing spending within the next 12 months.

Determining a budget will require an understanding of what you want to accomplish within the constraints of time and cost.  After all, time is what keeps everything from occurring at once, and cost is what helps you decide how many online marketing resources you want to employ.

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